Taking to the Streets: Experiencing the Age of Revolutions
This seminar seeks to understand the experience of living in a time of revolution. It draws on recent histories describing the second half of the eighteenth century as a global Age of Revolutions not only in the United States and France, but in places as varied as Bengal, Haiti, and Switzerland. The course will follow the legacy of these eighteenth-century revolutions in the thought of later revolutionaries, from 1848 to 1968. Readings and viewings for the course will include works of history as well as novels, plays, paintings, and operas to bring the experience of street protest to life. Students will explore how revolutionary moments are structured by political, economic, and cultural forces, but also deeply unpredictable and dependent on the felt experience of their participants. The course will be taught in English, with the option of readings in French for departmental majors.