Political Science | Political Philosophy: After the Revolution
Y675 | 13674 | Craiutu


Topic:  After the Revolution: 1789 and 1989 in Comparative
Perspective

The 1789 and 1989 revolutions challenged the conceptual vocabulary
of many social scientists and invited them to rethink the nature of
revolutions and the conditions under which the latter can be brought
to a successful end. This course has both a historical and a
contemporary part. It  focuses on the lessons that scholars could
learn from reflecting on the legacies of 1789 and 1989. How do
revolutions come to an end? What factors can contribute to
constitutionalizing the newly gained liberties? How must new regimes
deal with the legacy of the past? The first half of the course will
examine the works of some of the most important interpreters of the
legacy of the French Revolution. It will include representative
selections from Benjamin Constant’s Principles of Politics, Burke’s
Reflections on the Revolution in France, and Tocqueville’s The Old
Regime and the Revolution. The second half of the course will focus
on a few major interpretations of post-communism put forward by Ralf
Dahrendorf, Adam Michnik, Krishan Kumar, and Ira Katznelson.
Students will be encouraged to reflect critically on a number of
important topics including the meanings of 1989 revolutions in
Eastern Europe, the conflict between freedom, respect for the past,
and social justice, the politics of identity, and the prerequisites
of democracy.