Christopher Church, Ph.D.

Associate Professor


I am a cultural historian and digital historian of the French colonial world who specializes in disasters, nationalism and social movements in the 19th and 20th centuries. I employ new methods from data science and the digital humanities to answer age-old questions about the relationship between citizens, the public sphere and the state. My intellectual interests include colonialism, citizenship and environmental history, as well as databases, GIS, scripting and web design.

Due to my research interests in communal justice, natural and anthropogenic disasters, digital humanities, piracy and hacking, I am also an affiliated faculty member at the University of Nevada, Reno's Cyber Security Center. My current book project, Hacking Society: Vigilantes, Outcasts, and Miscreants from the High Seas to the Cyberspace, recuperates the story of those left behind, cast aside and overlooked by the growth of modern, globalized capitalism.

My first book, Paradise Destroyed: Catastrophe and Citizenship in the French Caribbean (December 2017, University of Nebraska), explores the impact of natural and man-made disasters in the late nineteenth-century French Antilles, where a colonial population-predominately former slaves-possessed French citizenship, looking at the social, economic and political implications of shared citizenship in times of natural catastrophe and civil unrest. I've also written on strike activity and colonial citizenship in the French Caribbean in the French journal Le Mouvement Social, as well as on the relationship between hurricanes, urban development, race and economic collapse in the 1920s Greater Caribbean for the edited volume, Environmental Disaster in the Gulf South: Two Centuries of Catastrophe, Risk, and Resilience (January 2018, LSU Press).

I am the recipient of several awards, including the Alf Andrew Heggoy Book Prize for Paradise Destroyed and the Mousel-Feltner Award for Research/Creative Activity.

Finally, I have collaborated on various digital humanities projects, such as Pryor's Peoria, an online archive that presents a micro-history of the mid-western town where comedian Richard Pryor grew up amid brothels, racial tension, social inequity and violence. Other projects include Doten's Diaries, an online annotated edition of Alf Doten's journals in the American West and Reno Type, a digital history of Northern Nevada's rich typographic and social history.


  • digital history
  • late modern Europe
  • French history
  • colonialism
  • disasters

Courses Taught

  • HIST 224: Pirates and Hackers
  • HIST 300a: Digitizing History
  • HIST 370: The Cultural History of Disasters
  • HIST 462: French Revolution
  • HIST 703: Digital History


  • Church, Christopher M. "The 1928 Hurricane in Florida and the Wider Caribbean" in Environmental Disaster in the Gulf South: Two Centuries of Catastrophe, Risk, and Resilience. ed. Cindy Ermus. (Baton Rouge: LSU Press, 2018).
  • Church, Christopher M. Paradise Destroyed: Catastrophe and Citizenship in the French Caribbean. (Lincoln, NE: Univ. of Nebraska Press, 2017).
  • Church, Christopher. 2014. "Strikingly French. Martinique, agitation ouvrière et politique métropolitaine au tournant du siècle". Le Mouvement Social. 248, no. 3: 109-124.

Curriculum Vitae


  • Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley, 2014
  • M.Ed., University of Florida, 2007