Program and Speakers

JOHN MERRIMAN, YALE UNIVERSITY, USA

Professor John Merriman
Professor John Merriman

Keynote: Misery, Hope, and Terrorism in Paris during the Belle Epoque that Wasn't

I will consider Anarchism and Anarchist terrorists in Fin-de-Siecle Paris, in the 'Belle Epoque that Wasn't'. Most anarchists of course were not terrorists, but some among the 'illegalist' faction were. Two of my heroes were not. I will follow Victor Kibaltchiche (later Victor Serge) and Rirette Maitrejean, anarchist ideologues and peaceful people, and their relations to opposition to the Bonnot Gang, which terrorised Paris and its environs, 1911-12. And I will ask who really had the power of violence in these years?

John Merriman is Charles Seymour Professor of History at Yale University. In 2018, the American Historical Association honoured him with the annual award for lifetime scholarly distinction. His most recent books include History on the Margins; Ballad of the Anarchist Bandits; Dynamite Club; Massacre: the Life and Death of the Paris Commune; and the fourth edition of A History of Modern Europe since the Renaissance. Six of his books have been translated into various foreign languages. He lives in Balazuc, France, and North Haven, Connecticut.

TIMOTHY TACKETT, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA - IRVINE, USA

Emeritus Professor Timothy Tackett
Emeritus Professor Timothy Tackett

Public Lecture: Living in Paris during the French Revolution: The Story of an Ordinary Citizen

Under ordinary circumstances, the life of Adrien-Joseph Colson (1727-1797), before and during the French Revolution, would be totally unknown and forgotten. A petty lawyer residing in Paris, he never held any positions of authority; he never published any newspapers or pamphlets; he was never a member of a Revolutionary club.  But nevertheless, he did write over a thousand letters to a friend in the provinces that have been almost miraculously preserved and that provide a remarkable account of his experiences. His correspondence is particularly fascinating in that it serves not only as a record of his own life but of that of his neighbours and his neighbourhood in the very centre of Paris where he lived.  The paper will provide an overview of his biography, with particular emphasis on what it reveals of the intense emotions generated by the rumours, the denunciations, and the panic that swept through his neighbourhood and measurably affected the dynamics of the Revolution.

Timothy Tackett is an Emeritus Professor of History at the University of California, Irvine.  Among his more important books are Priest and Parish in Eighteenth Century France (1977); Religion, Revolution, and Regional Culture (1986); Becoming a Revolutionary (1996); When the King Took Flight (2003); and The Coming of the Terror (2015).