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“100 Year Anniversary of the 1917 Revolution”- Was the Russian Revolution a Failure?

December 1, 2017 @ 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Please join us on December 1st, 2017 for “Was the Russian Revolution a Failure?”, a talk by Sheila Fitzpatrick, Professor at the University of Sydney and Distinguished Service Professor Emerita of the University of Chicago. This is the final event in the lecture series entitled “100 Year Anniversary of the 1917 Revolution”, hosted by the NYU Jordan Center and co-sponsored by the NYU Department of History.

It was quite a year: an autocracy collapsed, power spilled onto the streets, and the world’s first successful socialist revolution unfolded in Petrograd. It was the end of an era and the start of another. Not surprisingly the controversy continues, with many of us finding meaning and a model, others a dire warning, and still others lessons on how to do it differently. Five events at the NYU Jordan Center will adopt different approaches to that same year and consider multiple possible meanings — from the angst of intellectuals to the nature of non-capitalist law and value to longue duree of world history. The lecture series culminates in a keynote by the renowned Sheila Fitzpatrick and roundtable with scholars representing diverse disciplinary perspectives: literature, culture, history and politics.

The centenary of the Russian Revolution has been greeted by official silence in Russia, since Putin’s regime is unsure about whether this is a usable part of present day Russia’s past or not. Western historians have also reacted without great enthusiasm, many characterizing the revolution as a “failure”. But it is in the nature of revolutions to fail, since, if they succeed, it is by producing a new (non-revolutionary) “normal.” My talk will explore the question of what constitutes failure and success, and what legacy the Russian Revolution has left.

Sheila Fitzpatrick is a historian of modern Russia/the Soviet Union who is Professor at the University of Sydney and Distinguished Service Professor Emerita of the University of Chicago. Her recent books include Tear off the Masks! Identity and Imposture in Twentieth-Century Russia (2005), A Spy in the Archives: A Memoir of Cold-War Russia (2014) and On Stalin’s Team: the Years of Living Dangerously in Soviet Politics (2015). A 4th edition of The Russian Revolution will be published later this year, and she has just published Mischka’s War: A European Odyssey of the 1940s. She is currently working on Soviet displaced persons after the Second World War, particularly issues of repatriation and resettlement in Australia.

For more information regarding the “100 Year Anniversary of the 1917 Revolution” lecture series, please contact jordan.russia.center@nyu.edu

Image: “Lenin, Vladimir: during the Russian Revolution, 1917”. Photo. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Web. 28 Aug. 2017. <https://www.britannica.com/event/Russian-Revolution-of-1917?oasmId=121015>

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Watch the event video here


December 1, 2017
3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
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Jordan Center for the Advanced Study of Russia
(212) 992-6575


NYU Jordan Center for the Advanced Study of Russia
19 University Place, 2nd Floor
New York, NY 10003 United States
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