Spring 2016 - HIST 463W D100

Rebellion and Revolution: Topics in the Theory and Practice of Resistance (4)

Intro to Anarchism

Class Number: 5856

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Fr 9:30 AM – 1:20 PM
    AQ 5004, Burnaby

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Apr 20, 2016
    12:00 PM – 3:00 PM
    AQ 5030, Burnaby

  • Prerequisites:

    45 units including nine units of lower division history.



Explores ideas, people, and movements of social criticism and social justice, stressing history as a way to understand and engage the present. Content may vary from offering to offering; see course outline for further information. HIST 463W may be repeated for credit only when a different topic is taught. Students with credit for HIST 412 or HIST 412W cannot take HIST 463W for further credit when offered with the course topic "Marxism." Writing.


From Bakunin to Occupy Wall Street: An Introduction to Anarchism

This course will look at the history of modern anarchism, both as a social movement and political theory. The anarchist movement is defined by its own ideas for a classless, stateless, self-governing society and by its involvement with and interpretation of historical events such as the Paris Commune, the Russian Revolution, and the Spanish Civil War. The course will thus provide not only a history of anarchist movements but also views of history and major historical events from anarchist perspectives. For example, while anarchist groups were directly involved in the Russian Revolution, anarchists also developed their critique of political power and hierarchy based on that experience— a critique that remains relevant today.

In recent decades, anarchism has re-emerged as an influential force on the Left. A basic idea of this course is to explore the movement’s history and some of the ideological, political as well as historiographical debates concerning anarchism and its relation to Marxism. This background will provide students with a more meaningful understanding of left-wing politics and activism today. Anarchism does not mean ‘chaos’ or ‘anti-organization’, and many popular misconceptions surrounding the term will be addressed. In the process, students will study abstract anarchist principles as well as anarchist views on concrete historical and political matters. Students will also learn and think about concepts promoted by anarchists such as ‘social revolution’, ‘prefigurative politics’ and ‘direct action’.


  • Participation 25%
  • Short writing assignments 25%
  • Research presentations 20%
  • Final paper 30%



James C. Scott, Two Cheers for Anarchism

Paul Avrich, Anarchist Portraits

Emma Goldman, My Disillusionment in Russia

George Orwell, Homage to Catalonia


David Graeber, The Utopia of Rules

Registrar Notes:

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://students.sfu.ca/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html