Students will study various cases in which civil disobedience was used as a tool to respond to government measures. These cases are to demonstrate the ideology, strategies, tactics, morality, and personalities in various contexts. After getting familiar with the politics and the philosophy of civil disobedience, we will look at case studies of different forms of civil disobedience on a global scale.
The purpose is for students to examine the various ways of thinking of civil disobedience with the aim for students to develop their own personal philosophy of civil disobedience. A central question of this course is how civil disobedience related to democratisation and civil society.
Upon the successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:
- Have a clear idea of forms of civil disobedience
- Be able to delineate civil disobedience from civil unrest
- Know key actors and thinkers of civil disobedience
- Understand the relation of civil disobedience to democratization and human rights
Week 1 Topic: The Politics and Philosophy of Civil Disobedience
H.D. Thoreau. (1849). On the duty of civil disobedience.
Douglass, F. (1857). If there is no struggle, there is no progress. West India Emancipation speech at Canandaigua, New York.
Lisa Brawley (1996). Frederick Douglass’s “My Bondage and My Freedom” and the Fugitive Tourist Industry. NOVEL: A Forum on Fiction, 30.1, pp. 98-128.
Henry D. Thoreau: Father of Civil Disobedience
Week 2 Topic: The Politics and Philosophy of Civil Disobedience
Hannah Arendt. (1972). In: Crises of the Republic. San Diego: Harcourt Brace and Company.
Chapter: Civil Disobedience
David Lyons (1998). Moral Judgement, Historical Reality, and Civil Disobedience. Philosphy & Public Affairs, 27.1, pp. 31-49.
David Lefkowitz (2007). On a Moral Right to Civil Disobedience. Ethics, 117.2, pp. 202-233.
Hannah Arendt: Her Life, Her Relevance
Week 3 Topic: Satyagraha in South Africa
George Hendrick. (1956). The Influence of Thoreau’s “Civil Disobedience” on Gandhi’s Satyagraha. The New England Quarterly, 29.4, pp. 462-471.
Robert E. Klitgaard. (1971). Gandhi’s Non-Violence as a Tactic. Journal of Peace Research, 8.2, pp. 143-153.
A. Appadorai. (1969). Gandhi’s Contribution to Social Theory. The Review of Politics, 31.3, pp. 312-328.
Joseph K. Kosek (2005). Richard Gregg, Mohandas Gandhi, and the Strategy of Nonviolence. The Journal of American History, 91.4, pp. 1318-1348.
Paul. F. Power (1969). Gandhi in South Africa. Journal of Modern African Studies, 7.3, pp. 441-455.
The History of Gandhi and Satyagraha in South Africa
Week 4 Topic: Satyagraha in India
Neeti Nair (2009). Bhagat Singh as ‘Satyagrahi’: The Limits to Non-Violence in Late Colonial India. Modern Asia Studies, 43.3, pp. 649-681.
Amit Kumar Gupta (1997). Defying Death: Nationalist Revolutionism in India, 1897-1938. Social Scientist, 25.9, pp. 3-27.
Louis E. Fenech (2002). Contested Nationalisms: Negotiated Terrains: The Way Sikhs Remember Udham Singh ‘Shahid’ (1899-1940). Modern Asian Studies, 36.4, pp. 827-870.
Colonialism and Resistance in India
Week 5 Topic: Tiananmen Square Protest, 1989
Luo Xu. (1995). The “Shekou Storm”: Changes in the Mentality of Chinese Youth prior to Tiananmen. The China Quarterly, 142, pp. 541-572.
Nelson K. Lee (2009). How is a Political Public Space Made? The Birth of Tiananmen Square and the May Fourth Movement. Political Geography, 28, pp. 32-43.
T. David Mason and Jonathan Clements (2002). Tiananmen Square Thirteen Years After: The Prospects for Civil Unrest in China. Asian Affairs: An American Review, 29.3, pp. 159-188.
The Tiananmen Square Protest and Massacre: A Historical Background
Week 6 Topic: Apartheid in South Africa
Stephen Zunes (1999). The Role of Non-Violent Action in the Downfall of Apartheid. The Journal of Modern African Studies, 37.1, pp. 137-169.
Biko, S. (1978). Black consciousness and the quest for true humanity. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University.
Mandela, N. (1956). No easy walk to freedom: Article, speeches and trial address. New York: Basic Books
Håkan Thörn (2009). Anti-Apartheid and the Emergence of a Global Civil Society. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
The History of Anti-Apartheid Movement and their Leaders
Week 7 Topic: From Slave to Icons: Tubman and Douglass
Janell Hobson (2014). Harriet Tubman: A Legacy of Resistance. Meridians, 12.2, pp. 1-8.
Frederick Douglass (1857). If there is no struggle, there is no progress. West India Emancipation speech at Canandaigua, New York.
Ella Forbes (1992). African Resistance to Enslavement: The Nature and the Evidentiary Record. Journal of Black Studies, 23.1, pp. 39-59.
The Life and Times of Tubman and Douglass
Week 8 Topic: Civil Rights Movement in the USA
Gayke T. Tate (1998). Free Black Resistance in the Antebellum Era, 1830 to 1960. Journal of Black Studies, 28.6, pp. 764-782.
Stephen Middleton (1987). The Fugitive Slave Crisis in Cincinnati, 1850-1860: Resistance, Enforcement, and Black Refugees. The Journal of Negro History, 72.1/2, pp. 20-32.
The Underground Railroad
Week 9 Topic: Civil Rights Movement in the USA
Barbara Allen (2000). Martin Luther King’s Civil Disobedience and the American Covenant Tradition. Publius, 30.4, pp. 71-113.
Harry A. Reed (1999). Martin Luther King, Jr: History and Memory, Reflections on Dreams and Silences. The Journal of Negro History, 84.2, pp. 150-166.
The Life of Martin Luther King Jr.
Week 10 Topic: Civil Rights Movement in the USA
Aarushi H. Shah (2012). All of Africa Will Be Free Before We Can Get a Lousy Cup of Coffee: The Impact of the 1943 Lunch Counter Sit-Ins on the Civil Rights Movement. The History Teacher, 46.1, pp. 127-147.
Richard L. Hughes (2006). “The Civil Rights Movement of the 1990s?”: The Anti-Abortion Movement and the Struggle for Racial Justice. The Oral History Review, 33.2, pp. 1-23.
Hugh D. Graham (1980). On Riots and Riot Commissions: Civil Disorders in the 1960s. The Public Historian, 2.4, pp. 7-27.
The History of the Lunch Counter Sit-Ins (visuals)
Week 11 Topic: Civil Rights Movement in the USA
Peniel E. Joseph (2009). The Black Power Movement: A State of the Field. The Journal of American History, 96(3), 751-776.
Akinyele O. Umoja (1999). Repression Breeds Resistance: The Black Liberation Army and the Radical Legacy of the Black Panther Party. New Political Science, 21.1, pp. 131-155.
Quintard Taylor (1995). The Civil Rights Movement in the American West: Black Protest in Seattle, 1960-1970. The Journal of Negro History, 80.1, pp. 1-14.
Groups, Leaders, and Key Events of the Black Power Movement
Week 12 Topic: Black Lives Matter and Contemporary Black Activism
Percy Green II (et all) (2016). Generations of Struggle. Transitions, 119, pp. 9-16.
Aldon Morris (25.8.2015). From DuBois to Black Lives Matter. (Blog Entry: University of California Press Blog).
Ta-Nehisi Coates (27.4.2015). Nonviolence as Compliance. The Atlantic.
Megan Garber (30.9.2015). The Revolutionary Aims of Black Lives Matters. The Atlantic.
Eric D. Larson (2016). Black Lives Matter and Bridge Building: Labor Education for a “New Jim Crow” Era. Labor Studies Journal, 41.1, pp. 36-66.
The Origin of ‘Black Lives Matters’ and the ‘All Lives Matter’ Response
Assignments & Grading:
- Reading assignment are compulsory
- Students have to raise two questions relating to the assigned article as part of the continuous assessment
- Active participation in class will count into the continuous assessment
- Group presentations will be part of the continuous assessment
- Final exam
Message from the Instructor:
Group presentations: The presentations should give a background to the assigned literature, or give additional information. Therefore, the presentation should not be a summary of the assigned article or repeat its central argument. Presentations must be discussed with me at least one week before the respective session, but an earlier engagement with your presentation is strongly encouraged. Identify a group leader and discuss your presentation as soon as possible. The grading for the presentation will be collective.
Student questions: Every student has to raise two questions in relation to the assigned reading. These questions have to be submitted by 5 pm the day before the class, and the best questions will be discussed in class with the other students. The submission of questions is part of the continuous assessment as performance in class. The aim of this task is to encourage critical engagement with research literature.
Performance in class: This will be an active course for students, which means that oral participation during the sessions is obligatory for students.
Taking notes: Students are expected to take notes independently. There will be no dictation of content.
Recap of session: At the beginning of each session the last session will be repeated. Students’ performance during this part will be assessed for the ‘performance in class’ for the continuous assessment.
- Continuous assessment constitutes 40% of the final mark.
- Presentation: 20%; performance in class: 20%.
- The end of the semester examination will make up the other 60%.
- Students with incomplete continuous assessment will not be allowed to take the exam.
- Students are expected to attend every class, and all students are expected to participate in all class activities.
- Excused absences require a report from a University medical officer.
- Assignments are due before the class period.
- Assignments submitted anytime after will be have a reduced score.
- Assignments are to be typed (12-point font) or neatly handwritten.
- Cover page to include: Name, index number, course title and code, department, and title of assignment
- For more information refer to the History Education Format Guide for Long Essays / Research Reports
- Required readings will be made available to students through their class rep. The additional readings will be available in the Reading Room.
- Turn cell phone off or on silence. No phone calls or texting during class.
- Plagiarism in any form will not be tolerated.