Locating Crisis: Narrative Mappings of the 2016 Gatlinburg Fire

Sydney K. Varajon ()

Disasters are not only spatially located but also socially situated. This paper examines personal experience narratives about the 2016 Gatlinburg fire, with attention to the disparities between official alert systems and on-the-ground communication. Interviews with residents and first responders elucidate how both Gatlinburg’s physical and social composition contributed to effective disaster response and evacuation. Drawing on notions of semiotics and tellability (Shuman 2006), I explore the role of social and spatial visibility in narrative negotiations of risk and response. I consider how narrative serves as a mode of sense-making and how the tellers locate the crisis event itself and their relationship to it—temporally, socially, and spatially.

Part of 06-01 Narrative Knows No Boundaries: Papers Inspired by the Work of Amy Shuman, Friday, November 03, 2:30 pm–4:30 pm