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Social Revolutions: PS 4896

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This course explores what has arguably been the most fundamentally transformative set of social processes in the modern world: social revolutions -- (search Sage, Oxford, and Gale for overviews.) It is intended to introduce you to two types of material, one theoretical and one empirical, and to prepare you to make your own arguments about the causes and effects of revolutions in your capstone papers. The theoretical material considers arguments about the origins of revolution, factors motivating participation in revolts by social actors, and the outcomes of these upheavals. (Browse books in Charles LIbrary in call letter range JC 491.) We will explore a variety of cases, focusing mainly on those in Latin America (Cuba and Nicaragua), but also touching on the French, Russian, Mexican and Iranian Revolutions, as well as on cases of failed revolution (El Salvador and Guatemala) and those where the outcomes are still unclear (the Arab Spring). You will be able to write your capstone paper on one of these or any other case of attempted or successful
revolution.

1. Why do people participate in revolutions or other protest movements?


2. Why do revolutionaries sometimes succeed and sometimes fail?


3. What is counter-insurgency? Does it work? Why or why not?


4. What are the consequences of revolution? Does anything change in post-revolutionary society?

 

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