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Duty to Revolt: Transnational and Commemorative Aspects of Revolutions

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Stathmos Theatre - Θέατρο Σταθμός

55 Viktoros Ougko

104 37 Athina

Greece

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Duty to Revolt 25-26 March 2021 - Athens, Greece & online

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Duty to Revolt: Transnational and Commemorative Aspects of Revolutions

Throughout the 19th century, revolutionary movements united intellectuals, artists, dissidents, and significant segments of the population in joint crusades in the name of justice or liberation, against empires and aristocratic elites, often across class, religious, race and national lines.

The wave of revolutions that kicked off with the American and French revolutions, continued in Haiti and with the decolonization of South America, eventually reached the Balkans with the Serbian revolution(s) of 1804-15, and the Greek Revolution of 1821. At its bicentenary, this conference takes the Greek Revolution as a foundational historical departure point to investigate historical continuities and discontinuities in transnational and commemorative aspects of revolutionary wars.

In the case of the Greek Revolution, both popular romantic support for a ‘just cause’ associated with a Christian population and its imaginary civilisational connection to Ancient Greece, and elite anxiety about the destabilisation of the Ottoman Empire occurred simultaneously in France, Russia, Germany and England. Pro-Greek foreign fighters from different parts of Europe arrived in Greece embracing the "Freedom or Death" call of the revolution – or what was partly, but not exclusively a revolution – importing the new discourse for equality, liberty and universal rights of the Enlightenment: a grandmaster discourse at the heart of global ideological critique wars even today.

Concomitantly, the Greek revolution witnessed the transition to political modernity, as well as imperialist and anti-imperialist interventions for nation-state-building, the latter still, in functioning terms, an ongoing struggle in contemporary Greece 200 years later. The historical event itself reverberated through the Balkan region and influenced the development of nationalisms far and wide in the European context and beyond.

Commemorating a revolution of this kind is likely to encourage nationalist, populistic reactions and attempts at recuperating the radical subversive nature every revolution – whether bourgeois or stemming from “the wretched of the earth” – so that it serves contemporary state-boosting communication strategies.

With the Greek revolution as an inspirational conatus, however not limited to it, we invite academic colleagues, artists and practitioners to engage with the following themes in a broader discussion of how the duty to revolt reverberates and is romanticised transnationally, and subsequently how revolutions are commemorated and constructed for public consumption today:

1. Transnationalisation of revolutions: The ideological conflict between radical supporters of revolutions and conservatives opposing revolutions in the name of preserving the status quo often results in opposing transnational networks organising and mobilising activists across ethnic, national, class and race lines. In this respect, the Greek Revolution and other ‘nationalist’ liberation movements included a significant social component, and other emancipatory agendas, often obscured by the focus on nationalism and statehood.

2. Romanticisation of revolutions: The materialisation of ideological support when foreign fighters feel the duty to revolt and travel to a country undergoing revolution is a phenomenon witnessed throughout history. Historical experience of this phenomenon is extensive and truly international, and yet it is rarely given sufficient attention.

3. Communication and commemoration of revolutions: Transnational communication networks create possibilities both for emancipatory movements and nationalist resurgence, with the boundaries between the two often blurred. Furthermore, the audiovisual and artistic commemoration of revolutions is a thematic of great interest, especially in periods of global crisis and national uncertainty.

Keynote Speakers:

Day 1: Andreas Lyberatos, Panteion University. School of Political Sciences, Athens, Greece.

Day 2: Anastasia Veneti, Faculty of Media and Communication Bournemouth University, United Kingdom.

To participate in this conference, please send a 300 word abstract [ENG] to athina.k@gmail.com by December 11th, 2020. [Papers will be presented in English for the F2F and online international audience].

The Duty to Revolt conference is organised by Athina Karatzogianni, Raul Carstocea, Ioanna Ferra, Christos Kostopoulos, and George Souvlis in collaboration with Theatro Stathmos in Athens, Greece.

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Stathmos Theatre - Θέατρο Σταθμός

55 Viktoros Ougko

104 37 Athina

Greece

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