Catastrophe in the Age of Revolutions

One of the great pleasures of doing this podcast was meeting new people. Cindy Ermus and I had never met. There might have been a few quick Twitter interactions, but that was about it. Her work on the Plague of Provence and on disasters in the Gulf South make explicit and important connections with catastrophic history, and I was also especially keen to get her insight on the relationship between disaster and revolution. This turned out to be one of my favourite interviews—made all the richer for the fact that we started out as relative strangers. The conversation was fascinating, and it went in a number of directions I hadn’t anticipated.

Cindy Ermus is an historian at the University of Lethbridge. She is the editor of Environmental Disasters in the Gulf South: Two Centuries of Catastrophe, Risk, and Resilience, forthcoming in January 2018 from LSU Press. In addition, she is a co-founder and editor of Age of Revolutions, an historical blog that helps to situate these questions within a critical and broader context.

Next week: 3 October: “Histories of the Future & the Anthropocene” (with Libby Robin)


5 September: “Dysfunctional Relationships: Love Songs for Pesticides” (with Michelle Mart)

12 September: “Catastrophic Environmentalism: Histories of the Cold War” (with Jacob Hamblin)

19 September: “Disaster Narratives: Predictions, Preparedness, & Lessons” (with Scott Knowles)

Catastrophe is our Bedtime Story

Happy new (academic) year. With new years come new resolutions, promises, and projects. I resolve to post/write more. I promise. Here’s a new project!

The embedded Soundcloud tab below is the introductory podcast for a new audio series I am launching this fall. During the fall of 2016 and winter 2017, I interviewed a number of colleagues in and around catastrophic history. What is catastrophic history? Click the audio for a brief introduction. And stay tuned for future conversations. The series title, “Catastrophe is our Bedtime Story,” comes from Don DeLillo’s Zero K. I rather liked the vulgarity of the suggestion.

Thanks for listening!