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Experts Tipsheet

In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina

Following is a list of experts who can comment on issues relating to the effects of Hurricane Katrina as well as the national and international response to the disaster.

September 2005

Effect on International Relations
Disaster Preparedness in New Orleans
Racial and Economic Issues
Water Contamination
Psychological Impact
Homeland Security and Disaster Response

Effect on International Relations
“The U.S. has lost prestige within the international community because of its surprise and horror that we haven’t been able to take care of our own and weren’t prepared for this humanitarian crisis. The response to this crisis proves that we can’t both fight abroad and respond to disaster at home.” – Cecelia Lynch

Cecelia Lynch, an associate professor of political science, can comment on some of the international relations aspects of the hurricane aftermath. Lynch is director of UCI's Center for Global Peace and Conflict Studies and teaches international relations and culture, social movements and civil society, religion and world politics. She has published articles on the anti-globalization, peace and religious humanitarian movements. To contact Cecelia Lynch, call (562) 895-3098 or email Additional contact: Christine Byrd(949) 824-9055 or

“Until now, Americans haven't experienced the full negative impact of globalization that has so angered people across the world (especially the Muslim world), because in previous eras of intensified global integration and marginalization, the wealthier societies were able to shield their own peoples from its most harmful effects by exploiting other countries.” 
– Mark LeVine

Mark LeVine, associate professor of history, studies the modern Middle East and contemporary Islamic thought and culture. He says that Hurricane Katrina has given Americans a taste of how the rest of the world experiences globalization. In his recent book, he writes about how economic globalization has for two centuries brought with it war, increasing poverty and inequality, environmental devastation, and cultural conflicts between the societies of the haves and those of the have nots. LeVine is the author of Why They Don’t Hate Us: Lifting the Veil on the Axis of Evil. He speaks Arabic, Hebrew, Persian and Turkish and has lived throughout the Middle East. To contact Mark LeVine, call (949) 824-8304 or email Additional contact: Christine Byrd (949) 824-9055 or

Disaster Preparedness in New Orleans
“The lack of disaster preparedness among New Orleans’ poverty-stricken populations, coupled with their lack of resources to evacuate the city before the hurricane hit, have been catastrophic.” – Victoria Basolo

Victoria Basolo is an expert on disaster preparedness and planning and has studied hurricane preparedness in New Orleans; specifically, looking at the factors that make individual citizens more likely to be prepared for a disaster. Her findings showed that the more times people are exposed to information about preparedness, the more likely the are to heed the information – regardless of income level. She can comment on New Orleans' systems designed to cope with disasters, as well as factors related to individual preparedness. She has been researching hazards since the late 1990s, and her current NSF-funded study looks at how local governments communicate hazard risk and disaster preparedness information to citizens via the Web. Basolo is an associate professor of planning, policy and design at UCI and a co-editor of the Journal of Urban Affairs. To contact Victoria Basolo, call (949) 824-3521 or email Additional contact: Christine Byrd (949) 824-9055 or

Racial and Economic Issues
“Katrina flooded a city but it also exposed root racial and economic problems facing urban society in this country. While the flood has been devastating, the New Orleans social environment of racial and economic disparity and lack of equal opportunity that has been exposed by the flood is even more dispiriting and of greater salience to cities nationwide. If the next storm in this country is social rather than physical, how will levees help?” – Scott Bollens

Scott Bollens, professor of planning, policy and design at UCI, studies ethnicity and urban policy, growth management strategies, metropolitan governance and intergovernmental approaches to planning. He has conducted comparative studies exploring the role of urban planning in ethnically polarized cities, including Jerusalem, Belfast, Johannesburg, Barcelona and Sarajevo. He is the author of On Narrow Ground: Urban Policy and Ethnic Conflict in Jerusalem and Belfast. To contact Scott Bollens, call (949) 824-7696 or email Additional contact: Christine Byrd, (949) 824-9055, (949) 533-2156 or

“There was an implicit assumption in the federal response that poor black folk were superfluous.” 
– David Theo Goldberg

David Theo Goldberg is a prominent scholar in critical race theories and can offer insight into the issues of race that surround the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, including the way the media portrayed the victims. “Black people breaking into stores were called ‘looters’ while white people engaged in the same activity were characterized as ‘looking for food.’” A professor of African American studies and director of the UC Humanities Research Institute, Goldberg is author of several books that take a philosophical approach to analyzing race and social justice. His most recent book is The Racial State and he was the founding co-editor of Social Identities: Journal for the Study of Race, Nation and Culture. To contact Goldberg, call (949) 824-8180 or email Additional contact: Christine Byrd(949) 824-9055 or

Water Contamination
Oladele Ogunseitan, professor of environmental health, science and policy can discuss concerns of floodwater contamination in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Ogunseitan has studied pharmaceutical drug levels, petrochemicals, mercury, lead, pesticides and other contaminates in wastewaters. In his lab, Ogunseitan researches molecular and ecological tools to analyze and control toxic pollutants that harm the environment and contribute to human burden of diseases. To contact Dele Ogunseitan, call 949-824-6350 or email

Psychological Impact
Roxane Cohen Silver, professor of psychology and social behavior as well as medicine, examines cognitive, emotional, social and physical responses to stressful life events — including natural disasters. In a study funded by the National Science Foundation, Silver looked at Laguna Beach and Malibu residents’ psychological responses to the 1993 Southern California firestorms. She recently led a national longitudinal study of psychological responses to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Silver also serves on the nine-member Academe and Policy Research Senior Advisory Committee of the Homeland Security Advisory Council, providing guidance to the Department of Homeland Security on the psychological impact of terrorism. Silver is a fellow of both the American Psychological Association and the American Psychological Society. Contact Silver at or (949) 824-2192.

“There is no question that it is the resilient people, both authorities and displaced citizens, who will survive and thrive despite Hurricane Katrina. A person's hardiness amounts to the courage to face what is happening  and do what needs to be done, however painful this may be.” – Salvatore Maddi

Salvatore Maddi has spent more than 25 years researching "hardiness," or the ingrained attitudes that allow some people to thrive in stressful circumstance – like the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. He has worked with Navy Seals, military personnel, police officers and fire fighters studying the characteristics that make them resilient to stress. Maddi says that individuals with hardy attitudes stay involved rather than back off, keep trying to influence outcomes rather than sink into powerlessness, and resolve to learn from their experiences, rather than bemoan the loss of easy comfort and security. Maddi is the author of several books including the 2005 Resilience at Work: How to Succeed No Matter What Life Throws at You. Contact Maddi: (949) 824-7045 or

Homeland Security and Disaster Response
Richard Matthew, associate professor of international and environmental politics in the schools of Social Ecology and Social Sciences and director of the Center for Unconventional Security Affairs (CUSA) at UCI. CUSA addresses the security challenges of the 21st century through innovative research and education programs that integrate experts from the public and private sectors to explore topics such as school safety, disaster preparation and crisis preparedness. Matthew is a member of the Homeland Security Advisory Council (Region 1), has taught at the National Foreign Affairs Training Center, and has worked closely with the departments of State and Defense. His research focuses on international relations in the developing world, and he has published widely on transnational security threats including environmental change, terrorism, and landmines. To contact Richard Matthew, call (949) 824-9670 or email Additional contact: Christine Byrd, (949) 824-9055,



NEWS RADIO: UCI maintains on campus an ISDN line for conducting interviews with its faculty and experts. The use of this line is available for a fee to radio news programs/stations who wish to interview UCI faculty and experts. Use of the ISDN line is limited by availability and approval by the university.

EXPERTS: UCI maintains an online directory of faculty available as experts to the media. To access, visit Experts.
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