The Greek revolution of 1821 constitutes a turning point in the history of revolutions. It is the first breach in the counter-revolutionary front shaped by Napoleon’s defeat at Waterloo and the domination of the Holly Alliance. This breach, which widened a few years later in 1848 with the revolutionary wave of the “springtime of the People”, became the driver of multiple ethnogeneses in Eastern Mediterranean, during which several national ideologies and state institutions were formed.  On the basis of the new capitalist social relations, but also drawing on precapitalist ethnic references – many of which went far back in time – several ethnic, linguistic, cultural, geographic and class fragments coalesced to form this new reality.

Today, an assessment on the role of the 1821 revolution and the historical path of the Greek state is more necessary than ever. On the occasion of the 200 years since 1821, several conferences and events have already been announced. These are dominated by liberal, cosmopolitan and nationalistic approaches which, despite their fundamental differences, constitute ideologies apologetic of contemporary political objectives, with emphasis on Europeanism and/or nationalism. On the other hand, there is a glaring absence of critical approaches which focus on the subjects of the revolution: the common people and their culture, struggles, aims, expectations and unrealized visions.

Of course, we harbor no illusions. We are aware of the fact that each reading of history is first and foremost bound to the present, and the theoretical and ideological predispositions of each scholar. We do not believe that history can be formulated in “scientifically objective” terms, since even a critically aware approach presupposes a priori values which restrict the scope of the historical gaze. We choose not to talk about the revolution, but about the plural of “revolutions”, in order to emphasize the manifold, different, but also contradictory truths of 1821.

Our goal is to bring out those perspectives that have been systematically ignored by official historiography. We want to focus on the people’s history of the revolution; the aspirations of the oppressed and of the minorities; the ethnic and linguistic heterogeneities which constituted the raw materials of the revolution; the worldview of social banditry and the armed margins of society; the popular culture and its understanding by foreign travelers; the internationalist solidarity; the class struggles within the revolution; the central government structures and their struggle with local, pre-revolutionary institutions of self-government; the unfulfilled revolutionary visions; the institutional and constitutional innovations; and the revolutionary fables that were born out of 1821.

We want to comprehend the revolution by placing it in the context of its time, the specific sociopolitical landscape of the Ottoman domain, the revolutionary experiences of the neighboring people of the Balkans, Asia Minor and the Mediterranean Sea. Outside one-dimensional perspectives, we seek to simultaneously analyze the institutions of the old regimes, the new emerging nationalisms, as well as the advance of Western colonialism.

In a time dominated by nationalist revival on one side, and by historical revisionism on the other, a time which disparages revolutions, questioning the right of rebellion, a multifaceted, critical approach is more urgent than ever. We need a perspective which will combine historical, sociological, linguistic, geographical, economical, constitutional, philosophical and other elements, in order to synthesize, in a kaleidoscopic manner, the multiple truths of 1821, the multiple truths of the revolutionaries themselves.

Guide for authors

  • Abstracts of papers for oral presentation should be approximately 500 words in length. It should also include: a) Title b) Author/s name/s c) Affiliations d) keywords
  • The deadline to submit abstracts is 31st March, 2021
  • Notification of acceptance: 31st May, 2021
  • To submit your abstract please send an email to:

The languages of the conference are Greek and English