"Civil Society, the Phoenix in the Ruins: Disaster, Carnival, Revolution, and Public Joy"
Do we return to our original nature in chaos and crisis? That's been the theory of disaster management (and Hollywood disaster movies), but what if our original nature is calm, openhearted, generous, and creative? Rebecca Solnit has studied and written about major disasters and reached conclusions that are relevant not only to emergencies but to larger questions about our deepest desires and greatest possibilities.
Based in San Francisco, Solnit is the author of thirteen books about art, landscape, public and collective life, ecology, politics, hope, meandering, reverie, and memory. They include November 2010’s Infinite City: A San Francisco Atlas, a book of 22 maps and nearly 30 collaborators; 2009's A Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities that Arise in Disaster, and many others, including Storming the Gates of Paradise; A Field Guide to Getting Lost; Hope in the Dark: Untold Histories, Wild Possibilities; Wanderlust: A History of Walking; As Eve Said to the Serpent: On Landscape, Gender and Art; and River of Shadows, Eadweard Muybridge and the Technological Wild West (for which she received a Guggenheim, the National Book Critics Circle Award in criticism, and the Lannan Literary Award). She has worked on an array of topics including climate change, Native American land rights, antinuclear, human rights, antiwar and other issues as an activist and journalist. A product of the California public education system from kindergarten to graduate school, she is a contributing editor to Harper’s and frequent contributor to the political site Tomdispatch.com and has made her living as an independent writer since 1988.