History | Revolution in the Modern World
W300 | 26039 | Anklin/Clasby

A portion of the above section reserved for majors
Above section open to undergraduates only

You say you want a revolution/Well you know/We all want to change
the world…

		       Lennon/McCartney-The Beatles-1968

Why does the world look the way it does in the twenty-first century?
This course presumes that the world in which we live today was to a
large extent shaped by a variety of revolutions, which occurred in
roughly the last two hundred and fifty years. Starting with the
French and the American Revolution, this course will examine
revolutions as they happened all over the globe and try to come to
some kind of understanding about the nature of revolution. Focusing
also on the Haitian Revolution, the Russian Revolution, the Chinese
Revolution, and the Cuban Revolution, among others, we will ask what
a revolution is, in what ways it changes its own society and in what
ways it changes the world. Were any of these revolutions inevitable
and if so/if not why did they occur? Were they even necessary? And
finally, are revolutions possible in the future? We will explore
modern revolutionary movements, ideas and events through an analysis
of political, social and cultural experience and the comparative
global connections of historical change. To come to an understanding
of these various types of revolutions, the course will focus on such
concepts as democracy, nationalism, liberalism, industrial growth,
Marxism, socialism, communism, anarchism, religion, imperialism,
racism, decolonization, and terrorism. Reading assignments for the
class will include "The Black Jacobins" by C.L.R. James, "Animal
Farm" by George Orwell, selections from the writings of
revolutionary figures like Karl Marx, V.I. Lenin, Gandhi, Che
Guevara, Martin Luther King Jr. and others.  We will also watch
several media clips and films including Pontecorvo’s "The Battle of
Algiers" and "The Weather Underground" by Sam Green and Bill Siegel.
There will be two short essay assignments, a midterm and a final.