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Steven Hoelscher, Chair Burdine 437, Mailcode B7100, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-7277

Fall 2008


Unique Days Time Location Instructor
30096 MWF
11:00 AM-12:00 PM
noa 1.116

Course Description

Recently, there has been a great deal of discussion about the unprecedented deep political divisions within the United States. One way to understand both what divides us and what unites us as a nation is to look at those groups who hold extreme political views. This course will explore the radical social movements of both the Left and the Right, focusing primarily on the movements of the second half of the 20th century. We will investigate a wide gamut of radical activists, their organizations, and the events for which these groups are known. After exploring these movements, students should have a deeper understanding of how social movements function, what motivates certain people to protest, and how these movements have shaped the complex, dynamic, and fractured political landscape of late 20th century and early 21st century.

The class will explore movements for racial justice, such as civil rights, black power, the Chicano Movement, the American Indian Movement, and various Asian American movements. We will also look at the white power organizations that formed in response to the rise of these movements of the Left. Along with racial rights, we will consider free speech, anti-war, women's liberation, GLBT liberation, reproductive rights, environmental justice, animal liberation, and global justice movements, as well as the religious and political movements on the Right that organized in response to these various movements, such as the pro-life movement, the anti-Equal Rights Amendment movement, anti-gay organizations, and anti-immigration movements.

Grading Policy

This course will consist of brief lectures, class discussions, and student presentations. Students are expected to attend class regularly and come prepared to discuss the day's assigned readings. As a writing component course, students will be required to produce a substantial amount of writing. Throughout the semester, each student will present on an assigned topic and write a five-page profile paper on the presentation topic. Students will also be required to produce a fifteen to twenty-page research paper towards the end of the semester, as well as submit daily discussion questions.


Possible Texts Course Packet, including both scholarly articles and primary documents


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