History | Social Movements in Western Europe, 1850-2000
J400 | 10077 | Roos

Above class open to majors only
Above class open to undergraduates only
J400: P-HIST-J300

Even democratically elected governments of the present often fail to
represent adequately the interests and viewpoints of important parts
of the population. This was even truer of European states of the
nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, when a majority of the
population (especially men without property, and all women) was
disenfranchised. In Europe, democratization was a slow and bumpy
process, frequently driven forward by the protests of groups
traditionally excluded from political participation. Since the
second half of the nineteenth century, Europe witnessed the
emergence of social movements challenging the state and established
elites to relinquish their monopoly on power. In this course, we
will trace the origins and successive waves of a broad range of
social movements from the 1850s to the present. Important examples
include, among others, the labor and women’s movements, peace
movements, movements for sexual reform and homosexual rights, and
environmental movements. Some key questions we will explore are:
Under which historical and political conditions do new social
movements emerge, and why? What binds together the participants in a
specific social movement? What did the various European social
movements achieve? What are some key differences between the
European social movements of the late nineteenth and early twentieth
centuries on the one hand and more recent protest movements on the
other hand? Last but not least, are there examples of social
movements directed against democracy?


Regular attendance and informed participation in class discussion
are absolutely indispensable; absences will result in a low
participation grade. The reading load is 75-100 pages per week.
There will be shorter writing assignments and oral presentations, as
well as a final research essay of 15-20 pages (50 percent of the
final grade.)