Disaster Recovery Leaders Recognize Texas A&M Hazard Reduction Center Director

By: Tamunews Email
By: Tamunews Email

In recognition of what is described as his “notable and significant” theoretical work studying natural hazards and disasters, Walter Gillis Peacock, director of the Hazard Reduction and Recovery Center at Texas A&M University, will receive the 2009 E.L. Quarantelli Award for Social Science Disaster Theory from the International Research Committee on Disasters.

The award will be presented at the July 18 IRCD meeting at the Omni Interlocken Resort in Broomfield, Colo., where Peacock will present a lecture on disaster research theory.

Peacock’s contributions to sociological theory related to hazards and disaster phenomena includes several articles in journals such as the "International Journal of Mass Emergencies and Disasters," "Natural Hazards Review and Disasters" as well as highly regarded book chapters such as “Cross-national and Comparative Disaster Research” in “Methods of Disaster Research” and “Shelter and Housing Recovery Following Disasters” in “The Handbook of Disaster Research.”

Peacock has also published two books. His first, co-authored with Frederick L. Bates and titled “Living Conditions, Disasters and Development,” has just been released in a new paperback edition. He is perhaps best known for the book he co-edited with Betty Morrow and Hugh Gladwin: “Hurricane Andrew: Ethnicity, Gender, and the Sociology of Disasters.” This book documents the impacts and early recovery efforts from Hurricane Andrew, which slammed into South Florida, and later Louisiana, causing 65 deaths and $38.5 billion in damages in 1992.

Peacock joined the Texas A&M faculty in 2002 and holds the Rodney L. Dockery Endowed Professorship in Housing and the Homeless. He also serves as interim executive associate dean of the Texas A&M College of Architecture, which houses the HRRC.

In the classroom, Peacock teaches planning methods and analysis, planning research methods, hazard mitigation and long-term recovery. His research focuses on urban and environmental planning, sustainability and community resilience, hazard mitigation, evacuation, long-term recovery and quantitative methods.

Peacock earned a Ph.D. in sociology in 1986 and a master of arts in sociology in 1982, both from the University of Georgia, and a bachelor of arts in sociology from Columbus College in 1978.

The E.L. Quarantelli Award for Social Science Disaster Theory is named after one of the field’s most prominent researchers.

“It is literally impossible in space less than an encyclopedia to begin to list Quarantelli’s awards, research and publications,” said Ron Perry, IRCD president. “There is no area of disaster research that he has not touched.”


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