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York University

Department of Sociology

Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies

GS/SOCI 6711 3.0 (W) - M

Social Movements

Winter 2017

Course Syllabus

Course Director: Marcello Musto

Class Time: Thursday 14:30 - 17:30

Class Location: Ross Bldg. S 501

Office Hours: Tuesday 17:30 - 18:30 (or by appointment)

Office Location: Ross Bldg. N 833A

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Unit Description

This course deals with the developments of some of the most significant international social movements from the end of Ancien Régime to the fall of Berlin Wall (1789-1989). These include social movements that were formed around the French Revolution, the Revolutions of 1848, the Paris Commune, the birth of Soviet Union, the Chinese Revolution, the anticolonialist process in Asia, Africa and Latin America, the protests of 1968, as well as Socialist Feminism. These movements will be critically analysed, both in terms of history of ideas and of their major socio-political characteristics.

Course Requirements

Class Participation:

This course is taught in weekly seminars. Attendance is strongly recommended and students are expected to participate actively in class discussion.


Classes will begin with a student presentation of 30 to 40 minutes. Avoid just reading a paper aloud and get your colleagues involved.

Each student is encouraged to discuss with the course director the main points of her/his presentation at least one week in advance. Presentations will be an essential part of our seminar. You will orientate the discussion toward them and will provide to your colleagues more extended insights concerning the topic of the week. That will be possible on the basis of the additional readings already indicated in the syllabus and/or of further texts that will be suggested by the course director.

In your presentation, you should avoid devoting too much time to the assigned readings. You will only highlight their main points (in 5 to 10 min.) and pose some open questions (at least 3/4) for the debate - to which you will respond in the end, expressing your own point of view.

The most important part of the presentation (15 to 20 min.) should be dedicated to an exposition of the main characteristics of social movement in question: main achievements, class composition, role of women, socio-historical context, main ideas, political organization, etc.

In the second part of each class there will also be a 10 minutes contribution from a discussant. She/he should call the attention of other students to a few particular aspects of the topic of the week, including the influence (or reception, in case of theory) in the world. The presenter and the discussant should cooperate before class, in order to avoid overlapping with the questions they will pose and with the problematics through which they will stimulate the discussion.

Final Paper Proposal:

Students are free to propose their own final paper topic, but it must be related to one or more social movements, as well as key issues, discussed during the seminar. The final paper proposal should be 3-4 pages (1.500 to 2.000 words) and include the following information:

- indication of the tentative title and of the sections in which the writing will be divided;

- preliminary outline of the text;

- 5 keywords concerning the themes and the concepts to be addressed;

- a bibliography of at least 10 sources consulted;

Final paper proposals will be due, in hard copy and by email, on March 2.

Please note that you cannot write the final paper on the same author(s) you have done your presentation. Exceptions are possible, but unlikely. In any case, the matter must be discussed in advance.

Final Paper:

The Final Paper, approved through the Final Paper Proposal, will be due in hard copy and by email no later than April 30. It should:

- be a maximum of 6.000 words, including notes and final references;

- be clearly structured and divided into at least 3 or 4 sections;

- have references from hard copy books, with the indication of page numbers (no references from the internet).

Course Evaluation

Class Participation




Final Paper Proposal


Final Paper


Schedule of Classes and Readings

Week 1 – 12 January: French Revolution

With the participation of Prof. Terrell Carver (University of Bristol)

Recommended Readings:

Eric Hobsbawm, The Age of Revolution 1789-1848, Chapters 1, 2 and maps, pp. 7-52 and 309-320.

Week 2 – 19 January: From 1789 to the Revolutions of 1848

With the participation of Prof. George Comninel (York University)

Required Readings:

George Rudé, The Crowd in the French Revolution, in particular Part III: "The Anatomy of the Revolutionary Crowd", pp. 178-239.

Carl Landauer, European Socialism, Chapter I: "The Three Anticapitalistic Movements", (sections 1-5), Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1959, pp. 21-59.

William Sewell, Work & Revolution in France, Cambridge: CUP, 1980, Chapter 9: "The July Revolution and the Emergence of Class Consciousness", pp. 194-218; and Chapter 11: "The Revolution of 1848", pp. 243-276.

Additional Readings:

Roger Magraw, "Socialism, Syndicalism and French Labour before 1914", in Dick Geary, Labour and Socialist Movements in Europe before 1914, New York: Berg, 1989, pp. 48-100.

George D. H. Cole's, A History of Socialist Thought, Vol. I (The Forerunners 1789-1850) , Chapter I: "The Great French Revolution and the Conspiracy of Gracchus Babeuf", pp. 11-22.

Pamela Pilbeam, French Socialists before Marx: Workers, Women, and the Social Question in France . Teddington: Acumen 2000, in particular Chapter 8: "Worker Associations before 1848".

Eric Hazan, A History of the Barricade, London: Verso, 2015.

Week 3 – 26 January: Paris Commune

Required Readings:

Donny Gluckstein, The Paris Commune: A Revolution in Democracy, Chapter 1: "The Commune's Achievements", pp. 1-42.

Karl Marx, The Civil War in France, in Marcello Musto (Ed.), Workers Unite! The International 150 Years Later (Chapters 46 and 65).

Kristin Ross, Communal Luxury: The Political Imaginary of the Paris Commune, London: Verso, 2015.

Additional Materials:

Peter Watkins, La commune (Paris, 1871), France, 345 min.

Part 1:

Part 2:

Prosper Olivier Lissagaray, History of the Paris Commune of 1871 [1876], London: Verso.

Marcello Musto, “Introduction”, in Id. (Ed.), Workers Unite! The International 150 Years Later (Editor), London–New York: Bloomsbury, 2014, pp. 1-68.

Week 4 – 2 February: The Narodniks and Populism in Russia

Required Readings:

Vera Zasulich - Karl Marx, "Letters on Social Relations in Russia"

Franco Venturi , Roots Of Revolution: A History of the Populist and Socialist Movements in Nineteenth Century Russia , New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1960, in particular chapters 7: "The Peasant Movement", 8: "The Student Movement", 9: "The First Groups", pp. 204-252, Chapter 18: "The Movement 'Go to the People'", pp. 469-506, Chapter 19: "The Working Class Movement", pp. 507-558.

Andrzey Walichi, The Controversy over Capitalism, Oxford: OUP, 1969.

Additional Readings:

Nikolai Chernyshevsky, What Is to Be Done?, Cornell: Cornell University Press , 1989.

Teodor Shanin (Ed.), Late Marx and the Russian Road, Marx and the ‘peripheries of capitalism’ , New Tork: Monthy Reivew Press, 1983.

Lenin, The Heritage We Renounce

James H. Billington, Mikhailovsky and Russian populism , Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1958.

Richard Wortman, The crisis of Russian populism , London: CUP, 1967.

Arthur P. Mendel, Dilemmas of progress in tsarist Russia: Legal Marxism and legal Populism , Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1961.

Andrzej Walicki, A History of Russian Thought: From the Enlightenment to Marxism, Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1979.

Week 5 – 9 February: Russian Revolution I: the Soviets

Required Readings:

Maurice Brinton, The Bolsheviks and Workers' Control: The State and Counter-Revolution

Rex A. Wade, The Russian Revolution, 1917, Cambridge: CUP, 2005, Chapter 4: "The Aspirations of Russian Society", pp. 88-129, Chapter 5 "The Peasants and the Purpose of Revolution", pp. 129-145.

Lenin, All the Power to the Soviets!

Additional Readings:

Victor Serge, Year One of the Russian Revolution, in particular Chapter 1: "From Serfdom to Proletarian Revolution", Chapter 2: "The Insurrection of 25 October 1917", and Chapter 3: "The Urban Middle Classes against the Proletariat".

Paul H. Avrich, "The Bolshevik Revolution and Workers' Control in Russian Industry", in Slavic Review, Vol. 22, No. 1 (Mar., 1963), pp. 47-63.

Lenin, State and Revolution (1918)

Sheila Fitzpatrick, The Russian Revolution, 1917-1932, Oxford: OUP, 1984.

John Reed, Ten Days that Shook the World

Tamás Krausz, Reconstructing Lenin, New York: Monthly Review, 2015.

Week 6 – 16 February: Russian Revolution II: Workers' Control or Party-State Rule?

Required Readings:

Lynne Viola (Ed.), Contending with Stalinism: Soviet Power and Popular Resistance in the 1930s , Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2002, pp. 1-108.

Additional Readings:

E. H. Carr, The Bolshevik Revolution (3 voll.), New York: Penguin, 1950.

Ronald Suny, The Soviet Experiment, Oxford: OUP, 2011.

Paul Mattick, Workers’ Control (1967), Section 3.

Paresh Chattopadhyay, 'The Failure of Twentieth-Century Socialism and Marx’s Continuing Relevance', Socialism and Democracy, Vol. 24, n. 3 (2010), pp. 23-45.

Week 7 – 2 March: Councils Movement

Required Readings:

Pierre Broué, The German Revolution, 1917-1923, London: Merlin Press, 2006, Chapter 1: 1-10, Chapter 7: pp. 89-110, Chapter 8: 129-155.

Gabriel Kuhn (Ed.), All the Power to the Councils: A Documentary History of the German Revolution of 1918-1919 , Oakland: PM Press, 2012, in particular: Ernst Daeumig, "The Council Idea and Its Realization", pp. 51-58.

Rosa Luxemburg, The Mass Strike, the Political Party and the Trade Unions (1906) (sections 4 and 6-8).

Antonio Gramsci, "The Turin factory council movement" (1921).

Additional Readings:

Ralf Hoffrogge, Working-Class Politics in the German Revolution, Leiden: Brill, 2014.

Gwyn A. Williams, Proletarian Order: Antonio Gramsci, Factory Councils and the Origins of Communism in Italy, 1911-1921 , London: PLuto Press, 1975.

Marcel van der Linden, "On Council Communism", in Historical Materialism, vol. 12 (2004), n. 4.

Anton Pannekoek, Workers' Councils (1946)

Rosa Luxemburg, "The Socialisation of Society" (1918).

Lelio Basso, Rosa Luxemburg: A Reappraisal, London: Deutsch 1975.

Paul Mattick, Anti-Bolshevik Communism, London: Merlin 1978.

Week 8 – 9 March: Spanish Revolution

Required Readings:

Eddie Conlon, The Spanish Civil War: Anarchism in Action, Workers' Solidarity Movement, 1986 (extracts).

Pierre Broue - Emile Temime, The Revolution and the Civil War in Spain , Chapter 4: "Pronunciamiento and Revolution", pp. 93-120, Chapter 5: "The Revolutionary Gains", pp. 121-149.

Deirdre Hogan, Industrial Collectivisation During the Spanish Revolution

Lose Peirats, The CNT in the Spanish Revolution, Volume 1, Chapter 8: "Spain in flames".

Karl Korsch, Collectivization in Spain (1939)

Additional Materials:

Ken Loach, Land and Freedom, UK - Spain, 109 min.

Gaston Leval, Collectives in the Spanish revolution

Michael Seidman, Republic of Egos: A Social History of the Spanish Civil War

Lose Peirats, Anarchists In The Spanish Revolution

George Orwell, Homage to Catalonia

Week 9 – 16 March: Chinese Communist Revolution

Required Readings:


Additional Readings:

Edward Friedman, Backward Toward Revolution, Berkeley: University of California Press, 1974.

Jean Chesneaux, Peasant Revolts in China, 1840-1949, pp. 101-120, 150-166.

Harold R. Isaacs, The Tragedy of the Chinese Revolution (1938).

Week 10 – 23 March: Anti-colonial Movements: The Case of Algeria

Required Readings:

Alistair Horne, A savage war of peace: Algeria, 1954-1962 , London: Macmillan, 1977, Chapter 9: "The Battle of Algiers", pp. 183-207.

Joan Gillespie, Algeria: Rebellion and Revolution, Westport: Greenwood Press, 1960, Chapter 9: "The Revolutionary Years", pp. 112-179.

Franz Fanon, A Dying Colonialism, New York: Grove Press, 1959.

Additional Materials:

Gillo Pontecorvo, The Battle of Algiers, Italy - Algeria, 120 min.

Ernesto Che Guevara, Message to the Tricontinental (1967)

Week 11 – 30 March: Paris 1968: We Want Everything!

Required Readings:

1968: - a chronology of events in France and internationally

Daniel Singer, Prelude to Revolution (1970), Cambridge: South End Press, pp. 115-151.

Vv. Aa., May-June 1968 - A Situation Lacking in Workers' Autonomy

Additional Materials:

Alain Schnapp - Pierre Vidal-Naquet, The French Student Uprising, November 1967-June 1968: An Analytical Record , Boston: Beacon Press, 1971, in particular pp. 147-240 and 325-372.

Paris 1968 posters

Christine Fauré, Mai 68, Paris: Gallimard, 1998.

Michael M. Seidman, The Imaginary Revolution: Parisian Students and Workers in 1968, New York: Berghahn Books, Chap. 1 "Sex, Drugs, and Revolution", pp. 17-52.

Obsolete communism: The left wing alternative - Daniel and Gabriel Cohn-Bendit

Tom Nairn and Angelo Quattrocchi, The Beginning of the End: France, May 1968, London: Verso.

General Strike: France 1968 - A factory by factory account

M. Klimke - J. Scharloth (Eds.), 1968 in Europe: A History of Protest and Activism, 1956–1977, London: Palgrave, 2008.

Kristin Ross, May '68 and Its Afterlives, Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Tariq Ali - Susan Watkins (Eds), 1968: Marching in the Streets

Margaret Atack, May 68 in French Fiction & Film, Oxford: OUP, 1999.

Week 12 – 6 April: The Personal is Political: Women's Liberation

Required Readings:

Carol Giardina, Freedom for women: forging the Women's Liberation Movement, 1953-1970 , Gainesville, Fla.: University Press of Florida, 2010, in particular Chapter 9: "Making the Women's Liberation Movement", pp. 174-192. [Electronic resource]

Another Reading TBA.

Carol Hanisch, "The Personal is Political" (1969)

Additional Readings:

Judith Evans, Feminist Theory Today: an Introduction to Second-Wave Feminism, Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Sage Publications, 1995.

Robin Morgan (ed.), Sisterhood Is Powerful: An Anthology of Writings from the Women's Liberation Movement.

Shulamith Firestone, The Dialectic of Sex: The Case for Feminist Revolution

Nancy Holmstrom, The Socialist Feminist Project: A Contemporary Reader in Theory and Politics, New York: Monthly Review Press 2002, (in particular: Nancy MacLean, "The Hidden History of Affirmative Action: Working Women’s Struggles in the 1970s and the Gender of Class").

Luce Irigaray, Speculum of the Other Woman [1974] (excerpts); and This Sex Which Is Not One [1977] (Chapter 8 "Women on the Market" and excerpts).

Z. Eisenstein (ed.), Capitalist Patriarchy and the Case for Socialist Feminism, New York: Monthly Review Press 1979.

Stephanie Gilmore (Ed.), Feminist coalitions: historical perspectives on second-wave feminism in the United States , Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2008.