CFP: Oceanic Origins of the Atlantic Revolutions Summer Seminar, due February 15

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CALL FOR PARTICIPANTS (doctoral/postdoctoral)


Oceanic Origins of the Atlantic Revolutions (ca. 1760-1850)

Summer Seminar


Los Angeles, May 7-9, 2020


University of Southern California

École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales


Organizers :
Nathan Perl-Rosenthal (USC)

Clément Thibaud (EHESS-Mondes Américains)


Seminar Description

What did the revolutions that surged through the Atlantic world from circa 1760 to 1850 have in common?  Scholarship on the revolutionary era over the past two decades has enriched our knowledge of its geographic extent and ideological range.  Yet this long-overdue widening of the revolutionary picture has also exacerbated longstanding and fundamental problems in our understanding of the era.  Why and how did revolution and revolt become generalized in the Atlantic world during this period?  How can we account not only for what these revolutions had in common, but for the ways in which they were diverse or even dissimilar?  What  makes it possible to see this period as analytically and historiographically coherent?

            This three day Summer Seminar, which brings together specialists working on both the North and South Atlantic and the Old and New Worlds, proposes a collaborative and extended reflection on these questions.  The seminar takes as its starting point a broad hypothesis: that shared political and cultural practices in the Euro-American world were critical in generating and shaping the Atlantic revolutions.  The seminar aims to contribute to the ongoing reconceptualization of the Atlantic revolutionary period as a polycentric phenomenon, rooted in the Atlantic and global longue durée, while questioning notions of the “diffusion” or “contagion” of revolution from the Atlantic North to its South.

            The seminar will meet for three full days, May 7, 8 and 9 (Thursday-Saturday).  The format of the first day will be panel discussions led by senior scholars in revolutionary studies.  Confirmed participants include:


David Bell (Princeton University)

Manuel Covo (University of California, Santa Barbara)

Lynn Hunt (University of California, Los Angeles)

Sara Johnson (University of California, San Diego)

Sarah Knott (Indiana University)

Nathan Perl-Rosenthal (University of Southern California)

José María Portillo Valdés (Universidad del País Vasco)

Silvia Sebastiani (École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, Paris)

Clément Thibaud (École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, Paris)

Geneviève Verdo (Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne)

Johanna von Grafenstein (Instituto Mora, México)

Charles Walker (University of California, Davis)


The latter two days will be primarily devoted to discussion of precirculated papers by advanced doctoral and recent post-doctoral scholars, with comments and discussion by senior scholars.  Seminar members are expected to attend all sessions.  The languages of the meeting will be English and Spanish.

            The 2020 Seminar continues discussions that began at the 2018 Oceanic Origins Summer Seminar in Paris. The full program of the earlier meeting can be viewed here:


Call for Proposals

            We seek applications from advanced doctoral candidatesand postdoctoral researchers (whose first book is not yet published), working on the age of revolutions in any region, who would like to present a precirculated paper to the 2020 Oceanic Origins Seminar.  Applications are welcomed from researchers based in any discipline, including but not limited to history, art history, area or regional studies, literature, politics or political theory, and historical anthropology.  There are no a priori limitations as to topic or theme.

            The Seminar seeks up to five graduate or postdoctoral students to present at the seminar. Applicants are required to seek financial assistance from their home institutions, if available, to cover travel costs.  However, the Seminar will make funds available as needed to cover expenses for travel, hotel, and most meals during the seminar.  There are no tuition or other fees associated with participation. 


Application and evaluation process

The application should be in the form of a single PDF file to and must include all of the following: 


  • A cover letter describing a) the candidate’s overall research interests, b) the specific work in progress being submitted
  • A short CV (three pages maximum), indicating language skills and any publications 
  • The current text of a work in progress, MAXIMUM 30 pages, which will form the basis for their contribution to the seminar.  This need not be a final version.  This may be in English, French, Spanish, or Portuguese.
  • brief statement outlining potential funding sources, a travel budget, and total amount requested from the seminar


In addition to these materials, applicants must have a letter of recommendation sent by an advisor or senior colleague to, due by February 15, 2020.


The deadline for full consideration is noon Pacific Time on February 15, 2020.


Candidates will be selected based on the quality of the work they submit, its fit with other senior and junior participants, and the overall balance of the seminar.  Notifications to all candidates will be sent by February 25, 2020.  Successful candidates will then be expected to submit a final text of the work in progress for discussion at the seminar by April 10, 2020.