Field Seminar in Political Theory: The Idea of Revolution

New School for Social Research: Politics

Liberal Arts

Graduate Course

Majors Only

Field Seminar Pol Theory

Fall 2019

Taught By: Andreas Kalyvas

Section: A

CRN: 7348

Credits: 3

The field seminar in political theory introduces students to the history of Western political thought. Every year there is a different theme. This year’s seminar is a comprehensive critical introduction to the study of the political concept of revolution. A main purpose is to explore how this concept by unifying different modalities of resistance, revolt, uprising, rebellion, sedition, and insurrection became in modern times the paradigmatic experience of emancipatory politics to such an extent that it defined modernity as the age of revolutions. We will therefore discuss what is at stake in naming some events revolutions and whether and how this naming practice renders some events more visible and enduring than others. In this context, the course will also examine various temporalities and geographies of revolution and engage with a number of influential theoretical and strategic formulations of the revolutionary project by probing at the various criteria that were established in order to think about some revolutions in tandem or in comparison with one another. Respectively, we will consider how distinct conceptions of revolution have informed and influenced different approaches to politics, power, and political subjectivity. Another course objective is to investigate the challenges and dilemmas of revolutionary thought and practice, its limitations, contradictions, and failures and therefore to address the question of whether the term has become so fraught today that it should be either discarded altogether or replaced with other signifiers of radical struggle and social change. Finally, we will look at a constellation of political concepts that were associated with the emergence and modulations of revolutionary politics and shaped profoundly the modern political lexicon (citizenship, sovereignty and constituent power, constitutionalism, violence and terror, dictatorship, disobedience, democracy, nationalism, socialism, anti-imperialism and decolonization, etc.). Readings will include works by Paine, Jefferson, Madison, Hamilton, Sieyès, Robespierre, Condorcet, Kant, Burke, Toussaint Louverture, Hegel, Buonarroti, Babeuf, Blanqui, Marx, Engels, Nechayev, Bakunin, Kropotkin, Lenin, Trotsky, Luxemburg, Gramsci, Mao Zedong, C.L.R. James, Césaire, Fanon, Nkrumah, Cabral, Koselleck, Arendt, Foucault, Laclau, Lefort, Castoriadis, among others, as well as primary sources from various revolutionary experiences.

College: New School for Social Research (GF)

Department: Politics (GPOL)

Campus: New York City (GV)

Course Format: Seminar (R)

Max Enrollment: 18

Add/Drop Deadline: September 9, 2019 (Monday)

Online Withdrawal Deadline: November 17, 2019 (Sunday)

Seats Available: Yes

Status: Closed*

*Status information is updated every five minutes. The status of this course may have changed since the last update. Open seats may have restrictions that will prevent some students from registering. Updated: 3:11pm 2/26/2020 EST

Meeting Info:

Days: Wednesday

Times: 4:00pm - 6:40pm

Building: 6 East 16th Street

Room: 1004

Date Range: 8/28/2019 - 12/11/2019