Underwater: Loss, Flood Insurance, and the Moral Economy of Climate Change in the United States

Monday, July 11, 1:30 to 3:00 p.m. MDT

The Monday Book Forums are an opportunity for attendees to interact with authors and experts on hazards, disasters, and climate change. The confurrent forums will feature a brief synopsis of a selected book by the author, followed by a stimulating panel discussion of the work with experts in related fields. The conversation is then opened to the audience in what promises to be three highly interactive sessions.

Audience members are encouraged to read a selected book beforehand, these forums will be educational and thought-provoking, even for those new to the content.

Underwater: Loss, Flood Insurance, and the Moral Economy of Climate Change in the United States, Columbia University Press, 2021

Underwater explores how families, communities, and governments confront problems of loss as the climate changes, through the lens of the U.S. National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP): the key institution that economizes flood hazards and losses, turning them into a matter of dollars and cents. As a result, the NFIP shapes who lives near the water, on what terms, and at what cost. Drawing on archival, interview, ethnographic, and other documentary data, the book follows controversies over the NFIP from its establishment in the 1960s to the present, from local backlash over flood maps to Congressional debates over insurance reform. Though flood insurance is often portrayed as a rational solution for managing risk, it has ignited recurring fights over what is fair and valuable, what needs protecting and what should be let go, who deserves assistance and on what terms, and whose expectations of future losses are used to govern the present

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