Sweta Baniya "Networked Communities, Crisis Communication, And Technology: Rhetoric of Disaster in The Nepal Earthquake and Hurricane Maria"
In April and May 2015, Nepal suffered two massive earthquakes, killing 8,856 people and injuring 22,309. Two years later, in September 2017, Puerto Rico underwent the category 5 Hurricane Maria, killing an estimate of 800 to 8,000 people and displacing hundreds of thousands of Puerto Ricans. In this talk, Dr. Sweta Baniya presents a comparative study of Nepal's and Puerto Rico's networked communities, their actors, participants, and the people who used their local crisis communication practices to address the havoc created by the disaster by engaging with the global community. Using interviews conducted with participants representing government, non-governmental organizations, and activists from Nepal and Puerto Rico, as well as Social Network Analysis conducted by using approximately 50 million tweets that were sent during the first week of both disasters, Dr. Baniya argues that disasters create situations in which various networked communities are formed along with an emergence of innovative digital composition and communication practices.
Dr. Baniya is an Assistant Professor of Rhetoric, Professional and Technical Writing in the Department of English at Virginia Tech. Her research centers around transnational disaster response, non-western and feminist rhetorics, as well as community engagement. She studies the emergence of transnational assemblages and networked communities during local disasters. Her scholarship is informed via no-western rhetorical traditions and practices that she acquired via her community in Nepal.
Baniya will be joined by Sylvester Johnson, Director of the Center for Humanities, for this discussion. There will be a brief Q and A following the discussion.
This talk is free and open to the public and we invite anyone to attend. If you are an individual with a disability and desire an accommodation, please contact the Center for Humanities at 540-231-1981 or email firstname.lastname@example.org at least 10 business days prior to the event.