published October 31, 2013

Super Storm Sandy:

A One-Year Anniversary

David Burns, NCSCE

On Monday evening I had the pleasure of attending a book talk by the historian, John Gillis, emeritus professor from Rutgers and a close friend of mine. John discussed his new book, The Human Shore, and described Super Storm Sandy, whose one-year anniversary is this week, as not a "natural disaster" but a disaster more closely connected to our human relationships to shores, coasts and beaches.

Afterwards there was a dinner at the home of a colleague. Attending that dinner was another historian, Matt Matsuda and his wife, Lee Quinby, who is an expert on the New Testament. John called my attention to a film that Matt Matsuda produced about Hurricane Sandy and the Rockaways, where Matt and Lee have a home. As I understand it, the film was produced in connection with a program at Rutgers that looks at history in the news. Please click here to access the video.

Of course this idea of history in the news, in general, and Sandy in particular, struck a chord with me, not only because we were so affected by the storm having lost more than 40 trees on our property, but also because the connection between knowledge in a particular domain and the conditions/events affecting members of the civic community is an animating dimension of the whole SENCER effort. Matt studies oceans and memory, as a historian. Both oceans and memory are also subject of extensive research and interest among scientists, engineers, and mathematicians. It is all very "SENCERy"!

I had the experience of watching the video that Matt produced. I recommend it to you. I hope you will find it intellectually stimulating and deeply moving, as I did. You may even be able to envision a way of using it in your classes. I would appreciate hearing from you if you do watch the video and employ it in your teaching. I look forward to hearing from you.