Interrogating the Idea of Disasters: Beyond the Event - Jamsetji Tata School of Disaster Studies (JTSDS) Annual Roundtable


Date: April 4, 2016 - April 5, 2016

The Jamsetji Tata Centre for Disaster Management was established on May 6, 2006. As we enter the 10th year, we are proud and pleased to share many of our achievements. On the other hand, we are also all too willing to engage in a debate around contentious issues to further disaster discourse and enhance our collective understanding of disasters.

During the decade we introduced several academic programmes in disaster management, sustainable development, disaster risk reduction and conducted a wide ranging set of training programmes. More than 1000 people have participated in them and graduated with degrees, diplomas or certificates. Prominent among these are the Master’s programmes introduced in 2007 and the on-line Certificate Course offered in partnership with IFRC, Geneva. The Master’s programme saw students from Mexico, Greece, Germany, Ireland, Nepal enrolled. The online course is a unique program with a global reach.

We have responded to over 20 disasters, and some have developed into Field Action Projects demonstrating unique models of practice. The Centre boasts of 144 publications, 75 research projects completed and seven annual Roundtable conferences, many of which were international events. In 2015, the Centre became a School of Disaster Studies.

From 2nd to 5th April 2016 we plan to invite, in particular, the JTSDS alumni to join in, in the 4 day programme which will culminate in the annual Roundtable on 4th and 5th April, 2016.

The Roundtable

This year, instead of a single theme Roundtable, the students and faculty members propose a series of high quality presentations, dialogues and discussions under the broad title of “Interrogating the idea of Disasters: Beyond the Event”. The objective is to discuss contemporary challenges in many of the fields that disaster specialists currently find themselves working in. The Roundtable would bring together many practitioners, policy makers as well as international and multidisciplinary scholars, to examine  issues beyond a specific or a single event of a disaster.

For several years now, policy makers and UN bodies have rightly argued for a “paradigm shift” in disaster management, moving from the pre-occupation with a disaster response to a greater focus on disaster prevention and preparedness. Although the idea of disaster risk reduction (DRR) has gained popularity, scant attention is paid to the processes of development that create disaster risks or enhance vulnerabilities. DRR is neither mainstreamed nor implemented with the requisite care in the current drive towards growth-oriented models of development which reflect business as usual. Further, many of the structural and technology oriented approaches preferred by national governments, often in fact raise both risks of a disaster and post-disaster economic losses. These contradictions are the subject of this year's Roundtable.

The aim of the Roundtable of 2016 is to develop and sharpen perspectives that interrogate the notion of disaster in the contemporary development context, exploring processes beyond the event-centric approach to understanding the complex interaction between hazard, risk and vulnerability in the current socio-political and environmental context.
We propose 4 thematic areas:

  1. Silent Disasters: Are WASH and MISP sufficient?
  2. Disaster Risk Reduction: Balancing the economy and the ecology
  3. Food Insecurity amidst plenty (drought, agrarian crisis, farmers suicides)
  4. Democratizing technology: IT, Apps and community-based GIS for disaster preparedness and response

For Registration: Fill up Registration form and mail it to

Download Invitation to JTCDM (JTSDS) Alumni


This year as we enter the 10th year during our Annual Roundtable, we welcome alumni to prepare case studies which will be put up during the event as a poster exhibition.

Once we receive the case study, it will be vetted for its academic rigour by a Committee and you will be asked to prepare a poster on it. You will be asked to send us the poster content as a ppt and JTSDS will frame and mount it. [ Download Guidelines ]

Dates and deadlines:

The written case study (length not to exceed 10,000 words- could be shorter) not later than 25st March, 2016. See case study guidelines on page two belowBesides creating posters, we hope to bring out an anniversary publication compiling these case-studies- around appropriate themes.

Please send case study to:

All inquires to

[ Participants List ]