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Robert G. Moser, Chair BAT 2.116, Mailcode A1800, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-5121

Fall 2009

GOV 312L • Issues and Policies in American Government

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
39075 TTh
12:30 PM-2:00 PM
PAI 3.02

Course Description

Fulfills second half of legislative requirement for Government. In recent decades, social movements have mobilized people concerned about issues ranging from the rights of women and ethnic minorities to the environment, human rights, and world peace. These new social movements are frequently distinguished by the socio-economic heterogeneity of their members, the informal and fluid nature of their organization, the uneasy relationship they have to established political institutions, and the unconventional forms of protest they employ. This course will examine and analyze the origins, modes of action, and impact of movements centered on three issues: women, racial minorities, and the environment. Comparisons will be made between the civil rights movement in the United States and the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa, feminism in the United States and Chile, and the Greens in West Germany and Brazilian efforts to diminish the destruction of the Amazon rain forest. The goal of this comparative enterprise will be to examine how different socio-economic and political contexts shape social movements based on somewhat common issues. For example, in many developing societies, where great numbers of people are poor, uneducated, and often intimidated by authoritarian governments, social movements face particularly stiff obstacles to organization. International attention and support have often been necessary to protect these movements. By contrast, in the West, basic human rights are more likely to be guaranteed and an articulate middle class with a sense of political efficacy is more likely to assure the success of a social movement. In this vein, the course will analyze how social movements emerge and function within existing structures of politics, and how they try to create new structures of interest representation to influence policy-making.

Grading Policy

Assignments and Grading Policy have yet to be determined.


Sidney Tarrow. 1998. Power in Movement: Social Movements and Contentious Politics. (second edition). New York: Cambridge University Press. Clayborne Carson. 2001. In Struggle: SNCC and the Black Awakening of the 1960s. (fourth printing). Cambridge: Harvard University Press. Ruth Rosen. 2000. The World Split Open: How the Women's Movement Changed America. New York: Viking/Penguin. Lisa Baldez. 2002. Why Women Protest: Women's Movements in Chile. New York: Cambridge University Press. *Robert M. Price. 1991. The Apartheid State in Crisis: Political Transformation in South Africa 1975-1990. New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press. *E. Gene Frankland and Donald Schoonmaker. 1992. Between Protest and Power: The Green Party in Germany. Boulder: Westview Press. *Chico Mendes. 1989. Fight for the Forest. New York: Monthly Review Press. ----------------------------- *To be made available through a classpack at Speedway Copy.


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