Catastrophic Meanings: Consuming the Great Flood of 1927 (with Susan Scott Parrish)

This is the first of two “Bedtime Stories” podcasts that use the 1927 Mississippi Flood as their departure point. As I was starting to work on this podcast, I was also preparing to teach my catastrophic history course for the first time. I was also racing through multiple histories of the blues at the same time. Around that time, one of these interests stumbled upon Susan Scott Parrish’s imminently forthcoming book, The Flood Year 1927: A Cultural History. I ordered it immediately. And started reading as soon as it arrived. The reading was a happy balance of work and pleasure: I thoroughly enjoyed the book, but justified it as “work.” I summoned up the courage to e-mail Parrish and ask if she might be willing to submit to an interview on the book.

Susan Scott Parrish is a Professor in the Department of English and the Program in the Environment at the University of Michigan. The Flood Year 1927 is a marvellous combination of literary analysis and environmental history.

Next week: 31 October: “Disaster, Race, & Diaspora” (Richard Mizelle, Jr.)


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)

26 September: “Catastrophe in the Age of Revolutions” (with Cindy Ermus)

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

10 October: “Günther Anders and the Catastrophic Imagination” (with Jason Dawsey)

17 October: “Convergence: Capitalism, Climate, Catastrophe” (with Andreas Malm)