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Social Movements in International Perspective




Admissions requirements

Birth of the Modern World

Note: in 2017-18 this course was titled Social Movements and Identity Politics; students who have already passed that class, may not enroll in this course.


All over the world, social movements mobilize people to challenge regimes, unjust policies and inequalities. Movements have been instrumental in changing laws, governments and policies. Even when movements are ultimately unsuccessful, they are nonetheless influential.

But what drives individual activists? How are social movements formed? What kind of changes can they bring about? And how do social scientists and historians research these movements?

The goal of this course is not only to provide students with a global overview of the history of social movements. Rather, this course will focus on creating insight into the academic debates on the development of social movements.

To do so, we will discuss general overviews on social movements, protest and conflict, as well as specific case studies on particular movements, such as the Black Panthers and the Squatters Movement. In each case, we will review core texts on these topics to see which are the main points of debate amongst academics working in this field.

Course objectives

The goal of this course is, thus, to give students insight into the way academics debate their work; to start seeing academic studies not merely as a source of information, but as a starting point for debates on 1) the sources academics use, 2) the methodologies they apply in analyzing these sources, and 3) the conclusions that they reach.

Upon successful completion of this course, students will have acquired the following skills and knowledge:

The student will have acquired knowledge:

  • on the origins, dynamics and development of social movements from 1968 to the present.

  • on how social movements and authorities interact.

  • on how people are affected by being politically active.

The student will be able to:

  • apply a critical perspective when reading and analyzing how historians have written about the past.

  • identify historiographical debates and reflect upon their own position within these debates.

  • devise and execute a well written historical essay.


Once available, timetables will be published here.

Mode of instruction

Seminar in which students will be expected to participate actively.


Weekly Assignments: 10%
Presentation: 20%
Participation: 10%
Mid-term Assignment: 20%
Final Paper (Historiographical case-study on a social movement of choice): 40%


There will be a Blackboard site available for this course. Students will be enrolled at least one week before the start of classes.

Reading list

Course readings will be posted on Blackboard.


This course is open to LUC students and LUC exchange students. Registration is coordinated by the Education Coordinator. Interested non-LUC students should contact


Dr. Bart van der Steen