Spring 2020 - SA 321 D100

Social Movements (S) (4)

Class Number: 3090

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Jan 6 – Apr 9, 2020: Fri, 1:30–5:20 p.m.

  • Instructor:

    Clayton Whitt
    Office: AQ 5079
    Office Hours: Fr 11:20-13:20
  • 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 this course we will analyze international social movements, broadly defined as organized groups of people who undertake collective actions toward a common goal, often either to produce or resist social, political, and economic change. We will analyze movements in the name of justice, recognition, equality, and environmental protection, including civil rights, indigenous rights, feminism, labour, LGBTQ+ movements, climate justice, and more. In order to understand the full range of impacts posed by different collective movements, we will also examine groups that coalesce around extremist and repressive ideologies, including white supremacists, religious terrorists, and radical separatists. Through our examinations of these different movements, we will engage in theoretically informed sociological analysis of how and why people come together to make or resist change, why movements succeed and fail, what their lasting, and at times unexpected, impacts can be, and how social movements make and remake the world around us. We will also engage theories of embodiment, affect, and collective effervescence to consider how the feelings of participation and belonging can drive social movement participation.


  • Explain how different sociological methods and theories are used to examine social movements around the world.
  • Generate insights into the universalities and particularities of diverse social movements by making comparisons over time and between different cultures and societies, expressing such comparisons verbally and in writing, and exploring key questions such as how social movements succeed and fail.
  • Describe the interrelatedness of social movements with different social problems and histories of racism, oppression, and colonialism.
  • Critically read, discuss, and analyze different academic sources, alone and with peers.
  • Demonstrate academic research skills, critical thinking, and analysis by writing an original research essay analyzing a historical or contemporary social movement.


  • Participation/in-class collaborative work 10%
  • Weekly online roundtable 20%
  • Group presentation 20%
  • Short reflection papers (2 x 5%) 10%
  • Research proposal 15%
  • Final research paper 25%


Grading: Where a final exam is scheduled and the student does not write the exam or withdraw from the course before the deadline date, an N grade will be assigned. Unless otherwise specified on the course syllabus, all graded assignments for this course must be completed for a final grade other than N to be assigned. An N is considered as an F for the purposes of scholastic standing.

Grading System: The Undergraduate Course Grading System is as follows:

A+ (95-100) | A (90-94) | A- (85-89) | B+ (80-84) | B (75-79) | B- (70-74) | C+ (65-69) | C (60-64) | C- (55-59) | D (50-54) | F (0-49) | N*
*N standing to indicate the student did not complete course requirements

Academic Dishonesty and Misconduct Policy: The Department of Sociology & 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.

Centre for Accessible Learning: Students with hidden or visible disabilities who believe they may need classroom or exam accommodations are encouraged to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (1250 Maggie Benston Centre) as soon as possible to ensure that they are eligible and that approved accommodations and services are implemented in a timely fashion.



Staggenborg, Suzanne & Howard Ramos. (2015). Social Movements (3rd Edition, Themes in Canadian Sociology). Oxford University Press.
ISBN: 978-0-199013975

Tufekci, Zeynep. (2017). Twitter and Tear Gas: The Power and Fragility of Networked Protest. Yale University Press.
ISBN: 978-0-300234176

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