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Major Seminars

History 201-206 seminars are open to history majors only during pre-registration. If the course does not reach its enrollment maximum, it will be open to all students beginning with drop/add on a first-come first-serve basis.

HIST 206.601 Communism and Revolution in the Third World


Taught as schedule allows (consult the Course Directory)

LPS Course | SEM

Much of world history in the twentieth century was shaped by Communist revolution. From Russia to China to Cuba, and from Egypt to Ethiopia to Afghanistan, political actors who led thousands, even millions, claimed a complicated nineteenth-century economic philosophy as their inspiration. As much as Communism was a doctrine for oppressed classes, in the writings and speeches of revolutionaries it became an ideology for oppressed nations.

This course explores how and why individuals embraced Communism as a tool in the struggle for national independence. Many of the countries involved are part of what is sometimes called the ?Third World.? But even Russia, a country that hardly ever qualifies in that category, was in 1917 far less developed than ?First-World? Western Europe and America, and should perhaps be included. We will explore the meaning of the ?Third World? and those characteristics that have made Communism such a powerful idea among the inhabitants of the countries that comprise it.

And, in addition to the similarities between Communist movements, we will study the connections between them. For decades Communism was an international movement with the Soviet Union at its head. We will study the global ties of Communism, centered first and foremost in Moscow, but later also in Beijing and in Havana. Under Soviet aegis, Communism had a distinctly anti-Western element, and at the end of the semester we will look at what elements of that anti-Westernism remain even after Communism in its Soviet-inspired form has gone.