UMass Amherst Resistance Studies Courses

Mural in Baltimore, Maryland  Photo Credit: The Real News NetworkAs part of its academic component, every fall the Resistance Studies Initiative will offer undergraduate and graduate courses. 

Until at least 2021 similar courses will be offered on both the graduate and undergraduate levels. They will include “Postcolonial and Indigenous Resistance,” “Constructive Resistance: Alternatives to Domination,” and others covering various aspects of resistance in relation to military occupation, capitalism, campaign strategies and impacts, repression and counter-repression, research methodology, gender and patriarchy, race and ethnicity, queer politics and norms, and more.

The courses for fall 2017 are:


Civil Resistance and Social Change (SOCIOL 492P; PSYCH 492P)

Focusing on so-called “nonviolent direct action,” “people power,” “unarmed insurrection,” or “the color revolution,” this course will apply sociological perspectives to the causes, effects, and dynamics of resistance in political and non-institutional mobilizations. Among the topics: how organized, strategic, and mass-mobilized popular resistance sometimes brings about change, only to spawn its own forms of domination. View syllabus


Postcolonial and Indigenous Resistance (SOCIOL 792R; PSYCH 792R)

This course focuses on postcolonial and indigenous thinking and resistance practices, both in its historical and contemporary forms, in the US and beyond. The postcolonial situation frames all of us, but more so those that challenge existing colonial attitudes, institutions and practices. We work with reflective text seminars. The main course assignment is to write a publishable article about one chosen relevant theme.  View syllabus 

Examples of past courses:

Civil Resistance and the Everyday (SOCIOL 791RS; PSYCH 791RS)

A sociological approach to resistance in the everyday life of ordinary people, be it widespread and diffused, individual or small-scale, implicitly political, disguised, or even hidden. The course will reveal how the private or personal can be political, and explore creative forms of cultural resistance. Special attention will be paid to domination and resistance in everyday life, and how resistance can sometimes liberate only to engender new modes of domination. View syllabus