Echoes of the French Revolution
Department of History
University of Nevada, Reno
By tearing down centuries of political and cultural tradition in the span of a few decades, the French Revolution ushered in the modern age and created the ideals of citizenship and national identity we know today. For over two centuries, the Revolution sent reverberations throughout France, Europe, and, vis-à-vis its empire, the entire world. By analyzing primary sources and path-breaking historical monographs, this course explores the political, cultural, and social repercussions of the French Revolution to the present day. The first half of the course will explore the Revolution, both in France and in the Atlantic World, and its demands for the satisfaction of three universal ideals: liberty, equality, and fraternity. The second half of the course explores the aftershocks of the French Revolution in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, as France built a global empire in which subjects employed France’s own revolutionary values to overthrow imperial subjugation.
• 20% — Weekly Participation
• 10% — Leading Discussion
• 15% — First Paper
• 15% — Midterm Exam
• 20% — Final Exam
• 20% — Final Paper
Required Texts to Purchase
(other texts noted in Schedule available on ARES)
- Jeremy Popkin. 2009. History of Modern France. 4th ed. Pearson.
- William Doyle. 2001. The French Revolution: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford Univ. Press.
- Lynn Hunt, ed. 1996. The French Revolution and Human Rights. Palgrave-MacMillan.
- Laurent Dubois. 2004. Avengers of the New World: The Story of the Haitian Revolution. Duke.
Selections Available on ARES
- J.P. Daughton. 2008. Empire Divided. Stanford.
- Eric Jennings. 2002. Vichy in the Tropics. Stanford.
- Joan Scott. 2010. Politics of the Veil. Princeton.
- Franz Fanon, Black Skin White Masks.
- Jeremy Popkin, Facing Racial Revolution: Eyewitness Accounts of the Haitian Insurrection
Student Learning Objectives
- Students will be able to explain the causes of the French Revolution: Enlightenment values, absolutism and royal privilege, debt, taxation, and famine.
- Students will be able to evaluate the legacy of the French Revolution, particularly as it relates to colonial and political struggles of the nineteenth
and twentieth centuries.
- Students will be able to read, interpret, and analyze primary source texts with attention to content, historical and cultural context, genre, and
note: this schedule may change at the discretion of the professor
The French Revolution
- Introduction: The Old Regime (1/19 + 1/21)
- Lynn Hunt, “Introduction: the Revolutionary Origins of Human Rights,” The French Revolution and Human Rights, pp. 1-33.
- Doyle, “Echoes”
- (textbook) Popkin, chs. 1-5, pp. 1-35
- The Values of the Republic | Origins of the French Revolution (1/26 + 1/28)
- (Hunt) Sieyes, “What is the Third Estate?” (1789)
- (Hunt) “The Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen, 1789,” pp. 71-79.
- (ARES) Decrees Abolishing the Feudal System (1789)
- Doyle, “Why it Happened”
- (textbook) Popkin, ch. 6, pp. 36-41
- From Constitutional Monarchy to Democracy (2/2 + 2/4)
- (Hunt), “The Poor and the Propertied,” pp. 80-83; “Religious Minorities and Questionable Professions,” pp. 84-101.
- (textbook) Popkin, ch. 7, pp. 42-51.
- From Terror to Empire (2/9 + 2/11)
- (Hunt), “Women,” pp. 119-139.
- (textbook) Popkin, chs. 8-9, pp. 52-69.
- Revolutionary Rights: the Haitian Revolution (2/16 + 2/18)
- (Hunt), “Free Blacks and Slaves,” pp. 101-118.
- Laurent Dubois, Avengers of the New World, pp. 1-151.
- Haitian Revolution (2) and Napoleonic Wars (2/23 + 2/25)
- (ARES) Jeremy D. Popkin, Facing Racial Revolution, 59-92
- Laurent Dubois, Avengers of the New World, pp. 152-301.
- (textbook) Popkin, ch. 10, pp. 70-82.
FIRST PAPER DUE (2/25)
- Ending the Revolution: from the Restoration to the July Monarchy (3/1 + 3/3)
- (ARES) The French Constitution, 1830
- (textbook) Popkin, ch. 11-12, pp. 82-101.
- Midterm (3/8 + 3/10)
- (ARES) Schwartz, Very Short Introduction
MIDTERM EXAM (3/10)
Echoes of the Revolution
- First as Tragedy, Then As Farce: 1848 to the Second Empire (3/15 + 3/17)
- (textbook) Popkin, chs. 13-14, pp. 102-124.
- (ARES) Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte, Chapter 1, 1852
SPRING BREAK (3/22 + 3/24)
- Third Republic (1870-1940) (3/29 + 3/31)
- Republican Empire-Building and the Civilizing Mission (4/5 + 4/7)
- (textbook) Popkin, chs. 18-19, pp. 151-178
- (ARES) Law on the Separation of Churches and State. 9 Dec 1905
- (ARES) Daughton, Empire Divided, pp. 3-58
- Republican Ideals and Nation-Building: 1870-1914 (4/12 + 4/14)
- (ARES) Ernst Renan, “What is a Nation?” (1882)
- (textbook) Popkin, ch. 20
- (ARES) Daughton, Empire Divided, pp. 227-266
- A New Revolution: Vichy and Decolonization (4/19 + 4/21)
- (ARES) Franz Fanon, Black Skin White Masks, ch.1 and 5
- (ARES) Jennings, Vichy in the Tropics, 1-30, 199-230
- (ARES) Ho Chi Minh, “Declaration of Independence of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam”
- The French Revolution Today (4/26 + 4/28)
- (ARES) Scott, Politics of the Veil, Intro
- Doyle, “Where it Stands”
- (textbook) Popkin, ch. 37
FINAL PAPER DUE (5/3)
FINAL EXAM (Tuesday, 5/10 from 5p-7p)