Convocatoria. Globalising the History of Revolutions

Globalising the History of Revolutions

University College Dublin

23-24 October 2015

Keynote Speakers: Professor John Horne (Trinity College Dublin) & Professor Stephen Smith (Oxford University)

Convenor: Dr Mark Jones, Irish Research Council Elevate Fellow, University College Dublin & Free University of Berlin

Few historians will remain unaware that at its beginning and at its end, the long 19th century was defined by eras of revolutionary change. And yet, while historical debates about the nature of the late 18th century

‘Atlantic Revolution’ predate the emergence of global history and continue to provide it with one of its formative subjects; the same cannot be said of the series of revolutions that occurred during the first two and half decades of the 20th century. With few exceptions, even today, historians of revolutions and revolutionary situations in this epoch work using national or imperial frameworks that remain in isolation from each other.

To explore this lacuna, University College Dublin will host a series of conferences on globalising the history of revolutions. The first will take place in October 2015. Their goal is to probe the means of comparison across national contexts, regions and continents. To do so we aim to create an international community of historians who may not typically come into contact with each other. Our purpose is to stimulate the historical imagination and to test old interpretations; just as we set out to reach new conclusions. As Lynn Hunt has written ‘the global turn should not just offer a broader or bigger view; it has to offer a better one.’1 To rise to this challenge, we must identify meaningful conceptual categories that allow historians to discuss and explore the linkages between cases that are often as much defined by difference as they are by similarity. Such categories might include the ‘triggers’ of revolution; the formation of new revolutionary and counter-revolutionary identities and their relationships to pre-existing identities such as gender, race, class or regional and national identities; the nature of economic change and patterns of urbanization; the role of revolutionary and counter-revolutionary violence; generational conflict; the language and scripts of revolutionary movements; the politics of the revolutionary street and the role of fears, rumours and self-generated beliefs; as well as issues pertaining to transfer and entanglements between revolutionary and anti-revolutionary movements across the globe.

We are especially interested in receiving proposals from historians working on a diverse range of cases including those of Russia (1904-07), Ottoman Turkey (1908), Iran (1905-08), Portugal (1910), Mexico (1910-1920); China (1911-1913); and Ireland (1916-1923); as well as the wave of revolutions and revolutionary situations that swept away the European land-Empires and challenged the legitimacy of European colonial rule across the globe at the end of the First World War (1917/18-1923). In addition to these cases, we also welcome proposals that deal with revolutionary situations where the cocktail of factors that led to revolutions elsewhere where also present in the early 20th century but did not develop in a similar manner – such as Japan, Italy or Spain, to name just three. To promote cross-epochal comparisons, papers dealing with similar themes in other eras, including those of the eighteenth century world are particularly welcome.

Interested participants should send paper abstracts and a short CV by 15 June 2015. Limited funding for travel and accommodation is available and applicants who require such funding should state so in their application. The globalising the history of revolutions workshops will be hosted by UCD’s Centre for War Studies – one of Ireland’s most active international research centres. They take place in the context of the approaching centenary of the Irish Revolution’s opening act: the Easter Rising of 1916.