The Idea of Revolution
Modernity is characterized by revolutions. Our political landscape and imaginary have been decisively shaped by the experience of the great revolutions in America, France, England, Russia, China, Cuba, Vietnam, Bolivia and Mexico. But what are the ideas, questions, and dilemmas animating these grand transformations? What is the political theory that accompanied these events or their later reception and interpretation? In this course, we are interested in inquiring into the core idea of revolution, its evolution and dissemination, interpretation and critique. We ask what the idea of revolution has achieved, where it has failed, and whether it retains any value today. Readings by Paine, Robespierre, de Tocqueville, Marx, Lenin, Che, Mao, Hannah Arendt, Theda Skocpol, Barrington Moore, Eric Hobsbawm, Christopher Hill, Francois Furet, George Rude, Perry Anderson, among others.