Call for Papers: Where was 1821? Space and territory in the Greek Revolution. Special issue of Historein 20/2 (2021)

Antonis Hadjikyriacou's picture

Call for Papers

Editors: Ada Dialla, Michalis Sotiropoulos, Antonis Hadjikyriacou

Fundamentally transforming the Ottoman Empire and its relationship to post-imperial societies and states, the Greek revolution constituted nothing less than a watershed in the history of the Balkans, the Eastern Mediterranean and the Age of Revolution at large. On the occassion of its bicentenary in 2021 Historein invites contributions that aim to reconsider and reconceptualize the local, national, regional, imperial, transnational and global dimensions of the Greek revolution, pose new questions that transcend area and field boundaries, and bring fresh approaches to the study of a topic that seems to have stagnated.

To that end, we invite proposals by scholars working in any discipline of the humanities and/or social sciences for a special issue entitled Where was 1821? Space and territory in the Greek Revolution to appear in the journal’s 20/2 issue in 2021.

Abstracts of 350 words should be submitted by 15 October 2019 to Articles of no more than 7,000 words should be submitted to the editors by June 2020 for distribution to outside reviewers (please refer to the Journal’s website about guidelines for submission).

Further rationale:

The Greek revolution took place in time and space. Whether it is the long nineteenth century, the Enlightenment, the Restoration, the Post-Napoleonic era, or the Age of Revolutions, historians have long grappled with situating the revolution in a temporal context. This can hardly be said about space. As a result, the spatial categories historians have used had a ‘natural’ and self-evident character that required little or no probing. More often than not, they have employed geographical categories and spatial contexts that they are most familiar with. Depending on the author, one is to learn that the Greek revolution took place in the Balkans and it was against the Ottoman Empire; that it was a modern European revolution, which sought to create a Greek national state; or that it was a traditional revolt, with which local power holders sought to acquire more privileges for their provinces within the context of a decentralized Ottoman Empire. Whether these categories conformed to how contemporaries experienced, talked or thought about space is rarely, if at all, explored.

Our starting point is that there is nothing obvious or self-explanatory about space. In so doing, we aim to bring the Greek case into a fruitful dialogue with recent studies that have reassessed the Age of Revolutions. By bringing into focus the ‘World Crisis’ of empires in the transatlantic and the Eurasian regions, these studies have shown the importance of empires and inter-imperiality, revising in the process the conventional emphases on national contexts of the age’s transformations. In so doing, they have shed light on the variety of ways with which people understood and produced space. Although the nation had a central place in their imagination (with or without a state), it was one spatial configuration among others. What is more, historical agents did not always imagine these spatial configurations in the same way. In fact, people were (and indeed are) embedded in diverse socio-spatial configurations—local, national, regional and imperial—creating connections between them. As historians have shown, movement was a key drive behind these processes.

All these features apply to the case of the Greek world in the Age or Revolutions. Greeks inhabited empires (Ottoman, Russian, Austrian, Venetian, French, British) which afforded them enormous mobility and opportunity, while at the same time imposed (familiar) limits. Indeed, by the time of the conjuncture of the 1820s—a period of imperial crises and of the first cracks of the Vienna system—the Greek world was at its most expansive.

We want to explore how and in what ways this multifarious spatial experience—transnational and trans-imperial—fed into the revolution. We are especially interested in papers that shed light on the different configurations of space that were articulated in the Greek world during the Age of Revolutions—the ‘have-beens’, but also the ‘might-have-beens’. By linking the various spatial scales, we aim at considering the revolution as a local, regional, transnational and global phenomenon.


Topics to be explored:

-   How did actors think about space? What spatial configurations were articulated in the Greek world? Where were the immediate homelands (patrides/patrias) of Greeks at the time? Where was Europe?  What were the boundaries of all these? What about regional configurations such as Roumeli, the Peloponnese, Crete, the Ionian islands or the Archipelago? What about the operations in Lebanon, and where did the Middle East fit in the spatial imagination of the rebels?

-   What was the role of material culture in the various spatial imaginations and mental mappings?

-   What idioms, ideas, and politico/spatial imaginations did people involved in the revolution develop? How did they relate to the trans/inter imperial experiences these people had during the “World Crisis”?

-   What was the role of Empires and of imperial experience, and where did transnational or trans-imperial movement fit in this framework?

-   What were the dynamics and spatialities of mobilization, violence and contention? How were these related to the sort of ideas, information and the people that moved across and beyond the region?

-   How did revolutionaries represent themselves and the imperial powers involved in the region?

-   What spatial context for the revolution? To what extent and how can we combine different spatial contexts for analyzing it?

-   What was the role of war to changing conceptions of space?

-   What were the relationship between the Greek revolution and concurrent political movements in the Mediterranean and beyond?

-   How was the revolutionary language formed? What was the meaning of revolutionary words? How did revolutionaries think of revolution, and war? Of independence and sovereignty?

-   How was a new language of self-representation as Greeks/Hellenes universalized? Did other self-representations exist? What was the relationships of these self-representations with the diverse (local, regional, imperial) political experiences people had?

-   How did people make sense of the revolution?


Categories: CFP
Keywords: CFP