Modern Political Theory: On Revolution
157A | CCN: 32703
Instructor: Samera Esmeir
M/W 5:00pm-6:30pm, Moffitt 106 ///
This is a course on the concept of revolution in modern political thought. How was revolution conceptualized in modernity, how have revolutions’s aspirations and practices changed from the eighteenth century through decolonization in the second half of the twentieth century, and what other significations of struggle has the concept of revolution replaced and displaced? To answer these questions, we proceed in two directions. In the first, we examine how western political thought conceptualized revolution, the shifting historical meanings of the concept, and the different legacies this concept has availed. In the second, we investigate other traditions that framed struggles for freedom and/or for justice through concepts other than revolution, or through practices and imaginaries that exceeded the conceptual history of revolution. Most readings will be available in a reader that you will be able to purchase at the beginning of the semester (no electronic devices will be allowed in class). Requirements include weekly writing assignments (either recovering the thread through which the argument of each text is developed, and/or offering close-readings of key paragraphs), in addition to take-home exams.