The University of Birmingham Library

On Wednesday 7 June, the Birmingham Eighteenth Century Centre (BECC) and the Birmingham Research Institute for History and Cultures (BRIHC) co-hosted a roundtable session discussing the question ‘How Global Was the Age of Revolutions?’

The discussion featured Sujit Sivasundaram (Cambridge), Joanna Innes (Oxford), Jeppe Mulich (City University) and Peter Hill (Northumbria), and was chaired by BECC Director Tom Cutterham.

Once centred in the North Atlantic and the late eighteenth century, between the two poles of the American and French Revolutions, the idea of an "Age of Revolutions" has been dramatically extended by recent generations of scholarship.

Not only can it be said to encompass the revolutions of Latin America, the industrial revolution, and the European uprisings of 1848, but also events in the Indian and Pacific Oceans.

In the most expansive readings, processes traceable to the "Age of Revolutions" reshaped not only European empires, economies, and cultures, but African and Asian ones as well.

Our question for this roundtable discussion is, how far should we take this analytically globalising tendency? Where can it take us, and in what directions? What is gained, and what is lost, by thinking in terms of a global "Age of Revolutions"? And when we do so, are we reading the world through a European lens?