Activism and protest has led news headlines for years. The number of protests around the world, questioning human rights and political issues, particularly in the United States, has risen increasingly over the last. This year in Washington D.C, there has been a mass movement led by students called March for Our Lives. This protest called for greater gun control in the US following 8 school shootings that have occurred since the beginning of the year. The Women’s March took place in late January 2017; this protest saw involvement of nearly 1 million people within the US and over 4 million people globally. They marched for women’s rights being recognized as human rights, as well as LGBTQ rights, racial equality, worker’s rights, and many other issues faced by US and international citizens. Another prominent global movement which surfaced in 2013 is the Black Lives Matter campaign. This member-based organisation is fighting to end the violence and racism faced by Black communities. These are all current acts of protest but what about the protests and activism the world has seen throughout history?
For the new academic year our History department has introduced two new modules. One focuses on activism within Britain and the other looks at how colonised peoples resisted empire around the world. Both modules interpret gender history and BAME (Black, Asian, and minority ethnic) history uniquely.
HR104-4-SP: Resisting Empire is a first year, spring term module. The module will focus on the definition of resistance and how we think about it and will put non-Europeans at the centre. Events looked at will range from the Haitian Revolution, 1791 to 1804, the succession and power of Angolan Queen Anna Nzinga, 1557, the Pueblo Revolt of Mexico, 1680, the Boxer Rebellion of China, 1899-1901, as well as other movements that took place in Kenya and Cuba. Unlike current modules taught within the department, HR104 looks at other empires, like the Portuguese and Dutch, in addition to the British Empire. The module is aimed at providing students with broader exposure to lesser known events and movements, alongside thinking about empire from the view of the colonized, rather than the colonizers.
HR225-5-AU: Cultures of Activism: Protest in Britain, 1958-2003 is available for second-year students, in the Autumn term. Considering current protests, which I mentioned before, this module has been designed to look at how people within Britain have been involved in activism within the twentieth century. The definition of ‘activism’ is highlighted, as well as examining the effects of protest on society. Some examples of British protest looked at are the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament in 1958, the Black Power movement, feminist movements, health activism, and environmentalism. The module aims to allow students to develop an understanding of what initiated protest in the late 1900s, how these protests have changed over time, and most importantly to be able to recognize how current protest and activism draws on the history of activism.
For more information contact the History Department or visit the module directory.