Assignments

Over the course of the semester, students are assigned three papers, two of which may be revised and re-submitted. For each paper, students were required to write and submit to their designated writing tutor an opening paragraph of their paper in advance of the deadline, and to attend a tutorial with the writing tutor to discuss the opening paragraph and plans for the rest of the paper. Papers were only accepted from students who have had their first paragraph tutorials.

Paper 1

Question

Which moment in Athenian history do you consider to have been the most revolutionary: 594 BC, 508 BC, or 462 BC?

In addition to following the general guidelines found here (PDF), a good paper will demonstrate the following:

  • Close familiarity with the ancient sources for the period: the Athenian Constitution, Herodotus, and Plutarch;
  • Understanding of the nature of those sources and of their limitations;
  • Knowledge of the arguments offered by Wallace, Ober, and Raaflaub about the revolutionary nature of each of the moments in question;
  • A view of your own as to what constitutes a revolution in general, and of how the concept can or cannot usefully be applied to the history of Athens in particular.

Paper 2

Question

"The primary reason for the victory of revolutionary socialist parties in Russia and China was the leadership of Lenin and Mao." Do you agree or disagree?

In addition to following the general guidelines, a good paper will demonstrate the following:

  • Close familiarity with the primary sources and secondary readings
  • Use, if appropriate, of other primary sources in the reader (edited by Spence, Cheng, and Lestz) which are not on the syllabus.
  • Knowledge of the arguments about the relative importance of leaders, revolutionary parties, and mass movements in the Russian and Chinese revolutions
  • A view of your own as to how leaders, parties, and masses participated in making the Chinese and Russian revolutions.

Paper 3

Question

Revolutions break out and progress due to multiple causal factors. In this essay, select the factor from the list below that most interests you and discusses the role it played in revolutions we have studied in all three parts of the class. ("Inventing the People," "Inventing the Modern State," "Reinventing Revolution") The factor you select does not necessarily have to be the one you find most important; you do NOT need to make an argument about your factor's importance in relation to the other factors. You must develop an argument explaining why the factor you have selected has been significant in a variety of revolutionary settings. The essay should be ten pages, double-spaced.

List of Factors

  • Foreign War
  • Social Inequality
  • Political Institutions
  • Ideas

In addition to following the general guidelines, a good paper will demonstrate the following:

  • Close familiarity with the relevant primary sources and secondary readings
  • Understanding of the nature of those sources and their limitations
  • A nuanced understanding of how the factor you select impacted the outbreak and subsequent course of each revolution you discuss

Students were also given a few reading questions to help their understanding of the Russian Revolution.

  1. Compare the views of the Russian "people" in Herzen and Chernyshevsky. How do they regard their potential for revolutionary action?
  2. For Chernyshevsky, what kind of personal qualities should the revolutionary activist have?
  3. How appropriate is the Marxist analysis of capitalism for the conditions of Tsarist Russia in the late nineteenth century?

Final Exam

To prepare for the final exam, a list of terms that might appear in the short-identification section is provided. (PDF)