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University Connected Learning
While there is no one definition of terrorism, one important element of the idea is the use of violence or threat of violence against civilians to create political, religious, or ideological change. It is especially aimed at the overthrow of government institutions and leaders. In this course we will examine how the philosophies of the Russian "Westernizing Fathers" of the 1840s resulted in the nihilism and the terrorist activity of the revolutionary sons of the 1860s and 70s (including a short discussion of Turgenev's Fathers and Sons). We will concentrate on Dostoevsky's 1871-72 novel The Demons (in part based on Sergei Nechaev's 1869 "Catechism of a Revolutionary.") Dostoevsky creates characters that form both of these groups but who also embody the "cursed questions" the meaning of life, the nature and existence of God/Christ, ethics and morality, among other things.