Social Histories of Revolution: the long 1960s

Series of talks, January-June 2019, London, United Kingdom

Social Histories of Revolution: the Long 1960s explores the spirit of an era of extraordinary global upheaval, from the perspectives of those whose marches, strikes and movements shook the world. It follows a highly successful series in 2017, Social Histories 1917, which took a similar approach to mark the centenary of the Russian Revolution. (The recordings are available at

Through a monthly series of public discussions, to be held in central London from September 2018 to June 2019, we hope to get beyond the usual famous figures to the “social history” that propelled them; that is, history as made and lived by the masses of ordinary people who entered the political stage in collective struggle.

Each session will be opened by historians or direct participants, whose research as academics and experience as militants gives them a unique perspective on the events we will discuss.

But these are not academic lectures; nor do the talks uphold any particular political or party “line”. The majority of each session will be given over to open debate, and we encourage people of all ages, backgrounds, and experience to attend, participate, and contribute. Through collective and equal discussion, we hope to reach a deeper understanding of revolution as the active participation of millions of people in changing history.

The series is sponsored by Haymarket Books, a radical publisher of political literature. We have a small volunteer organising group, the Social History Study Group.

The talks will usually (but not always) be held monthly at 6.30 pm, in central London, on a Tuesday or Thursday.


Forthcoming talks:

Thursday 31 January, 2019: “She’s leaving home”: women’s sixties renaissance. Lynne Segal, Birkbeck, University of London. The Daryll Forde Seminar Room, 2nd floor, Anthropology Building, University College London, 14 Taviton Street, London WC1H 0BWMore info.

Thursday 28 February, 2019: China and the “cultural revolution”. Steve Smith, University of Oxford. Thursday 28 February 2019, 6.30pm. Khalili Lecture Theatre, SOAS University of London 10 Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London WC1H 0XG. 

Thursday 14 March, 2019: Revolutionary Protest in the Vietnam War Era. Alexandr Sedlmaier, University of Bangor. Basil Jellicoe community hall, St Joseph’s Flats, Drummond Crescent, London NW1 1LE.

Thursday 25 April, 2019: The 1960s and Gay Liberation, Colin Wilson. Basil Jellicoe community hall, St Joseph’s Flats, Drummond Crescent, London NW1 1LE.

Tuesday 16 May 2019: The Women’s Movement in the 1960s. Sue Bruley, University of Portsmouth.

Thursday 30 May, 2019: Revolutionary Change in Egypt. Brecht de Smet, Ghent University. Venue TBC. More info.

Thursday 27 June, 2019: Socialism and Republicanism in Ireland in the 1960s-70s. Brian Hanley, University of EdinburghVenue TBC.