Before the First World War, old and new empires found their rule periodically rejected by violent insurgency and revolutionary movements across the globe. Examples that illustrate this global phenomenon can be found in the challenge posed to the British Empire by Irish and Indian forces, the shattering consequences for the Romanov Empire of the revolutionary year of 1905, the Boxer rebellion in China and a variety of insurgency movements in Asia and Africa. Later in the 20th century, peoples´ liberation movements fought for the establishment of a communist system or for shaking off colonial rule, in more than one occasion simultaneously.
The first part of this seminar will explore a series of case studies from the Balkans/the late and post-Ottoman Empire, where rural insurgencies, guerrilla warfare and revolutionary movements had a particularly significant role in shaping the region´s history. The seminar is particularly focused on deploying a subaltern approach to better understand the actors participating in the rebellions or revolutionary projects, most of whom often lived in peripheral or rural contexts. Its aim is to analyze the complexities in which these mobilizations of “the masses” took place. The second part of the seminar will be devoted to compare our regional insights from the Balkans with in-depth studies from other parts of the world.