William T. SmaldoneCourse taught by: William T. Smaldone

This course centers on the lives of historical figures whose actions transformed their worlds, including Jesus Christ, Martin Luther, Emma Goldman, Rosa Luxemburg, and Ernesto “Che” Guevara.  Using biography, autobiography, film, and other materials we will examine the forces that led these individuals to act in ways that gave meaning to their lives and to the lives of others. Among the questions to be explored are: What factors transform individuals and groups from passive acceptors of their condition or the condition of others into dynamic actors who make it their mission to effect radical change?  To what extent does the example of others drive a person to act?  How do familial and broader social contexts shape a person’s desire to mobilize others?  To what extent can an individual’s urge to transform the world come from within? By addressing these questions as they relate to individuals operating in very different historical circumstances, we will strive to better understand the stuff of which revolutionaries are made.