Postdoc and Lecturer in the Humanities and History, Yale University
Terence Renaud received his Ph.D. in history from the University of California, Berkeley. Currently he is working on the book Restarting Socialism: The Era of Renewal on the European Left, 1930-1970. Socialism once inspired millions with hope for a better social order. Why did the socialist idea die out? This book provides an answer: socialists’ repeated efforts at renewal ironically backfired, rendering socialism obsolete. Historians often view the mid-twentieth century as a period of decline on the left, but those decades actually witnessed remarkable innovation by European socialists. Splinter groups proliferated, the concept of generation entered leftist discourse, and a vocabulary of “renewal” replaced the old binary of “reform” versus “revolution.” This book examines German, French, Italian, and other European intellectuals who participated in socialist renewal efforts. The New Left of the 1960s was not Europe’s first new left. A succession of new lefts structured the history of socialism in the last century. The book also bears on early twenty-first-century attempts to create the “next left.” In addition, he is preparing a second project called “The Underground: Subversion and the Social Imaginary in Modern Europe.” This project traces the history of underground movements and the metaphor of subterranean, hidden, and invisible politics.