POWER TO THE PEOPLE? BOLSHEVIKS, THE BERLIN WALL, THE ARAB SPRING, AND MUCH MORE
Chris Danziger, lecturer
Europe prides itself on being a role model for democracies all over the world. But for the great majority of its history it has been ruled by hereditary monarchs and military dictators. There have really only been three occasions in the last 150 years when the people took power into their own hands. In all three cases the results fell far short of the hopes. Even today there are ominous signs of a slide into authoritarianism. That has spilled over to political turbulence elsewhere in the world. This course looks at the continent-wide revolution of 1848, the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917, the fall of the Berlin Wall, post-colonial Africa and the Arab Spring. Why does democracy struggle so to take root? What lessons can future generations learn from these failures?
1. 1848: ‘the springtime of the peoples’
2. Bookends: the Bolshevik Revolution (1917) and the fall of the Berlin Wall (1989)
3. Post-colonial societies and the Arab Spring
Rosenfeld, S. 2018. Democracy and Truth: a Short History. University of Pennsylvania Press.
Dunn, J. 2018. Setting the People Free. Princeton University Press.
Danahar, P. 2015. The New Middle East: the World After the Arab Spring. Bloomsbury.
Cheeseman, N. 2021. The Moral Economy of Elections in Africa. Cambridge University Press.