Fall 2024: European, African, and Asian Adventure

POLS 443 Comparative Social Movements [CRN 76734]

Overview of Course

This course analyzes the causes and dynamics of social movement activities, especially movement mobilization and development. We shall discuss many well-known and a few more obscure instances of political collective action primarily in the United States, Europe, Africa, and Asia—related to our voyage destinations whenever possible. Combining factual information with theoretical interpretations and conceptual frameworks, the course encourages reflection on the nature of social movements and their interactions with national and global political institutions they challenge. Among the course readings are texts by political scientists, sociologists, historians, and journalists, including movement participants. We will be considering the reasons for movements’ successes or failures, and analyze movement ideologies, leadership, recruitment, mobilization of resources, culture and identity formation, and organizational dynamics. The course format will combine a seminar model (in which well-prepared participants discuss an issue from a variety of perspectives while discussion leader facilitates such intellectual exchanges) with some lectures to provide structure and background to the meetings. In the end, the success of the course will depend primarily on the quality of the participants’ own contributions. We will also strive to get a sense of the political and social climate surrounding each movement we study and perhaps even try to get mentally in the shoes, boots, or sandals of the people we study.