HypheNationAn Interdisciplinary Journal for the Study of Critical Moments Discourse

Katrina: Caught in the Eye of the Storm"
From the Editors


From the Editors




Photo Essay


Call for Papers




In this inaugural issue of HypheNation: An Interdisciplinary Journal for the Study of Critical Moments Discourse, we hope to intervene in the still nascent process of making meaning of the devastating aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Certainly the pieces here think critically about regional identities and the connections of peoples to these identities as being a hyphenated process, an unnatural, often forced joining of competing notions, nations, histories, politics, cultures, races and more. In an America that prides itself on choice, we often view the choice to hyphenate or not as primarily a rhetorical gesture with concrete social implications. Much less often do we choose to think about lives lived and identities formed on the hyphen. Life on the hyphen.

Hurricane Katrina is a critical moment in the life of our hypheNation because it has forced into view via the “eye of the storm” the profound implications of seemingly insignificant rhetorical and socially syntactic strategies used to identify and socially locate and oppress peoples. In other words, we’ve been forced to deconstruct the composition of the “gumbo” that was New Orleans cultural life, to determine the quality of the roux that held this cultural stew together. A gumbo’s roux is a forcing together through the process of super-saturation and the use of heat a fat and a starch, two vastly different elements, into a deep red unifying agent for a variety of meats, vegetables and seafood.

In the cultural gumbo that was New Orleans, it seems that we might think of Hurricane Katrina as sweeping in the heat of a red summer, but this red refers the blood amassed in the massive loss of life and gross inhumanity that the world witnessed in the days following Katrina’s landfall on the Gulf Coast. Moreover, it refers to the rhetorical and political violence perpetrated on the Gulf Coast’s most vulnerable citizens as the massive displacement of victims to other locations created a new identity

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Image of Ms. Milvertha Hendricks courtesy of Alan Chin/Gamma. 2005

The Graduate Institute of the Liberal Arts, S415 The Callaway Center, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia 30322-0660
2005 © HypheNation: An Interdisciplinary Journal for the Study of Critical Moments Discourse