Nelson Mandela was an organizer in the movement for black majority rule in South Africa, and was the first black president of that nation. Mandela and other pivotal leaders such as Dr. Martin Luther King and Mohatma Gandhi, and the young people who participated in the Arab Spring events of 2011, were engaged in critical debates about whether nonviolence is a viable tactic to achieve democracy and change in the face of repressive elites.
Mandela, King, Gandhi, and other great leaders and the issues they faced are the inspiration for Peace Studies 2182/Sociology 2182, Critical Dialogs: Nonviolence in Peace/Democracy Movements. The course is designed to be accessible to all undergraduates, yet at the same time offer an alternative to the typical 2000 level, large enrollment course that utilizes a textbook and multiple choice exams.
Instead, in Peace Studies 2182 students can explore primary source material such as these interviews and documents from the Sharpeville Massacre in South Africa in 1960 and its effect on the Black Consciousness Movement:
Peace Studies 2182 considers issues posed by scholarly books, for example Todd Gitlin’s The Whole World is Watching and its analysis of how forms of media have covered democracy movements, and the violence that breaks out even in the most disciplined of nonviolent movements. Students in the course consider the effects of media coverage on the Indian Independence Movement: the newsreel coverage of Gandhi’s Salt March, compared to Webb Miller’s famous 1930 UPI dispatch, to the dramatizations in the Hollywood film Gandhi.
The trailer to the film The Square, about the Arab Spring events in Egypt’s Tahrir Square, gives you a sense of the role of mobile devices, video, and the internet in the organizing of those historic events.
Peace Studies 2182 is offered both in classroom formats and also through Mizzou Online.
In addition to coursework analyzing democratization in different areas of the world and in different historical periods, the Peace Studies Program encourages students to gain direct experience observing and participating in nonviolent movements for democratization and social justice. Among the campus groups is GRO (Grass Roots Organizing) Mizzou