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Valerie J. Gunter University of New Orleans, USA

At the time Hurricane Katrina struck, Valerie J. Gunter was an associate professor in the department of sociology at the University of New Orleans.  She spent most of the 2005-2006 academic year as a visiting associate professor at Michigan State University, from which she had received her PhD in sociology in 1994.  She has spent over 20 years researching the controversial processed by which environmental issues become registered on community and national political agendas.  Articles reporting the results form this research have been published in such journals as Social Problems, The Sociological Quarterly, The American Sociologist, Sociological Inquiry, and Rural Sociology.  She is a co-editor of Illness and the Environment: A Reader in Contested Medicine.