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Geographies of Revolt: Movements, Uprisings, and Social Transformation (Level 6)


  • Credit value: 30 credits at Level 6
  • Convenor: to be confirmed
  • Tutor: Dr Patrick Huff
  • Assessment: a 2500-word essay (40%) and 3500-word essay (60%)

Module description

Social movements are erupting everywhere. Indeed, the early twenty-first century can be reasonably described as an age of uprisings, protests and popular organising - exemplified by the Zapatistas, Occupy Wall St., the Movement for Black Life, Standing Rock’s ‘Water Protectors’ and the Rojava Revolution among many others.

Today’s social movements arise in diverse cultural contexts, operate on multiple geographic scales and occur in both urban and rural settings. In this module we examine historic and contemporary social movements and other forms of collective action from a geographic and anthropological perspective. We explore a mix of both scholarly and activist-produced literature, including empirical case studies as well as theoretical materials. We will critically assess movements but we will also come to understand them, both progressive and reactionary, on their own terms.

The rise of social movements corresponds to increasingly acute social, political and ecological crises. Understanding social movements will allow us to better understand the world in which we live, both its challenges and opportunities.

Indicative syllabus

  • Direct action and non-violent resistance
  • Environmental and ecological movements
  • Race and social movements
  • Sex and gender in social movements
  • Class and social movements
  • Social movements in the city, urban struggles
  • Peasant and agrarian movements
  • Insurrections and guerrilla warfare
  • Nationalism, neo-reactionary and authoritarian movements

Learning objectives

By the end of this module, you will be able to demonstrate:

  • understanding of how different geographic and anthropological concepts, theories and insights can be combined for the purpose of analysing social movements and other forms of collective action
  • a detailed understanding of subjective and objective dimensions of social movements
  • critical understanding of the nature of social science knowledge and how it is generated in relation to social movements
  • awareness of the ethical questions surrounding inquiries into social movements and be able to connect these concerns with wider debates on diversity, equity and social justice.