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Seminar-Problems in Comm Studies (425-0-1)


The Theater of Protest


Steven William Thrasher

Meeting Info

Fisk Hall 309: Mon 10:00AM - 12:50PM

Overview of class

This intensive seminar will examine the theater of protest: how activists, journalists, experts, and the public perform for one another. Using media theory, performance studies, science and technology studies (STS), and critical theory, this seminar will consider how key moment of protest in United States history have been shaped by various technologies and mediums, including newspapers, stage theatrics, radio, broadcast commercial television, cinema, public access TV, photography, cable TV, social media, and streaming video. Professor Thrasher will draw upon his own experiences as a reporter covering the same-sex marriage equality, Occupy Wall Street, and Black Lives Matter movements, and each student will write weekly responses and a term paper about a contemporary or historical social movement from anywhere in the world. Together, seminar participants will explore how the mediation of protest and its coverage is co-constitutive in how social movements, dissent, culture, and government policy are formed. Movements the seminar will study may include: the American Revolution and the "Boston Tea Party," abolition and emancipation, suffrage, the Civil Rights movement of the mid-20th century, the Stonewall Riots, Black Power, AIDS, the marriage equality movement, Occupy Wall Street, Black Lives Matter, climate, and the recent protests about Israel and Palestine. Keywords: march, parade, performativity, social construction, dialectic, co-constitutive

Class Attributes

Graduate Students Only