Revolts and revolutions

Expected dates: 2-6 March 2020

Languages: English, French

Location: Prague, Faculty of Arts

Universities: CUNI, UW, SU, hopefully also Milan and Copenhagen

Coordination: Jerzy Pysiak (UW), Marie-Françoise Saudraix (SU), Jaroslav Svátek (CUNI)

Organization: Jaroslav Svátek (CUNI)


Day 0

PM: Arrival

Day 1

AM: Thematic introduction, keynote lecture

PM: Team-building activity, students’ working group session 1

Day 2

AM: General and case study lectures

PM: Students’ working group session 2

Day 3

AM: General and case study lectures

PM: Students’ working group session 3

Day 4

AM: Round table

PM: Preparation of student presentations (in working groups)

Day 5

AM: Student presentations

PM: Sightseeing tour “Revolts, rebellions, and revolutions in Prague”

Day 6


Reading and work required of the students

  • preparatory reading (a short bibliography will be provided to students of texts to be read individually or divided between group members)

  • projects (presentations) prepared by students’ groups (containing a maximum of 5 students from all participating universities)

  • brief handouts (summaries or commented bibliographies) to be provided by groups to students from other groups

Thematic scope of the course

The topic will be explored within the broad context of European history, with no limitations to any specific historical period. The aim of the course is not to offer an exhaustive discussion of revolution or a systematic typology of revolts in human history but to provide a theme to be explored across different historical periods.

In lectures, group work and student presentations, the course will examine:

  • different types of factors (economic, political and religious) behind revolts and revolutions and their evolution over time (with focus on the concept of political equality which was different in different periods)

  • agents, as revolt cannot be reduced to a function of misery

  • the geographical and chronological dimensions of the topic, with the identification of “revolutionary periods” and the examination of differences across European regions

  • the actual course of revolts and revolutions

  • the consequences of revolutions in terms of their immediate or long-term success

  • the symbolic dimension of revolutions, both immediate and long-term, including the question of how memories of particular (including very old) revolts have evolved until today

While not providing a systematic survey of the topic, the discussion of these aspects will give students the opportunity to develop an epistemological framework for analysing the concept of revolution and provide them with key facts as well as an exercise in deeper critical reflection.


10 students from each participating university (BA, possibly MA)

4 teachers, each from a different participating university

Timetable and communication

  • Preparation of the list of participating teachers: 15 June 2019

  • Sending of the agenda to participants: September 2019

  • Publication of an open call for students: October to November 2019 (enrolment requirements: filled-out application form, CV and motivation letter)

  • Preparation of the list of participating students: December 2019

  • Establishment of working groups and communication with and among the students: January 2020.