Joint Area Centers Symposium (JACS): “A Century of Revolutions: Past and Futures of Radical Transformations”

March 29-30, 2018
Levis Faculty Center (919 W. Illinois St., Urbana, IL 61801)
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

At the end of the Cold War, the notion of revolution seemed to have been placed among the relics of history. Francis Fukuyama’s “end of history” and Samuel Huntington’s “Clash of Civilizations” emerged as bold, alternative frameworks to imagine the course of history after the age of political revolutions had come to an end. Then, the so called Arab Springs and the re-emergence of radical narratives of transformation, from Ukraine to Venezuela, have forced intellectuals and politicians to reconsider the actuality and the meaning of revolutions in the age of globalization. As part of the year-long initiatives to discuss the history and the legacy of the Russian Revolution of 1917, this year’s Joint Area Centers Symposium will reflect on today’s legacy and significance of the concept of revolution.

The symposium will be articulated around 4 themes: 1) religion and revolution, 2) anti-colonialism, 3) violence and transformation, and 4) gender, race, minorities and revolution. The goal of the symposium is to bring experts from different disciplines and different geographical areas to articulate the productiveness or the anachronism of the concept of revolution in multiple cultural contexts. Our goal is to contribute to the debate on radical transformations today from a multilateral perspective that abandons the parochialism of a Western-centric understanding of the world. Scholars from and experts on China, India, Latin America, Europe and Africa will provide a truly transnational perspective to the symposium.

Organized by:

  • David Cooper (Associate Professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures, University of Illinois)
  • Behrooz Ghamari-Tabrizi (Professor of History and Sociology, University of Illinois)
  • Emanuel Rota (Associate Professor of French and Italian, University of Illinois)


  • Tariq Ali, Keynote Speaker (Writer, Filmmaker, Editor of New Left Review)
  • George Ciccariello-Maher (Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics)
  • Yiching Wu (University of Toronto)
  • Munyaradzi Nyakudya, (University of Zimbabwe)
  • Touraj Atabaki (International Institute of Social History, Amsterdam)
  • Giuseppina Mecchia (University of Pittsburgh)
  • Sunit Singh (University of Chicago)
  • Michele Louro (Salem State University)
  • Asef Bayat (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)
  • Linda Herrera (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)

Panel Chairs and Roundtable

  • Anke Pinkert (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)
  • Erik McDuffie (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)
  • Zsuzsa Gille (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)

Schedule of Events

Abstracts and Bios

Sponsored by: Russian, East European, and Eurasian Center; Center for African Studies; Center for East Asian and Pacific Studies; Center for Global Studies; Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies; Center for South Asian and Middle Eastern Studies; European Union Center; Department of French and Italian; Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures; Department of Linguistics; Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures; Program in Comparative and World Literature; School of Literatures, Cultures, and Linguistics; Unit for Criticism and Interpretive Theory; Women and Gender in Global Perspectives