Social Change and Social Movements

Why do large-scale social changes occur when they do? Societies have a particular social order, cultural values and ideologies, institutions, hierarchies, vectors of authority, and economic relations, and then at particular moments, these become susceptible to small or even profound transformations—gradual or abrupt. How have people created the open moments of plasticity that make such transformation possible? What does it mean to band together with others and act collectively to change things? Humans have engaged in individual acts of resistance—breaking tools, not paying taxes, running away, avoiding military service or impressment, adulterating food, defying a tribal order, refusing gendered expectations, praying, engaging in religious dissent—in many time periods and throughout the world. When and how does such resistance become a social movement? Under what conditions does spontaneous action turn into deliberate, planned, strategic action? How have people built and exerted power? What have been the possibilities and limits of solidarity?
 
These pathway courses enable us to see strategies used at the local, regional, national, and international level; to establish connections among organizing and policy and politics, state and family, and migration, immigration, and empire; to explore how migrations of people and ideas generate transnational connections among movements. Why do some take up arms and use violence? In other places and locales, pacifist movements could bring down even the mightiest of imperial powers, as the Salt Marches did in British-occupied India. Studying social movements can take us through the study of peasant resistance to land enclosures, revolutions, abolitionism, labor rights and women’s rights, anti-colonialism, indigenous rights, Christian fundamentalism, liberation theology, apartheid, the modern conservative movement, the Islamic Revival, and nationalism of all sorts.  Social movements can be studied through the prism of ideas and intellectual history, social history, gender, history of sexuality, political history, and environmental history. As we reflect on what constitutes the success or failure of a social movement, we confront the intriguing question—what is the connection between social movements and broad political or economic change over time?
 
Faculty advisers: Abbas Amanat, David Blight, Rosie Bsheer, George Chauncey, Rohit De, Carolyn Dean, Fabian Drixler, Marcela Echeverri, Anne Eller, Crystal Feimster, Joanne Freeman, Beverly Gage, Glenda Gilmore, Jonathan Holloway, Gilbert Joseph, Jennifer Klein, Mary Lui, Daniel Magaziner, John Merriman, Joanne Meyerowitz, Stephen Pitti, Edward Rugemer, Julie Stephens, Jenifer Van Vleck
 
Specialist Track requirements: Students specializing in this pathway must complete at least five of the courses listed below. For additional requirements of the major, see Requirements of the Major.
 
Course numbers: Courses beginning with “0” (i.e. HIST 012) are freshman seminars; courses with a three-digit number (i.e. HIST 113) are lectures, open to all students; courses with a “J” suffix (i.e. HIST 136J) are departmental seminars. Courses designated “PI” meet the Pre-Industrial requirement within the History major.
 
Students may petition the Director of Undergraduate Studies to include other HIST courses within a pathway if their written work for the course is directly relevant to the pathway.
 
* Courses being taught in 2015-2016
 
FRESHMAN SEMINARS (open to first-year students)
 
*
HIST
012
Klein
Jennifer
Politics and Society in the U.S. after World War II
*
HIST
070
De
Rohit
Lawyers as Rebels
 
HIST
001
Gilmore
Glenda
African American Freedom Movements
 
HIST
031
Stephens
Julie
Political Islam
 
HIST
041
Echeverri
Marcela
The Americas in the Age of Revolutions (PI)
 
HIST
052
Echeverri
Marcela
Latin America since Independence
 
LECTURES (open to all students)
 
*
HIST
119
Blight
David
The Civil War and Reconstruction Era, 1845-1877
*
HIST
127
Chauncey
George
U.S. Lesbian and Gay History
*
HIST
183
Lui
Mary
Asian American History, 1800 to the Present
*
HIST
184
Rugemer
Edward
The Rise and Fall of Atlantic Slavery (PI)
*
HIST
187
Holloway
Jonathan
African American History: Emancipation-Present
*
HIST
225
Lenski
Noel
Roman Law (PI)
*
HIST
251
Wrightson
Keith
Early Modern England (PI)
*
HIST
277
Allen
Jennifer
Germany from Unification to the Euro Crisis
*
HIST
335
Magaziner
Daniel
History of South Africa
*
HIST
341
Stephens
Julie
Political Islam, Past and Present
*
HIST
375
Ho
Denise
China from Mao to Now
 
HIST
131
Gage
Beverly
American Politics and Society, 1900-1945
 
HIST
131
Gilmore
Glenda
U.S. Political and Social History, 1900-1945
 
HIST
136
Feimster
Crystal
The Long Civil Rights Movement
 
HIST
169
Freeman
Joanne
Early National America (PI)
 
HIST
171
Meyerowitz
Joanne
Women in Modern America
 
HIST
275
Merriman
John
Revolutionary France, 1789-1871
 
HIST
302
Lenski
Noel
The Late Antique World (PI)
 
HIST
310
Stephens
Julie
The Making of Modern India
 
HIST
348
Amanat
Abbas
Empire, Nationalism, Revolution: Modern Middle East
 
HIST
358
Joseph
Gilbert
History of Mexico since Independence
 
HIST
371
Eller
Anne
Transnational Hispaniola: Haiti & Dominican Republic
 
DEPARTMENTAL SEMINARS (open to sophomores, juniors, and seniors; History majors receive admissions preference)
 
*
HIST
103J
Blight
David
Life and Writings of Frederick Douglass
*
HIST
134J
Gitlin
Jay
Yale and America
*
HIST
136J
Gage
Beverly
Liberalism and Conservatism in the Modern U.S.
*
HIST
139J
Gilmore
Glenda
The American South, 1870-present
*
HIST
184J
Klein
Jennifer
Women, Gender, & Grassroots Politics in Postwar U.S.
*
HIST
272J
Brinegar
Sara
Russia in the Age of Revolution, 1890-1924
*
HIST
358J
Joseph
Gilbert
Mexico Since Independence
*
HIST
372J
Joseph
Gilbert
Revolution and Cold War in Latin America
*
HIST
385J
Bsheer
Rosie
Reformers and Revolutionaries in the Arab World
*
HIST
387J
Sanneh
Lamin
West African Islam: Jihad Tradition and its Opponents
*
HIST
411J
Van Vleck
Jenifer
The Global 1960s
 
HIST
112J
Gilmore
Glenda
The United States in the Progressive Era
 
HIST
115J
Feimster
Crystal
Civil Rights and Women’s Liberation
 
HIST
129J
Klein
Jennifer
Capitalism, Class, and Power in the 20th Century
 
HIST
160J
Chauncey
George
Topics in Lesbian and Gay History
 
HIST
161J
Gage
Beverly
Communism and Anticommunism in the Modern U.S.
 
HIST
169J
Klein
Jennifer
Labor, Migration, & Democracy in 20th-Century U.S.
 
HIST
185J
Pitti
Stephen
Latina/o Histories
 
HIST
327J
Drixler
Fabian
Navigating Life in 19th-Century Japan
 
HIST
349J
Magaziner
Daniel
South African Apartheid
 
HIST
364J
Eller
Anne
History of the Caribbean since 1898
 
HIST
405J
Chauncey
George
The Transnational History of Sexual Politics
 
HIST
409J
Magaziner
Daniel
Global Black Power
 
HIST
422J
Dean
Carolyn
History and Human Rights