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Academic Year 2005/2006
Everyday Forms of Resistance
GOVT 257 FA
Much of the attention in contemporary American politics is given to mainstream forms of political behavior in the form of voting and electoral politics or to elite institutions such as the legislature and the presidency.
The goal of this class is to expose students to politics that often fall just below the lens of American politics in which ordinary citizens forge new ways to address the political system when for various reasons
political participation is not available. These kinds of activities include social movements and everyday forms of resistance. To gain a better understanding of why, how and when ordinarily quiescent masses come together
to impact the political process, we will analyze slave narratives, social movement theory, popular culture mediums such as music and films, as well as what has been called the hidden transcript. James Scott defines the
transcript as those activities that happen just beyond public visibility that oppressed groups use to deflect, survive, and reject the demands of the power. We will answer questions such as how are social movements
and what are the factors that serve as catalysts for the birth of social movements. When the political opportunity structure is not open to social movement behavior how do oppressed groups find more hidden and subversive
ways to create a space for them in the political system? What role has music and art played in organizing political groups. What do members of oppressed groups say about their treatment by the powerful in their private
such as journals, diaries, and folk tales? All of these questions allow us study politics as it is, in the words of Micheal Parenti, "viewed from the bottom."
The reading list will evolve once the interests and prior knowledge of the students are assessed; however, below is a list of sample readings. The course will also employ the use of documentaries, speeches and popular
films that illustrate popular social
movements and other efforts by ordinary citizens to influence and ultimately change the political system.
James C. Scott. DOMINATION AND THE ARTS OF RESISTANCE: HIDDEN TRANSCRIPTS
Saul D. Alinsky. RULES FOR
RADICALS: A PRAGMATIC PRIMER FOR
Sidney Tarrow. POWER IN MOVEMENT: SOCIAL MOVEMENTS AND CONTENTIOUS POLITICS
James C. Scott. WEAPONS OF THE WEAK: EVERYDAY FORMS OF PEASANT RESISTANCE
Eric R. Wolf. PEASANTS
Buechler and F. Kurt Cylke Jr. SOCIAL
MOVEMENTS: PERSPECTIVES AND ISSUES
Clarissa Rile Hayward. DE-FACING POWER.
Piven and Cloward. POOR PEOPLE'S MOVEMENTS.
Harrington and Bielby. POPULAR CULTURE: PRODUCTION AND CONSUMPTION
John Gaventa. POWER
AND POWERLESSNESS: QUIESCENCE POLITI
CS IN THE APPALACHIAN VALLEY.
Robin D. G. Kelley. RACE REBELS: CULTURE, POLITICS, AND THE BLACK WORKING CLASS.
Sterling L. Bland Jr. AFRICAN AMERICAN SLAVE NARRATIVES: AN ANTHOLOGY
Paula Kamen. "Jane: Abortion
and the Underground: A Dramatic Docu
mentary of Chicago's Revolutionary Abortion Services and its Roots, 1965?1973". (Documentary)
Bob Dylan. THIRTIETH ANNIVERSARY CONCERT CELEBRATION (CD)
VOICES OF THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT. BLACK AMERICAN FREEDOM
SONGS 1960?1966. (CD)
BROKE HIS HEAD AND OTHER TALES OF WONDER (Documentary)
REMEMBERING JIM CROW: AFRICAN AMERICANS TELL ABOUT LIFE IN THE SEGREGATED SOUTH. (CD)
EXAMINATIONS AND ASSIGNMENTS
Take-home final, 2 reaction papers, midterm, journal assignments based on outside activities such as collecting political histories, participant observation, and analysis of resulting data.
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Links to Web Resources For This Course.
Last Updated on MAR-30-2006
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