1917: Historical and global perspectives

Hosted by the Department of International History and LSE Literary Festival

Wolfson Theatre, New Academic Building,


Dr Tanya Harmer

Dr Tanya Harmer

Nataliya Kibita

Nataliya Kibita

Dr David Motadel

Dr David Motadel


Professor David Stevenson

Professor David Stevenson

The Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 transformed the world. But it was neither the first global revolution nor the last revolution to have widespread resonance. So how should we understand its significance and relationship to global history 100 years after it took place? To discuss these issues, this panel places 1917 in a historical perspective and examines its implications around the world.

David Motadel: “Waves of Revolution: Thoughts on the Global History of Revolt.”

David gives a brief, general overview of the international spread of revolts during major revolutionary moments in modern history: the Atlantic Revolutions; the spread of the 1848 revolts across Europe (and beyond); the 1905-15 upheavals in Asia; the Socialist revolts of 1917-1921; the Wilsonian uprisings of 1919; the events of 1989; and finally the 'Arab spring'. He examines the nature of these revolutionary waves, considering factors such as communication and the exchange of ideas and slogans.

Nataliya Kibita: “The Long-lasting Legacy of the Russian Revolution in Ukraine.”

The Soviet Union, the state that was created as a result of the Russian revolution of 1917 no longer exists. Its economic model collapsed, while its ideology is discredited. Yet some political institutions that had been formed during the Soviet times are very much alive even today. Nataliya looks at how political institutions that had been formed in Ukraine in 1917 developed and consolidated during the Soviet times and survived the fall of the Soviet Union. She argues that political institutions that had been formed under the pressure of Ukrainian nationalism in 1917 and transformed under the pressure of Russian centralism after 1920 protect Ukraine today from becoming an authoritarian state.

Tanya Harmer: “Latin America’s Revolutionary Twentieth Century.”

What were the impacts and legacies of the Bolshevik Revolution in Latin America? How did it feed into the region’s revolutionary twentieth century? A hundred years after the Bolshevik Revolution and fifty years after Che Guevara’s death in Bolivia, Tanya offers a broad history of revolution in Latin America from Mexican Revolution in 1910 to the Cuban Revolution of 1959 and the Central American revolutionary insurgencies of the 1980s. In examining the history of revolution in the region, she argues that the Bolshevik Revolution was a pivotal moment for left-wing politics but that local ideas and people were also vitally important.

David Motadel (@DavidMotadel) is an Assistant Professor of International History at LSE. He works on the history of modern Europe and Europe’s relations with the wider world. He is the author of a book on the history of Muslims under German rule in the Second World War (Harvard University Press, 2014), ranging from North Africa and the Balkans to the Caucasus and the Crimea, and the editor of a volume on Islam in the European empires (Oxford University Press, 2014). His articles have been published in a number of journals, including Past and Present, the Journal of Contemporary History, and the Historical Journal.

Nataliya Kibita is a Teaching Fellow in the Department of International History at LSE. Her main research interest is Ukraine’s state- and nation-building. Currently, she is working on a new research project that explores the historical origins of formal and informal political institutions that allow Ukraine to rebuff authoritarianism today. Before joining the LSE in September 2015, Dr Kibita taught Soviet history at the University of Edinburg and University of Glasgow. 

Tanya Harmer (@TanyaHarmer) is an Associate Professor in the Department of International History at LSE. She is a specialist on the Cold War in Latin America with a particular interest in the international, transnational and global dynamics of the struggle.   She has written an inter-American history of Chile during the presidency of Salvador Allende (1970-73) and conducted research on Brazilian Cold War interventions in the Southern Cone of Latin America, US-Chilean relations in the mid-1970s and the Cuban Revolution’s influence in Latin America. Her current research deals with the history of Chile’s Revolutionary Left. 

The Department of International History (@lsehistory) is one of the top five university history departments in the UK.

Suggested Twitter hashtag for this event: #LSELitFest

This event forms part of the LSE Space for Thought Literary Festival 2017, taking place from Monday 20 - Saturday 25 February 2017, with the theme "Revolutions".


A podcast of this event is available to download from 1917: Historical and global perspectives

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