The tenth anniversary of the September 11th attacks is fast approaching. In the August podcast, historian Scott Gabriel Knowles, author of The Disaster Experts: Mastering Risk in Modern America, reflects on the destruction of the World Trade Center towers in New York City and the past decade's rash of urban disasters, including Hurricane Katrina. Knowles traces the development of American interdisciplinary disaster mitigation and prevention expertise from the fire safety research that arose from the ashes of city fires at the dawn of the twentieth century, to Cold War civil defense planning, to the creation of FEMA and the Department of Homeland Security. Knowles also talks about the implications of U.S. history on current and future efforts to deal with current terrorist threats and climate change.
Scott Gabriel Knowles is Associate Professor of History at Drexel University and is the editor of Imagining Philadelphia: Edmund Bacon and the Future of the City, also available from the University of Pennsylvania Press.