Christopher Church is a cultural historian and digital historian of the French colonial world who specializes in disasters, nationalism and social movements in the 19th and 20th centuries. He employs new methods from data science and the digital humanities to answer age-old questions about the relationship between citizens, the public sphere and the state. His intellectual interests include colonialism, citizenship and environmental history, as well as databases, GIS, scripting and web design.
His first book, Paradise Destroyed: Catastrophe and Citizenship in the French Caribbean (December 2017, University of Nebraska), explores the impact of natural and man-made disasters in the late nineteenth-century French Antilles, where a colonial population-predominately former slaves-possessed French citizenship, looking at the social, economic and political implications of shared citizenship in times of natural catastrophe and civil unrest. He has also written on strike activity and colonial citizenship in the French Caribbean in the French journal Le Mouvement Social, as well as on the relationship between hurricanes, urban development, race and economic collapse in the 1920s Greater Caribbean for the edited volume, Environmental Disaster in the Gulf South: Two Centuries of Catastrophe, Risk, and Resilience (January 2018, LSU Press).
Feb. 16, 2021
In this episode, we venture into the tragic story of the 1902 volcanic eruption of Mount Pelée on the island of Martinique. Consul, Thomas Prentis and his family were among the 30,000 victims of this natural disaster.