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A sepia toned image depicting raging waters and a destroyed landscape with words overlaid. The title reads "Jonathan Todd Hancock, Convulsed States, Earthquakes, Prophecy, and the Remaking of Early America."

Convulsed States: Earthquakes, Prophecy, and the Remaking of Early America

Thursday, October 7, 6:00-7:00 p.m. – REGISTER HERE

The New Madrid earthquakes of 1811–12 were the strongest temblors in the North American interior in at least the past five centuries. From the Great Plains to the Atlantic Coast and from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico, a broad cast of thinkers struggled to explain these seemingly unprecedented natural phenomena. They summoned a range of traditions of inquiry into the natural world and drew connections among signs of environmental, spiritual, and political disorder on the cusp of the War of 1812. Drawn from extensive archival research, Convulsed States probes their interpretations to offer insights into revivalism, nation remaking, and the relationship between religious and political authority across Native nations and the United States in the early nineteenth century. With a compelling narrative and rigorous comparative analysis, Jonathan Todd Hancock uses the earthquakes to bridge historical fields and shed new light on this pivotal era of nation remaking.

Through varied peoples’ efforts to come to grips with the New Madrid earthquakes, Hancock reframes early nineteenth-century North America as a site where all of its inhabitants wrestled with fundamental human questions amid prophecies, political reinventions, and war.

Jonathan Todd Hancock is associate professor of history at Hendrix College.

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Spaces Available for Rent Beginning 2022

The Filson Historical Society is a unique venue that blends the historic with the modern and provides a stunning background for any event. Several areas of the campus are available to be rented for dinners, retreats, meetings, receptions, parties, or weddings. The venues have access to 74 free parking spaces and wifi, as well as small catering areas. All of the Filson’s facilities have accessible parking.

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1310 S. 3rd St., Louisville, KY 40208
(502) 635-5083

The Filson will reopen to the public on September 1st, 2021 – Read More! All events are currently being held virtually; to register for our live virtual events, please visit our Events Page; for information on recorded lectures and other activities, please visit us online at Bringing History Home.

We are resuming in person research, and suggest reserving a seat – learn more here.  The research library is open Monday through Friday, 9 am to 4:30 pm.  Please note: For the remainder of 2021 the Filson’s Research Library will be closing at 12:30 pm on the third Friday of each month.

We also continue to provide remote research services; please email gro.l1634496885aciro1634496885tsihn1634496885oslif1634496885@hcra1634496885eser1634496885.

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