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Utopia Dystopia: The Russian Revolution in Global Perspective: 1917-28

Wednesday, 6 December 2017, 6:30 – 7:30pm

Utopia Dystopia: The Russian Revolution in Global Perspective: 1917-28

The Bolsheviks seized power in October 1917 in the conviction that this would trigger a revolution that would overthrow global capitalism and commence the transition to socialism. The Bolsheviks looked to Europe, and certainly social turbulence convulsed central, southern and eastern Europe between 1918 and 1923. However, the depth of revolutionary crisis in countries such as Germany and Italy was never as great as in Russia in 1917, and insurrections of the type that had put the Bolsheviks into power failed. The lecture argues that despite the Bolsheviks’ conviction that the significance of their revolution lay in the promise of workers’ power, its principal significance lay in its challenge to colonialism and imperialism, a challenge emblematized in the Congress of the Peoples of the East in September 1920. The lecture argues that it was in Asia (Persia, Korea, China, India) that the impact of the October Revolution was most enduring, at least in the immediate aftermath of October.

Steve Smith is a senior research fellow at All Souls College Oxford and a professor in the Faculty of Modern History in the University. He is a widely published historian of modern Russia and modern China and his most recent book is Russia in Revolution: An Empire in Crisis, 1890-1927 (Oxford University Press, 2017). He is currently writing a book which compares the efforts of Communist regimes in the Soviet Union (1917-41) and the People’s Republic of China (1949-76) to eliminate 'superstition' from daily life. 

Campus LocationTrinity Long Room Hub
Accessibility: Yes
Room: Neill Lecture Theatre
Event Type: Conferences, Lectures and Seminars, Public
Type of Event: One-time event
Audience: Undergrad, Postgrad, Alumni, Faculty & Staff, Public
Cost: Free

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