Due to the strong sense among the student community of belonging to a specific social group, student revolts have been an integral part of the university throughout its history. Ironically, since the Middle Ages, the advantageous position of students in society as part of the social elite undoubtedly enforced their critical approach. This edited collection studies the role of students as a critical mass within their urban context and society through examples of student revolts from the foundation period of universities in the Middle Ages until today, covering the whole European continent. A dominant theme is the large degree of continuity visible in student revolts across space and time, especially concerning the (rebellious) attitudes of and criticisms directed towards students. Too often, each generation thinks they are the first. Moreover, student revolts are definitely not always of a progressive kind, but instead they are often characterized by a tension between conservative ambitions (e.g. the protection of their own privileges or nostalgia for the good old days) and progressive ideas. Particular attention is paid to the use of symbols (like flags, caps, etc.), rituals and special traditions within these revolts in order to bring the students’ voice back to the fore.

part I|104 pages

Forms of Action

chapter 2|3 pages


Forms of Action

chapter 3|13 pages

Protesting in Paris, Toulouse, and Caen at the End of the Middle Ages

Legal Means and Means of Action

chapter 4|12 pages

In Defence of Their Privileges

Student Protest at the University of Orléans in the Early Fourteenth Century

chapter 5|15 pages

Quarrels Under the Portico

Student Violence in Early Modern Italian Universities

chapter 6|13 pages

Supporting Professors and the Professions?

The Medical Student Demonstrations of 1907–1908 in Paris

chapter 8|17 pages

The Peaceful Revolts

1968 in the Nordic Welfare States

chapter 9|17 pages

No More Professors

The Peaceful Revolution in the Department of Psychology at the University of Groningen, the Netherlands, 1968

part II|104 pages

Student Identity and Radicalism

chapter 10|5 pages


Student Identity and Radicalism

chapter 11|16 pages

Moving Out!

Student Identity and Symbolic Protest at Eighteenth-Century German Universities

chapter 12|16 pages

From the French Revolution to Tractarianism

Student Revolt and Generational Identity at the University of Oxford, 1800–1845

chapter 13|18 pages

University Students After Italian Unification

Riots, Organisations, and Political Engagement (1860–1885)

chapter 14|14 pages


Politicisation, Corps Identity, and Generation Gap in the Italian Students’ Revolt of 1885

chapter 15|19 pages

Revolting for Human Dignity in Imperial Russia

The Student Strike of 1899 1

chapter 16|14 pages

Christmas Carolling in Bucharest and Campfire Singing in Iaşi

Students as a Specific Social Group in Ceauşescu’s Romania 1

part III|100 pages

Political Agenda and Mobilising Forces

chapter 17|3 pages


Political Agenda and Mobilising Forces

chapter 19|16 pages

“Citizens of the Netherlands, Arm Yourselves”

Student Protest in the Late Eighteenth-Century Dutch Republic

chapter 21|17 pages

A Student Revolt in Support of War

University of Padua, 1915 1

chapter 22|18 pages

The 1922–1923 Student Revolts at the University of Cluj, Romania

From Local Anti-Semitic Academic Protests to National Events

chapter 23|13 pages

Escaping Violence in 1935

Polish Jewish Students’ Strategy, from Montpellier to Lyon

part IV|106 pages

Students and Urbanity

chapter 24|4 pages


Students and Urbanity

chapter 25|15 pages

The First Student Strike in 1880

Socialist Influences in the City of Iaşi 1

chapter 26|20 pages

For the Language of Science

The Student Revolts on the Dutchification of Ghent University, 1918–1940

chapter 27|18 pages

Students as “The Hopes of the Fatherland”

The Old Student House in Helsinki as a Centre of Student Activism in the 1960s

chapter 28|17 pages

Flemish Nationalism, New Left, and Beyond

The Student Movement at Leuven University (1960s–1970s) 1

chapter 29|17 pages

The City and Its Social Problems, as a Subject of Study

Rebel Architects at the Faculty of Milan(1963–1973)