In the Aftermath of Catastrophe (2014-2016)


During the academic years 2014/15 and 2015/16, the Shelby Cullom Davis Center for Historical Analysis took as its theme In the Aftermath of Catastrophe. What happens in the wake of cataclysmic experiences: war, civil war, genocide, imperial collapse, natural disaster? The aim in part is to understand processes of reconstruction while delving into the nuances of the periods that follow disaster.

Topics Included:

  • How was the experience of catastrophe remembered and memorialized?
  • How was trauma conceived and dealt with?
  • How was the post-catastrophic present understood in relation to the pre-disaster past?

As always, we hope to address these questions from a wide variety of periods and places, from prehistory to the present and from all parts of the world.

Davis Center Fellows


Nichole Archambeau, University of California, Santa Barbara
"Souls under Siege: Surviving Plague, War, and Doubt in Fourteenth-Century Provence"

Pamela Ballinger, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
"Forgotten Refugees: Decolonization, Displaced Persons, and the Reconstruction of Italy, 1945-1960"

David Barnes, University of Pennslyvania
"Lazaretto Ghosts: Remembered Trauma and the Meanings of Quarantine in the Nineteenth-Century City"

Jennifer Foray, Purdue University
"Imperial Aftershocks: The Legacies of Decolonization in the Netherlands"

Pierre Force, Columbia University
"Wealth and Disaster: Atlantic Migrations from a Pyrenean Town in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries"

Atina Grossmann, Cooper Union
"Remapping Survival: Jewish Refugees and Lost Memories of Displacement, Trauma, and Rescue in Soviet Central Asia, Iran, and India"

Rebecca Nedostup, Brown University
"Living and Dying in the Long War: China and Taiwan, 1937-1959"


Susan Carruthers, Rutgers University-Newark
"The Good Occupation: Americans as Victors after the Second World War"

Pierre Fuller, University of Manchester
"Humanitarian Purges: Revolutionary Memory and Northwest China's Great Gansu Earthquake of 1920"

Jochen Hellbeck, Rutgers University-New Brunswick
"Moral Tales and Political Reckonings: Soviet Survivors of Nazi Occupation and Their Audiences (1943-1945)"

Marie Kelleher, California State University, Long Beach
"The Hungry City: Food, Famine, and a Year in the Life of Medieval Barcelona"

Emma Kuby, Northern Illinois University
"The Expert Witnesses: State Violence, Survivors, and the Anti-Concentration Camp Movement in Postwar Europe"

Arnaud Orain, University of Paris-8
"Repressing, Defusing, and Conjuring the Disasters at the End of Louis XIV's Reign: The Wild Hope of John Law's System (1717-1720)"

Yael A. Sternhell, Tel Aviv University
"The Afterlives of the Confederate Archive, 1865-1901"