Based on one of the questions below, write a 5-6 page essay (typed, double-spaced). You may draw on all available materials for this class but the focus should be on the primary texts in question. No outside reading is necessary or expected. If you would like to write a paper on another topic or another question, please contact me about this at least one week in advance so that we can discuss alternative topics/questions. All essays should be concise, tightly argued, and to the point. They should demonstrate a thorough understanding of the text(s) and the relevant contexts. Use proper grammar, punctuation, and style. Avoid lengthy quotations from the texts, but do not stray into vague generalities. Back up assertions with references to page numbers [e.g., “Burke claimed that property is the proper basis for government” (15).]. Footnotes and bibliography are not necessary. Please number your pages. You do not need to include a title page. 2. Dostoevsky’s novel The Possessed/Demons (1872), which we read in the dramatization by Albert Camus, was based on the so-called Nechaev Affair of 1869, in which Sergey Nechaev, the leader of a revolutionary cell at the University of Moscow, killed or had killed a member of the cell named Ivanov after he attempted to leave it. Ivanov’s body was dumped in a hole in the ice (this was late November in Moscow!) but it was soon found. In the ensuing police reaction, many of Nechaev’s followers were arrested while Nechaev himself slipped across the border to Switzerland. Based on the evidence in The Possessed, how does Dostoevsky understand the origin, nature, and adherents (leaders and followers) of Nechaev’s form of revolutionary violence? What does he see as the role of “nihilism” in it? Given other things we have read, what are the strengths and limitations of Dostoevsky’s approach to understanding terrorist violence in this era? NOTE: you will want to consult the pieces by Bakunin and Nechaev in Voices of Terror, as well as the essays by Verhoeven and Miller. (please do #2
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