053 Notions of Revolution and Changing Images of Europe: From the Eighteenth to the Nineteenth Century

Notions of Revolution and Changing Images of Europe
Tuesday, June 25, 2013: 2:00 PM-3:45 PM
5.59 (PC Hoofthuis)
The second session of the symposium Notions of revolution and shifting images of Europe analyses the ways in which the changing meaning of revolution influenced the way Europe imagined itself from the end of the eighteenth to the end of the nineteenth century. The first paper is by Maurizio Griffo who, by looking at the writings of Thomas Paine on the American and the French Revolutions, draws a seminal comparison between Europe and the New World and between the images each one of these depicted of itself. Danilo Breschi examines instead the writings of Alexis de Tocqueville focusing on his comparison between the American and French Revolutions. He makes the claim that to different notions of revolution Tocqueville associated different images of Europe. The paper by Matthew D’Auria takes into account the relationship between Guizot’s ideas of revolution, expounded in his studies of the American, English and French revolutions, and the idea of a common European civilization, highlighting the extent to which the French Revolution was seen by Guizot as a phase of a European – rather the French – history. Based on the works by Reinhart Koselleck, Adriano Vinale claims in his paper that Cuvier’s 1826 Discours sur le revolutions de la surface du globe, developing a theory of paleontological discontinuity, contributed to shaping a specifically European understanding of revolution – one inherently different from the more ‘evolutionist’ American notion. His claim is that a shift from a scientific to a political paradigm took place in the nineteenth century, influencing the European understanding of revolution itself. The final paper of this session, by Fernanda Gallo, examines in depth notions of modernity, revolution and images of Europe in the works of the Neapolitan Hegelians, claiming that, from their viewpoint, in order to understand national intellectual traditions and national policies, it was necessary to consider modernity itself as a sort of ‘European revolution’.
Florian Greiner
Richard Deswarte
Thomas Paine’s idea of revolution: Between the New and the Old World
Maurizio Griffo, University of Naples Federico II
Revolution: From science to politics
Adriano Vinale, University of Salerno