Spring 2022 - IS 439 E100

Social Movements in the Global South (4)

Class Number: 5335

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    We 5:30 PM – 9:20 PM
    HCC 1505, Vancouver

  • Prerequisites:

    45 units.



Examines the nature, activities, and effects of social movements across the Global South. Uses an interdisciplinary approach to explore how social movements shape and respond to political, economic, and social transformation. Considers their relationship with political parties, states, and media and assesses the conditions under which movements emerge and succeed. Students who have taken IS 339, IS 329 or IS 419 with this topic may not take this course for further credit.


The social movement universe in the global South is diverse and rich in terms of actors, demands, strategies, action repertoires and capacities to initiate change. Millions of people across the global South have been challenging and transforming their social and political environments through collective action. This course explores contemporary dynamics of contentious politics in the global South, drawing on some of the prominent social movements that emerged in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East and Asia in the 20th and early 21st centuries. The course is divided into three parts. The first part contextualizes the term global South and discusses its parameters through examining significant transformations in the global political and economic landscape from the post-war era up until today. The second part explores conceptual and analytical tools provided by collective action and social movement theories to analyze movements’ political opportunity structures, patterns of resource mobilization, repertoires of action and framing processes. The third part applies these tools to various case studies – including the Landless Workers’ Movement in Brazil, the Arab Spring, farmers’ strikes in India, the labour movement in China and the women’s movement in Kenya - with an aim to make sense of grievances prompting participants to take action, their demands and imaginaries, strategies and tactics, class compositions and cultural dispositions, as well as outcomes and wider repercussions of their actions. All in all, the course invites students to trace the search of various social movements in the global South for empowerment, justice, recognition, redistribution, participation, human rights and self-determination.  


  • Participation 15%
  • Op-eds (2 X 10%) 20%
  • Reading Reflections (5 x 4%) 20%
  • In-Class Presentation of the Research Proposal 10%
  • Research Paper 35%


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.



All readings -except the following book- will be made available electronically through Canvas. Students are required to come to class having done all the assigned readings beforehand.

Almeida, P. (2019). Social movements: The structure of collective mobilization. University of California Press. https://doi-org.proxy.lib.sfu.ca/10.1525/9780520964846

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 spring 2022 will involve primarily in-person instruction, with safety plans in place.  Some courses will still be offered through remote methods, and if so, this will be clearly identified in the schedule of classes.  You will also know at enrollment whether remote course components will be “live” (synchronous) or at your own pace (asynchronous).

Enrolling in a course acknowledges that you are able to attend in whatever format is required.  You should not enroll in a course that is in-person if you are not able to return to campus, and should be aware 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.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who may need class or exam accommodations, including in the context of remote learning, are advised to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (caladmin@sfu.ca or 778-782-3112) as early as possible in order to prepare for the spring 2022 term.