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Revolution-Themed Courses

This year at Davidson College we are marking the 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution. We welcome you to explore a variety of campus-wide events we planned to commemorate the legacy of one of the most pivotal events of the twentieth century.
1917—1918
Art•Literature•Science•Theatre•History•Dance• Cinema•Journalism

Fall 2017

Revolution-Themed Courses Fall 2017
Revolution-Themed Courses Fall 2017
Literature•Science•Theatre•History
Art•Dance• Cinema•Journalism

ART 214: Royalty, Rogues, & Revolution in Eighteenth-Century Art

Smith
Once thought of as only a transitional period between the great art of the Counter-Reformation of the 17th century and the dynamic modernization of the better known art of the 19th century, recent scholarship has shown how the art of the 18th century speaks to a changing world in terms of gender, class, travel, and leisure with the rise of secular rationalism and a new idea, "Might it be that things are not what they might seem to be?" These changes seem to be reflected in our current concerns which deal with the challenges of equally virtual realities. Beneath the frills of paint and flirtations of fashionable young people, lie the very serious dreams of autonomy, collective identity and freedom. Can the painting of the personal freedom have anything to do with political liberty? The answer just might be found in this course. (Formerly ART 214 - Eighteenth-Century Art). Satisfies the Visual and Performing Arts distribution requirement.

CIS 150: Revolutionary Literature & Politics

Rigger
This course is part of the fall 2017 first-year Collaboratory. Globalize your semester with a collaborative comparative look into the history of two world-changing historical events: The Russian Revolution (100 years old in October 2017) and Japan's 19th-century Meiji Restoration. While the material we will study comes from the past, the course will use cutting-edge digital tools borrowed from the information revolution that is reshaping our world right now.

ENG 394: The Avant-Garde

Churchill
A course concerned with avant-garde schools, movements, and strategies, "The Avant-Garde" will include exploration of different genres, media, and cultures, and investigate the relationships between avant-garde practice and theory, artistic innovation and social change, and forms, platforms, and politics.
Fulfills the Diversity requirement of the English major. Counts towards the Gender and Sexuality Studies major and minor (Literary and Cultural Representations track). Satisfies the Literary, Creative Writing, and Rhetoric distribution requirement.

ENG 462: Romantic Radicalism

Vaz
For William Godwin, truth, if it exists, comes about in the "collision of mind with mind." In this seminar, we will investigate and interrogate how Romantic literature manifests this "collision" by creating and participating in the aesthetic, economic, and socio-political tectonic shifts of the period. By doing so, we will examine how Romantic literature intersects with the richness and complexity of the period's radical and revolutionary thought. Fulfills the Historical Approaches requirement of the English major.

HIS 286: Student Movements & Revolution in China

Mortensen
This course explores the fascinating dynamics, causes, and pathways of student movements and revolutions in China. The course is divided into four units, each of which covers a different period of student activism in twentieth- and twenty-first-century China: student involvement in the May Fourth Movement (1919), Red Guard activism during the Cultural Revolution (1966-1968), the Tian'anmen Square protest and its aftermath (1989), and student involvement in the Hong Kong democracy protests (2014). We will examine not only how each of these movements affected individual Chinese citizens, but also how these movements shaped the way the Chinese government explained, re-evaluated, condemned, celebrated, or silenced previous revolutions. Students in this course will analyze primary source documents from each of these periods and critically engage with a variety of other less conventional texts, such as films, memoirs, literature, propaganda posters, song lyrics, and blogs. Key themes of the course include nationalism, anti-imperialism, communism, capitalism, youthful rebellion, and democracy.

HIS 431: Era of the American Revolution

Guasco
The colonial movement from resistance to revolution; early republican thought and the adoption of state constitutions; the War for Independence; political and socioeconomic struggles of the Confederation period; the origins of the federal Constitution; and the Revolution's social impact.
Satisfies Historical Thought distribution requirement.

HUM 103: Connections & Conflicts

Denham, Ingram, Wills, Zamir
A team-taught interdisciplinary course that engages critically key texts and artifacts from both the Western tradition and beyond, with topics that fall under the broad theme of revolution, from intellectual, spiritual, and artistic traditions from around the globe. Attention to historical contexts, critical theoretical approaches, and comparative synthesis. Introduces habits of humanistic learning as well as basic skills needed to understand a variety of humanistic discourses including written works, musical compositions, paintings and sculptures, live performances, architecture, and film and digital media.

POL 442: Social Movements & Revolution

Toska
Why do groups of people who have been quiescent for decades, all of a sudden take to the streets to oppose their regimes, often risking their lives to do so? Why do regimes that had survived wars and remained stable, suddenly collapse under popular pressure? Why do some movements last and succeed in their goals, while other fizzle and fail? In this seminar we will provide answers to these questions, by analyzing the causes and changing meanings of revolutions, social movements, contentious politics, and activism.

We will start by looking at how the French Revolution in the 18th century defined the meaning of revolution in the modern world and how it was transformed by the revolutionary events in 1968 and then 1989. We will then continue with alternative trajectories and neglected histories such as the Haitian Revolution and contentious politics in 18th century China, as well as more contemporary revolutions in post-Soviet states and the Middle East. Given that today we are living in another age of world-wide political activism, ultimately the goal of this course is to develop informed theoretical analyses of the meanings and practices of revolutions and social movements both in the past and in our own times. Satisfies the Justice, Equality, and Community requirement.

RUS 293: The Soviet Century

Utkin
One hundred years after the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917, which changed the course of the twentieth century, we will explore the cultural history of the Soviet Union, the world's first

socialist country. While the dates 1922-1991 circumscribe the lifespan of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the ramifications of the Soviet experience shape not only contemporary Russia but fourteen other countries: the former Soviet Republics of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Estonia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan. In this course, we will look at the art and ideology that held these fifteen nations together. Moving beyond the clichéd view of the USSR as the Evil Empire, we will focus on the most pivotal moments in the emergence of the "country of workers and peasants" and trace its evolution from pariah nation in the 1920s into nuclear superpower following WWII. We will consider the theoretical writings of Karl Marx, Vladimir Lenin, and Leon Trotsky, avant-garde experimentation in the arts, and the doctrine of Socialist realism in an effort to understand the contradictions of Soviet life leading up to and during the Cold War. A particular attention will be paid to underground cultures that arose in response to the repression of free speech, to ethnic discrimination, and to the Gulag penal system.

All readings and discussion in English. No knowledge of Russian or Eastern European history is expected.

SPA 356: The Spanish Civil War & Revolution

Kietrys
In this class, we will examine multiple literary and cultural expressions of revolution in contemporary Spain, focusing on the Second Republic of the 1930s, the Spanish Civil War, and the post-war years. We will analyze fiction from these periods in history as well as contemporary representations in the novel, comics, and film. Throughout the semester, we will pay special attention to the role of women in history and culture, considering feminism as a cultural and political revolution. Conducted in Spanish. Satisfies Area II for the major in Hispanic Studies.
Prerequisite: SPA 270 or equivalent.

WRI 101 Writing Revolution: After Haiti

Bertholf
In 1791, the slaves of Saint-Domingue, once the richest colony in the world, rose in rebellion under Toussaint L'Ouverture. After struggling for more than a decade, the slaves finally achieved something that had until that time remained impossible, even "unthinkable": the first large-scale abolition of slavery in the Americas. Nowhere is this desperate bid for freedom-the Haitian Revolution-more compellingly captured than in C.L.R. James's The Black Jacobins (first published in 1938). However, even as he writes of Toussaint's daring and resolve, James notes that the former's allegiance to the French Revolution was problematic, paradoxical, and ultimately tragic. Indeed, the modern notion of freedom (liberté) to which Toussaint subscribed was itself an ideal of the same Enlightenment project which sought his enslavement. In this context, what do we mean by freedom? And what does it mean to be free? This writing seminar will explore these questions by taking up both the history of these events and the continuing debates about their meaning. We will also spend a great deal of time thinking about what Michel-Rolph Trouillot has called the "unthinkability" of the Haitian Revolution. In addition to the question concerning freedom, then, we will also grapple with the questions of how literature writes the "unthinkable" and of how revolution challenges the representational limits and potentialities of traditional literary genres. Doing so, therefore, will allow us, finally, to think more closely about what new genres revolution makes possible, including new non-literary modes of representation.

While participating in the general discussion across the semester, students will be searching out specific research topics of their own, topics relating the seminar readings and conversation toward a topic of personal interest. In addition to this final research paper (2,500 words), students will be asked to complete two smaller essays (1,500 words each) and to keep a biweekly journal (250-word entries).

WRI 101: Revolutionary Writing

Churchill
This WRI 101 section is part of the fall 2017 first-year Collaboratory. A re quired course for every first-year Davidson student, WRI 101 teaches the skills and strategies necessary to become a successful college writer. Writing assignments will be related to other course work in the Collaboratory, offering students opportunities to explore topics of interest to them, to compose multimodal arguments, and to utilize open source digital tools and platforms.
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If you have any questions, please contact the Registrar's Office registrar@davidson.edu
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