The Academic Minute: Erhard on the Right to Revolution

Published: Oct 10, 2023

An adult with short brown hear wearing an emerald dress shirt and grey suit jacket stands outside in front of large pine trees. Academic Minute
Mike Nance (Marlayna Demond '11/UMBC)

Revolution. Is it a right or a duty? The answer is more of a grey area. Those for and against a revolution have complex reasons for holding their ground. Some point to defending structural systems thought to be the reason for progress and prosperity. Others fight against laws that have legalized inequality and injustice. Centuries of revolution have not clarified this question.

UMBC’s Mike Nance, associate professor of philosophy, studies Johann Benjamin Erhard’s understanding of the right to revolution, which the German philosopher wrote about during the height of the French Revolution (1789 – 1799). Nance, along with James A. Clarke, senior lecturer at York University in England, is translating a volume of Erhard’s Writings on Revolution for Oxford University Press.

 “Erhard argues that the right to revolution can be sustained, but only under conditions of what we would call structural injustice,” Nance explains to Lynn Pasquerella, president of the American Association of Colleges and Universities and host of The Academic Minute, a daily show featuring faculty from colleges and universities worldwide speaking about their cutting-edge research. 

Listen here, or view on The Academic Minute site

UMBC’s Academic Minute takeover week

Nance joined five UMBC scholars this fall in UMBC’s first Academic Minute Takeover Week, featuring the latest research in media and communication studies; modern languages, linguistics, and intercultural communication; language, literacy, and culture; and history. This series is republished on NPR podcasts and Inside Higher Ed.

Learn more about Mike Nance’s research and UMBC’s philosophy program.

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