A Third Revolution Around the Sun

By Bryan Banks and Cindy Ermus

We started this website three years ago with the goal of exploring the Age of Revolutions in all its variations, sharing our colleagues’ latest research, and continuing conversations online that usually begin in person—from our departmental cloisters and classrooms to our specialist conferences. Happily, many have found the site useful and have contributed their scholarship, their labor, and their time. We are grateful to all of our amazing contributors and stupendous editorial team (many of whom have taken up new jobs and new challenges, but have remained steadfast to our goal). They make this site possible. 

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Over the last year, we have featured posts on the American, French, Haitian, and Latin American Revolutions. We also hosted content on the sale of Cuban revolutionary nostalgia, witnessed the spread of news from the American Revolution to the Holy Roman Empire, and explored the 19th-century Meiji revolution in Japan. We considered what a second Age of Revolutions may have looked like—one which extended “beyond the Volga” to Ireland and Egypt, and saw the rise of Arab existentialism

We also organized two sizable and significant roundtable series, which drove more viewership to the site than we’ve experienced before. “Race and Revolution” dominated the site for 3 months and introduced us to subjects like the legacies of Crispus Attucks, the place of West Africa and Islam in the Age of Revolutions, the role race played in the creation of post-colonial Latin American polities, and the need to reintegrate the voices of Native Amerindians in those Latin American Revolutions

Our series on “Challenging Democratic Revolutions” brought the issue of democracy to the site in a serious and focused way. Contributors focused on the complicated semantic history of “democracy” during the Enlightenment and revolutionary periods, how revolutionaries in France invented representative democracy, how women shaped the democratic impulses of the American Revolution (because #WomenAlsoKnowDemocracy), how democratic clubs connected the revolutionary Atlantic together, and how in the nineteenth century, politicians, political theorists, historians, nostalgists, and others had to contend and shape the legacies of the eighteenth century. 

The politics of the last year highlighted many questions for scholars and drove much of our content. We’ve reflected the plight of the displaced through the lens of Mediterranean refugees in 1794, the nearly constant barrage of natural disasters we face through the “spectre of colonialism,” empty gestures of “resistance” in historical perspective, and the plight of an American education system determined to efface diversity in favor of white nationalism

In many ways, this site has become a living organism responding to the world that surrounds it, and the interests of the wider scholarly community. We are just as excited to see where the site goes as you, our readers, but we are also thrilled with plans we’ve already made for the upcoming year. Stick with us. It’s going to be a revolutionary ride. 

Title image: Part of Diego Rivera’s mural depicting Mexico’s history at the National Palace in Mexico City.

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