Social Movements

Spring 2019
Rebecca A Watts Hull
HTS 3068

In this course, we analyze how “ordinary people” challenge powerful segments of society through social movements, and thereby contribute to social change. This course addresses several basic questions: Why do social movements emerge when they do? Why do movements succeed at some times, but fail at other times? Who participates, and why? And, what are the consequences of social movements for society and individual participants? To answer these questions and understand social movements, we need to be familiar with actual movements in history and the analytical frameworks that scholars have developed. This course will introduce you to sociological “tools” used to analyze social movements. We will emphasize three dimensions of social movements: political economy, organization, and culture. We will use these tools and dimensions to examine three social movements that occurred in the twentieth century United States: the Civil Rights Movement, the Contemporary Women’s Movement, and the Modern Environmental Movement. We will wrap up the course by applying what you have learned to analyze historical and contemporary farmworker and food system activism.

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