papers
conference work
links
index

 


Revolutionary
Women
Spring 2019

HIST-4026R/7026-R
-
Tuesday, 6:00-8:00 p.m., Science 101
Priscilla Murolo - North 10, 914-395-2283, pmurolo at sarahlawrence.edu

PLEASE NOTE THAT CLASS WILL END LATE JANUARY 29. FEBRUARY 5, FEBRUARY 12, AND APRIL 30.

Click here for table of contents.


  chj
 Soldaderas of the Mexican Revolution, date unknown

Click here for:
Reading Assignments    
Writing Assignments      
Conference Projects       
Class Schedule
Appendix on Conference Work 

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Reading

For discussion in class: All of our texts are on reserve at the library or available in PDFs that PM has distributed. The texts listed below are also on sale at the bookstore.

Stephen Eric Bronner, Rosa Luxemburg: A Revolutionary for Our Times

Martha Ackelsberg, Free Women of Spain: Anarchism and the Struggle for the Emancipation of Women (rev. ed., 2004)

Charlene Carruthers, Unapologetic: A Black, Queer, and Feminist Mandate for Radical Movements

Dang Thuy Tram, Last Night I Dreamed of Peace: The Diary of Dang Thuy Tram

Shirin Ebadi, Iran Awakening

Dongping Han, The Unknown Cultural Revolution: Life and Change in a Chinese Village

Hilary Klein, Compañeras: Zapatista Women's Stories

Michael Knapp, Anja Flach, and Ercan Ayboga, Revolution in Rojava: Democratic Autonomy and Women's Liberation in Syrian Kurdistan

Alexandra Kollontai, Selected Writings

Alexandra Kollontai, Love of Worker Bees

Nivedita Menon, Seeing Like a Feminist

Mary Lynn Rampolla, A Pocket Guide to Writing in History (9th edition, 2017)

Assata Shakur, Assata: An Autobiography

Mai'a Williams, This Is How We Survive: Revolutionary Mothering, War, and Exile in the 21st Century


For presentation:
Supplementary books--to be read by individual students and presented to the class--are on reserve at the library.  These texts are listed in the class schedule.



Conference papers:
Our readings for February 5 and 12 are the conference papers' first drafts. Authors will email their papers to the whole seminar, and a set of hard copies will be available in the library, in the "Murolo" box on the open shelves next to the reserve collection. DO NOT REMOVE THE PAPERS FROM THE LIBRARY; PHOTOCOPY ANY YOU WISH TO READ AT HOME.

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Writing

Reading notes:
Students must hand in photocopies of their notes on texts read for class. Notes will be collected at every seminar meeting and returned in batches on March 12 and May 14. , in the middle of the term and at the end.

Assessments of conference work in progress:
Our readings for February 5 and 12 are the conference papers' first drafts. Authors will email their papers to the whole seminar, and a set of hard copies will be available in the library, in the "Murolo" box on the open shelves next to the reserve collection. DO NOT REMOVE THE PAPERS FROM THE LIBRARY; PHOTOCOPY ANY HARD COPIES YOU WISH TO READ AT HOME. We'll discuss each draft for about 30 minutes, starting with the authors' evaluations of their work thus far. Students must write a short assessment of every classmate's draft. In each case, please identify the work's main strengths, main weaknesses, and best possibilities for further development. Comments are due when the work is discussed in class. Please submit two copies of your comments on each paper, one to the author and the other to PM.

Class papers and presentations:
The papers on supplementary books should be about five pages long (in double-spaced, 12-point typeface). See the class schedule for assignments. Click here for the page on which papers are posted.

 

Conference Projects

The task this term is to expand, revise and polish projects begun in the fall. For guidelines, see the appendix to this syllabus. Here are the due dates for various phases of conference work:
January 29 - first draft (HAND IN TWO HARD COPIES AND EMAIL A COPY TO THE WHOLE SEMINAR.)
February 26 - updated prospectus and bibliography
April 30 - final draft (HAND IN TWO HARD COPIES AND EMAIL A COPY TO THE WHOLE SEMINAR.)
Final drafts will be discussed in small groups during the week that begins on Monday, May 13.

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 C l a s s   S c h e d u l e

1/22
1/29
2/5
2/12
2/19
2/26
3/5
3/12
4/2
4/9
4/16
4/23
4/30
5/7
5/14

 

 

1/22
Red Rosa

Seminar reading:
Ingeborg Kaiser, Rosa and the Wolves: Biographical Investigation into the Case of Rosa Luxemburg (PDF)
Bronner, Rosa Luxemburg (background reading)

Rosa and the Wolves falls somewhere between biography and fiction. Although Ingeborg Kaiser never met her subject, she feels that she knows Rosa Luxemburg very well and strongly identifies with her. Can we develop real intimacy with historical figures who died long before we were born? Does identification with our subjects enhance our understanding of their lives, or are we merely projecting our own modern sensibilities onto the past?

 

1/29
Life of the Party

Film: Angi Vera

HAND IN TWO HARD COPIES OF THE CONFERENCE PAPER'S FIRST DRAFT; EMAIL THE PAPER TO THE WHOLE SEMINAR. CLASS WILL MEET UNTIL 8:30.

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2/5
Discussion of Conference Work in Progress

Seminar reading:
papers by Hannah Rodums, Rosa Mytyka-Chomsky, Kym Winchell, Kathryn Brantley, and Marian Phillips


Identify each paper's main strengths, main weaknesses, and best possibilities for further development.

HAND IN ASSESSMENTS OF THESE PAPERS (TWO COPIES, ONE TO THE AUTHOR AND THE OTHER TO PM). CLASS WILL MEET UNTIL 9:15.


 

2/12 SNOW DAY

 

 

 

2/19
Discussion of Conference Work in Progress

Seminar reading:
papers by Maya Wilson, Amy Hong, Nick Thompson, Emilyn Kowaleski, Maydha Kapur, Ja Bulsombut, and Nebila Oguz

Identify each paper's main strengths, main weaknesses, and best possibilities for further development.

HAND IN ASSESSMENTS OF THESE PAPERS (TWO COPIES, ONE TO THE AUTHOR AND THE OTHER TO PM). CLASS WILL MEET UNTIL 9:45.

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2/26
Revolutionary Sex

Seminar reading:
- Kollontai, Selected Writings:  chronology, introduction to the book, introduction to part 6, and the
following essays: "Theses on Communist Morality in the Sphere of Marital Relations," "Sexual Relations and the Class Struggle," "Make Way for Winged Eros: A Letter to Working Youth"
- Kollontai, Love of Worker Bees: "Three Generations," "Sisters"

If "Make Way for Winged Eros" regards sexual liberation as an inevitable outcome of socialist revolution, "Three Generations" explores the difficulties of formulating a consensus as to what liberation entails. What does Soviet history in Kollontai's era suggest about the possibilities for achieving the world imagined in "Winged Eros"?

HAND IN PLANS FOR CONFERENCE WORK DURING THE SPRING TERM.

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3/5
Mujeres Libres

Seminar reading:
Ackelsberg, Free Women of Spain

Ackelsberg offers a study of anarchist women in the Spanish Civil War and an essay on this history's political implications for the present-her present when the book came out in 1991. How well do the lessons she identifies hold up in our own present, and are there additional lessons we might draw given political trends since 1991?

Presentations:
Rosa Mytyka-Chomsky on Mary Nash, Defying Male Civilization: Women in the Spanish Civil War
Nick Thompson on Angela Jackson, British Women and the Spanish Civil War

 

 

 

3/12
Resolution

Seminar reading:
Dang, Last Night I Dreamed of Peace

How do you explain Dang Thuy Tram's perseverance in the face of the hardships she endured and the suffering she witnessed?

READING NOTES WILL BE RETURNED IN CLASS.

Presentation:
Nebila Oguz on Le Ly Hayslip, When Heaven and Earth Changed Places

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SPRING BREAK - no class 3/19 and 3/26



 

4/2
Revolution of a New Type?

Seminar reading:
- Knapp, Flach, and Ayboga, Revolution in Rojava
- Hilary Klein, Compañeras

These books explore women's liberation in the context of two revolutionary movements focused on achieving democracy and self-determination on a regional basis instead of the seizing state power. To what degree do these goals help to explain the movements' gender dynamics?

Presentation:
Emilyn Kowaleski on Karen Kampwirth, Women and Guerrilla Movements: Nicaragua, El Salvador, Chiapas, Cuba

 

4/9
Inspiration

Seminar reading:
Shakur, Assata

Although this book mostly recounts events that took place over forty years ago and its author has been living in exile since at least 1984, it continues to capture the imaginations of radical youth in the United States. Why is that?

Presentations:
Amy Hong on Carole Boyce Davies, Left of Karl Marx: The Political Life of Black Communist Claudia Jones
Maya Wilson on Angela Davis, Angela Davis: An Autobiography

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4/16
Everyday Resistance

Seminar reading:
Williams, This is How We Survive

What exactly is revolutionary mothering, and is it an exclusively female role?

Presentation:
Ja Bulsombut on Gregg Andrews, Thyra J. Edwards: Black Activist in the Global Freedom Struggle

 


4/23
"This revolution's victory demanded my defeat."

Seminar reading:
Ebadi, Iran Awakening

Revolutions have always been produced by united fronts-coalitions of disparate forces that come together to overthrow one way of life and establish another. To judge from Shirin Ebadi's experience, what does this mean for women?

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4/30
Warriors for Peace

Film: We Women Warriors

HAND IN TWO HARD COPIES OF THE CONFERENCE PAPER'S FINAL DRAFT; EMAIL THE PAPER TO THE WHOLE SEMINAR. CLASS WILL MEET UNTIL 8:30.

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5/7
Between the Lines

Seminar reading:
Han, The Unknown Cultural Revolution


Does it really matter that we focus on women revolutionaries? That question was much on our minds when this course began. One useful way to approach it is to consider what we can learn from a book like The Unknown Cultural Revolution, in which women are relatively marginal figures and gender is not an analytic category. What is this book value to historians of revolutionary women and what are its limitations in that regard?

 

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5/14
Intersections

Seminar reading:
Carruthers, Unapologetic

Charlene Carruthers addresses this book to Black radicals, but her observations and arguments have much to offer radicals rooted in other communities. What do you regard as the book's most important takeaways?

READING NOTES WILL BE RETURNED IN CLASS.

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Appendix: CONFERENCE WORK


Conference paper: first draft due January 29; final draft due April 30

Please proofread and copyedit your work. To document the paper, follow the conventions outlined in Mary Lynn Rampolla's Pocket Guide to Writing in History, on sale at the bookstore and on reserve at the campus library.


Updated prospectus and bibliography: due February 26

- Restate or revise the central question that informs your conference project and your thesis in reply to that question: What's the main point you wish to make in your final draft?

- Comment on the significance of your project: Why is your topic important, and how will you expand on what other people have said about it?

- Summarize your research agenda for the spring term: What, exactly, remains to be done? Are there things you need to find out before you can be sure of your central question, your thesis, and why they matter? Does your latest thinking about conceptual and analytic issues require changes in the reading/research plan you mapped out in the fall? Must you alter the plan on account of logistical problems? If you need to do off-campus research, what arrangements have you made?

- Include a revised bibliography-not every relevant text you've identified but only those you'll cite or consult as you write the paper's final draft.


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