Fabian Lemmes: Terrorism as a Political Issue. The Anarchist Attacks in Western Europe, 1878-1906

On The November 18, 2019

10h00 to 12h00
26, Place Bellecour - 69002 Lyon
Salle de réunion - Allée A - 1er étage

In the late 19th century Europe experienced an unprecedented wave of political assassination attempts and bomb attacks. These were mostly committed by anarchists under the term ‘propaganda by the deed’ and are often considered as the prototype of modern terrorism. The attacks failed to achieve their goal of mobilising the working classes, but they had a huge impact on the political space, notably due to the late 19th century media revolution.

Why, how, and with what consequences did terrorism become a political issue? Fabian Lemmes studies this question in a comparative and transnational perspective focusing on France, Germany, Italy and Spain. He shows that the attacks provoked not only massive government reaction – in terms of security, immigration and the repression of social movements – but also intense public debates about their meaning, appropriate responses by the State, and the boundaries of legitimate politics. Not least, they lastingly shaped the perception of anarchism, and the evolution of the anarchist and socialist movements.

Bio: Fabian Lemmes is Junior Professor of European History at the Ruhr University Bochum, Germany. He is a fellow of the Collegium de Lyon in 2019-2020.