Mondays 1:15 – 4:00, Lang Center Conference Room
- WHAT IF activists around the world who want to be more effective could turn to a database of actual cases, to get ideas for creative nonviolent strategies and tactics?
- WHAT IF scholars and writers who are researching alternatives to violence could turn to a global database with thousands of cases where people used nonviolent action to struggle for justice and democracy?
This is a one-credit research seminar whose product will be a database to be mounted on a website for access by activists and scholars worldwide. The Global Nonviolent Action Database being built at Swarthmore College already has cases of “people power” drawn from dozens of countries. The database has crucial information on campaigns for human rights, democracy, environmental sustainability, economic justice, national/ethnic identity, and peace.
The course will be taught by the director of the database project, George Lakey, former Lang Visiting Professor for Issues in Social Change and an internationally-known authority on nonviolent action. The seminar is limited to 12 participants.
Students will be expected to research a series of research cases and write them up in two ways: within a template of fields (the database proper) and also as a 2-3 page narrative that describes the unfolding struggle. The seminar will include not only research/writing methods but also theories in the field. Of interest will be strategic implications for today drawn from theory and from what the group is learning from the documented cases of wins and losses experienced by people’s struggles.
“Working on the database project is the most empowering single thing I did during my college years.? It contradicted my cynicism about whether change is really possible, and showed me that people like myself can organize campaigns that matter.” – Shandra Bernath-Plaisted,’09.