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Legacy of the Russian Revolution

Legacy of the Russian Revolution

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The ramifications of the 1917 Russian Revolution continue to reverberate in contemporary Russia and students of this era will find much of interest at the Legacy of the Russian Revolution conference, Friday and Saturday, November 17 and 18 at CHC’s SugarLoaf campus. Visit www.chc.edu/russianrevolution for more information.

Participants and presenters from around the world will take part in this conference sponsored by CHC’s History and Political Science Department.

The conference commemorates the centennial of the Russian Revolution, which was one of the major events that profoundly affected the political, military, diplomatic, social, cultural and intellectual realms of the 20th and early 21st centuries and has provoked contradictory responses and interpretations since.

“This series goes beyond the immediate effects of the historic events and focuses on the long-term reverberations,” explains Lorraine Coons, Ph.D., professor of history and chair of the history and political science department and conference organizer. “We’re not looking just at the revolution itself, but how it affected people in the years following.

“Like so many other revolutions, it started out with high-minded ideals to challenge an existing repressive regime, and in the end those ideals were set aside. It was an event where people tried to assert their rights, and ultimately were pushed aside by another power structure that brutalized them. Like the French Revolution of the late 18th century, the significance of the events that unfolded in Russia in 1917 is that the masses were mobilized on an unprecedented scale in the nation’s history to demand political and social equality.

“People emerged from a 72-year badly flawed experiment in what was supposed to be popular democracy, only to find themselves now living in the managed democracy of Vladimir Putin,” she says.

Sheila Fitzpatrick, Ph.D., a historian of modern Russia and professor from the University of Sydney, Australia and University of Chicago, emeritus, will give Friday night’s keynote address: “Reflections on the Russian Revolution.”

The second keynote will be presented Saturday by Wendy Goldman, Ph.D., Paul Mellon Distinguished Professor of History, and a social and political historian of Russia at Carnegie Mellon University. “Revolutionary Ideas and Experiments in Free Love: The Lasting Legacy of the Russian Revolution” is her topic.

Participant presentations will be made on both immediate and long-term consequences of the Bolshevik seizure of power — political, diplomatic, military, social, economic, technological, intellectual and cultural.

The Legacy Conference series was launched in 2003 with an intensive, two-day look at the Kennedy years. The Kennedy Legacy was followed by the Legacy of the Second World War in 2005; the Legacy of 1968 in 2008; the Legacy of the Civil War in 2011; and the Legacy of World War I in 2014.

— Brenda Lange

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