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Brockport / History / Graduate / Syllabi / HST 447/547

Sample Syllabus: History 447/547

SUNY Brockport   Spring 2008
TR 3-4:30  Hartwell 127   
Dr. Meredith L. Roman

Office:  125 Brown                                                               Office Hours: Tu/Th, 9-9:30, 11:30-1
Phone:  x-2010                                                                                              & by appointment
Course Description
            This is a research intensive course that investigates the role revolutions and revolutionary movements have played in the creation of the modern world during the twentieth century.  Since it is a research intensive course, all students are required to have successfully completed HST 390.  Using a comparative framework HST 447/557 explores how the struggle for justice and equality has served as a primary motivation for many revolutionary movements of the twentieth century, and interrogates why this objective has often been ultimately corrupted.  Our focus includes the writings of revolutionary leaders, cinematic representations of revolution, and personal accounts of revolution from the perspective of “everyday” people.  We will illuminate revolutionaries’ efforts to create a “new man”; question why cults have developed around certain revolutionary leaders during and/or after their deaths; examine the ways in which revolutions have affected gender roles; and explore the relationship between revolution and memory. 
          Five case studies serve as our lens into twentieth-century revolutionary movements. The Russian Revolution serves as our starting point since it has affected – directly or indirectly – most major movements that were henceforth organized (successfully or unsuccessfully) in the past century.  From Russia, we will move to China, Cuba, and then to Africa to examine the struggle for revolutionary independence in Algeria and the work of Frantz Fanon.  We will complete our investigation of revolution by turning to the United States to explore movements in the 1960s and 1970s to complete “the American Revolution.”  To do this we will examine the ideology, influences, and activities of one group in particular: the Black Panther Party.  

Required Readings

  1. Ernesto Guevara, Guerilla Warfare: Che Guevara (University of Nebraska Press 1998).
  2. Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, Essential Works of Lenin: "What Is To Be Done?" and Other Writings (Dover Publications 1987).
  3. Frantz Fanon, Wretched of the Earth (Grove Press 2005). 
  4. Mao Tse-tung, Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse-tung
  5. Clayborne Carson and Philip Foner, The Black Panthers Speak (Da Capo Press 2002).
  6. The remaining required readings are located on ANGEL.  Please print these out ASAP.  Allowances will not be given to students who are unable to access them the night prior to a discussion because of computer problems or system failures.

Students’ performance will be evaluated on the basis of the following:

1). Participation: 25% of your grade will be based on your active, consistent, and thoughtful participation in class discussions.  If you attend class regularly, but participate rarely or infrequently, you will earn a very poor participation grade. Regular participation is an indication of a student’s motivation and commitment to academic course work, and is absolutely essential in a 400/500-level history seminar.

Attendance will be taken and more than two unexcused absences will detract from your overall grade.  To be considered an excused absence you must present credible evidence of a religious obligation, a doctor’s note proving your own illness, and/or that of a minor in your direct care.  A vacation of any form does not constitute an excusable absence.  Regardless of the nature of the absence, students will be held responsible for all material covered in class. Habitual tardiness is a sign of disrespect towards the entire class and each occurrence will be marked as an unexcused absence.

2). In-Class Writing Assignments: 30% of your grade will be based on 11 in-class writings which will require you to respond to a question or issue regarding the week’s assigned reading.  These writing exercises will take place during the first 15 minutes of class.  Hence, it is imperative that you make it to class on time.  If you show up 3 minutes after class has started, do not expect that you will be able to do the assignment.  You will be not be permitted to make up an in-class writing assignment unless you have an excusable absence.

3). Presentation of Extra Reading: 10% of your grade will be based on one 7-10 minute presentation of an extra reading.  During the presentation you are required to inform the class of the following: 1) the author and title 2) the topic 3) the main arguments 4) the types of sources that the author used 5) its relationship to the common readings and 6) your assessment of the reading’s strengths and weaknesses.  The objective is to assist your fellow students in understanding how the reading relates to that week’s common readings and/or theme, and to generate discussion.  You are required to submit a 2-3 page paper that addresses what you discuss during the presentation.  However, you should not read directly from this paper!  You are welcome to write on the board, use overheads, or simply speak from notes.

4). Research paper: 35% of your grade is based on a research paper that is roughly 12-15 pages in length for undergrads (15-18 pages for grads) which is due on Tuesday, May 13.  I invite students to explore more in-depth any issues related to our five case studies, yet I will also support a research project that investigates aspects of a revolutionary movement that we do not address. Every student is required to submit a list of 2-4 possible research topics by February 21, as well as an abstract (approx. 200 words) and draft bibliography (citations must be consistent with the Chicago Manual of Style)of the selected research topic by March 27.
Each student is required to present their research project to the class during the final week of class (May 6 and May 8).
Your research paper must effectively incorporate a variety of scholarly sources including primary materials, articles from on-line journal databases, and monographs that can be obtained in the Drake Library and through inter-library loan (ILL).  It must be double-spaced with a cover or title page (which is separate from the pagination, i.e. it is not counted as page one), one-inch margins, Times New Roman 12-point font, and typed page numbers.  Do NOT place a heading (i.e. name, date, class, etc.) on the top of every page; triple or quadruple space between paragraphs; or quote long passages from your sources.  If a quotation is taking up several lines, either rethink your strategy or begin paraphrasing the quotation.  You are required to properly cite the sources that you use throughout the paper in footnotes that follow the format found in the Chicago Manual of Style.  Your paper must also contain a bibliography which is also consistent with the Chicago Manual of Style.  Please remember that the citations for footnotes and bibliographies are different.   An "A" research paper articulates a clear, sophisticated, and original thesis that is effectively supported throughout the body with well-organized, creative, and insightful analysis of evidence that is drawn from a wide range of primary as well as secondary sources which are cited properly in the Chicago Manual of Style format. The paper effectively situates the topic in the scholarly literature, contains clear, smooth, appropriate transitions between paragraphs, and overall is written in polished, grammatically correct prose. 

Disability Statement

If you have paperwork from the Office for Students with Disabilities, please show it to me as soon as possible so that we can make the appropriate accommodations.

Policy on Academic Dishonesty

Any act of plagiarism and cheating will result in automatic failure.  Plagiarism and cheating consists of any attempt by a student to represent the work of someone else as her/his own.  It includes, but is not limited to submitting, copying, or substantially restating the work of another person or persons in an oral or written work without citing the appropriate source; collaborating with someone else in an academic endeavor without acknowledging their contribution; and copying the answers of another student in an examination.

PLEASE send any email to my internet address ( rather than via Angel.

*This course outline is tentative and subject to change during the semester.  Students are responsible for ALL changes announced in class.


Week One
Tu, Jan 29     Introductions and Syllabus
                      The Spook Who Sat By the Door, Ivan Dixon (1973)

Th, Jan 31     Discussion of The Spook Who Sat By the Door & Definitions of Revolution.
                      Come to Class with a Clear Idea of How You Would Define Revolution



Week Two

Tu, Feb  5    Origins and Course of Revolution in Russia 
                    #1 In-Class Writing & Discussion: Architect of October
                     V.I. Lenin – from What Is To Be Done? (1902):

  • "The Beginning of the Spontaneous Revival," 73-77
  • "The Working Class as Champion of Democracy," 111-124
  • "Organization of Workers and Organization of Revolutionaries," 136-150

                     V.I. Lenin – from The State and Revolution (1917)
1) "The State as the Product of the Irreconcilability of Class Antagonisms," 272-274
                     2) "Special Bodies of Men, Prisons, Etc.," 275-277
                     3) "The State as an Instrument for the Exploitation of the Oppressed Class," 277-80
                     4)  “'Withering Away' of the State and Violent Revolution," 280-285
                     5)  "The Eve of the Revolution," 285 (bottom)-289
                     6)  "The Abolition of Parliamentarism," 303-308
                     7)   "Engels on Overcoming Democracy," 331-333
                     8)   "The Transition from Capitalism to Communism," 335 (bottom)-340
                     9)   "The First Phase of Communist Society," 340-343
                    10) "The Higher Phase of Communist Society," 343-349
Th, Feb  7   Politics of the Russian Revolution & Clips from October (1927), Sergei Eisenstein   
                    Extra Reading:
                    1). Ronald Grigor Suny, "Revision and Retreat in the Historiography of 1917:
                    Social History and Its Critics," Russian Review 53, no. 2 (Apr 1994):165-182
                    2). Martin Malia, “The Hunt for the True October,” Commentary 92 (October
                    1991): 21-28.  (Suny and Malia are Read Together)
                    3). Peter Holquist, “What’s So Revolutionary About the Russian Revolution,”
                    Russian Modernity: Politics, Knowledge, Practices, ed. David L. Hoffman and
                    Yanni Kostonis (New York: St. Martin’s, 2000), 87-111.
                    4). Stephen Kotkin, “1991 and the Russian Revolution: Sources, Conceptual
                    Categories, Analytical Frameworks,” Journal of Modern History 70, no. 2
                    (June 1998): 384-425 (recommended for a graduate student).                         


Week Three

Tu, Feb 12   Screening and Discussion of Three Songs bout Lenin (1934), Dziga Vertov

Th, Feb 14   #2 In-Class Writing and Discussion: Women’s Perspectives of Revolution
                    Fitzpatrick and Slezkine, In the Shadow of Revolution

  • Ekaterina Olitskaia, “My Reminiscences,” 33-48 
  • Anna Liveiko, "In 1917," 49-65
  • Irina Elenevskaia, “Recollections,” 123-139
  • Agrippina Korevanova, “My Life,” 180-206
  • Anonymous, “What Am I to Do?”, 207-208

                    6)   Paraskeva Ivanova, “Why I Do Not Belong in the Party,” 213-218.
                    Extra Reading:
                    1). Barbara E. Clements, "Working-Class and Peasant Women in the Russian
                    Revolution, 1917-1923," Signs 8, no. 2 (Winter 1982): 215-235.



Week Four 
Tu, Feb 19    #3 In-Class Writing and Discussion: International Dimensions of Revolution
                      1)  V.I. Lenin, “The Socialist Revolution and the Struggle for Democracy,”
                      in The Right of Nations to Self-Determination, 74-85
                      2)  “Theses on the National and Colonial Question Adopted by the Second
                      Comintern Congress,” 138-144
                      3) “Resolution of the ECCI on the Eastern Question,” 326-327
                      4) “Extracts from an ECCI Manifesto on the Nationalist Movement in French
                      North Africa,” 351-353
                      5) “Extracts from the Theses on the Revolutionary Movement in Colonial and
                      Semi-Colonial Countries Adopted by the Sixth Comintern Congress,” 530-48.
                      6) “Extracts from an ECCI Resolution on the Negro Question,” 552-557.

Extra Reading: 
              1). Ani Mukherji, “The Erasure of American Anticolonialism in Moscow:
                      Race and the Redefinition of Political Space,” Center for the United States and
                      Cold War (recommended for a graduate student), pp. 1-26.                                              
Th, Feb 21   Origins and Course of Revolution in China
                     Screening of China : A Century of Revolution

                     Extra Reading:
                     1). Joseph W. Esherick, "Ten Theses on the Chinese Revolution,"
                     Modern China 21, no 1 (Jan 1995): 45-76.
                     Due:  List of 2-4 Research Topics  


Week Five 

Tu, Feb 26   #4 In-Class Writing and Discussion:  Mao & Peasants as Revolutionaries
                    Mao Tse-tung, On Guerilla Warfare
1) “Can Victory Be Attained from Guerilla Operations,” 66-70
2) “Organization for Guerilla Warfare,” 71-87
                     Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse-tung
                    Extra Reading:
                    1). Philip C. C. Huang, "Rural Class Struggle in the Chinese Revolution:
                    Representational and Objective Realities from the Land Reform to the Cultural
                    Revolution," Modern China 21 (Jan 1995): 105-43 (recomm’d for a grad student).
        2). Odoric Y. K. Wou, “Community Defense and the Chinese Communist
        Revolution: Henan’s Du Eight-Neighborhood Pact,” Modern China 25 (July 1999):

Th, Feb 28   Screening of To Live (1994), Yimou Zhang or Blue Kite (1994), Zhuangzhuang Tian
Week Six 
Tu, Mar 4     Complete Screening and Discussion of To Live or Blue Kite

Th, Mar 6     #5 In-Class Writing and Discussion: Cultural Revolution
                     Feng Jicai, Voices from the Whirlwind: An Oral History of the Chinese
                    Cultural Revolution  
                     1)  "They Who Have Suffered Greatly," 3-27
                     2)  "Was I Really Guilty?," 38-54
                     3)  "Commander Niu," 146-156
                     Rae Yang, Spider Eaters: A Memoir

  • "A Vicious Girl and Chastity," 66-86
  • "Beijing and the Hero in My Dreams," 87-114
  • "Storm and Red Guards," 115-145

                     Extra Reading:
                     1). Christina Gilmartin, “Gender in the Formation of a Communist Body Politic,”
                     Modern China 19 (July 1993): 299-329.
                     2). Hung-Yok Ip, “Fashioning Appearances: Feminine Beauty in Chinese
                     Communist Revolutionary Culture,” Modern China 29 (July 2003): 329-361.

Week Seven 
Tu, Mar  11  Neo-Colonialism and Revolution in Cuba
                     Clips from Fidel: the Untold Story (2001)    

Th, Mar  13  #7 In-Class Writing and Discussion:  
                     Guerilla Warfare: Che Guevara (106 pp),
                     1) "General Principles of Guerilla Warfare," 7-37
                     2) "Guerilla Fighter as Social Reformer," 38-41
                     3) "Guerilla Fighter as Combatant," 41-54
                     4) "Organization of the Guerilla Front," 80-114
                     5) "Organization in Secret of the First Guerilla Band," 115-119
                     6) "Defense of Power that Has Been Won," 120-122
                     7) "Message to the Tricontinental," 161-175
                      Julius Lester, Revolutionary Notes
                     1) "Che Is Alive – on East 103rd Street," 6-8
                     2) "Che Guevara and the Cult of Personality," 38-40
                     Extra Reading:
                     1). Julia E. Sweig, "Fidel's Final Victory," Foreign Affairs 86, no. 1 (Jan/Feb
                     2007): 39-56.
                     2). Alejandro de la Fuente, "Building a Nation for All," A Nation for All: Race,
                     Inequality, and Politics in Twentieth-Century Cuba, 259-316.      

Week Eight       




Week Nine


Th, Mar 27   Screening of I Am Cuba (1964), Mikheil Kalatozishvili
                     Due: Abstract and Draft Bibliography
Week Ten
 Tu, Apr 1   Discussion of I Am Cuba

Th, Apr 3   #8 In-Class Writing and Discussion
                   Judy Maloof, Voices of Resistance: Testimonies of Cuban and Chilean Women
                   1) "A School Teacher and Revolutionary," 53-61
                   2) "Afro-Cuban Dance Troupe Leader," 62-67
                   3) "Tobacco Worker," 68-75
                   4) "Documentary Film Maker," 92-105
                   Extra Reading:
                   1). Muriel Nazzari, "The Woman Question in Cuba: An Analysis of Material
                   Constraints on its Solution," Signs 9, no. 2 (Winter 1983): 246-263.
                   2). Lois M. Smith and Alfred Padula, "Sexuality and Revolution," Sex and
                   Revolution: Women in Socialist Cuba, 168-186.
                   3). Rafael Ocasio, “Gays and the Cuban Revolution: The Case of Reinaldo Arenas,”
                   Latin American Perspectives 29 (March 2002): 78-98. 


Week Eleven

Tu, Apr 8   Frantz Fanon & Revolution in Africa      
                   Clips from Frantz Fanon: Black Skin, White Mask
                   #9 In-Class Writing and Discussion
                   Frantz Fanon, Wretched of the Earth
                   1) "On Violence," 1-52
                   2) "On Violence in the International Context," 52-62
                   3) "On National Culture," 145-170
                   4) "Mutual Foundations for National Culture and Liberation Struggles," 170-80
                   Frantz Fanon, Toward the African Revolution: Political Essays
                   1) "French Intellectuals and Democrats and the Algerian Revolution," 76-91
                   2) "Maghreb Blood Shall Not Flow in Vain," 91-6
                   3) "Decolonization and Independence," 99-105
                   4) "Letter to the Youth of Africa," 113-9
                   5) "Appeal to Africans," 132-4
                   Extra Reading:
                   1). Robert A. Mortimer, "The Algerian Revolution in Search of the African
                   Revolution," The Journal of Modern African Studies 8, no. 3 (Oct 1970): 363-387.
                   2). Hussein M. Adam, "Frantz Fanon as a Democratic Theorist," African Affairs 92,
                   no. 369 (Oct 1993): 499-518.
                   3). Michael W. Sonnleitner, "Of Logic and Liberation: Frantz Fanon on Terrorism,"
                   Journal of Black Studies 17, no. 3 (Mar 1987): 287-304.
Th, Apr 10   Screening of The Battle of Algiers (1967), Gillo Pontecorvo
Week Twelve
Tu, Apr 15   Discussion of The Battle of Algiers  


Th, Apr 17   #10 In-Class Writing and Discussion
                     Black Panthers Speak (109 pp.)
                     1) "Black Panther Party Platform and Program Rules of the BPP," 2-6
                     2) "On Violence," 19-20
                     3) "To the Courageous Vietnamese People," 32
                     4) "On Criticism of Cuba," 37-8
                     5) "In Defense of Self-Defense. . .," 40-1
                     6) "The Correct Handling of Revolution," 41-5
                     7) "Functional Definition of Politics," 45-7
                     8) "Huey Newton Talks to the Movement . . .," 50-66
                     9) "The Ten-Point Platform. . .," 78-80
                   10) "Bobby Seale Explains Panther Politics," 81-8
                   11) "Black Soldiers as Revolutionaries," 88-93
                   12) "The Black Man's Stake in Vietnam," 100-104                
                   13) "Eldridge Cleaver Discusses Revolution,"108-117
                   14) "The Ideology of the Black Panther Party," 122-3
                   15) "If You Want Peace You Got to Fight for It," 128-130
                   16) "On Cultural Nationalism," 151-4
                   17) "We Will Win: Letter from Prison by Afeni Shakur," 161-4  
                   18) "Why the Free Breakfast?," 169-170
                   19) "Liberation Schools," 170-1
                   20) "People's Medical Care Center," 173-5
                   21) "Pocket Lawyer of Legal First Aid," 176-7
                   22) "In Memory of Dr. Martin Luther King," 177-8
                   23) "Petition Statement for Community Control of Police," 179
                   24) "The Black Panther Party Stands for Revolutionary Solidarity," 220-1
                   25) "SDS Resolution on the Black Panther Party," 225 (bottom)-229
                   26) "Young Lords Party 13-Point Program and Platform," 235-9
                   27) "The Patriot Party Speaks to the Movement," 239-43
                   28) "Getting Together," 245-6
                   29) "News Release Issued by the American Civil Liberties Union," pp. 263-265
                   30) "Resolution Adopted by the New York Group of the Society for Philosophy and
                   Public Affairs," 265-6
                   31) "Call for Revolutionary People's Constitutional Convention," 267-271    
                   Extra Reading
                   1). Besenia Rodriguez, “‘Long Live Third World Unity! Long Live
                   Internationalism’: Huey P. Newton's Revolutionary Intercommunalism,” Souls
8 (Summer 2006): 119-141.
                   2). Edward Morgan, “Media Culture and the Public Memory of the Black Panther
                   Party” In Search of the Black Panther Party: New Perspectives on a Revolutionary
                   3). Ward Churchill, “To Disrupt, Discredit, and Destroy’: The FBI’s Secret War
                   Against the Black Panther Party,” in Kathleen Cleaver and George Katsiaficas, ed.
                   Liberation, Imagination and the Black Panther Party: A New Look at the Panthers
                   and Their Legacy, 78-117.
                   4). Joel Wilson, “Invisible Cages: Racialized Politics and the Alliance between the
                   Panthers and the Peace and Freedom Party,” In Search of the BPP, 324-73.
Week Thirteen
Tu, Apr 22   Screening of Panther (1998), Mario Van Peebles

Th, Apr 24   Discussion of Panther

Week Fourteen

Tu, Apr 29   #11 In-Class Writing and Discussion
                     1) Assata Shakur, Assata: An Autobiography, 216-233.
                     2) Elaine Brown, “Living for the People,” “January 17th,” “Postmortem,”
                     “Dying for the People,” in A Taste of Power: A Black Women’s Story,132-155,
                     156-170, 171-184, 185-207.
                     3) Regina Jennings, “Why I Joined the Party: An Africana Womanist Reflection,”
                     in Charles E. Jones, ed., The Black Panther Party [Reconsidered], 257-265.
                     Extra Reading:
                     1). Trayce Matthews, “‘No One Ever Asks, What a Man’s Role in the Revolution
                     Is’: Gender and the Politics of the Black Panther Party, 1966-1971,” in The Black
                     Panther Party [Reconsidered], 267-304.
                     2). Angela D. LeBlanc-Ernest, “‘The Most Qualified Person to Handle the Job’:
                     Black Panther Party Women, 1966-1982,” in The Black Panther Party, 305-327.


Week Fifteen

Tu, May 6   Student Presentations of Research Projects

Th, May 8   Student Presentations of Research Projects



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Last Updated 7/21/10


Our sincere congratulations to Matty Lynn Kuhar who won the 2016 School of the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences Undergraduate Award!

Dr. Alison Parker has been invited to be this year's Harriet Jacobs Lecturer at Purdue University. Her talk is entitled Mary Church Terrell, Black Women, and the Rise of the Democratic Party. 

Dr. Nishiyama has been invited to give a talk (title "Kamikaze Technology and Culture for War: Japan and the USA, 1941-2001") at the RIT.

Dr. Alison Parker facilitated significant donation of historical papers to Oberlin College and participates in its celebratory symposium on the life of racial justice advocate Mary Church Terrell (1863-1954).

Congratulations to Dr. Jose R. Torre on winning the Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Teaching!


History Forum will host Region 11&12 Meeting of the Association of Public Historians of New York State, on 4/30 (Saturday, from 9am to about 4pm) at McCue Auditorium (LAB104).

History Department Graduation Ceremony will be held in New York Room, Cooper Hall, at 10:30 am, May 14 (Saturday).