EGMT 1530: #Stay Woke - Social Movements and Social Media

Throughout history, the most egregious violations of human rights have been justified by exclusionary theories of human “difference.” These atrocities have been resisted by small groups of thoughtful individuals banding together to challenge the way dehumanizing notions of difference are used to justify large-scale oppression. This course will examine how oppositional movements intervene in and produce media to resist these oppressive practices and theories, both historically and in the context of current social movements. Movements for social change that are led by members of oppressed groups often face hostile, even physically violent, political opposition. This has necessitated that proponents of social change who are deemed “different” from the majority, challenge the majority public opinion —which often presents itself as the moderate voice of reason—through coordinated media campaigns. Students will examine a series of historical case studies focusing on how leaders of social change movements have engaged the media (or created their own media) to challenge conventional wisdom, to wrest rhetorical control from the dominant narrative, and to frame their struggle in terms which are politically favorable.