Troisième éruption du volcan de 1789, by Auguste Desperret (1833)
Troisième éruption du volcan de 1789, by Auguste Desperret (1833)

History 338. Crisis & Catastrophe in Modern Europe with Prof. Mary Ashburn Miller.

September 5, 2018

Between 1720 and 1870, a series of natural and manmade crises forced Europeans to question the purpose of violence in a supposedly “improving” society and the role of rational individuals in a world sometimes beyond their control. This course will consider the political, religious, intellectual, and cultural ramifications of disaster and crisis, including financial collapse, revolution, war, earthquakes, disease, and famine. These crises disrupted the political and intellectual worlds of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Europeans, threatening and transforming their ideas about risk, progress, religion, and political authority, and restructuring the relationships between man and the natural world. Prerequisite: sophomore standing or consent of the instructor. Conference.

Prof. Miller is a historian of modern Europe with a specialization in eighteenth and nineteenth-century France. She is the author of A Natural History of Revolution: Violence and Nature in the French Revolutionary Imagination (2011), and her current research is on the return of emigrants and refugees to France after the French Revolution. Her teaching interests include the history of war and violence, European travel and colonization, and the history of science; recent courses include Europe and North Africa in the Long Nineteenth Century and War & Peace in Europe, 1700-1914. She also teaches in Reed’s Humanities program. A native of Lexington, Kentucky, Mary received her B.A. from the University of Virginia, and her Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University. She joined Reed’s faculty in 2008.

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