Rewriting Revolutions, 1750-1850: New Settings, Characters and Plots, Part 3: Places and Materialities

AHA Session 222
American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies 3
Saturday, January 9, 2016: 2:30 PM-4:30 PM
Room M104 (Atlanta Marriott Marquis, Marquis Level)
Edward B. Rugemer, Yale University
West Africa’s Islamic Moral Revolutions
Bronwen Everill, Cambridge University
Austerity and Extraction in a Revolutionary Age
Steven CA Pincus, Yale University

Session Abstract

This is the third panel in a proposed three-panel workshop that will focus on new approaches to the Atlantic “Age of Revolutions,” circa 1760s-1830s.  The workshop aims to spark historical and historiographic discussions around three themes in revolutionary-era histories that our group has identified as particularly critical to developing work in the field.  Each panel includes scholars whose work spans and even expands the geographical and temporal parameters of the traditional age of revolutions, including Europe, the Americas, the Caribbean, and Africa.  The workshop’s panels are knit together not only by their focus on a similar period but also by a number of shared preoccupations that are highly relevant to the themes of the 2016 Annual Meeting, including the unsettling role of empire, translation and misunderstanding, violence and the politicization of slavery, commercialization and consumption, and the changing nature of sovereignty and allegiance.

This panel, Places and Materialities, aims both to radically expand the geography of the Age of Revolutions and to incite important new questions about the relationship among material resources, economies and politics in the revolutionary era.  Each of the papers on this panel asks the audience to consider a place or places where scholars of the revolutions either have not looked or examined only in a different context.  Each one asks us to think about the ways in which the particular qualities / social orders of those places – especially their economies and environments – helped fuel distinctive and significant kinds of revolutionary movements.  How did environments influence political development?  How locally specific were revolutionary practices that developed in particular environments?  What effects did local movements have on broader revolutionary currents, and in what way?  The panel will also open into a broader discussion – inspired by a preoccupation shared by Atlantic, borderlands and environmental historians – about the explanatory power of place and geography.