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UGRD > HONORS > 247

When ordinary People Do Extraordinary Things: Social Movements in the US

Description:
This course will explore the history of several major movements for radical change in US history beginning with the populist movement (1882-1896) extending through the radical and labor movements of the progressive era (1886-1936) as well as the civil rights era (1945-65) and concluding with the American Indian and Puerto Rican nationalist movements, (1968-1980). These movements will be examined along three dimensions of inquiry. First, what causes social movements to arise? What conditions, circumstances and events coincide with the appearance of social protest movements? And what kind of leaders, ideas, resources, forms of organizations are associated with the growth and development of strong social movements? Second, what are the consequences of social movements? What happens to them over time in terms of institutionalization, co-optation and repression? In what ways do they succeed in changing society? Are there unintended consequences of social protest? Third, what is the meaning of movement history for todays new social movements? The instructor will present his view of movement history (developed in a recent book called Taking History to Heart) as a way of evoking the poser of the past and as a way of understanding struggles for social justice in our own time. Students will write four short essays applying social movement theories and interpretations to various case studies or addressing challenging questions about how to interpret social movements. Each student will also report on a special subject during one week of class and lead a discussion of a class another occasion.

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TBA