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History Lecture Series

Worlds Turned Upside Down: Five Revolutions that Shaped Our Times

2017 History Lecture Series

2017 marks the centennial of the Russian Revolution – one of the most decisive and influential events of modern times. It stands within a lineage of dramatic upheavals characterized by violent insurgency, heroic leadership and radical change. Join us as we examine five revolutions around the world to explore how these events still shape our world today.

Wednesday evenings, January 11 – February 8. All lectures begin at 7:30 p.m. and will be held in Kane Hall 130 (directions and parking information).

General public: $15
Veterans and UWAA/UWRA members: $12
Current UW students: $5

Can’t make it to a lecture? Want to catch up on previous lectures? Follow this link for live streaming and archived video.

The featured speakers have provided a short list of suggested background reading designed to enhance your lecture experience. Find the links for individual lectures below, or download the entire series list as a printable pdf here. All titles are available at University Book Store, where UWAA members enjoy a 10% discount.

Wed. Jan. 11, 2017

A New Order for the Ages: The Many Meanings of the American Revolution

Richard R. Johnson, Professor Emeritus, University of Washington

The American Revolution laid down a pattern for modern revolutions across the globe, while defining an American ideal of politics and purpose drawn from protest and rebellion. We look at the origins, achievements and legacies of this transforming event.

This lecture is full. Follow this link for live and archived video of the series.

Wed. Jan. 18, 2017

Power and Privilege in the French Revolution

Raymond Jonas, UW professor of history

The Revolution of 1789 shattered Europe’s old regime and sent shockwaves from Paris to the Caribbean. This lecture explores the claim that the French Revolution invented modern political culture, from the pursuit of human rights to the use of terror as a political tool.

Wed. Jan. 25, 2017

The Russian Revolution and the Making of the 20th Century: Global Perspectives at the Centennial

Glennys Young, UW professor of history and international studies

The Russian Revolution was at once a symbol of hope for the oppressed and a warning sign for those in power. It fueled decades of anticommunist ideologies and policies all over the world, but it also had unlikely connections with the Pacific Northwest.

Wed. Feb. 1, 2017

“Compatriots, can you hear me?” The Vietnamese Revolution of 1945 and Its Implications for a Post-Colonial World

Christoph Giebel, UW associate professor of history and international studies

Consciously drawing on the American, French, and Russian Revolutions, the Vietnamese Revolution accelerated the demise of Western colonial empires, foreshadowing decades of post-colonial interventionism around the world.

Wed. Feb. 8, 2017

Beyond and Within the Cuban Revolution

Ileana María Rodríguez-Silva, UW associate professor of history


After 1959, Cuba became either a symbol of popular resistance or totalitarian governance. Unfortunately, in the process Cubans became extricated from their own complex history. We examine Cuba’s multiple revolutions during the 19th and 20th centuries to illuminate the global and muddied histories of Modernity.

UWAA and UWRA members receive discounts and advance registration for lectures.

Not a UWAA member? Join today!

For more information, contact the UW Alumni Association at 206-543-0540 or