Science, Technology and Society Seminar: STS Circle at Harvard


Monday, November 11, 2019, 12:15pm to 2:00pm


CGIS South Building, 1730 Cambridge Street, Room S050

"Sin, Science and Seismic Shocks: The Jamaica Earthquake of 1692 and the Science of Disaster"


Louis Gerdelan, PhD candidate, Department of History, Harvard University.


Sam Weiss Evans, Science, Technology & Society Fellow, Harvard Kennedy School.

Co-sponsored by the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.


STS Program


Sheila Jasanoff, Faculty Associate. Pforzheimer Professor of Science and Technology Studies, Harvard Kennedy School.

Lunch is provided if you RSVP. via our online form before Thursday afternoon, November 7:


Louis Gerdelan is a historian of early modern Europe and the Atlantic world. His interests span intellectual, cultural and environmental history and the history of science. His current project is a doctoral dissertation entitled "Calamitous knowledge: The languages of disaster in the British, French and Spanish Atlantic worlds, 1666-1765". This work examines the evolution of ideas and beliefs about disasters in the early modern era, at the intersection of science, religion, charity and law. Gerdelan is also interested in the understanding of disasters within a broader interdisciplinary perspective.

In previous work Gerdelan focused on Italian Renaissance history, specifically the symbology of public spectacles and festivals. He has also published a book chapter on Alexander von Humboldt's scientific travel writing, and a journal article on Protestant pamphlet polemic in early modern England.

Gerdelan has worked as a teaching fellow at Harvard, and has also designed and taught his own undergraduate course (History 14B: "Plague, Fire and Apocalypse: The Mentalities of Disaster from Genesis to Global Warming"). 

A complete list of STS Circle at Harvard events can be found on