Written with the fluency readers have come to expect from Juliet Barker, 1381: The Year of the Peasants’ Revolt provides an account of the first great popular uprising in England and its background, and paints on a broad canvas a picture of English life in medieval times. Skeptical of contemporary chroniclers’ accounts of events, Barker draws on the judicial sources of the indictments and court proceedings that followed the rebellion. This emphasis offers a fresh perspective on the so-called Peasants’ Revolt and gives depth and texture to the historical narrative. Among the book’s arguments are that the rebels believed they were the loyal subjects of the king acting in his interests, and that the boy-king Richard II sympathized with their grievances.
Barker tells how and why a diverse and unlikely group of ordinary men and women from every corner of England—from servants and laborers living off wages, through the village elite who served as bailiffs, constables, and stewards, to the ranks of the gentry—united in armed rebellion against church and state to demand a radical political agenda. Had it been implemented, this agenda would have transformed English society and anticipated the French Revolution by four hundred years. 1381: The Year of the Peasants’ Revolt is an important reassessment of the uprising and a fascinating, original study of medieval life in England’s towns and countryside.
Beginning in the fall of 1920, Aleksandr Antonov led an insurgency that became the largest armed peasant revolt against the Soviets during the civil war. Yet by the summer of 1921, the revolt had been crushed, and popular support for the movement had all but disappeared. Until now, details of this conflict have remained hidden. Erik Landis mines recently opened provincial and central Soviet archives and international collections to provide a depth of detail and historical analysis never before possible in this definitive account of the uprising.
Landis examines both sides of the conflict, probing the testimonies of the insurgents, their opponents, and those caught in between. We witness firsthand the frustrations, failures, and internal conflicts of the Bolsheviks and the spirit of rebellion that drove the insurgents and helped drive a localized dispute into a well-organized mass rebellion that struck fear in the hearts of Communist leaders. This political and military threat was influential in bringing about Lenin's conciliatory New Economic Policy, which allowed farmers and villages to sustain themselves in a quasi-market economy.
Bandits and Partisans presents a gripping tale of brutality, domination, and revolt, placing readers at the frontlines of the complex and rich history of the Russian civil war and the consolidation of the new Soviet state.
Named for its mythical leader “Captain Rock,” avenger of agrarian wrongs, the Rockite movement of 1821–24 in Ireland was notorious for its extraordinary violence. In Captain Rock, James S. Donnelly, Jr., offers both a fine-grained analysis of the conflict and a broad exploration of Irish rural society after the French revolutionary and Napoleonic wars.
Originating in west Limerick, the Rockite movement spread quickly under the impact of a prolonged economic depression. Before long the insurgency embraced many of the better-off farmers. The intensity of the Rockites’ grievances, the frequency of their resort to sensational violence, and their appeal on such key issues as rents and tithes presented a nightmarish challenge to Dublin Castle—prompting in turn a major reorganization of the police, a purging of the local magistracy, the introduction of large military reinforcements, and a determined campaign of judicial repression. A great upsurge in sectarianism and millenarianism, Donnelly shows, added fuel to the conflagration. Inspired by prophecies of doom for the Anglo-Irish Protestants who ruled the country, the overwhelmingly Catholic Rockites strove to hasten the demise of the landed elite they viewed as oppressors.
Drawing on a wealth of sources—including reports from policemen, military officers, magistrates, and landowners as well as from newspapers, pamphlets, parliamentary inquiries, depositions, rebel proclamations, and threatening missives sent by Rockites to their enemies—Captain Rock offers a detailed anatomy of a dangerous, widespread insurgency whose distinctive political contours will force historians to expand their notions of how agrarian militancy influenced Irish nationalism in the years before the Great Famine of 1845–51.
This classic work in subaltern studies explores the common elements present in rebel consciousness during the Indian colonial period. Ranajit Guha—intellectual founder of the groundbreaking and influential Subaltern Studies Group—describes from the peasants’ viewpoint the relations of dominance and subordination in rural India from 1783 to 1900. Challenging the idea that peasants were powerless agents who rebelled blindly against British imperialist oppression and local landlord exploitation, Guha emphasizes their awareness and will to effect political change. He suggests that the rebellions represented the birth of a theoretical consciousness and asserts that India’s long subaltern tradition lent power to the landmark insurgence led by Mahatma Gandhi. Yet as long as landlord authority remains dominant in a ruling culture, Guha claims, all mass struggles will tend to model themselves after the unfinished projects documented in this book. Students and scholars will welcome this paperback edition of Guha’s 1983 original, which was distributed on a limited scale in the United States. It will influence new generations studying colonialism, postcolonialism, subaltern studies, historiography, anthropology, and Indian, Asian, and Latin American history.
Popular education played a vital role in the twelve-year guerrilla war against the Salvadoran government. Fighting to Learn is a study of its pedagogy and politics. Inspired by Paulo Freire's literacy work in Brazil in the 1950s, popular education brought literacy to poor rural communities abandoned by the official education system and to peasant combatants in the guerrilla army. Those who had little education taught those who had none. Popular education taught people skills, raised the morale that sustained them in unequal combat, and stimulated the creation of an organizational network to hold them together.
Hammond interviewed more than 100 Salvadoran students and teachers for this book. He recounts their experiences in their own words, vividly conveying how they coped with the hardships of war and organized civilian communities politically to support a guerrilla insurgency. Fighting to Learn tells how poorly educated peasants overcame their sense of inferiority to discover that they could teach each other and work together in a common struggle.
First examining the Christian base communities through which popular education came to El Salvador, Hammond then discusses how guerrilla combatants, political prisoners, and refugees learned. He shows that education was both a pedagogical and a political practice: he discusses the training of completely inexperienced teachers, the linking of basic literacy skills with politics, and the organizing of communities. Fighting to Learn offers both a detailed account of an historical moment and a broad theoretical discussion of the relationship between education, community organizing, and the political process.
In May 1829, strange reports surfaced from the Ariège department in the French Pyrenees, describing male peasants, bizarrely dressed in women’s clothes, gathering in the forests at night to chase away state guards and charcoal-makers. This was the raucous War of the Demoiselles, a protest against the national French Forest Code of 1827, which restricted peasants’ rights to use state and private forests.
Peter Sahlins unravels the fascinating story of this celebrated popular uprising, and in his telling captures the cultural, historical, and political currents that swept the countryside during France’s July 1830 Revolution. Sahlins explains how and why the Ariège peasants drew on the practices and rituals of folk culture, as well as on a revolutionary tradition, to defend their inherited rights to the forest. To explore these rights and their expression, he delves into the history of forest management, of peasant conflicts with the state, and of popular culture—particularly the disputed history of Carnival and of local rituals of justice.
Sahlins also sheds new light on the French revolutionary tradition and the “Three Glorious Days” of July 1830. The drama and symbolism of the War of the Demoiselles have inspired nearly a dozen plays, novels, films, and even a comic book. Using the concepts of anthropology and cultural studies as transport, Sahlins moves from this rich event to the wider worlds of peasant society in France. Focusing on the years from 1829 to 1832 but drawing on sources since the sixteenth century, his book should captivate social, cultural, and political historians of both early modern and modern Europe.
Uprisings by indigenous peoples of Ecuador and Bolivia between 1990 and 2005 overthrew the five-hundred-year-old racial and class order inherited from the Spanish Empire. It started in Ecuador with the Great Indigenous Uprising, which was fought for cultural and economic rights. A few years later massive indigenous mobilizations began in Bolivia, culminating in 2005 with the election of Evo Morales, the first indigenous president.
Jeffrey M. Paige, an internationally recognized authority on the sociology of revolutionary movements, interviewed forty-five indigenous leaders who were actively involved in the uprisings. The leaders recount how peaceful protest and electoral democracy paved the path to power. Through the interviews, we learn how new ideologies of indigenous socialism drew on the deep commonalities between the communal dreams of their ancestors and the modern ideology of democratic socialism. This new discourse spoke to the people most oppressed by both withering racism and neoliberal capitalism.
Emphasizing mutual respect among ethnic groups (including the dominant Hispanic group), the new revolutionary dynamic proposes a communal worldview similar to but more inclusive than Western socialism because it adds indigenous cultures and nature in a spiritual whole. Although absent in the major revolutions of the past century, the themes of indigenous revolution—democracy, indigeneity, spirituality, community, and ecology—are critically important.
Paige’s interviews present the powerful personal experiences and emotional intensity of the revolutionary leadership. They share the stories of mass mobilization, elections, and indigenous socialism that created a new form of twenty-first-century revolution with far-reaching applications beyond the Andes.
"The strength of this volume cannot be conveyed by an itemisation of its contents; for what it provides is an incisive commentary on the newly-recognised landmarks of Irish agrarian history in the modern period. . . . The importance, even indispensability, of this achievement is compounded by exemplary editing."—Roy Foster, London Times Literary Supplement
"As a whole, the volume demonstrates the wealth, complexity, and sophistication of Irish rural studies. The book is essential reading for anyone involved in modern Irish history. It will also serve as an excellent introduction to this rich field for scholars of other peasant communities and all interested in problems of economic and political developments."—American Historical Review
"A milestone in the evolution of Irish social history. There is a remarkable consistency of style and standard in the essays. . . . This is truly history from the grassroots."—Timothy P. O'Neill, Studia Hibernica
Lords of the Mountain is a colorful narrative that views how Cuba's violent history in the late nineteenth and early twentieth-century was also a history of economic violence. From the 1870s, the expanding sugar industry began to swallow up rural communities and destroy the traditional land tenure system, as the great sugar estates-the “latifundia” dominated the economy. Perez chronicles the popular resistance to these powerful landholders, and the violent uprisings and banditry propagated against them.
Fifty years after the declaration of the state of emergency, Mau Mau still excites argument and controversy, not least in Kenya itself. Mau Mau and Nationhood is a collection of essays providing the most recent thinking on the uprising and its aftermath.
The work of well-established scholars as well as of young researchers with fresh perspectives, Mau Mau and Nationhood achieves a multilayered analysis of a subject of enduring interest. According to Terence Ranger, Emeritus Rhodes Professor, Oxford, “In some ways the historiography of Mau Mau is a supreme example not only of ambiguity and complexity, but also of redemption of a topic once thought incapable of rational analysis.”
As the Mexican American student population in U.S. public schools climbs to over 8 million, the establishment of policies that promote equity and respect have never been more crucial. In Mexican Americans and Education, Estela Godinez Ballón provides an overview of the relationship between Mexican Americans and all levels of U.S. public schooling.
Mexican Americans and Education begins with a brief overview of historical educational conditions that have impacted the experiences and opportunities of Mexican American students, and moves into an examination of major contemporary institutional barriers to academic success, including segregation, high-stakes testing, and curriculum tracking. Ballón also explores the status of Mexican American students in higher education and introduces theories and pedagogies that aim to understand and improve school conditions. Through her extensive examination of the major issues impacting Mexican American students, Ballón provides a broad introduction to an increasingly relevant topic.
Ballón uses understandable and accessible language to examine institutional and ideological factors that have negatively impacted Mexican Americans’ public school experiences, while also focusing on their strengths and possibilities for future action. This unique overview serves as a foundation for both education and Chicana/o studies courses, as well as in teacher and professional development.
During the period 1769-1850, republican national institutions slowly replaced colonial and monarchical rule. This was a turbulent time in rural Mexico. It was a period of political instability marked by violent peasant rebellions that were longer, more violent, and involved more people than those that occurred in the colonial era. Mexican villagers became skilled insurrectionists. In this book, Michael Ducey analyzes the peasant rebellions in Mexico’s Huasteca region over that time, beginning with short-lived colonial riots, progressing through a long and brutal insurrection associated with the war of independence and several region-wide uprisings, and culminating in the "Caste War of the Huasteca" of the 1840s.
He asks not just why villagers revolted but how their discontent fit into the political drama of early national Mexico. Ducey shows how the war offered opportunities for villagers to settle scores with members of the local elite as peasants discovered new ways of imagining the state. They were far from being the isolated traditionalists who occasionally rebelled against political or economic change described in older scholarship. At least until the 1848-1850 Caste War, political disputes were more important than land.
This region’s peasants were both remarkably diverse and politically astute. Villagers adapted colonial political culture and later republican ideas to fashion local institutions that fit their own needs. Over the course of a hundred years, peasant tactics and political discourse evolved in a constant dialogue with the changing political climate, shifting from rhetorical statements of loyalty to the king to proclamations of federalism and their rights as citizens. A Nation of Villages ably demonstrates that rural villagers were more aware of elite ideologies than urban rulers were of the villagers’ political ideas. This long-term analysis of one region illuminates how rural people helped shape the republican state.
Combining social and political history, The Plebeian Republic challenges well-established interpretations of state making, rural society, and caudillo politics during the early years of Peru’s republic. Cecilia Méndez presents the first in-depth reconstruction and analysis of the Huanta rebellion of 1825–28, an uprising of peasants, muleteers, landowners, and Spanish officers from the Huanta province in the department of Ayacucho against the new Peruvian republic. By situating the rebellion within the broader context of early-nineteenth-century Peruvian politics and tracing Huanta peasants’ transformation from monarchist rebels to liberal guerrillas, Méndez complicates understandings of what it meant to be a patriot, a citizen, a monarchist, a liberal, and a Peruvian during a foundational moment in the history of South American nation-states.
In addition to official sources such as trial dossiers, census records, tax rolls, wills, and notary and military records, Méndez uses a wide variety of previously unexplored sources produced by the mostly Quechua-speaking rebels. She reveals the Huanta rebellion as a complex interaction of social, linguistic, economic, and political forces. Rejecting ideas of the Andean rebels as passive and reactionary, she depicts the barely literate insurgents as having had a clear idea of national political struggles and contends that most local leaders of the uprising invoked the monarchy as a source of legitimacy but did not espouse it as a political system. She argues that despite their pronouncements of loyalty to the Spanish crown, the rebels’ behavior evinced a political vision that was different from both the colonial regime and the republic that followed it. Eventually, their political practices were subsumed into those of the republican state.
“Constitutes an important and timely addition to the literature on peasant rebellion; wisely, the editors have been eclectic in drawing from some of the leading historians, anthropologists, political scientists, and sociologists active in the field an analysis of the forms that rural violence has taken through the past three centuries.”—Pacific Affairs
Rural Revolt in Mexico is a historical investigation of how subaltern political activity engages imperialism, capitalism, and the United States. In this volume, Daniel Nugent has gathered a group of leading scholars whose work examines the relationship of revolts by peasants and Indians in Mexico to the past century of U.S. intervention—from the rural rebellions of the 1840s through the 1910 revolution to the 1994 uprising in Chiapas. Through their studies of social movements and popular mobilization in the Mexican countryside, the contributors argue for understanding rural revolts in terms of the specific historical contexts of particular regions and peoples, as well as the broader context of unequal cultural, political, and economic relations between Mexico and the United States. Exploring the connections between external and internal factors in social movements, these essays reveal the wide range of organized efforts through which peasants and Indians have struggled to shape their own destiny while confronted by the influence of U.S. capital and military might. Originally published as a limited edition in 1988 by the Center for U. S.–Mexican Studies, this volume presents a pioneering effort by Latin Americanist scholars to sympathetically embrace and enrich work begun in Subaltern Studies between 1982 and 1987 by projecting it onto a different region of historical experience. This revised and expanded edition includes a new introduction by Daniel Nugent and an extensive essay by Adolfo Gilly on the recent Chiapas uprising.
Undoing the Revolution looks at the way rural underclasses ally with out-of-power elites to overthrow their governments—only to be shut out of power when the new regime assumes control. Vasabjit Banerjee first examines why peasants need to ally with dissenting elites in order to rebel. He then shows how conflict resolution and subsequent bargains to form new state institutions re-empower allied elites and re-marginalize peasants.
Banerjee evaluates three different agrarian societies during distinct time periods spanning the twentieth century: revolutionary Mexico from 1910 to 1930; late-colonial India from 1920 until 1947; and White-dominated Zimbabwe (Rhodesia) from the mid-1960s to 1980. This comparative approach also allows examination of both the underclass need for elite participation and the variety of causes that elites use to incentivize peasant classes to participate, extending from religious-ethnic identity and common political targets to the peasants’ and elites’ own economic grievances.
Undoing the Revolution demonstrates that both international and domestic investors in cash crops, natural resources, and finance can ally with peasant rebels; and, after threatened or actual state collapse, they can bargain with each other to select new state institutions.
In the same era as the American, French, and Haitian revolutions, a powerful anticolonial movement swept across the highland Andes in 1780–1781. Initially unified around Túpac Amaru, a descendant of Inka royalty from Cuzco, it reached its most radical and violent phase in the region of La Paz (present-day Bolivia) where Aymara-speaking Indians waged war against Europeans under the peasant commander Túpaj Katari. The great Andean insurrection has received scant attention by historians of the "Age of Revolution," but in this book Sinclair Thomson reveals the connections between ongoing local struggles over Indian community government and a larger anticolonial movement.
This book, a condensed translation of the prize- winning Jacqueries et révolution dans la Chine du XXe siècle, focuses on “spontaneous” rural unrest, uninfluenced by revolutionary intellectuals. Yet it raises issues inspired by the perennial concerns of revolutionary leaders, such as peasant “class consciousness” and China’s modernization.
The author shows that the predominant forms of protest were directed not against the landowning class but against agents of the state. Foremost among them, resistance to taxation had little to do with class struggle. By contrast, protest by poor agricultural laborers and heavily indebted households was extremely rare. Other forms of social protest were reactions less to social exploitation than to oppression by local powerholders. Peasant resistance to the late Qing “new policy” reforms did indeed impede China’s modernization. Decades later, peasant efforts to evade conscription, while motivated by abuses and inequities, weakened the anti-Japanese resistance.
The concluding chapter stresses persistent features of rural protest. It suggests that twentieth-century Chinese peasants were less different from seventeenth- or eighteenth-century French peasants than might be imagined and points to continuities between pre- and post-1949 rural protest.
Today, foreigners travel to the Yucatan for ruins, temples, and pyramids, white sand beaches and clear blue water. One hundred years ago, they went for cheap labor, an abundance of land, and the opportunity to make a fortune exporting cattle, henequen fiber, sugarcane, or rum. Sometimes they found death.
In 1875 an American plantation manager named Robert Stephens and a number of his workers were murdered by a band of Maya rebels. To this day, no one knows why. Was it the result of feuding between aristocratic families for greater power and wealth? Was it the foreseeable consequence of years of oppression and abuse of Maya plantation workers? Was a rebel leader seeking money and fame—or perhaps retribution for the loss of the woman he loved?
For whites, the events that took place at Xuxub, Stephens’s plantation, are virtually unknown, even though they engendered a diplomatic and legal dispute that vexed Mexican-U.S. relations for over six decades. The construction of "official" histories allowed the very name of Xuxub to die, much as the plantation itself was subsumed by the jungle. For the Maya, however, what happened at Xuxub is more than a story they pass down through generations—it is a defining moment in how they see themselves.
Sullivan masterfully weaves the intricately tangled threads of this story into a fascinating account of human accomplishments and failings, in which good and evil are never quite what they seem at first, and truth proves to be elusive. Xuxub Must Die seeks not only to fathom a mystery, but also to explore the nature of guilt, blame, and understanding.