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P.Sc. 351 REVOLUTION Spring Quarter 2008 Prof. Farkas COURSE DESCRIPTION “ . .. no cause is left but the most ancient of all, the one, in fact, that from the beginning of our history has determined the very existence of politics, the cause of freedom versus tyranny.” Hannah Arendt, On Revolution This course examines revolutions and revolutionary activity. It will try to construct an understanding for students by looking at the empirical data that we have on when, how and why revolutions begin and why they either succeed or fail. It will encourage students to look at the conceptual literature and link it with the real world developments that have so clearly shaped politics in the 20 th and 21 st Centuries. Students should be prepared to be surprised by what social scientists “know” about revolution. The answers to questions like who makes revolution and in whose name it is fought will be quite unexpected. During what constellation of circumstances do revolutions flare up? What are the real chances of success? Social science has strong answers to these questions and the reality does not align with journalistic “conventional wisdom.” This course faces a unique challenge. Most political science courses deal with the rules and routines of politics. Revolution is the political phenomenon created and pursued by those that reject those rules. As a consequence, students must make a formidable conceptual adjustment. Each student, in order to understand REVOLUTION, must try to “think” like a revolutionary! This may involve some discomfort and the challenge to embrace very different criteria for success. Students who insist on normalcy, predictability and clarity of their position should select a different course. COURSE OBJECTIVES To sharpen and sophisticate each student’s understanding of this very important factor in our political world. To significantly enhance the student’s ability to approach real world phenomena as participants – to the extent that this is possible. To draw every student into the psychological and tactical circumstances that drive revolutionary activity. In this vein, the student’s creative as well as organizational and analytic skills are tested. To encourage the student’s awareness of the centrality of values as one makes political choices in our world. Students will question the balance between order and justice; authority and freedom; change and violence as well as other conflicting values. To nurture skills associated with effective observation, written communication and oral communication – in both conventional and unconventional forms.
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STUDENT RESPONSIBILITIES Please read and THINK about the following list. If you choose not to do these things, it will not be possible for you to complete this course in a satisfactory way. Students MUST be prepared and fully ready to begin our study the first day of class!! (a)
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This note was uploaded on 07/25/2009 for the course POLS 101 taught by Professor All during the Spring '09 term at Rutgers.

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