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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

James Alan Diers
SOC W 536
Seattle Campus

Social Movements and Organizing: People, Power, and Praxis

Focuses on social, economic, and political problems from an organizer's perspective, and strategies, tactics, and skills necessary to engage in organizing activities. Emphasizes principles common to community, electoral, union, and issue organizing. Addresses why people organize, how organizing works, and what it takes to be a good organizer.

Class description

Community organizing has proven to be an effective vehicle for mutual support, neighborhood revitalization, and social change. Through direct-action organizing, low-income neighbors and communities of color are demanding justice from external forces. Meanwhile, practitioners of asset-based community development are strengthening their communities by mapping and mobilizing internal resources.

The course will explore these two models of community organizing and their variations. Through case studies found in readings, lectures, videos, slides, and their own experience and research, students will gain inspiration about the change that is possible when individulas come together as a community, build democratic organizations, mobilize their resources, and demand justice. The students will also acquire tools and learn skills that will better equip them to work as organizers and leaders for social change in their careers and in their daily lives.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

Recommended preparation

Class assignments and grading


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 James Alan Diers
Date: 12/14/2011