A Sixth Revolution Around the Sun

By Bryan A. Banks and Cindy Ermus

Has it been six years already? It has, and what journey it has been! (Check out the last 5 years worth of round ups here.) This past year has brought on new opportunities and has seen the Age of Revolutions site and community grow exponentially!

We would first like to celebrate all of the great work that our editors have done this year. Katlyn Carter, Erica Johnson Edwards, Javier Puente, Blake Smith, Rob Taber, and Kacy Dowd Tillman labor over pieces that come to us and make them better, more readable, and ultimately more accessible for a general audience. Zachary Stoltzfus joined the team this past year as a managing editor and has helped to update our bibliographies pages to reflect the latest literature on the revolutionary era. Justine Carré Miller took on the tremendous task of making AoR more accessible by going through the entire site and adding alt-text to all the images for those who use screen readers. We have also welcomed a new colleague to the crew. Angus Brown joined AoR this month as our first social media editor. We have established Twitter and Facebook accounts. Brown is going to help us experiment with new visual forms on Instagram! Give us a follow on these platforms, if you have not already. 

We ran two series this year. The first, entitled “Revolutionary Animals,” explored the role that animals played in the revolutionary era, as living-beings, as commodities that shaped the political economy of revolutionary action, and as symbols. Why did Benjamin Franklin choose to represent the fledgling nation as a snake? J.L. Bell’s exploration of this question was particularly popular. The second series, which is ongoing, is on the “Art of Revolution.” One of the most read pieces we have published this year was Meghan Roberts’ contextualization of the portrait by Jacques-Louis David of Antoine-Laurent and Marie-Anne Pierrette Paulze Lavoisier, which the Metropolitan Museum of Art brought to the public’s attention after their conservation scientists discovered some interesting facts about the paintings history. We have also published pieces on Delacroix’s representations of French and Greek Revolutions, on dancing as a lens for exploring the complex imperial and indigenous networks of the revolutionary Caribbean, and on the all-to-prescient image of Charles Willson Peale’s wife and daughter who died from smallpox during the American Revolution. The series has a lot of great art history to come!

2021 was also an important year for some of our larger goals at AoR. We continued to publish in our on-going series on “Rethinking the Revolutionary Canon,” with pieces on Cedric Robinson, Eugene Genovese, Benedict Anderson, and Mary Wollstonecraft.  If you would like to be a part of this series and think scholars should pay attention to a particular intellectual who explores the idea of “revolution,” please send us a proposal. In January 2021, we published the 2020 Selected Papers of the Consortium on the Revolutionary Era, 1750-1850.  A special thank you goes out to Jeff Burson, our editorial liaison to the Consortium on the Revolutionary Era (CRE). While the COVID-19 pandemic forced the CRE to run virtually this past year, and thus their Selected Papers to take a break for a year, we look forward to helping the CRE spread work from their upcoming conference in February 2022. 

What is next for Age of Revolutions? You’ll have to stay tuned to find out!

Title image: “The condition of Britain and Europe, from a collection of material relating to the fear of a French invasion” – The British Library, 1803.

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