FYSB BC1467 Activism and Social Change. 3 points.
Frederick Douglass famously stated, ‘if there is no struggle, there is no progress.’ This quote captures the essence of activism, which is the struggle between that which is and that which ought to be. This course will trace the many ways in which activism has been defined over time, situating them within different historical social movements. We will also explore contemporary debates about the re-conceptualization of activism in the age of social media and the internet. Readings include texts from such canonical authors as Plato, Mary Wollstonecraft and Martin Luther King, as well as more contemporary works by Clay Shirky, Malcolm Gladwell and Alissa Quart. Questions that this class will examine include: what are the different ways in which activism has been defined, practiced and justified? To what degree do new forms of activism expand on or refute more traditional forms of activism? How do social movements define, shape and challenge activists? What are some inherent problems within activist groups, and what are some of the challenges facing activists today?