This semester, you will write a research paper on a transnational social movement of your choice. Transnational social movements are groups of people who share a similar discourse and who are trying to remedy certain problems by mobilizing support. Transnational movements include the mobilization of people in different countries, and in this they are different from social movements that operate primarily within a single country.
Describe key historical, ideological, organizational, and/or cultural aspects of a transnational social movement from the following list (below). You will offer a brief history of the movement. When and where did the discourse emerge? Then consider the ways in which the issues, ideas and organizational activities of your movement in one place (like the US) intersect with those elsewhere (like Malaysia). You may discuss complementarities and similarities between movements/groups in these two regions, and/or focus on big differences and possible areas of competition, disagreement or even conflict.
Also, please be mindful of differences in grassroots “civil society” movements, and movements that originate from charity organizations, which often have links to–or receive funding from politically and economically powerful groups such as political figures or corporations. You may wish to address in your essay how connections (or a lack of connections) to politically and economically powerful groups has influenced the history, discourse, agenda, and other aspects of your movement.
Transnational social movements often involve people from both the global north and the global south and this may lead to disagreements. Discuss these differences and efforts to overcome them. There are also well-known disagreements between different movements over goals, tactics and strategies. For example, the labor movement wants jobs but the environmental movement wants to protect the biosphere. Examine issues of this sort and efforts to overcome them to allow the movements to engage in cooperative action and to become effective in world politics.
The final paper should be between 1500-2000 words, not including the bibliography (MLA or APA format), maps and other graphics.
The final paper—with a bibliography—is due during the last week of class. You may use as many sources as you like in your final paper, but there should be a minimum of at least 3 sources from our class and at least 6 outside sources.
Some suggested fields relating to social movements: