David McCallam

Scholar in European Environmental History, United Kingdom

David McCallam is Reader in French Eighteenth-Century Studies at the University of Sheffield, UK. In addition to publications on French literature of the revolutionary period (Chamfort, Laclos, André Chénier), he has worked more recently on eighteenth-century environmental history, most notably on earth and climate sciences. He has published a number of articles on the exploration and conception of volcanoes, avalanches and clouds in this period. His transdisciplinary study Volcanoes in Eighteenth-Century Europe: An Essay in Environmental Humanities appeared in the collection ‘Oxford Studies in the Enlightenment’ with Liverpool University Press in 2019.

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A History of Resilience: Responding to Ecological Disaster in Eighteenth-Century Europe

This project starts with a study of the Marseille plague of 1720-1723. It seeks to understand what eighteenth-century disaster responses can teach us about contemporary forms of resilience, i.e., the capacity that different social-ecological systems have to withstand substantial disturbance while retaining their basic structures and functions. It is part of a larger comparative study also examining the Lisbon earthquake of 1755 and the Laki volcanic eruption of 1783, in order to grasp historically how a society’s relationship to its environment(s) evolves under significant external stressors.