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Repertoires of Resistance: Protest and Rebellion from the Russian Revolution to the Hong Kong Umbrella Movement


  • Credit value: 30 credits at Level 7
  • Convenor and tutor: Professor Julia Lovell
  • Assessment: a 5000-word essay (100%)

Module description

This module presents a comparative history of global techniques of rebellion and protest, and encompasses some of the key moments of political, intellectual, social and cultural change of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. You will study the history of revolutions, communism, decolonisation, the Cold War and globalisation, and explore local, national and regional episodes of protest, making comparative connections between different eras and locations.

The module will discuss transnational influences on, and travels of, particular examples of protest and rebellion, asking questions such as: To what extent did Russian radicalism of the 1860s-1900s provide a new or distinctive blueprint for protest in the modern world? In what ways did Irish nationalism and rebellion influence other nationalisms and independence movements within the territories of the British Empire? What were the international legacies for protest and rebellion of Mao’s Cultural Revolution? Why has the Palestinian cause been such a lively issue in international politics and public opinion outside the region? What commonalities and differences characterised the global waves of anti-communist protest of the 1980s? To what extent has environmental protest - an issue of global proportions - developed a globalised repertoire? How has the internet transformed protest and rebellion?

Indicative module syllabus

  • The Russian Revolutions
  • Irish nationalism and the British Empire
  • Gandhi, non-violence and Indian independence
  • International Resistance and the Spanish Civil War
  • Global Anti-Apartheid and Southern African Liberation, c. 1960-1994
  • Civil Rights, 1968 and global Maoism
  • Palestine: a global cause
  • Environmental protest
  • From Solidarity to Tiananmen Square: anti-communist protest in the 1980s
  • Occupy and the Umbrella Movement: protest in the age of the Internet

Learning objectives

By the end of this module, you will:

  • understand both the overarching narratives and local, national and regional histories of protest across the twentieth century
  • appreciate the advantages and challenges of approaching the study of this history in global terms, as opposed to narrowly national or regional frameworks
  • understand the contexts, methodologies and results of different historiographic attempts to study the twentieth-century history of protest and rebellions
  • be able to analyse the historiographical, cultural and philosophical nuances of debates on twentieth-century protest
  • be able to synthesise, criticise and compare historical material drawn from diverse cultures, including, but not limited to, the West.