Andrew S. Tompkins

Protest and Democracy in Postwar Europe

This course examines the history of Europe in the second half of the twentieth century through the prism of those social movements that contested local, national, and international political decision-making throughout the period. It thus engages with a variety of questions pertaining to protest and its relationship to democracy. These range from issues of protest (how did people come to understand environmentalism as an urgent issue?) to issues in protest (when and why does protest take violent form?) and issues in the study of protest (which disciplinary approaches and sources answer which questions?).

Further questions include:

  • What causes protest? Which issues provoke protest? Why do some grievances go unexpressed for long periods?
  • How have historians analysed protest movements? How does their work differ from that of sociologists, political scientists, geographers, and others?
  • What different forms can protest take? How important are demonstrations in tracking the history of protest?
  • Who protests and why? Depending on the actors we choose to study, which sources are capable of answering which questions about them?
    • How are protest movements in different countries related? Why does activism seem to accelerate and take on global dimensions at certain moments?