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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Nicole F. Watts
SIS 498
Seattle Campus

Readings in International Studies

Reading and discussion of selected works of major importance in interdisciplinary international studies. Restricted to majors in International Studies.

Class description

Contemporary Social Movements From Seattle to South Africa, recent decades have seen ordinary people around the world rise to collectively challenge the policies of states. Sometimes such social movements succeed in bringing about change; sometimes they do not. Sometimes such movements remain peaceful, but sometimes they result in violence, bloodshed, and death. This reading seminar examines contemporary social movements in comparative perspective, with particular emphasis on movements in less-than-fully democratic and non-western countries. After examining some key theories on the origins, tactics, and success of social movements (theories based primarily on cases of industrialized western democracies), we will explore the ways people actually have mobilized in different places around the world, drawing in part on the memoirs of actual participants. Along with assessing how well existing theory helps explain non-western cases, we seek to better understand the causes of social mobilization, the resources available to different groups, under what conditions social movements become influential, how social movements may be suppressed, and the ways in which they may contribute to social and political transformation.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

Seminar style: reading, discussion, writing.

Recommended preparation

Class assignments and grading

Requirements for the course will include a number of short response papers and a longer paper or project. Texts include Sidney Tarrow, Power in Movement: Social Movements and Contentious Politics; Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom; Margaret Keck and Kathryn Sikkink, Activists Beyond Borders: Advocacy Networks in International Politics; Marco Giugni, Doug McAdam, and Charles Tilly, eds. How Social Movements Matter; Helen Caldicott, A Desperate Passion: An Autobiography; Hanan Ashrawi, This Side of Peace, and other selections.


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by M Jane Meyerding
Date: 01/24/2002