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Social Movements


Units: 3


Tentative dates: October 2nd and 9th

Both in the U.S. and in other societies, social movements have been at the forefront of economic and political change. In this micro course, we will explore the complex nature of social movements, the potential impacts of movements, the elements that influence the movement’s success, and the relationship between movements and institutions, including the policy and political effects of selected movements. The course will include lectures, class discussions, and presentations by guest speakers.

Students are expected to attend class, participate in the discussions, do a group presentation (about 4-5 students per group) on a movement of their choice, and submit a 500-word reflection essay.

The presentation should include a detailed history of the selected movement, its tactics, policy and political effects, and recommendations.

Learning Outcomes

Students will develop these analytical skills in different forms:

  • Class discussions, which will allow the students to develop the ability to analyze and discuss different social movements and learn about their strategies, tactics, successes and failures.
  • Discussion boards: We plan to set up discussion groups ahead of time and offer some response questions on a canvas message board for each discussion group. This will support investment in the reading and some of the classroom discussion could be in those small groups and based on their canvas discussion. The discussion boards will help ensure participation and give students more time to analyze critical issues within the group.
  • Group presentations, which will allow the students to learn about a specific movement in depth. The presenters are expected to analyze the movement’s organization, goals and policy impact. Students will have to provide recommendations geared to improve the social movement’s effectiveness and organization.

In order to ensure the effectiveness of the presentation the instructor meets with the student about a week before the presentation to set the specific topics and parameters of the presentation. The handout or slides need to be submitted to the instructor at least 24 hours before the presentation. The instructor will review the slides or handouts in order to verify the effectiveness of the presentation.