Close Menu

DHP P246M: Civil Resistance

Course Description

This course is an in-depth primer on civil (nonviolent) resistance waged by ordinary people to bring about substantive political, economic, and/or social change. The course begins with a brief history of nonviolent struggle over the last century, the theoretical foundations of resistance, and common misperceptions. The course then turns to the historical record to study how and why nonviolent resistance movements succeed at double the rate of armed struggles even when waged against oppressive regimes. Students learn several of the core skills taught by practitioners and leading academics in assessment, strategy and planning, tactics, mass mobilization, and organization, and apply these frameworks to case studies throughout the course. Next, the course examines the dynamics that often emerge within nonviolent struggle such as how violent repression can backfire, how to maintain resilience and discipline within the movement, and the role of external actors and assistance. The course ends with students’ assessment of several ongoing civil resistance movements and the prospects for achieving enduring political, economic, or social change.

Course faculty: Abigail Linnington
Credits/Units: 1.5