Examines a topic, theme, problem, or area of the world in order to provide a deeper understanding of an aspect of Global Studies.
This course explores the forms, functions, and histories of international protest movements such as those which have spread through the Arab world, the European Union, and the United States over recent months and years. In these and other parts of the globe, protests of many kinds have acquired renewed kinetic energy and political currency lately. This course will examine the conditions in which such protests are cultivated, the ways in which they proliferate internationally, and their various functions and impacts within cultural and political processes both locally and globally. Beginning with the recent juxtaposition of the 'Arab Spring,' London Riots, European anti-austerity marches, and the 'Occupations' of Wall Street and many other urban centers around the globe, the course material will cover theorists, strategists, and other cultural-political agents who have influenced these protesters, as well as social scientists and critics who have tried to understand their impact.
Student learning goals
Holistic political analysis of protest movements within local, national, and global political and institutions and socio-cultural systems.
Comparative understanding of ideological, strategic, social, and historical differences between types of protest.
Critical analysis of political media, including news coverage and protest discourses.
Literacy in a range of traditions and texts dealing with political protest or struggle.
Familiarity with theories of the development of social movements, cultural systems, and political institutions.
Critical engagement with local political processes.
General method of instruction
This course will consist largely of collegial discussion between peers, close reading of course texts (including, but not limited to: academic research, activist writing, documentary film, and popular culture), lecture, and a locally engaged, participatory final research project.
Previous courses in the social sciences dealing with the analysis of political institutions or cultural systems are recommended, but not required.
Class assignments and grading
A significant part of the grade will consist of in-class participation, which will be graded in dialogue between the student and instructor; several short writing assignments engaging in course texts will be included as well, assigned "credit" or "no credit"; further assignments analyzing specific forms of protest and media representations using the tools provided in the course (including the final research project) will be assigned a grade by the instructor.
Some portions of the final grade will be determined through a process of self-evaluation, in discussion with the instructor; other assignments will be awarded "credit" or "no credit" according to standardized criteria; yet other assignments will be given a numerical grade based upon the depth and care given to their research and analysis.