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John Higginson - Why Revolutions?

Event Information


Integrated Science Building | Room 145

Date & Time

Dec 4, 2017 | 4:00 pm

Contact Name

Stellan Vinthagen

Professor John Higginson

Resistance Studies Initiative Fall Speaker Series: 
Distinguished researchers and activists share critical reflections on resistance issues.

John Higginson is Professor of History at the University of Massachusetts Amherst in Amherst, Massachusetts.  He is also a Research Fellow in the College of Human Sciences and the Department of History at the University of South Africa (UNISA) in Pretoria, South Africa.  He is the author of A Working Class in the Making: Belgian Colonial Labor Policy, Private Enterprise and the African Mineworker, 1907-1951 (Madison, Wisconsin: University of Wisconsin Press, 1989).  Cambridge University Press published his monograph Collective Violence and the Agrarian Origins of South African Apartheid, 1900-1948 in November 2014. He has written numerous articles and book chapters on South Africa and the regional economic system of southern Africa.  Just recently he contributed to a special edition of the Journal of African History on the impact of E. P. Thompson’s work on African historians.  Presently, he is at work on a book that is tentatively titled “The Hidden Costs of Industrialization:  Southern Africa and the Global Economy, 1860-2007.  He is also working on a joint research project with Joye Bowman that is tentatively titled “Engineering Empire: The South African Odyssey of American Mining Engineers, 1893-1976.

Identifying the circumstances that gave rise to sustained grievances, many of which last for generations, among beleaguered groups and dependent social classes in countries as disparate as France, Russia, China and South Africa will be the first objective of my talk.  Secondly, I will examine, how some social groupings were either transformed or obliterated by popular protest, rebellion and revolution.  Finally, I will examine the differential capacity of dependent social classes to engage in political action.

Refreshments will be served
Open to All