Reimagining Disaster Management in Indonesia: An Interdisciplinary Exploration of Local Knowledge, Vulnerability, and Inclusivity in Merapi Region

Project: Research

Project Details

Project Description

Indonesia's approach to disaster management is typically top-down, bureaucratic, and scientific, often neglecting local communities' valuable knowledge and experiences in disaster management. Vulnerable groups like women, senior citizens, people with disabilities, and children are often overlooked, and the protection of non-human subjects is commonly disregarded. In response, we question how disaster management strategies are transformed to embrace inclusivity, ensuring adequate representation of local populations and vulnerable communities, while also prioritizing the safeguarding of non-human subjects throughout all phases of disaster mitigation.

This interdisciplinary team of scholars from history, political science, semiotics, and philology are involved to investigate (1) the history of the transition from traditional to modern mitigation systems and (2) the marginalization of vulnerable people and non-human subjects in the current disaster mitigation framework. By integrating methodologies from environmental history, ecosemiotics, philology, political science, and gender studies, we will analyze Merapi's archival records and Javanese manuscripts to elucidate the changes in human-nature relationships that prompted the shift from traditional to modern disaster mitigation. Through linking ecosemiotics and gender analysis, we aim to develop a framework for interviewing villagers and disaster management agency staff, enabling us to analyze how both past and current disaster management approaches address vulnerable groups and non-human actors.

Short titleReimagining Disaster Management in Indonesia
Effective start/end date1/12/2330/11/24


  • disaster mitigation
  • indigenous knowledge
  • vulnerable communities
  • disaster history
  • environmental knowledge