I wanted to write a few thoughts about Dr. Quarantelli who passed away this week at the age of 92. As is likely the case for most of us who study disasters he was the first disaster researcher whose work I familiarized myself with. I was still a psychology major in undergrad when I discovered his work posted on the DRC’s website and alerted me to the fact there were people who studied disasters. Reading his work helped me understand what I was seeing around me in New Orleans in the years after Katrina It was a huge part of what inspired me to go into disasterology.
My research has mostly centered around the work that Quarantelli and other DRC researchers did in the 1960s and 70s. My master’s thesis on emergent recovery groups was an extension of the organizational typology. I've spent many years trudging through old manuscripts with hundreds of bullet points of observations about such groups. The sheer volume of the work is something to be admired. Though less directly, my dissertation on disaster volunteerism in response and recovery was influenced by some of those early pieces I read by Quarantelli.
His research will undoubtedly continue to inspire students of disaster research long into the future.