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HIST112 World Civilization II - M05: Discussion (9 The Dilemma of the Intellectual"

HIST112 World Civilization II - M05: Discussion (9)

For this week answer each of the following in your original post:

  1. Read "The Dilemma of the Intellectual" (textbook page 603). Why does the author feel estranged from his native culture? What is his answer to the challenges faced by his country in coming to terms with the modern world? To what extent can the author be characterized as a nationalist?

  2. Read "A Call for Revolt" (textbook page 614). Why did Mao Zedong believe that the rural peasants could help bring about a social revolution in China? How does his vision compare with the reality of the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia?

1. Sutan Sjahrir felt estranged from his native culture for two reasons. Firstly, he even admits this himself, he does feel the kind of estrangement that any intellectual feel towards those who do not have the same leve of schooling, but it does go deeper than that, and the deeper nature of his estrangement comes from the fact that so few intellectuals like him exist in his native Indonesia. He feels as though he has left his culture behind, or rather, that his culture has been left behind by the rest of the world that he is keeping up with. Sjahrir can be described as a nationalist insofar as he is dedicated to the lives of those within his nation and the future of his nation as a whole. He is not a nationalist in the sense that he believes in the superiority of his nation over all others but he does believe in the self determination of his nation and those that live in it.

2. Mao believed deeply in the revolutionary potential of the Chinese peasantry and that they would be the engine through which a successful Chinese revolution would be driven. He saw the failure of the Revolution of 1911 as being that the revolution did not draw support from the peasantry and that now that long slumbering potential could be tapped and used. His view of the revolution is different from what happened in Russia primarily in the fact that the Russian Revolution was driven by urban industrial workers, which is why it made such stunning and immediate gains in West Russia, the most industrialized part of the entire nation. Mao, knowing that the stable base of industrial workers just didn't exist in China in the same way as it did in Russia, set his sights then on what did exist in great number in China, rural peasantry.

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