DLM 110: So You Want to Know About Socialism? (Fall 2021)


Email: john.harney@centre.edu
Office: Crounse 424

Office Hours: M-Th, 1pm-2pm & by appointment

Class Meeting Time: TR 8:00-9:30, Crounse 301

Course Overview

This course will consider how the term “socialism” is used (and misused) in political arguments of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. We will examine the historical evolution of socialist concepts in global political and social theory, attempts to put socialist policy – including communist policy – into practice, and representations of socialism in Western popular culture.

Required Readings

Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, The Communist Manifesto

George Orwell, 1984


Participation: 10%
Writing Journal: 20%
Essay 1: 20%
Essay 2: 20%
Final: 30%

Tentative Schedule

Tue., Aug. 31 Government and Society

Thu., Sep. 2 Property
Read: Proudhon, “What is Property?”

Tue., Sep. 7 Capitalism and Modernity
Read: Smith, Excerpts from Wealth of Nations

Thu., Sep. 9 Revolutions
Read: Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen, 1789; the Declaration of Independence

Tue., Sep. 14 Karl Marx and Socialism
Read: The Communist Manifesto

Thu., Sep. 16 Government & Society (in the 19th century)
Read: The Communist Manifesto; Primary Sources

Tue., Sep. 21 Lenin and 1917
Read: Primary Sources

Thu., Sep. 23 Bolshevism as a Twentieth Century Movement
Read: Cohen, “Rethinking Bolshevism”

Tue., Sep. 28 Colonial Vietnam
Read: Colonialism Experienced, Chapter 2

Thu., Sep. 30 Vietnam’s Path to Socialism
Read: Ho, “My Path to Leninism”; Colonialism Experienced, Documents 12, 18, 19

Tue., Oct. 5 ESSAY PREP


Thu., Oct. 7 FALL BREAK

Tue., Oct. 12 Fascism and Socialism
Read: 1984

Thu., Oct. 14 Totalitarianism
Read: 1984

Tue., Oct. 19 1949
Read: Primary Sources

Thu., Oct. 21 The Cultural Revolution
Read: Primary Sources

Tue., Oct. 26 Failed State?
Read: Cumings, “Nation of the Sun King”

Thu., Oct. 28 Socialism in Postwar Europe
Read: “Through the Smoke of Budapest”

Tue., Nov. 2 Thatcher and Reagan
Read: First Inaugural Address of Ronald Reagan

Thu., Nov. 4 ESSAY PREP


Tue., Nov. 9 Cultural Representations of Socialism
Watch: Death of Stalin

Thu., Nov. 11 Cultural Representations of the Free World
Watch: Rocky 4

Tue., Nov. 16 1989: Cultural Victory?
Watch: Goodbye, Lenin!

Thu., Nov. 18 1989: The End of History
Read: Fukuyama, “The End of History?”

Tue., Nov. 23 Capitalism Wins?
Read: Friedman, excerpts from The Lexus and the Olive Tree


Tue., Nov. 30 What is Socialism?

Thu., Dec. 2 Exam Review


Courtesy and Participation

It is important to create a positive environment in the classroom. Treat each other with respect and courtesy. The use of laptops, tablets and mobile phones is not permitted. This is about respecting the instructor but it’s also about respecting each other and giving yourself the best chance possible to benefit from your time spent in class.

I will take attendance for this class. You can have three absences without penalty; after that your grade for the course will be adversely affected in proportion to how many days you were absent. Being late for class will be considered an absence. I strongly encourage you not to miss any classes at all. If you are part of a sports team please let me know as soon as possible.

If you have a serious illness or a family emergency this semester (fingers crossed that doesn’t happen) you should talk to Assistant Dean Mary Gulley (mary.gulley@centre.edu) in addition to informing me. She will arrange for classes to be excused if necessary. This is actually very helpful for you; should something come up, Dean Gulley can help manage communication with all your professors so that you will not have to worry about notifying each of us individually. If an emergency arises do not stress about this course, we will figure it out.

It is important that you are prepared for class. Your participation in class will be graded on your ability and willingness to discuss the readings, lecture content and your paper topics. I may occasionally ask you to write down reactions to the readings at the start of class to facilitate discussion, and I may collect these afterwards to review them.

There is one rule I hold sacred above all others:
There is no such thing as a stupid question.

The key to a good participation grade in this class lies in doing the reading, being active in class and being unafraid to ask questions of me and of each other.

Exam and Assignment Policies

This class will have a writing journal assignment, two essays of 1,500-1,800 words each, and a final exam. Guidelines will be posted on Moodle.

Late assignments will be heavily penalized, by at least 20% per day. Please note that any case of plagiarism will result in the incident being brought before the associate dean and will almost certainly result in a U for that assignment if not for the entire class. If you are at all unclear on what does or does not constitute plagiarism, please consult with me directly before submitting work. Plagiarism is very serious and can have an extremely deleterious effect on your academic career. Please be careful and do not be afraid to talk to me about any doubts you may have.

Accomodations for Special Circumstances

Students with physical impairments and learning disabilities will sometimes need accommodations to help them have an equal opportunity to learn. Whatever accommodations are provided, if any, should be the result of a discussion between the student and Assistant Dean Brian Cusato (b.cusato@centre.edu), who will then prepare a signed Accommodation Notice (a laminated sheet) for the student to show professors when an accommodation is necessary. In any course, the instructor must sign the back of the Accommodation Notice before any accommodation can take effect. It is the student’s responsibility to discuss any necessary accommodations with Dr. Cusato and to process completely the Accommodation Notice through his office.

Please discuss any accommodations you may need with me in the first week of class. This includes accommodations that do not affect you during regular class time but that will affect your participation in examinations.