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Why do people protest? Why do some protest movements fizzle out while others turn into revolutions that topple regimes and change the course of history? Is non-violent protest more effective than armed resistance? Why does protest tend to spread internationally, producing waves of contention across neighboring states, such as the revolts that toppled communism in the late 1980s, the colored revolutions in East Europe in the 2000s, and the Arab Spring in 2011? Have protest movements grown into a force of their own in international politics, as protest movements like “Occupy Wall Street,” “Yellow Vests,” and others, proliferate across borders and attempt to reshape the politics of key countries and international organizations? This course will examine these puzzles by surveying core theories of mass contention and through case studies. Throughout the course, we will survey protest events and protest movements through an ethnographic, “street-level” view, drawing on first-hand accounts and audio-visual materials, as well as from a “high altitude,” macro-level perspective, looking at the political, economic, social and technological forces that shape people’s choices between obedience and revolt.
Grading: yes pass/fail option,
yes fifth course option
analytic paper (6-8 pages), book review (8-10 pages), final exam
PSCI Comparative Politics Courses
PSCI International Relations Courses