• Class Number 7181
  • Term Code 3360
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Topic In person
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • AsPr Christopher Ballard
    • AsPr Christopher Ballard
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 24/07/2023
  • Class End Date 27/10/2023
  • Census Date 31/08/2023
  • Last Date to Enrol 31/07/2023
SELT Survey Results

Natural disasters and epidemics present risks on a new scale for the Asia-Pacific region, which has been characterised by dramatic increases in population density and in economic growth. More recent events need to be understood in the context of the region's long history of cataclysmic disasters, including earthquakes, tsunamis, cyclones, volcanic eruptions, flood and drought, and a sequence of devastating epidemics, from the Plague through to avian flu. This course addresses the social, cultural and economic dimensions of the history of disasters and epidemics in Asia and the Pacific, the role of these events in shaping societies in the region, and the recent transformations in the scale of their impacts and the nature of trans-national, state and community responses. Case studies of particular disasters and epidemics address questions of their causes and consequences, and will be grounded through guest lectures in an understanding of the science of disasters. The scope for reducing future impacts is considered within the framework of both state and community-based strategies for the promotion of resilience and Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR), the unequal distribution of risk, risk assessment and insurance, and the additional contribution of global climate change.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

  1. Demonstrate knowledge of the broad history and scope of disasters and epidemics in the Asia-Pacific region, as covered in this course
  2. Identify the distinctive characteristics and impacts of different forms of disaster and epidemic
  3. Recognise issues of difference and debate in the study of disasters and epidemics
  4. Distinguish between and assess the roles of different actors in the response to disasters and epidemics
  5. Locate and critically evaluate a wide range of scholarly, government and NGO sources on disasters and epidemics
  6. Communicate relevant material in presentations and well-supported and cogent essays.

Research-Led Teaching

The course is designed to provide an opportunity to design, research and write papers on two topics of particular personal interest, in close consultation with the lecturer. Each research paper is developed in one-on-one consultation with the lecturer, and then presented to the class in seminar style, for feedback, before the paper is written.

Field Trips


Additional Course Costs


Examination Material or equipment


Required Resources


The Routledge Handbook of Disaster Risk Reduction including Climate Change Adaptation / edited by Ilan Kelman, Jessica Mercer and JC Gaillard. London: Routledge, 2018. Available online at ANU Library. All other class materials, including an extensive bibliography, are available on the Wattle site.

Staff Feedback

Students will be given feedback in the following forms in this course:
  • Written comments
  • Verbal comments
  • Feedback to the whole class, to groups, to individuals, focus groups

Student Feedback

ANU is committed to the demonstration of educational excellence and regularly seeks feedback from students. Students are encouraged to offer feedback directly to their Course Convener or through their College and Course representatives (if applicable). The feedback given in these surveys is anonymous and provides the Colleges, University Education Committee and Academic Board with opportunities to recognise excellent teaching, and opportunities for improvement. The Surveys and Evaluation website provides more information on student surveys at ANU and reports on the feedback provided on ANU courses.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 Disasters and Epidemics in Asia and the Pacific – an overview
2 Risk and Vulnerability
3 Rising Tides: Sea Level Change
4 Worlds Turned Upside Down: Volcanic Eruption
5 A Mighty Wind: Cyclone, Hurricane, Tornado
6 The Shaking Earth: Earthquake, Tsunami, Landslide
7 Drought and Flood: El Nino and the Indian Ocean Dipole
8 Epidemic and Pandemic Disease in History
9 New Wave Pandemics
10 Renewal: Recovery, Resilience and Risk Reduction
11 Impact and Mitigation: Culture and Disaster
12 Risk in the Anthropocene

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Learning Outcomes
Research Seminars 20 % 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
Case Study Essay 35 % 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
Thematic Essay 45 % 1, 3, 4, 5, 6

* If the Due Date and Return of Assessment date are blank, see the Assessment Tab for specific Assessment Task details


ANU has educational policies, procedures and guidelines, which are designed to ensure that staff and students are aware of the University’s academic standards, and implement them. Students are expected to have read the Academic Misconduct Rule before the commencement of their course. Other key policies and guidelines include:

Assessment Requirements

The ANU is using Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website Students may choose not to submit assessment items through Turnitin. In this instance you will be required to submit, alongside the assessment item itself, hard copies of all references included in the assessment item.

Moderation of Assessment

Marks that are allocated during Semester are to be considered provisional until formalised by the College examiners meeting at the end of each Semester. If appropriate, some moderation of marks might be applied prior to final results being released.


No marks awarded for participation, which is expected at this level.



Assessment Task 1

Value: 20 %
Learning Outcomes: 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

Research Seminars

Two seminar-style presentations in class during the semester, the first related to the Case Study Essay (Assignment 2), and the second to the Thematic Essay (Assignment 3).

Assessment Task 2

Value: 35 %
Learning Outcomes: 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

Case Study Essay

First essay of 2,000 words.

An essay outline and initial bibliography should be submitted in Week 4.

Final submission is due in Week 7.

Assessment Task 3

Value: 45 %
Learning Outcomes: 1, 3, 4, 5, 6

Thematic Essay

Second essay of 4,000 words.

An essay outline and initial bibliography should be submitted in Week 9.

Final submission is due after Week 12.

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of our culture as a community of scholars. At its heart, academic integrity is about behaving ethically. This means that all members of the community commit to honest and responsible scholarly practice and to upholding these values with respect and fairness. The Australian National University commits to embedding the values of academic integrity in our teaching and learning. We ensure that all members of our community understand how to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support academic integrity. The ANU expects staff and students to uphold high standards of academic integrity and act ethically and honestly, to ensure the quality and value of the qualification that you will graduate with. The University has policies and procedures in place to promote academic integrity and manage academic misconduct. Visit the following Academic honesty & plagiarism website for more information about academic integrity and what the ANU considers academic misconduct. The ANU offers a number of services to assist students with their assignments, examinations, and other learning activities. The Academic Skills and Learning Centre offers a number of workshops and seminars that you may find useful for your studies.

Online Submission

The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.

Hardcopy Submission

For some forms of assessment (hand written assignments, art works, laboratory notes, etc.) hard copy submission is appropriate when approved by the Associate Dean (Education). Hard copy submissions must utilise the Assignment Cover Sheet. Please keep a copy of tasks completed for your records.

Late Submission

Late submission of assessment tasks without an extension are penalised at the rate of 5% of the possible marks available per working day or part thereof. Late submission of assessment tasks is not accepted after 10 working days after the due date, or on or after the date specified in the course outline for the return of the assessment item. Late submission is not accepted for take-home examinations.

Referencing Requirements

Accepted academic practice for referencing sources that you use in presentations can be found via the links on the Wattle site, under the file named “ANU and College Policies, Program Information, Student Support Services and Assessment”. Alternatively, you can seek help through the Students Learning Development website.

Extensions and Penalties

Extensions and late submission of assessment pieces are covered by the Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy and Procedure The Course Convener may grant extensions for assessment pieces that are not examinations or take-home examinations. If you need an extension, you must request an extension in writing on or before the due date. If you have documented and appropriate medical evidence that demonstrates you were not able to request an extension on or before the due date, you may be able to request it after the due date.

Privacy Notice

The ANU has made a number of third party, online, databases available for students to use. Use of each online database is conditional on student end users first agreeing to the database licensor’s terms of service and/or privacy policy. Students should read these carefully. In some cases student end users will be required to register an account with the database licensor and submit personal information, including their: first name; last name; ANU email address; and other information. In cases where student end users are asked to submit ‘content’ to a database, such as an assignment or short answers, the database licensor may only use the student’s ‘content’ in accordance with the terms of service — including any (copyright) licence the student grants to the database licensor. Any personal information or content a student submits may be stored by the licensor, potentially offshore, and will be used to process the database service in accordance with the licensors terms of service and/or privacy policy. If any student chooses not to agree to the database licensor’s terms of service or privacy policy, the student will not be able to access and use the database. In these circumstances students should contact their lecturer to enquire about alternative arrangements that are available.

Distribution of grades policy

Academic Quality Assurance Committee monitors the performance of students, including attrition, further study and employment rates and grade distribution, and College reports on quality assurance processes for assessment activities, including alignment with national and international disciplinary and interdisciplinary standards, as well as qualification type learning outcomes. Since first semester 1994, ANU uses a grading scale for all courses. This grading scale is used by all academic areas of the University.

Support for students

The University offers students support through several different services. You may contact the services listed below directly or seek advice from your Course Convener, Student Administrators, or your College and Course representatives (if applicable).
AsPr Christopher Ballard
6125 0305

Research Interests

Chris Ballard - History, Anthropology, Archaeology, Disaster Studies, Pacific, Asia

AsPr Christopher Ballard

By Appointment
AsPr Christopher Ballard

Research Interests

AsPr Christopher Ballard

By Appointment

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