Robert Owen influenced well beyond his native Great Britain. France is a logical place to look for Owen’s influence because it was the home of like-minded reformers and social innovators, who, like Owen himself, famously were labeled by Karl Marx as “utopian socialists.” Many also struggled with ways to answer the century’s Social Question: how to bridge the gap between the promises of the eighteenth-century Enlightenment and French Revolution and the unhappy conditions of social and economic life in their own day.
Most examinations of the Social Question in nineteenth-century France focus on the utopian socialists or the other revolutionaries, reformers and political thinkers of varying fame who took part in the country’s tumultuous political history of the era. Instead, this presentation will examine the impact of Owen on two political personalities who are less well known to us today, though they were influential figures in their own time: the revolutionary insurrectionist Louis-Auguste Blanqui (1805-1881) and the working-class reformer Martin Nadaud (1815-1898).
Casey Harison is Professor Emeritus of History and former director of the Center for Communal Studies at the University of Southern Indiana, where he has taught courses in Modern European and World History since 1992. He has written books and articles on French and Atlantic social and cultural history. His books include a survey of modern Paris designed for the college classroom, Paris in Modern Times: From the Old Regime to the Present Day (Bloomsbury, 2019) and a Transatlantic history of the British rock and roll band The Who, Feedback: The Who and Their Generation (Rowman & Littlefield, 2015). Harison also edited A New Social Question (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2015), which is a collection of papers drawn from a conference in New Harmony to celebrate the 200th anniversary of its founding.
Please register in advance for this program. To do so visit usi.edu/250virtual
. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.