2015: The World Unbound
Movements Toward Freedom
Questions to Discuss
- How do institutions condemned by so many endure for so long?
- Do civil rights movements require heroic leaders? Do revolutions?
- Is participatory democracy a grass-roots solution to civil rights abuses, or a prescription mob rule and the oppression of minorities?
- Are there lessons other pro-democracy movements around the world might learn from the relatively successful "People Power" revolution in the Philippines?
- Is non-violent resistance overrated as a strategy against oppression?
- American “founding father” Thomas Jefferson once wrote, “I hold it that a little rebellion now and then is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical.” Agree or disagree?
- Are certain cultures more likely to foment revolution?
- For each of the uprisings below, be sure to consider its causes, consequences, and legacies. Would you judge it to have been a success?
- For each of the original documents below, consider whether and how it has influenced other people and movements around the world. Would any of their authors have disagreed with one another?
- Has the Internet made it easier or harder for rebellions and civil rights movements to take shape?
Uprisings: Rebellions & Revolutions
- Long Before Astapor: The Haitian Revolution
- Triumph from Sort-Of-Below: The Russian Revolution of 1917 (and contrasts to 1905 and 1989)
- Uprisings and Downfalls: The Hungarian Revolution of 1956 and the Prague Spring of 1968
- Victory of the Mostly Non-Violent: The People Power Revolution & the Velvet Revolution
- Movements in the New Millennium: The Saffron Revolution, the Color Revolutions & the Arab Spring
Unshacklings: The Pursuit of Equality
- Slavery and Emancipation
- Women's Suffrage (and Equality) Around the World
- The U.S. Civil Rights Movement
- The End of Apartheid
- Civil Rights Movements of the 21st Century
Original Documents (and Cases) to Discuss
- Book: The Communist Manfiesto | Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels (ch. 4)
- Essay: On the Duty of Civil Disobedience (excerpts) | Henry David Thoreau
- Essay: In Quest of Democracy| Aung San Suu Kyi (part II; p. 173 onwards
- Letter from a Birmingham Jail | Martin Luther King, Jr. (excerpts)
- Speech: By Any Means Necessary | Malcolm X
- Speech: A Tryst with Destiny | Jawaharlal Nehru
- I Am Prepared to Die | Nelson Mandela (excerpt)
- Time to Thrive | Ellen Page
- New Year's Address to the Nation, 1990 | Vaclav Havel
- Speech (Imaginary): V for Vendetta
- Nobel Lecture | Malala Yousafzai
Current Cases and Questions to Discuss
- Are revolutions more alike than they are different? Can they be predicted?
- Is slavery still an issue in today's world?
- Are rising food prices a driving force behind political uprisings? Or is this a matter of correlation, not causation?
- Does the United States need a new civil rights movement?
- Has television been the greatest force in promoting civil rights (including around the issue of marriage equality) or has it simply reflected already changing views in society?
- Was former U.S. Secretary State Hillary Clinton correct to call equality for women “the great unfinished business of the 21st century”?
- Was the recent Scottish vote on independence an example of a failed democratic revolution?
- Do revolutions and rebellions generally depend on outside intervention to succeed?
- Is it ever justified for one group of people in a society to have fewer rights than another group?
- Is it ever justified for one group of people in a society to have different rights than another group?