Fall 2020 - IS 305 D100

Challenging Power Around the Globe: Political Resistance and Protest (4)

Class Number: 8852

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Mo 2:30 PM – 5:20 PM

  • Prerequisites:

    45 units.



Examines various forms of resistance and protest, including everyday resistance and organized activism, with an emphasis on civil resistance. Investigates the conditions and outcomes of protest, focusing on a range of cases which may include Solidarity in Poland, the struggle against apartheid in South Africa, and the American Civil Rights Movement. Students who have taken POL 339 or IS 309 with this topic may not take this course for further credit.


Protest was once thought to be an unconventional form of political participation – rare “bursts” taken up by “social undesirables” that had little impact on “real politics”: parties, elections, and policymaking. How times have changed. Scholars in the social sciences and the humanities now recognize the interplay between protest and other forms of political activity. Recent history is full of examples whereby large-scale social and political transformation occurred as a result of the initial or continued use of protest and civil resistance. Equally important are those non-events where history was not made, with protests fizzling out or being shut down without any substantial change. What has allowed some protest movements to succeed while others have failed? That is one key question that will be explored in the course.

Furthermore, in 2020, protests and other forms of civil resistance have expanded in terms of their composition, frequency and global reach. Participants in contemporary protest cut across class and generational lines. More and more citizens believe that extra-parliamentary approaches to politics are the only solution to pressing social and economic issues. Local protests quickly become globalized and global protests quickly become localized. What has caused these developments to occur now and what does this mean for the shape of our politics to come? These questions too will take centre stage as we explore the ways in which power is being challenged across the globe.


Learning Outcomes:

• Explain the successes and failures of protest movements.
• Analyze the changing nature of how protest and civil resistance is conducted across the globe.
• Explain the prevalence of protest and other forms of extra-parliamentary politics in the last decade.
• Analyze the similarities, differences, parallels and connections that exist between protest movements around the world.


  • Exploratory Piece 20%
  • Essay 30%
  • Take-home Final Exam 30%
  • Participation 20%


Students will be required to submit their written assignments to Turnitin.com in order to receive credit for the assignments and for the course.

The School for International Studies strictly enforces the University's policies regarding plagiarism and other forms of academic dishonesty. Information about these policies can be found at: http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/teaching.html.


This course will be delivered via online platforms, such as Zoom, Canvas, Blackboard, etc. Though lectures will be uploaded, discussions will take place synchronously during scheduled class time.

Students are required to have a computer, with a microphone, webcam, and speakers. They also must have good access to the Internet.

Microsoft Office is required, and a free version of Office 365 is available to SFU students here: https://www.sfu.ca/itservices/technical/software/office365.html.

Students will be required to upload assignments to Canvas and through Turnitin.com.



Required readings available on Canvas, online, or in the SFU Library’s electronic collection. 

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html


Teaching at SFU in fall 2020 will be conducted primarily through remote methods. There will be in-person course components in a few exceptional cases where this is fundamental to the educational goals of the course. Such course components will be clearly identified at registration, as will course components that will be “live” (synchronous) vs. at your own pace (asynchronous). Enrollment acknowledges that remote study may entail different modes of learning, interaction with your instructor, and ways of getting feedback on your work than may be the case for in-person classes. To ensure you can access all course materials, we recommend you have access to a computer with a microphone and camera, and the internet. In some cases your instructor may use Zoom or other means requiring a camera and microphone to invigilate exams. If proctoring software will be used, this will be confirmed in the first week of class.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who believe they may need class or exam accommodations, including in the current context of remote learning, are encouraged to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (caladmin@sfu.ca or 778-782-3112).