Our final lecture this semester was given by Marcos Perez, a Professor of Sociology here at Colby. Professor Perez continued to discuss the sociological and anthropogenic factors of a revolution that Professor Peterson mentioned the previous week, as he talked about what being a revolutionary means. His point that there are many ways of talking about what it means to be revolutionary really caught my attention, especially as we are at the end of the semester and these discussions about the word Revolutions’ meaning and reality. Early on in his lecture, Professor Perez reminded us that a social revolution is defined as a profound transformation in the way that a society is organized and ruled that creates change throughout history. This framework has appeared in multiple discussions this semester, but what he said about the experience of being revolutionary was especially unique. Professor Perez posed the question what is it like to be at the front line? Why do some engage and some not? I had yet to consider these ideas, and I’m now wondering if you really have to be at the front line to be revolutionary.
I was very impressed by the clarity and organization of Professor Perez’s findings on the topic of revolutions and the questions he posed later in his presentation. Following his introductory thoughts, he explained how revolutions are both crucial and nebulous: crucial because they are catalysts of social change and nebulous because they are hard to find. I definitely could see how these two characteristics apply to the individuals, time periods, research, events, and developments we’ve looked at and considered revolutionary this semester. I can clearly see what Professor Perez meant that revolutions are hard to find and, for the most part, are very difficult to get accurate accounts of, but does that mean there isn’t room for personal revolutions? By personal revolutions I mean something, on the individual scale, that completely changes the way a person’s world works?
When I define the word revolution, I think of something that completely alters social institutions and turns things upside down. I now think that a revolution is not exclusively on the national or global scale, and by that I mean that they can be something personal as well. Similar characteristics of revolutions that we’ve seen this semester can be applied at this individual scale, and it even remains difficult to get a perfect account what it’s like to be revolutionary. For example, in my Digital Publishing course this semester (CI248) one of our projects was to create a podcast capturing an individual’s perspective on revolutions, and I saw how people tend not to think about revolutionary aspects of their lives. The student I interviewed actually ended up asking to talk to me again after thinking about it more and thought about something that was revolutionary in her personal life. So it’s interesting not only to consider how or who we restrict being revolutionary for, but also who’s to say whose definition is right? Is a revolution a cleanly defined noun or is it something up for interpretation? Throughout this semester most of our discussions have argued different interpretations of revolutions, but is there a limit to how small scaled this can go? My final decision after this semester is that it can be something personal, communal, national, or global. Events, discoveries, and changes can happen that completely change the way an individual’s world goes around, so I argue that revolutions can come in all shapes, sizes, scales, places, times, and dimensions.