REVOLUTIONARY COSMOPOLITANISM. TRANSNATIONAL MIGRATION AND POLITICAL ACTIVISM, 1815-1848
12 June 2020, Queen Mary University of London
Organizer: Camille Creyghton (QMUL/University of Amsterdam
Keynote Speaker: prof. Maurizio Isabella (QMUL)
Napoleon’s fall and the settlement of the Vienna Congress in 1815 represented in no way the end of the era of revolutions and political uprisings. To the contrary, several waves of revolution would follow in the Atlantic world in the 1820s and 1830s, culminating into the 1848 ‘springtime of the peoples’ in large parts of Europe and beyond. These subsequent waves of revolution are increasingly studied from transnational perspectives focussing on, for instance, Mediterranean connections in the 1820s (Isabella and Zanou 2016), a ‘common European revolutionary culture’ in 1848 (Freitag 2003) or the global context (Armitage and Subrahmanyam 2007).
The same period saw large numbers of people moving beyond state boundaries: tens of thousands of young German craftsmen found employment in Paris and London; impoverished Germans and Irish crossed the Atlantic in search for a better life in the United States; the suppression of the Polish November Uprising in the beginning of 1831 led to what is known as the Great Polish Emigration; and several thousand free Black Americans settled on the coasts of West Africa creating new societies such as Liberia. Apart from these large-scale movements, a couple of individual cases are well-known, such as Garibaldi’s activities in Latin America or Robert Owen’s attempts to create a self-sufficient community in Indiana. In addition, expanding colonialism and increasing cross-boundary traffic led to the mobility of ever larger numbers of seamen, soldiers, colonizers and colonized. Following Jan and Leo Lucassen’s model for cross-cultural migration (2009), these movements of people have to be considered genuine forms of migration too.
Although many of these migrant movements can be associated with political uprisings, only few connections have been made between the study of migration history and history of political thought and practices. Migration history, with its roots in labour history, tends to focus on social and economic aspects of migration and ignores how migration informed the transfer of ideas. Research on revolutionary cosmopolitanism concentrates on the eighteenth century and presumes that cosmopolitanism came to an end after the 1789 French Revolution due to the rise of nationalism (Palmer 1959; Polasky 2015). That this has hardly been… READ MORE