How Global Was the Age of Revolutions?

Wednesday 15 March 2023 (14:00-15:30)

Dr Kate Smith (


On Wednesday 15 March (14.00-15.30) Sujit Sivasundaram (Cambridge), Joanna Innes (Oxford) and Peter Hill (Northumbria) will be joining us to discuss the extent to which the Age of Revolutions might be understood as ‘global’.

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?

This event has been organised by the Birmingham Eighteenth Century Centre (BECC), in collaboration with the Birmingham Research Institute for History and Cultures (BRIHC).

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