Colin Jones - "The Fall of Robespierre" - Mauricio Tenorio, Paul Cheney, William Sewell

Wednesday, February 9, 2022 - 5:00pm - 6:00pm
Event Presenter/Author: 
Colin Jones

Colin Jones will discuss The Fall of Robespierre: 24 Hours in Revolutionary Paris. He will be joined in conversation by Mauricio Tenorio, Paul Cheney, and William Sewell.

Presented in partnership with The Chicago Center for Contemporary Theory

***Please note that the format for this event has changed: it will now take place entirely virtually***


About the book:

The day of 9 Thermidor (27 July 1794) is universally acknowledged as a major turning point in the history of the French Revolution. At 12.00 midnight, Maximilien Robespierre, the most prominent member of the Committee of Public Safety which had for more than a year directed the Reign of Terror, was planning to destroy one of the most dangerous plots that the Revolution had faced.

By 12.00 midnight at the close of the day, following a day of uncertainty, surprises, upsets and reverses, his world had been turned upside down. He was an outlaw, on the run, and himself wanted for conspiracy against the Republic. He felt that his whole life and his Revolutionary career were drawing to an end. As indeed they were. He shot himself shortly afterwards. Half-dead, the guillotine finished him off in grisly fashion the next day.

The Fall of Robespierre provides an hour-by-hour analysis of these 24 hours.

About the author: 

Colin Jones was educated at Oxford and is professor of history at Queen Mary University of London. Jones has also taught at Newcastle, Exeter, Warwick, Stanford, Renmin, and Paris VIII universities. He has held research positions at Princeton, the Collège de France, Columbia University's Paris campus, and the National Humanities Center, North Carolina. From 2012–15, Jones held a Leverhulme Trust Major Research Fellowship on his current research project, which focuses on the day of 9 Thermidor when Robespierre was overthrown.

About the interlocutors:

Mauricio Tenorio is Samuel N. Harper Professor of History, Romance Languages & Literatures. Tenorio's work focuses on the cultural and social history of Mexican urbanism, particularly of Mexico City. His book, I Speak of the City, connects the realms of literature, architecture, music, popular language, art, and public health to investigate the city in a variety of contexts: as a living history textbook, as an expression of the state, as a modernist capital, as a laboratory, and as language.

Paul Cheney is an historian of Europe with a specialization in old regime France and its colonial empire. Before beginning his PhD training in history at Columbia University, he studied political economy at the New School for Social Research. He has taught at Columbia University, the European College of Liberal Arts (Berlin), and the Queen's University of Belfast.

Although he retired in 2007, William Sewell still teaches the occasional course and is a resident fellow of the Chicago Center for Contemporary Theory. He is a founding editor of Critical Historical Studies, published by the University of Chicago Press. He has long been interested in the intersection between history and social theory. His most recent book, Logics of History: Social Theory and Social Transformation (Chicago, 2005), won an award in 2008 from the American Sociological Association for the best recent book in sociological theory. Most of his historical work has focused on modern France. He is currently working on the social and cultural history of capitalism in eighteenth-century France but has made a few forays into the history of contemporary capitalism. In 2004 Sewell was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He served as a trustee of the Institute for Advanced Study (2009–14) and as president of the Social Science History Association (2011–12).

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