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  • 1.
    Marcussen, Eleonor
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Department of Cultural Sciences.
    Cooperation and Pacifism in a Colonial Context: Service Civil International and Work Camps in Bihar, 1934-19372018In: HerStory – Historical Scholarship between South Asia and Europe: Festschrift in Honour of Gita Dharampal-Frick / [ed] Rafael Klöber, Manju Ludwig, Heidelberg, Berlin: CrossAsia-eBooks , 2018, p. 83-102Chapter in book (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    After a major earthquake in Bihar and Nepal in 1934, the Swiss peace and relief organisation Service Civil International (SCI), would for the first time set up work camps in India. This chapter examines how the work camps in Bihar materialized through an exchange of ideas, networks, and cooperation in Europe and India. While several factors conspired to elicit the idea of reconstruction camps in Bihar at that particular time, SCI would for the practical implementation of the project depend on the support of a network of people that included Indian politicians, British Quakers and members of the Indian Conciliation Group. The thoughts and agency of SCI’s founder, Pierre Ceresole serve not only as a window into the life of an internationalist and pacifist of the time, but also illustrate the importance of political networks and ideological motivation in the internationalisation of disaster relief in the 1930s. In this context, the chapter discusses the organisation and motivation behind setting up work camps in India.

  • 2.
    Marcussen, Eleonor
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Department of Cultural Sciences.
    Explaining the 1934 Bihar-Nepal Earthquake: The Role of Science, Astrology, and “Rumours”2017In: Historical Disaster Experiences: Towards a Comparative and Transcultural History of Disasters Across Asia and Europe / [ed] Gerrit Jasper Schenk, Heidelberg: Springer, 2017, p. 241-266Chapter in book (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    A major earthquake hit Bihar, in the northern parts of India and Nepal, on 15 January 1934. Besides causing major destruction and death, the earthquake triggered scientific discussions and popular interpretations on the causes of earthquakes. By looking at the confluence of interpretations and explanations found in “science” and “pseudo-science”, and those found in astrology and popular interpretations circulated in rumours, this article discusses the role of expert and popular discourses in interpreting a natural disaster.

  • 3.
    Marcussen, Eleonor
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Department of Cultural Sciences.
    Town Planning after the 1934 Bihar-Nepal Earthquake: Earthquake-safety, colonial improvements and the restructuring of urban space in Bihar2017In: Studies in Nepali History and Society, ISSN 1025-5109, Vol. 22, no 2, p. 321-354Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This article addresses urban reconstruction in Bihar after the 1934 Bihar-Nepal earthquake by arguing that the aftermath became an opportunity for the local government to implement town planning according to ideas of urban improvements guiding sanitation, engineering and control of spaces since the late nineteenth century in colonial India. While earthquake safety surfaced as a central aim of town planning, the local government used the reconstruction phase to improve sanitation facilities, widen roads and restructure plots in bazaars of the three worst affected towns—Monghyr, Darbhanga and Muzaffarpur. Arguably, sanitation engineering with more spaced and simpler structures in effect meant buildings less likely to kill people in future earthquakes. Congestion and overpopulation were blamed for the many deaths in the bazaars but the same factors were also seen as the major cause of “insanitary” conditions according to town planners and the government officials incharge of the planning process. Wider roads and lanes, and more sparsely populated areas and lower houses were measures likely to prevent deaths on the same scale in case an earthquake visited again.

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