Walsh School of Foreign Service

GOVT 6422 Social Movements and Non-Violent Resistance

Chantal Berman (new window)

Wednesday 2:00 pm to 4:30pm

Why do people revolt, and to what ends? The first half of the course is organized around a number of core theoretical questions. What are the conditions – political, economic, cultural – that give rise to resistance movements? How are mass movements organized and sustained, even under repressive conditions? When and why do movements adopt non-violent strategies? What factors determine whether a movement succeeds, whether it succumbs to repression, or whether it fades away over time? The second half of the course applies these theoretical insights to a handful of contemporary cases of mass mobilization. Cases will include American racial justice protests (past and present) and the Arab Spring in North Africa and Syria. Overcoming a tendency to think of U.S. politics as its own field of study, somehow apart from the rest of the world, we’ll ask instead about how American movement politics do and don’t resemble cases of mass mobilization in the contentious, often autocratic countries of the Middle East & North Africa.