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Reform versus/and Revolution

Subject code


Course Number




L. Gilson

Course Long Title

Reform versus/and Revolution


Reform and revolution are generally understood as different paths toward political change. Are these paths opposed to one another? Or are they complementary? This course explores the relationship between political reform and revolution as it has been conceived by several traditions of modern political thought, including Marxism, liberalism, conservatism, romanticism, Black radicalism, and intersectional feminism. While most of these traditions have seen reform and revolution as mutually exclusive - if for very different reasons - intersectional feminists have tended to argue that they are mutually reinforcing. This course examines the arguments in favor of each side of the debate in detail. At the end of the course, we think through the consequences of these arguments by applying them to the contemporary debate about abolishing or reforming the police. Prerequisite: At least one course in the Politics PLL concentration. Recommended background: PLTC 191 or 292.

Modes of Inquiry

Analysis and Critique [AC], Historical and Social Inquiry [HS]

Writing Credit


Class Restriction

Exclude First Years

Offering Frequency

Normally offered every other year

Recommended Background

PLTC 191 or PLTC 292