The Age of Revolution seems to be having a moment in the historical world. January 2016 is overflowing with thought-provoking debates about the state of the field and new directions for the historiography. Here is a roundup of recent summaries of some of these discussion!
“A Hemispheric Revolution? The Americas, c. 1760s-1820s, Nathan Perl-Rosenthal
“Recent Reconsiderations of the French Revolution and Its Neighbors,” Katlyn Carter
“Becoming Masters of Their Own Homes: The United Front and Nationality Autonomy on the Tibetan Plateau during the ‘Early Liberation’ Period,” Benno Ryan Weiner
“Violence, Revolution, and the End of the Cold War in the Middle East,” Paul T. Chamberlin
“War Stories: Defining the American Revolution,” Michael A. McDonnell
“Revolution and Royalism in Pacific South America, 1780-1825,” Marcela Echeverri
“This Is Not Our Fight: The Countess of Huntingdon and Transatlantic Evangelicalism during the American Revolution,” Kate Carté Engel
“The End of the Revolution?: The Haitian Declaration of Independence,” Julia Gaffield
“Object Lessons of the Revolutionary Atlantic,” Ashli White
“The Identities of Emigration: The Circulation and Reintegration of French Revolutionary Émigrés,” Mary Ashburn Miller
“Identity Papers and Paper Nations: Making Nationality at Sea in the Revolutionary Era,” Nathan Perl-Rosenthal
“Revolutionaries Traveling between Revolutions,” Janet L. Polasky
“Frontiers and Food Systems in the Age of Revolutions,” Natale Zappia
“Freedom, Subjection, and Monarchical Sovereignty in (Post) Revolutionary Haiti,” Doris Garraway
“West Africa’s Islamic Moral Revolutions,” Bronwen Everill
“Austerity and Extraction in a Revolutionary Age,” Steven C. A. Pincus
This article grew out of the 2014 WMQ-EMSI workshop, “The Age of Revolutions.” The “Rewriting Revolutions” series at the AHA also grew out of this workshop. The article is now available on JSTOR!
This essay offers a genealogy and diagnosis of new “situational” narratives about the age of revolutions. It grew out of a WMQ-EMSI workshop, “The Age of Revolutions,” convened at the Huntington Library in 2014. Workshop participants presented papers concerning the massive transnational transformations of the late eighteenth century that rent old regimes from the Americas to West Africa and Western Europe. The essay sets today’s historical narratives in relation to those of the revolutionary period and the mid-twentieth century and explores their “situational” form in our present. Situational narratives are marked by a heightened emphasis on place and mobility and a concern for people acting politically and locatedly (that is, from the vista of their own location). They make for new kinds of narrative interpretation and new understandings of revolution. To compose a field, the author argues, situational narratives must retheorize the condition of eventfulness, renovate understandings of politics and of freedom as a set of practices, and overcome narrative’s habit of soliloquy by developing new techniques of scholarly communality.
“The geographic expansiveness of these papers reflects historians’ turn away from a Eurocentric model of the Age of Revolutions (most famously articulated in Robert Palmer’s foundational two-volume The Age of the Democratic Revolution).”