HIST 323 Revolutions in History Select Term:
What is a revolution? Are revolutions necessary and inevitable, hence universal? Is their balance sheet all positive or all negative ? Why, after an enduring revolutionist legacy, are revolutions being so strictly questioned today? Does "the end of history" mean "the end of revolutions" ? The course proposes to tackle these and other questions from a standpoint situated outside both the revolutionary and the anti-revolutionary discourses that have long dominated the intellectual scene. Attempting to construct a new, critical historiography of the subject, it draws on the evidence provided by a number of case studies on the English, the French, the Russian, the Kemalist and the Chinese revolutions, and works its way through a number of thinkers ranging from Burke and Tocqueville through Marx to Brinton, Skocpol, Furet or Hobsbawm, in order to problematize themes like the link between revolutions and modernity, the time-space distribution of revolutions, "normal" and "abnormal" politics, crises of legitimacy, the dialectics of leadership and mass support, stages of revolutionary action, violence and demonstrations of punishment, the radicalization and militarization of revolutions, European and non-European revolutions, and the alignments and legacies of revolutions. Also see HIST 623 for the possibility of being taken simultaneously as a graduate seminar subject to extra conditions and requirements.