Comparative Modern Revolutions

Revolutions LogoCourse Description: According to historian A. J. P. Taylor “Only from the time of the great French Revolution have there been revolutions that sought not merely to change the rulers, but to transform the entire social and political system.” This course will examine the causes, effects, and make-up modern social revolutions. We will define revolution and examine competing theories about its causes, outcomes, and processes. While examining the cases of France, Russia, Mexico, and Japan, we will be particularly concerned with exploring how revolution changes – in definition, theory, and practice – according to historical context.

As much as possible, we will use primary sources from revolutionary leaders, thinkers, and average citizens, supplemented by the work of later historians.

Readings include:

  • Selected readings from Goldstone, Jack A. Revolutions: Theoretical, Comparative, and Historical Studies. San Diego: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1986.
  • Selections from Crane Brinton, The Anatomy of Revolution.
  • Primary sources from revolutionary leaders, thinkers, and average citizens (there are several readers available for each of the revolutions)
  • Scholarly articles/chapters

Offered: Summer 2012, University of Rochester