Revolutionary Change (2020-2022)

Historians have always considered moments of revolutionary change to be central objects of study. These moments do not necessarily involve politics, and are not limited to the modern world. The word “revolutionary” itself may be a relatively recent coinage (dating from the early modern period), but the sorts of change that it denotes have taken place in every area of human activity, and in every time and place. Revolutionary change is rapid and destabilizing. It is also dynamic, in the sense that it does not simply reflect or extend the forces which originally generated it, but builds on itself in original and often wholly-unpredictable ways. It can be both destructive and creative. It can entail a frightful human cost, but it can also open up new human possibilities and freedoms. It can take place on many different spatial and temporal scales—and at the same time, it can radically transform human understandings of the scales themselves.

In 2020-22, the Davis Center seeks applications from historians working on revolutionary change in any period of human history, and in any area, including (but not limited to) the histories of politics, culture, ideas, social structure, gender relations, sexuality, race relations, religion and the environment. We also welcome applications from historians working on the concept of revolutionary change itself, on how moments of such change are retrospectively identified, and on failed, incomplete or ineffective examples. We are particularly interested in developing conversations among historians working on revolutionary change in different areas and periods.

Davis Center Fellows, 2020-21

Thomas Dodman, Department of French, Columbia University
Eighteenth- and Nineteenth-Century France
“When Émile Went to War: A Family Romance in the Age of Revolution”

Durba Mitra, Studies of Women, Gender and Sexuality, Harvard University
Twentieth-Century South Asia
“The Future That Was: Feminist Thought in the Decolonizing World, 1955-1995”

Massimiliano Tomba, History of Consciousness Department, University of California, Santa Cruz
Contemporary European Thought
"The Concept of Revolution"

Kate Cooper, Department of History, Royal Holloway, University of London
Roman Empire and Late Antiquity
“Breaking Faith: The Constantinian Religious Revolution and Its Aftermath, 306-451 C.E.”

Kirsten Weld, Department of History, Harvard University
Modern Latin America
“Ruins and Glory: The Long Spanish Civil War in Latin America”

Zara Anishanslin, Department of History, University of Delaware
Eighteenth-Century British Atlantic
“London Patriots: Transatlantic Politics, Material Culture, and the American Revolution”

Cristina Soriano, Department of History, Villanova University
Colonial and Revolutionary Latin America
“Imperial Ruptures: Colonial Experiments in Trinidad During the Age of Revolutions”

Postdoctoral Fellow

Sara Kozameh, Ph.D. New York University
Twentieth-Century Latin America
“Harvest of Revolution: Agrarian Reform and the Making of Revolutionary Cuba, 1958-1970”

Davis Center Conferences

Inqilab: Revolution, Rebellion, and Realignments in Eighteenth-Century South Asia (February 2021)