The historical construction of modernity finds in nineteenth-century and twentieth-century revolutionary processes a point of view from which to understand the cadence of its social and political intensities. This lecture by Enzo Traverso pivots around his latest book Revolution. An Intellectual History (Verso, 2021) in which he addresses the genealogy of the “revolution” concept and its multiple uses, giving rise to dialectic constellations from intellectuals such as Karl Marx, Aleksandra Kolontái and Auguste Blanqui and exploring the connection between their lines of theory and the existential realities they were developed within, and without averting the gaze from the aesthetic expressions that emerged in parallel with these revolutions, in addition to their relationship with time, oscillating incessantly between past and future, memory and utopia.
Enzo Traverso currently works as a professor of Humanities at Cornell University (Ithaca, New York). His work examines the relationship between politics and violence in contemporary history, focusing on German Jewish philosophy, Nazism, anti-Semitism and the twentieth century’s world wars. His publications include La historia desgarrada. Ensayo sobre Auschwitz y los intelectuales (Herder, 2000), The New Faces of Fascism. Populism and the Far Right (Verso, 2019) and Revolution. An Intellectual History (Verso, 2021), in which he understands history as disputed territory, exploring the mutations of reactionary thought and invoking the legacy of critical modern traditions and their crises.