Special topics theme: Global Justice Activism & NGOs
Course meets synchronously W 10-11:30/45, with asynchronous lectures & activities during week. Alternate arrangements can be made for those unable to attend the synchronous class on Wednesday.
This course explores the concept of global civil society (GCS), a key and evolving feature of contemporary democratic theory and practice, as a platform for global justice struggles and transnational activism, especially surrounding issues of bodily harm, political inclusion, and ecological catastrophe. Social science studies currents of power and this class examines the role of participatory democracy in transnational politics. Sometimes this “people power” engages traditional authorities, other times global justice activism prefigures alternative models and experimental politics. The first part of the course looks at the historical and theoretical dimensions of global civil society and demonstrates how this "space" has recently been transformed through technology, media, and a variety of political and social forces. The rest of the course is issue-oriented and examines contemporary transnational social movements, global advocacy networks, and NGOs through human rights, feminist, indigenous, development, and environmental frames. We will approach the question of global justice from multiple viewpoints and explore intersections between academic and activist work. The world is currently dealing with intersecting crises of racial inequality, climate disruption and species extinctions, food insecurity, poverty, high unemployment, and rising nationalism and authoritarianism, all in the midst of a global pandemic. In keeping with doing good political science work, and in line with global justice activism, we will directly confront these realities even as we imagine radically different futures. Finally, because the class is both discussion-based and centered around student research (available as a W credit), student interests, questions, and energy will help to animate our vitally important course material.