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Grant number like: FT-57145-09

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Mark C. Molesky
Seton Hall University (South Orange, NJ 07079-2697)

Summer Stipends
Research Programs

[Grant products]

$6,000 (approved)
$6,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
6/1/2009 – 7/31/2009

This Gulf of Fire: The Great Lisbon Earthquake and the Forging of the Modern World

The Lisbon Earthquake was one of the most dramatic and consequential events in European history. Without warning on November 1, 1755, a series of violent tremors, followed by a devastating tsunami and a raging fire completely destroyed the capital of Portugal. The resultant debate about the meaning and causes of the disaster among scientists, theologians, and philosophers - including the three most celebrated minds of the 18th century: Voltaire, Rousseau, and Kant - forced a stunned and frightened world to reevaluate and, in many cases, abandon its most deeply held beliefs concerning God, Man, and Nature. I propose to write a book-length history of the Lisbon Earthquake and its impact on European thought and culture. An extension of my senior honors thesis, this project will combine my professional expertise in intellectual and cultural history with my interest in narrative.