Conference: "Did Ten Days Shake the World? Centenary Perspectives on the Russian Revolution," Harvard University, Oct. 6-7, 2017

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The Russian Revolution of a hundred years ago continues to have a deep and enduring effect on global and national histories through its contending narrative understandings, social representations, and political appropriations.

The Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Harvard University and the European University at St. Petersburg will focus attention on the global dimensions of the Russian Revolution by bringing leading scholars from different historical fields together for a two-day symposium. Some of the most thoughtful students of American, European, Asian, and other national histories will join Russianists and others in an exploration of the revolution’s direct and indirect historical effects.


Friday, October 6

9:00–10:45 a.m. - Panel 1: Theorizing Russia's Revolution

Chair: Oleg Kharkhordin, European University at St. Petersburg (EUSP)
Artemi Magun (EUSP)—"Revolutionary Spontaneity, from the 1900s to 2010s"
Bill Rosenberg (University of Michigan)—“On Narratives of Revolution and the Nature of Social Protest: Scarcity, Loss, and the Problem of Power in Revolutionary Russia”
Jan Plamper (Goldsmiths, University of London)—“Sounds of February, Smells of October: A Sensory History of the Russian Revolution”

11:00 a.m.–12:45 p.m. - Panel 2: Contextualizing Russia's Revolution

Chair: Charles Maier, Harvard University
Laura Engelstein (Yale University)—“Contextualizing the Revolution”
John Horne (Trinity College Dublin)—“War as Revolution, 1904–1923”
Alessandro Stanziani (EHESS-CRH, Paris)—“The Russian Revolution in Global Perspective (the Political Economy of Capitalisms and Empires), 18th–Early 20th Century”
Boris Kolonitskii (EUSP)—"The Cultural Hegemony of the Socialists in the Russian Revolution and the Idea of the World Revolution"

1:45–3:30 p.m. - Panel 3: Revolution as the End of Empire?

Chair: Serhii Plokhii, Harvard University
Mark von Hagen (Arizona State University)—“From the Russian Revolution in Ukraine to the Ukrainian Revolution in Russia: Forgotten Wars, Forgotten Peaces, Forgotten Revolutions”
Mark Bassin (Södertörn University, Sweden)—“Revolutionary Visions of the Russian East”
Marcel Garbos (Harvard University)—“Revolution and the Fate of the Borderlands: Promethean Internationalism as an Alternative to the Bolshevik Nationalities Policy”

3:45–5:30 p.m. - Panel 4: Revolution as Rebirth of Nation-State?

Chair: Elizabeth Wood, MIT
Serhii Plokhii (Harvard University)—“How Russian Was the Russian Revolution?”
Serhy Yekelchyk (University of Victoria)—“The Ukrainian Revolution as an Extension of the First World War”
Alexei Miller (EUSP)—“World War, Revolution, Korenizatsia, and Their Role in Identity Politics in Great, Little, and White Russia”

Saturday, October 7

9:00–10:45 a.m. - Panel 5: Revolution and Culture

Chair: Stephanie Sandler, Harvard University
Ilya Doronchenkov (EUSP)—“Messianism on the Service of the World Revolution. The Concept of ‘International of Arts’ 1918–21”
Kirill Tomoff (University of California – Riverside)—“Music and International Revolution during the Cold War: The Role of Music in Soviet Foreign Relations, 1948-1958”
Michael Kunichika (Amherst College)—“Mirovaia literatura, Weltliteratur, World Literature: On a Revolutionary Program”

10:45 a.m.–12:30 p.m. - Panel 6: Gendering the Revolution

Chair: Nancy Cott, Harvard University
Rochelle Ruthchild (Brandeis University)—“What's Suffrage Got to Do with It? Women and Gender in the 1917 Russian Revolutions”
Anna Temkina and Elena Zdravomyslova (EUSP)—“The Soviet Gender Contract: Born in Revolution, Stalled by Patriarchy”
Kristen Ghodsee (Bowdoin College)—“The Women's Revolution: The Zhenotdel, the Soviet Women's Committee, and the Global Impacts of the Woman Question”

1:15–3:00 p.m. - Panel 7: The Revolution's Global Effects I

Chair: John Horne, Trinity College Dublin
Charles Maier (Harvard University)—“Revolution Deferred, Revolution Denied: Europe 1917-24”
William Kirby (Harvard University)—“A 'Chinese Solution' for Europe in 1989?”
Michael Geyer (University of Chicago)—"A Europe of Nations and Its Enemies"

3:15–5:00 p.m. - Panel 8: The Revolution's Global Effects II

Chair: Artemy Magun, EUSP
Beverly Gage (Yale University)—“The Problem of American Communism”
Padraic Kenney (Indiana University)—“What Does a Communist Do? Performing the Revolutionary in 20th-Century Poland”
Yves Cohen (EHESS-CRH, Paris)—"Organization, Authority, and Hierarchies: A Worldwide Journey since October"

5:00–6:30 p.m. - Closing Roundtable

Chair: Terry Martin, Harvard University
Oleg Kharkhordin, EUSP
Alison Frank Johnson, Harvard University
Richard Pipes, Harvard University
Lucan Ahmad Way, University of Toronto


The conference is free and open to the public. Registration is not required, but is appreciated for planning purposes. Please register by September 22, 2017, at

Conference Committee

Oleg Kharkhordin, European University at St. Petersburg
Boris Kolonitskiy, European University at St. Petersburg
Serhii Plokhii, Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute
William Rosenberg, University of Michigan
Alexandra Vacroux, Davis Center


Harvard University Campus
Center for Government and International Studies, South Building
1730 Cambridge Street
Tsai Auditorium
Cambridge, MA 02138 

More Information 

Please consult the conference website for the most up-to-date information:

Please contact the Davis Center at 617-495-4037 or with any questions about this event.