Falling in Place: Geoscience, Disaster, and Cultural Heritage at the Frank Slide, Canada’s Deadliest Rockslide

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    5 Citations (Scopus)


    Grounded in a case study of the Frank Slide, Canada’s Deadliest Rockslide, this article introduces a new perspective on disaster sites as socio-cultural entities by way of correlating the specific technicality of scientific research and management of disaster sites with a broader conceptual framework from within the social sciences and spatial theories. Heritage sites such as the Frank Slide are often understood as protected places that benefit the image of a sovereign nation (i.e., a “place-myth”). It is often assumed that heritage sites need protection from natural elements and from human interference. But the case of the Frank Slide is different, insofar as (a) it is a heritage site made out of the remnants of a terrifying disaster and (b) it is predicted to be further damaged when its ensuing rockslide follows (sometime between now and 5,000 years). This makes the case of the Frank Slide an intriguing one for an interdisciplinary study, since it is made up of various overlapping temporalities belonging to the measurement-time of scientific monitoring, commodity-time of the tourism industry, myth-time of national identity, duration-time of cultural memory, and the anticipation-time of further disaster. The analysis considers how these disparate activities contribute to the vitalization, devitalization, and revitalization of place, in such a way that challenges the “dark tourism” paradigm that has come to frame disaster sites. This article thus proposes a unique synthesis between these times and practices contained within them in order to elucidate and explore how various overlapping temporalities make up the visible and invisible materials of a place.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)66-76
    Number of pages11
    JournalSpace and Culture
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb. 2019


    • cultural heritage
    • disaster sites
    • geosciences
    • spatial theory
    • The Frank Slide


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