Revolutions and Civil Wars in the Twentieth Century: a Comparative Analysis 2017

Term: 
Fall
Credits: 
4.0
Status: 
Elective
Course Description: 

The comparative historical analysis of revolutions and civil wars calls for interdisciplinary dialogue between sociology, political science, and history.  Revolutions and civil wars bring radical changes in social structures as well as in states’ functions and political structures that must be studied both internally and internationally.  After an introductory overview of the main interpretative frameworks offered by sociology, political science and historiography, the course will turn its focus to a critical review of the most recent socio-historical research and debates concerning revolutions, civil wars and counter-revolutions in the Twentieth Century, with special emphasis on the Peasant Revolutions, the Russian Revolution, Fascism and the Spanish Civil War.  Students will be encouraged to develop comparisons with other time periods and other regions of the world.

Learning Outcomes: 

The overall grade will primarily indicate the ability of the students to comprehend the ways revolutions and civil wars bring radical changes in social structures as well as in states’ functions and political structures that must be studied both internally and internationally. The learning outcomes of the master program are supported and measured by the present course in the following ways: The ability to deploy effective oral presentation and discussion skills is assessed through the seminars. The skills to analyze historical events and evaluate them in a comparative perspective are reflected by the final paper. The discussions and final paper will also measured the ability of students to elaborate a critical review of the most recent socio-historical research and debates concerning revolutions and civil wars in the Twentieth Century.

Assessment: 

Course requirements:
The course is organised into lectures and seminars. Typically the first meeting of the week is a lecture, while the second is a seminar. Regular participation in discussions is necessary and expected. During the seminars students are expected to reflect critically on the mandatory readings and to engage in discussions. Questions and stimulating interaction during the lectures will be positively evaluated as well.

Students are strongly recommended to read the items marked with an asterisk (*) under each week topic. Each student will have to take part in one 25 minutes presentation in a group of 2, in the seminars devoted to the case studies, depending on the number of participants in the course. A general class discussion will follow

Grade relevant features of the presentation will be: adequate representation of the literature processed and critical, innovative and stimulating thought. I will assist you with identifying core readings for the presentations.

There will be a final historiographic essay (ca. 7-page) to compare and evaluate the viewpoints of three authors on the same subject. The students should be able to elaborate a thesis/argument and support it with evidence taken from the texts. Please note that class attendance is required. 

Grading:
The final paper will weigh 50 percent of the grade. The remaining 50 percent will be assigned for presentations (30 percent) and participation in discussions (20 percent).