This essay outlines a research agenda the authors call “Third World Historical,” combining reflections from Ethiopia and Iran to query the legacies of revolutionary politics in our present. Third world activists from the 1960s and 1970s engaged revolutionary talk to pose questions about the particularities of their immediate contexts, and they posed new concepts of revolution along the way. Congealed manifestations of the term revolution can preclude our effort to think the event as experience. If revolution signals the disruption of existing categories, can we in turn disrupt congealed categories to rethink revolution? What could it mean to reposition the question of revolution in the specificity of the third world, against the tendency to map revolutions as models, patterns, and stages?

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