A Seminar on Civil Resistance

Video presentations at the seminar, 27 February 2016

Maciej Bartkowski

Hardy Merriman

Shaazka Beyerle

Tom Hastings

University of Toronto, February 27 and 28, 2016

Gandhi started something.

No, of course he did not invent nonviolent civil resistance—people everywhere have practiced that for centuries—but Gandhi initiated the strategic analysis of nonviolent struggle. Resisting power need not be merely a doomed expressive gesture, for it often wins where violence would have failed. However, success requires that the organizers plan just as astutely as if commanding a military battle.

Since Gandhi’s day, “people power” movements for social change have increased and have become a new topic of scholarly research. The International Center on Nonviolent Conflict (ICNC) has offered academic seminars in many universities around the world—free of charge. In February they will teach one at the University of Toronto.

On the last weekend in February 27 and 28, 2016, four scholars from ICNC will offer an academic seminar (9:00 am to 5:00 pm both days) to graduate students, faculty, and researchers with an interest in civil resistance campaigns. We also encourage undergraduate students to apply, and will accept peace activists as space permits. The course will be academic, not an experiential workshop or how­-to­-do­-it training.

The purpose of the seminar is to promote inquiry, research, and teaching in the field of civil resistance studies. The seminar will discuss different empirical cases and basic concepts of civil resistance. Thematic areas covered will include, among others:  

  • Effectiveness of civil resistance
  • How civil resistance works: strategies and tactics
  • Managing repression
  • Third-party actors and civil resistance
  • Civil resistance and democratization
  • Civil resistance in America, Europe, North Africa and the Middle East  

The seminar is sponsored and coordinated by Science for Peace, Room 045, University College, 15 Kings College Circle, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario M5S 3H. Our co-sponsors are the following relevant programs at U of T and neighboring universities:

  • Department of Politics and Economics, Royal Military College, Kingston, Ontario.
  • Global Studies Program, Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, Ontario.
  • Peace and Conflict Studies Programme, Conrad Grebel College, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario.
  • Trinity College Program in Ethics, the Law, and Society, U. of Toronto.
  • Trudeau Centre for Peace, Conflict, and Justice, U. of Toronto.
  • University College Program in Health Studies, U. of Toronto.

Yours truly,

Metta Spencer
President, Science for Peace