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Maoist Revolutionary Wars Outside China

Introduction and Course Content

We focus on the theory and practice of Maoist warfare, after an introduction to prominent events in Mao’s life. While most of us are righteously opposed to the principles and ethics of Maoism, we take the ideas seriously, as they were original, intelligent, and central to the successful foundation of the People’s Republic of China, now a superpower.

After the governing years of Deng Xiaoping (approx. 1978-1992), only some parts of Maoism have remained influential in its country of origin. But the doctrine’s international appeal has been pronounced; it has been at the roots of many insurgencies around the world.  The course examines and assesses these political-military conflicts, as in Vietnam and Cambodia.  In Sri Lanka and Peru, the revolutionary wars ended only in 1989 and 1992, respectively. Attention will be given to the ongoing movements responsible for great violence even now in Nepal, India, and the Philippines.

Learning Objectives

  • Understand Maoist theory, strategy, and practice as to revolution, insurgency, and war.
  • Recognize and assess the efforts foreign revolutionaries made after 1949 to adopt Maoism in their countries, as in Vietnam, Cambodia, and Peru.
  • Understand how even today some violent groups identify as Maoists, and evaluate the significance and meaning of these groups of revolutionaries and thinkers.
  • Study the ways states have reacted to Maoist revolutionaries and evaluate the states’ counterinsurgency and counterterrorism efforts.


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