Time, Revolution, and the Nation: Temporality and Radical Politics in France, c. 1890–c. 1910

Research seminar with Dr. Alexandra Paulin, Humboldt University of Berlin.

This talk is about how people have thought about and experienced time, and how their ideas about time have shaped their views and their actions. I explore how different understandings and experiences of time—the speed at which it was perceived to move, the extent to which the future was near and graspable, the ways in which the past was seen to impinge on the present—can be used to analyse politics, ideologies, and worldviews. Using the thinkers and activists of the poles of left and right in France between the 1890s and 1914 as a case study, the talk argues that time provides an important means of exploring how concepts such as nationalism, revolution, and social change were understood in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.