UNC-CH researchers to study social effects of N.C. hurricane

and documentary photography.

Funding from the Odum Institute and a matching UNC-CH Institute on Aging grant will allow the historians to interview more people about the flood's impact on the elderly.

"By disrupting what was typical and taken for granted, the flooding crisis paradoxically reveals much of a given individual's place in a community and much about the fabric of a given life," said Dr. Joseph Mosnier, associate director of the oral history program. "The flood serves as a point of entry for a wider inquiry into the evolving character of the experiences of the region's elderly across several generations, the rise of elderly-focused social and health services and other issues."

The new project will involve 25 interviews that will become part of the Southern Historical Collection archives. Dr. Jacquelyn Hall, director of the Southern Oral History Program; Mosnier; Thompson, education and curriculum director at the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University; and history graduate students Katie Otis and Rachel O'Toole are team members.

Strategies used to help adults with low literacy cope with natural disasters are the focus of another project by communications studies graduate student Tracy Francis. The study grew out of a class that focused on families and disasters and his volunteer work as a reading tutor when he saw an earlier storm's devastating effect on a student. The student was almost killed by Hurricane Fran.

"Her usual roads were blocked, her usual stores were closed and she couldn't read everything written on the sides of trucks offering assistance, so bingo, the project was born," Francis said. "Adult literacy is an often unspoken problem, and the non-reading community often is an unseen community that can be overlooked during a natural disaster. I am interested in what happens when the daily routines of non-readers or low-literate adults are interrupted by disasters."

Francis is developing a six-hour "Train-the-Tu

Contact: David Williamson
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

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