April 06, 2004

I am having a lot of trouble putting together tomorrow's class. So, I will vent here, and treat it as a think piece, and then go finish prepping class.

Tomorrow is "Reds" - the class on the Russian Revolution. I know I want to review Russia from 1880 to 1917, that I want to remind them of European socialism in the late 19th century, and that I want to get into the 1920s and the NEP even though that is technically covered in Monday's reading.

What I am having trouble with is getting excited by the material, and because my best if not only asset in the classroom is that I get really excited about the material, I might well have a LOT of trouble tomorrow afternoon.

The challenge is to bundle the hope, the despair, the violence, and the total upheaval of dragging a nation, kicking and screaming, from the 1820s into the 1920s, and to do so while being fair to the good intentions and brutal side-effects of the transition.

That might be my hook, not the question of why the least industrialized Great Power was the first to see a Marxist revolution but rather the tired romantic trope of a planner and revolutionary whose dreams exceed human ability and who relies on science at the cost of humanity. Lenin as Frankenstein has a certain cliche'd charm to it, and it would let me introduce the interpretive dilemna of the John Reeds who see no evil for the goals are good and the modern conservatives who see no good for the means were so destructive.

Hmm, we had Being John Malkovitch, we might well try Being Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov.

Posted by Red Ted at April 6, 2004 09:18 AM | TrackBack