Yi-Fu Tuan Lectures

Yi-Fu TuanThe Yi-Fu Lecture Series features a wide variety of U.S. and international guest lecturers from all geographic disciplines. Lecturers at these Friday seminars also often speak at brown-bag lunches, one-on-one student sessions, and breakfast meetings with student interest groups as part of their visit. Doctoral students are invited to present their final research. The lecture series was initiated by Dr. Tuan (pictured at right) and receives enthusiastic support as a department and campus tradition.

All lectures are presented on Friday at 3:30pm in Science Hall - Rm 180 unless otherwise noted. Alumni, friends and the public are always invited to attend.

Fall 2015 Lectures

Richard Keller11 September – Vulnerable geographies: Isolation, precarious housing, and vertical risk in the 2003 Paris heat wave disaster

  • Richard Keller
  • Professor of Medical History and Bioethics at UW-Madison

The European heat wave of 2003 represents the worst natural disaster in contemporary French history, leaving nearly 15,000 bodies in its wake. This lecture investigates the importance of place to the shaping of the disaster’s outcomes. Drawing on a rich history of Parisian urbanism and the evolution of ideas about the city as a site of sickness and health, I explore the spatial dimensions of vulnerability by investigating the intersections of precarious housing, social isolation, and a vertical dimension of risk, through the cases of those who died in tiny quarters (sometimes of less than 100 square feet) directly under zinc roofs on the top floors of sometimes luxurious and sometimes decrepit buildings. The persistence of pockets of desperate poverty even in the city’s most chic quarters indicates the ways in which the architecture of contemporary Paris has rendered certain populations effectively invisible, and placed them at high risk in a changing climate.

Yi Fu Tuan lecture archive