Jack Censer, dean emeritus of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences and professor emeritus, Department of History and Art History, introduced his latest book, Debating Modern Revolution (Bloomsbury Academic) on Tuesday, April 12, 2016, at the Arlington Campus of George Mason University. The book continues Censer’s exploration of revolution in its many forms, focusing on its development from the American and French revolutions in the 18th century to the Arab Spring movements that took place in 2010 – 2011.
Censer’s previous publications include Prelude to Power: The Parisian Radical Press, 1789-91; The French Press in the Age of Enlightenment; Liberty, Equality, Fraternity: Exploring the French Revolution; and On the Trail of the DC Sniper: Fear and the Media.
He describes Debating Modern Revolution as a consideration of "modern" revolutions, those that seek to bring about changes to society that implement a new ideal, as opposed to a reversion to any system in place before. “The idea of revolution is only going to run out of steam when people stop believing in positive changes that can be made here on Earth,” Censer explains. He notes that from the Enlightenment, revolutions have followed a basic principle that individuals can affect change, not merely institutions like the church or the state.
“How can we be free? How can we all be happy?” Revolutionaries, says Censer, believe that the answer lies on the other side of a massive societal change.
April 14, 2016