2012-13 Catalog

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Offering Description

Popular Uprisings: 1968, 2011 and the Road Foward

Spring 2013 quarter

Peter Bohmer economics, political economy , Elizabeth Williamson English literature, theater studies
Fields of Study
African American studies, American studies, cultural studies, economics, gender and women's studies, history, philosophy, political science and sociology
Preparatory for studies or careers in
teaching social studies; organizing; working for an economic or social justice organziation--locally, nationally or globally; graduate school in social sciences or cultural studies.
background or experience in social movements and in political economy or cultural studies strongly suggested.

1968 and 2011 were world historic years. In both cases, uprisings spread within and between countries. In 1968, major resistance to the existing order produced movements for liberation in Vietnam (Tet offensive); France (May, 1968); Czechoslovakia (Soviet invasion, August, 1968); Mexico, (Tlatelolco and Olympics) and the United States--including the rebellions after Martin Luther King's assassination, the Columbia University occupation, the protests against the Democratic Party Convention in Chicago, and the major growth of the women's and Black liberation movements. There were major uprisings in many other countries. New left theory and practice were integral to those movements. 1968 was perhaps the central year of the 1960s--a decade where the status quo was challenged culturally, socially and politically; a period of experimentation where countercultures emerged and revolution was in the air.

2011 was another major year of uprisings. Social movements against repressive governments and against social inequality spread from Tunisia to Egypt to Yemen, Syria, Libya, Bahrain--among many others. The nature and goals of the uprisings vary from country to county, but all are connected by an egalitarian and democratic spirit where youth play a major role. Inspired partially by the events in the Middle East, Wisconsin residents and especially public sector workers occupied the State Capital in the spring of 2011, and there were massive demonstrations against the frontal attack on public sector unions, and on education and social programs. These so-called "austerity measures" and the growing resistance to them are occurring all over the United States. There is also occupation of public spaces led by the young and independent of political parties, demanding the end of unemployment and the maintenance of social program in Greece, France, Spain and other countries in Europe.

In this program we will examine the political, economic, and cultural contexts of the uprisings in both of these periods--paying attention to local, national and global connections. We will study these uprisings, and the socio-political forces that helped shape them, through cultural and political economic analysis, fiction and non-fiction literature, movies, music, and participant experiences. Particular attention will be paid to developing research skills and writing for a broader audience.

In addition to developing a greater awareness of the historical impact of these uprisings, we hope to better understand the philosophy, goals, strategy and tactics of the organizers of these movements. We will conclude by comparing and contrasting 1968 to 2011 in order to develop lessons for the present and future.

Online Learning
Enhanced Online Learning
Greener Store
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