An expansive, interdisciplinary conference will take place next month, attracting presenters and participants from around the world.
The Legacy of the Russian Revolution is scheduled for November 16 to 18 in the Commonwealth Chateau on the SugarLoaf campus, and is sponsored by the History and Political Science Department. The conference’s keynote speakers are major scholars and experts in the field.
Sheila Fitzpatrick, Ph.D., is a historian of modern Russia and a professor from the University of Sydney, Australia, and University of Chicago, emeritus. She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Australian Academy of the Humanities. Dr. Fitzpatrick’s talk, “Reflections on the Russian Revolution,” will be Friday evening’s keynote address. Wendy Goldman, Ph.D., Paul Mellon Distinguished Professor of History, is a social and political historian of Russia at Carnegie Mellon University. Dr. Goldman will present the other keynote address that will focus on “Revolutionary Ideas and Experiments in Free Love: The Lasting Legacy of the Russian Revolution,” at the Saturday luncheon.
Participant presentations will be made on immediate or long-term ramifications of the Bolshevik seizure of power — political, diplomatic, military, social, economic, technological, intellectual and cultural.
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.
In 2000, William Walker, Ph.D., former vice president for academic affairs, dean of the faculty and professor of history, suggested a series of interdisciplinary conferences focused on historic events.
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.
The conferences expose students, faculty, staff and the public to a broad range of national and international scholars who were pursuing active research projects and enhances CHC’s academic reputation as a vibrant and exciting center of learning.
“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.
Coons adds that the conference has attracted a diverse group of national and international scholars. A truly interdisciplinary conference, twelve different academic disciplines will be represented and papers will be presented from both Ph.D.s and advanced graduate students.
“This is so important for our own students to experience,” she says. “They will have the opportunity to meet a broad range of scholars and attend the conference sessions and keynote addresses. It connects them to the inner workings of historical scholarship and enables them to interact with scholars both socially and intellectually.”
Learn more at http://www.chc.edu/russianrevolution