Summer 2019 - SA 321 D100

Social Movements (S) (4)

Class Number: 2579

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Jun 25 – Aug 2, 2019: Tue, Thu, 8:30 a.m.–12:20 p.m.

  • Prerequisites:

    SA 101 or 150 or 201W.



A study of the sources, development and effects of social movements in transitional and modernized societies. Specific types of movements will be analysed.


In the mid-20th century, American sociologists and newspaper reporters identified what they perceived to be a new form of protest: actions by groups based not on class but on shared social features like race, ethnicity, gender, age and sexuality. These were soon called the “New Social Movements.”   What were these movements and how did they differ from previous forms of protest? Were they a uniquely American phenomenon, or did they share features with forms of protest occurring in other parts of the world (for example, the post-colonial revolutions in Northern and Western Africa and South East Asia, the student protests and general strikes in France)?

In this course, we will examine the history of the idea of a “social movement” and consider how this designation restructured perceptions of earlier protest activities and, in turn, defined a paradigm for protests that follow. We will focus in particular on the history of protest by Africans and African Americans as the US emerged from its colonial status to form the first modern democratic state. We will also analyze parallel movements, such as the various forms of feminism, gay liberation, and AIDS activism, in particular, ACT UP. Students are invited to select any social movement to study as they develop their papers for the course. In addition, during the course, we will focus on several important academic skills: 1) developing paper topics, 2) conducting historical research, 3) identifying, explaining, comparing, and using different theoretical perspectives, and 4) selecting an analytical method that aligns well with a theoretical position.


  • Attendance and participation 25%
  • Mini-papers (5 x 5%) 25%
  • Project 1 25%
  • Final paper 25%


Grading: Where a final exam is scheduled and you do not write the exam or withdraw from the course before the deadline date, you will be assigned an N grade. Unless otherwise specified on the course outline, all other graded assignments in this course must be completed for a final grade other than N to be assigned.

Academic Dishonesty and Misconduct Policy: The Department of Sociology and Anthropology follows SFU policy in relation to grading practices, grade appeals (Policy T 20.01) and academic dishonesty and misconduct procedures (S10.01‐S10.04). Unless otherwise informed by your instructor in writing, in graded written assignments you must cite the sources you rely on and include a bibliography/list of references, following an instructor-approved citation style.  It is the responsibility of students to inform themselves of the content of SFU policies available on the SFU website:    



Course readings will be drawn from the online resources in the SFU collection, including repositories of movement newsletters and materials in order to conduct original research on their social movement.

Registrar Notes:

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site 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.