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Louis Desmond Gerdelan

Graduate Student Affiliate


Louis Desmond Gerdelan

Louis Desmond Gerdelan is a Ph.D. student in the History Department at Harvard University. His work focuses on early modern Europe and the Atlantic world. He has wide interests in intellectual, environmental and cultural history as well as the history of science. Louis is currently working on a doctoral dissertation about the understanding of catastrophe in the British, Spanish and French Atlantic empires in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Examining the era's investigations of earthquakes, storms and major fires, he looks at how information about hazards was amassed, compiled and turned into useful knowledge. Within these processes he traces the complex interplay of science, religion and astrology that contributed to shifting ideas about the place of "nature" in disastrous events.

He also has interdisciplinary interests in modern disaster issues, climate change and global environmental challenges. His previous historical work has included studies of Renaissance festivals, sectarian pamphlet literature and the scientific travel writing of Alexander von Humboldt.

This information is accurate for the time period that the scholar is affiliated with CES.


  • Ph.D. Student in History, Harvard University
  • Graduate Student Affiliate, CES, Harvard University