Religion and Politics


This course explores the causes, characteristic features, and accomplishments of five revolutionary experiences, those of France in the 18th century, and Russia, Spain, China and Cuba in the 20th. We look briefly at definitions of revolution, and then at the factors, conditions, and forces giving rise to the revolutionary movements that have seized power and exercised it in pursuit of revolutionary objectives for significant periods of time. Finally, we attempt to assess and explain the socioeconomic, cultural, and political transformations that these revolutionary regimes have produced.

Class time will be devoted to both lectures and discussions. Regular attendance and active participation in class will be essential. In order to facilitate such participation, students will be organized into work groups that will meet outside of class and during class sessions as well. Class participation will account for 20% of each student's semester grade. In addition, students will take four partial, take-home (essay) exams, each worth 10% of the semester grade, and a final take-home (essay) exam, worth 40% of the grade. Finally, students will be asked to view four two-hour films, dealing with the French, Russian, Chinese and Cuban revolutions, and the Spanish civil war. Group screenings will be held on Friday afternoons. Other arrangements will be made for those students unable to view them at those times.

The following six books are available at either the Bookmarq (N. 16th St.) or Sweeney’s College Books (17th and Wisconsin):

Theda Skocpol, States and Revolutions (Cambridge Univ. Press, paper);

Sheila Fitzpatrick, The Russian Revolution (Oxford Univ. Press, paper) ;

Chan, Madden and Under, Chen Village (Univ. of California Press, paper);

George Orwell, Homage to Catalonia (Harcourt Brace, paper);

Carole Bengelsdorf, The Problem of Democracy in Cuba (Oxford Univ. Press, paper);

Hannah Arendt - On Revolution (Penguin Books, paper);

Class attendance is not optional. Students with more than three absences will have to submit 2-3 page essays for each day missed to avoid having their participation grade adversely affected.


I ‑ Introduction (August 29th)

II - What Revolution Is (August 31st - September 7th)

For August 31st - Skocpol, States and Social Revolution, Introduction, “Explaining Social Revolutions: Alternatives to Existing Theories,” pp. 3-43;

For September 7th - Arendt, On Revolution, Introduction, pp, 11-20, and Ch. 1, “The Meaning of Revolution,” pp. 21-58;

III - FRANCE (September 9th -19th)

First Film: Danton - Friday, September 9th, 3:50-6:00 p.m.


For September 12th - Skocpol, States and Social Revolution, Ch. 2, “Old-Regime States in Crisis,” pp. 47-51; and “Old Regime France: the Contradictions of Bourbon Absolutism, pp. 51-67; and Ch. 3, Agrarian Structures and Peasant Insurrections, pp. 112-118; and “Peasants against Seigneurs in the French Revolution, pp. 118-128;

For September 14th - Skocpol, Ch. 4, “What Changed and How,” pp. 161-173; and Ch. 5, “The Birth of the Modern State Edifice in France,” pp. 174-205;

For September 19th - Arendt, On Revolution - Ch. 2, “The Social Question,” pp. 59-114; and Charles Taylor, Modern Social Imaginaries, Ch. 8, “The Sovereign People,” pp. 109-141 (no. 1 on electronic reserve);

First Essay Exam due on September 19th  

IV - RUSSIA (September 21st - October 19th)


For September 21st - Skocpol, Ch. 2, “Imperial Russia: An Underdeveloped Great Power,” pp. 81-99;

Second Film: Ten Days that Shook the World, Friday, September 23rd, 3:50-6:00;

For September 26th - Skocpol, Ch. 3, “The Revolution of the Obshchinas: Peasant Radicalism in Russia,” pp. 128-140;

For September 28th - Skocpol, Ch. 6, “The Emergence of a Dictatorial Party-State in Russia, pp. 206-235;

For October 3rd - Fitzpatrick, The Russian Revolution, Introduction, pp. 1-14 and Ch. 1, “The Setting,” pp. 15-39;

For For October 5th - Fitzpatrick, Ch. 2, “1917: the Revolutions of February and October,” pp. 40-67;

For October 10th - Fitzpatrick, Ch. 3, “The Civil War,” pp. 68-92; and Ch. 4, “NEP and the Future of the Revolution,” pp. 93-119;

For October 12th -Fitzpatrick, Ch. 5, “Stalin’s Revolution,” pp. 120-147;

For October 17th - Fitzpatrick, Ch. 6, Ch. 6, “Ending the Revolution,” pp. 148-172;

For October 19th - Hodges, Ch. 7, “Getting Rid of Communists under Socialism,” pp. 114-129 (no. 2 on electronic reserve); and Ch. 8, “Sources of Conflict in Socialist Societies,” pp. 130-143 (no. 3 on electronic reserve);

Second Essay Exam due on October 19th

V - CHINA (October 24th - Nov. 14th)


For October 24th - Skocpol, Ch. 2, “Manchu China: From the Celestial Empire to the Fall of the Imperial System,” pp. 67-81; and Ch. 3, “Peasant Incapacity and Gentry Vulnerability in China,” pp. 147-157;

For October 26th - Skocpol, Ch. 7, “The Rise of a Mass-Mobilizing Party-State in China,” pp. 236-283;

For October 31st - Chan, Madden and Under, Chen Village, Prologue, pp. 1-12;   Ch. 1, “Chen Village and its Leaders,” pp. 13-40; and Ch. 2, “The Big Four Cleanups,” pp. 41-73;

For November 2nd - Chan, Madden and Under, Ch. 3, “Studying Chairman Mao,” pp. 74-102; Ch. 4, “The Cultural Revolution,” pp. 103-140; and Ch. 5, “The Cleansing of the Class Ranks,” pp. 141-168;

For November 7th - Chan, Madden and Under, Ch. 6, “A Leftward Lurch and a Solid Footing, pp. 169-185; and Ch. 7, “The Great Betrothal Dispute,” pp. 186-235; and Ch. 8, “Plunging into a New Decade,” pp. 213-212;

For November 9th - Chan, Madden and Under, Ch. 9, “The Troubled Seventies,” pp. 236-266; and Ch. 10, “The New Era,” pp. 267-287;

Third Film - To Live, Friday, November 11th, 3:50 - 6:00;

For November 14th - Chan, Madden and Under, Ch. 11, “The Midas Touch,” pp. 288-308; and Ch. 12, “Entrepreneurs and Gamblers,” pp. 309-335;

Third Essay Exam due on November 11th

VI - SPAIN (Nov. 16th - 21st)


For November 16th - Orwell, Homage to Catalonia, Introduction, pp. v-xxiii, and Chs. I-VII, pp. 3-100;

Fourth Film - Perro Negro, Friday, November 18th, 3:50 - 6:00;

For November 21st - Orwell, Homage to Catalonia, Chs. VIII-XIV,  pp. 101-232;

VII - CUBA (Nov. 28th - December 7th)

For November 28th - Bengelsdorf, The Problem of Democracy in Cuba, Introduction, and Chapters 1-3, pp. 1-65;

For November 30th - Bengelsdorf, Ch. 4, 66–98;

For December 5th - Bengelsdorf, Chs. 5, 6, and 7, pp. 99-165;

For December 7th - Bengelsdorf, Ch. 8 and Conclusion, pp. 166-180;

Fifth Film - OCHOA, Friday, December 9th, 3:50-6:00

Fourth Essay Exam due on December 9th

Final Essay Exam - due on Dec. 12th at 5:00 p.m.,

Department of Political Science

Marquette University
Wehr Physics Building, Room 468
PO Box 1881
Milwaukee, WI 53201-1881
(414) 288-6842 (phone)
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