HIST 3626 Revolution (also GOVT 3726) (GHB) (HA-AS) (HEU)
Tuesday and Thursday: 11:25-12:40
Professors Paul Friedland (HIST) and Jason Frank (GOVT)
In 1989, following the anti-Communist revolutions in the Eastern Bloc countries, Francis Fukuyama famously proclaimed “the end of history” and predicted the final global victory of economic and political liberalism. Marxism had been definitely defeated and the era of revolutions was over. Yet, in the last two decades, revolutions have been spreading across the globe with remarkable speed: from the color revolutions in the former Soviet Union and Balkan states, to the Arab Spring and the widespread anti-globalization and anti-austerity protests around the world. This course will offer a comparative study of the history and theory of modern revolutions—from the American and French revolutions of the 18th century to the anti-colonial independence struggles of the postwar world—with the goal of attaining a more nuanced and contextualized understanding of the revolutions of our time. We will explore the causes and motivations of diverse revolutionary movements, placing particular emphasis on the political ideas that inspired them. We will read works by Paine, Rousseau, Robespierre, Sieyes, L’Ouverture, Marx, Tocqueville, Lenin, Luxembourg, Mao, Fanon, and others. The course is designed as an introductory class and no previous knowledge of the history or political theory we will be covering is required.