By Lyndi Hewitt
Many of us began studying social movements, at least in part, because our own experiences with activism in one realm or another called us to develop a deeper understanding of how social change happens. Having found fulfillment in such pursuits, and recognizing the significance of both the theoretical and the political in our own journeys, we might hope to pay it forward by fostering the intellectual, political, and moral development of the students in our social movements courses. But are we thinking carefully enough about how to do this in the classroom? While calls for greater attention to movement-relevant scholarship and “useable knowledge” have (re)intensified over the past decade (Bevington & Dixon 2005; Croteau, Hoynes, & Ryan 2005; CBSM workshop 2011), conversations about movement-relevant teaching have been less consistent.
In a CBSM section newsletter a few years back, Rob Benford shared the impetus behind his decision to revise the content of his upper level social movements course to reflect more applied goals rather than solely theoretical ones. Continue reading