ANARCHIST HISTORY AND THOUGHT
- Political Studies 155
- Office Hours
- MW 3:15-4:15
Or drop in anytime
The roots of this course are entangled with the roots of the World Wide Web. Although the internet component receives much less emphasis this semester, an important component of the course remains the continued development of Anarchy Archives, the most comprehensive and oft-visited anarchist site on the internet. Conceived in 1995 as the World Wide Web was just starting to inflitrate into our lives, this course was designed following a "content based approach to internet literacy." The idea was to simultaneously develop internet skills and an understanding of the history and theory of anarchism. Today, most students no longer require basic internet training, so the emphasis has shifted to the history and theory of anarchism, using Anarchy Archives as the princple source of reading material.
Although unintended and despite attempts to reign it in, the internet is the quintessential example of a large scale anarchist organization. There is no hierarchical authority controlling the internet, the subunits participate voluntarily, information flows freely, individuals join and exit associations at will. Since the internet also contains abundant information about anarchism, it is the perfect medium for a course on the political history and theory of anarchism.
Each week we will study a different anarchist theorist or movement and each week you will prepare material to be posted on the internet dealing with classical anarchism. Just as Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, the first theorist to call himself an anarchist, acquired much of his education as a by-product of working as a printer, you will learn what the classic anarchists had to say as you prepare their words for publication on the World Wide Web.
Class sessions will consist of lectures, workshops, discussions, and perhaps internet video conferencing with scholars who have written about the history and theory of anarchism.
Traditionally, teachers control students' behavior by establishing a hierarchy based on the power to grade. The result is that most students pursue grades rather than knowledge. Anarchists have approached education in an entirely different manner. Anarchists believe that in all spheres, including education, "more harm than good results from coercion, top-down direction, central authority...pre-ordained standardization..., etc." (Goodman, 1987, "The Anarchist Principle", in A Decade of Anarchy, ed. Colin Ward, p. 38. Also see Godwin, Political Justice, Book IV, Chapter 5, appendix.) Anarchists still recognize the value of leadership and expertise, but leadership and expertise must be separated from the exercise of power in order to avoid the deleterious and corrosive effects of coercion. Accordingly, in this course, evaluation will not result in a grade. As elaborated upon below, all students enrolled in the course will receive an "A" on their transcript. In this course, evaluation will be solely for the purpose of edification, and will be reserved strictly for participating members of the course collective.
The practice of anarchy requires order and moral integrity. Although adherence to anarchism is by no means a requirement of the course, order and integrity are necessary values to maintain if the course is to be a success. To meet these requirements, by voluntarily enrolling in this course and thereby becoming a member of the course collective, you have agreed to attend class sessions, make weekly contributions to the "Anarchy Archives", do the weekly reading for the course on a regular basis, and by the end of the semester 1) produce one scholarly work on any topic in the history and theory of anarchism. If at any time during the semester you wish to leave the course collective, you may do so simply by dropping the class. If you choose to leave the course collective after the official add/drop period you will receive a "WP" (withdraw passing) grade on your transcript. If at any time during the semester you fail to meet the requirements of membership in the course collective, you may be asked to withdraw from the course. If you fail to withdraw from the course after being asked to withdraw, you will receive an "F" for the course on your transcript. Coming to the second class meeting constitutes agreement to these terms.
By eliminating traditional grading from the internal structure of the course I hope to create the possibility of a truly collective learning experience. Hopefully, this will create an environment in which we participate in the class activities for the intrinsic pleasure of learning, not the fear of a plummeting GPA. While grading has been eliminated, work has not. Perhaps by removing the drudgery of grades, room can be made to experience the joy of productive work. The class is designed in such a way that we will all be able to make real contributions to others' potential for learning, at the same time that we learn ourselves. How much we each learn will depend upon how much effort we each put into the course. On that note, I should make it clear that I have no interest in providing a refuge for those in need of a GPA fix. Therefore, you will be expected to make an effort to participate in the class. If you do not make that effort, you will be wasting not only your time, but other members' time as well and you will be asked to drop the course. Taking this class, therefore, should not be done lightly. The basic activities of the course are elaborated upon below, including descriptions of the "bare minimum" for meeting course expectations.
There is only one book not on the internet which you will definitely read during the semester and should purchase:
- Marshall, Peter. (1993), Demanding the Impossible: A History of
- Anarchism. London: Fontana Press.
The bookstore has encountered problems ordering this book and there are only limited copies available at Huntley. Therefore, it would be a good idea to order the book yourself. I know Alibris, Powells and Amazon all have multiple copies for sale.
Beginning the second week of classes, you will each be expected to make weekly contributions to the Anarchy Archives. These contributions can be articles, graphics, sections of books, your own chronologies, commentary, biographies, etc., and bibliographic sources or redesigned sections of the Archives. All contributions must be free from any copyright. To avoid duplication of effort, a list of "Works in Progress" will be kept and should be consulted and "up-dated" before beginning to prepare any work for electronic publication. To select material, contact Professor Ward and refer to the bibliographic resources on the syllabus below and then make sure the material you select is not already part of "Works in Progress". Any uncopyrighted material included among the bibliographic resources which is not hotlinked already and not listed in Works in Progress is suitable material for the archive. I have worked out a relationship with the International Institute for Social History (IISH) in Amsterdam, the largest repository of radical literature in the world, by which we will be able to mark up materiels from IISH and also work on a special online exhibit for IISH. In addition, I have established a relationship with an Argentine Anarchist federation which maintains a huge archive of material in Buenos Aires. I have a great deal of material that needs translation from Spanish to English, as well as material in Spanish that needs to be marked up and placed on the web. Early in the semester we will also establish what major project we want to work on as a group. For example, we might want to expand Anarchy Archives to include more contemporary writers, we might develop a far more elaborate timeline of anarchist history, or we might write a collective history of an individual or a movement, or anything else your imagination generates. If you wish, after your contribution has been posted in the archives, you may register your contribution on the Contributors Page. As a general rule of thumb, a minimum of three hours per week should be spent preparing each contribution.
Mere assimilation of material, without an attempt to analyze, synthesize, and recapitulate the material, is mere intellectual wheel spinning. It takes you no where. Consequently, you are expected to try to put together an intellectual product dealing with some topic in the history and theory of anarchism. You should be working on this project at least by the beginning of October. You will be expected to consult with me about this project regularly throughout the semester. I will provide as much feedback and evaluation of the project as I possibly can to make your project a success. You will also share your work with other members of the course collective who will also provide feedback, as you will for their work. What form this work takes is up to you. It may be a written article or any other form of reproducible intellectual communication. Examples of previous final projects can be found here.
The required readings are listed below in green type.
- August 30: Orientation
- Sept 4: Marshall, P. (1993), Demanding the Impossible: A History of Anarchism, pp. ix-xv, 3-50.
- Sept 6: Marshall, P., pp. 53-139.
- Sept 11: Marshall, P., pp. 191-219.
- Sept 13: Godwin, Political Justice, Book III, Chapter 6, "Of Obedience.
- Godwin, Political Justice, Book VIII, Chapter 1, "Of Property",
Godwin, Political Justice, Book VIII, Chapter 2, Principles of Property.
- Sept 18: Marshall, P., pp. 234-262.
- Sept 20: Proudhon, What Is Property?, Chapter 2
- Sept 25: Marshall, P., pp. 263-308.
- Sept 27: Bakunin, M., The Immorality of the State
- Oct 2: Kropotkin, P., "The Commune of Paris."
Edwards, S., The Communards of Paris, 1871, "Introduction," pp. 9-42 (on reserve)
- Oct 4: Rocker, R. "The Forerunners of Syndicalism", chapter 3 of Anarcho-Syndicalism
- Oct 9: Marshall, P., pp. 309-338.
- Oct 11: Kropotkin, Mutual Aid, Introduction
- Oct 18: Marshall, P., pp. 396-409.
|EMMA GOLDMAN'S PHILOSOPHY
- Oct 23: Emma Goldman, Marriage and Love, in Anarchism and Other Essays (1911), pp. 233-245.
- Oct 25: Marshall, P., pp. 220-233, 339-344, 345-361, 362-383, 410-421.
|THE IMPACT OF NINETEENTH CENTURY ANARCHISM
- Oct 30: Kropotkin, P., "Anarchism", from the 1910 Encyclopaedia Britannica.
- Nov 1: Marshall, P., pp. 469-478.
- Nov 6: Dirlik, A. "The Anarchist Alternative in Chinese Socialism",
- in Anarchism in the Chinese Revolution, pp. 197-247 (on reserve).
- Nov 8: Marshall, P., pp. 384-395. 496-503.
- Nov 13: Marshall, P., pp. 431-452, 479-495.
- Nov 15: Marshall, P., pp. 453-468.
The Anarchists in the Spanish Civil War, pp. xvii-xxix; 42-67; 143-157.
- Nov 20: Alexander R., The Anarchists in the Spanish Civil War, pp. 279-295; 299-333.
- Nov 22: Alexander R., The Anarchists in the Spanish Civil War, pp. 459-491; 707-738.
- Nov 27: Alexander R., The Anarchists in the Spanish Civil War, pp. 859-944.
- Nov 29: Alexander R., The Anarchists in the Spanish Civil War, pp. 972-1029; 1085-1097.
|LATIN AMERICAN ANARCHISM
- Dec 4: Marshall, P., pp. 505-518, 519-535.
THE CONTINUING CHALLENGE:
- Dec 6: Marshall, P., pp. 539-558, 587-601, 602-622, 625-665.