Anarchism in the Fin de Siecle


Casey Harison, “The Paris Commune of 1871, The Russian Revolution of 1905 and The Shifting of the Revolutionary Tradition,” History and Memory, 19:2 (Winter 2007)

Ilham Khuri-Makdisi, “The Late Nineteenth-Century World and the Emergence of a Global Radical Culture,” The Eastern Mediterranean and the Making of Global Radicalism, 1860-1914 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2013)

Jeremey Jennings, “Syndicalism and the French Revolution,” Journal of Contemporary History, 26:1 (January 1991)


The Earl of Rosebery, “The State of Liberalism” (1908)

W. L. Blease, “The New Liberalism” (1913)

Jean Jaures, “The Socialist Aim” (1905)

Alexander Millerand, “Reformist Socialism” (1903)

Seminar Topics

During the late nineteenth century, European politics exhibited an increasing violence due to the rise of anarchism in continental and international politics. Seminar discussion will consider how the re-emergence of violence and the changes taking place at the end of the century impacted other political groups like the liberals and socialists. We will examine what challenges the fin-de-siècle posed for European politics and the implications that terrorism had for the European left and the revolutionary tradition.

Questions to consider:

  1. Did events like the Paris Commune and Russian Revolution of 1905 change or influence conceptions of the revolution? If so, in what ways?
  2. According to Jennings, what was syndicalism and how did it differ from other forms of socialism?
  3. What does Khuri-Makdisi claim lead to the creation of a global radical culture in the late nineteenth century?
  4. What proposals made by Jaures and Millerand seem at odds with established socialist thinking?
  5. What distinguished the “new liberalism” of the early twentieth century with the classical liberalism of the post-revolutionary period?

Further Reading:

Julia Nicholls, Revolutionary Thought after the Paris Commune, 1871-1885. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2019.

Julian Casanova, “Terror and Violence: The Dark Face of Spanish Anarchism,” International Labor and Working-Class History, 67 (Spring 2005)

Paul Thomas, Karl Marx and The Anarchists. London: Routledge, 1980. Chapter 5.

Murray Bookchin, The Spanish Anarchists: The Heroic Years, 1868-1936. Edinburgh: AK Press, 1998.

George Richard Esenwein, Anarchist Ideology and the Working-Class Movement in Spain, 1868-1898. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1989.

Nunzio Pericone, Italian Anarchism, 1864-1892. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1993.

Davide Turcato, “Italian Anarchism as a Transnational Movement, 1885-1915,” International Review of Social History, 52 (2005).

Pietro Di Paola, The Knights Errant of Anarchy: London and the Italian Anarchist Diaspora, 1880-1917. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2013.

Constance Bantman, The French Anarchists in London, 1880-1914: Exile and Transnationalism in the First Globalisation. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2013.

Susan K. Morrissey, “The ‘Apparel of Innocence’: Toward a Moral Economy of Terrorism in Late Imperial Russia,” The Journal of Modern History, 84:3 (September 2012)

Peter Ryley, Making Another World Possible: Anarchism, Anti-Capitalism and Ecology in Late Nineteenth and Early Twentieth-Century Britain. New York: Bloomsbury, 2013.

Elun T. Gabriel, Assassins and Conspirators: Anarchism, Socialism and Political Culture in Imperial Germany. Dekalb: Northern Illinois University Press, 2014.

Richard Bach Jensen, The Battle Against Anarchist Terror: An International History, 1878-1934. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014, Chapters 1-10.

Richard Back Jensen, “The Secret Agent, International Policing and Anarchist Terrorism, 1900-1914,” Terrorism and Political Violence, 29:4 (2017).

Richard D. Sonn, Anarchism and Popular Politics in Fin-de-Siecle France. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1989.

Alexander Varias, Paris and the Anarchists: Paris and the Anarchists: Aesthetes and Subversives during the Fin de Siecle. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1996.

James Joll, The Anarchists. New York: Little Brown, 1964.

Elun Gabriel, “The Left Liberal Critique of Anarchism in Imperial Germany,” German Studies Review, 33:2 (May 2010)

Claudia Verhoeven, “Time of Terror, Terror of Time: On the Impatience of Russian Revolutionary Terrorism,” Jahrbücher für Geschichte Osteuropas, 58:2 (2010)

Caroline Cahm, Kropotkin: The Rise of Revolutionary Anarchism, 1872-1886. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989.

David Berry and Constance Bantman, ed. New Perspectives on Anarchism, Labour and Syndicalism: The Individual, the Nation and the Transnational. New Castle: Cambridge Scholars, 2010.