What studying disasters has taught me about COVID-19


“Civilization, the orderly world in which we live, is frail. We are skating on thin ice.” – Zygmunt Bauman.

For the last several years, when people have asked me what I study, I have told them that I study the end of the world.

As you can imagine, it’s the sort of answer that results in rather mixed responses. When this first became my stock answer, quite a few years ago, it was generally met with either polite laughter, a barely concealed rolling of the eyes, or a swift change of the subject. Unfortunately, in recent years, when I’ve told people that I study the end of the world the responses have shifted away from polite derision and towards people quietly asking “how long do you think we have left?” If I had to pinpoint the exact moment that this shift began to take place I’d have to point to…

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