Call for ICNC's Free 2018 Moderated Online Course on Civil Resistance
Application Deadline: August 31, 2018
Course Dates: September 6 through November 1, 2018
India Narmada protest, 2008 by Kanika Sharma
International Center on Nonviolent Conflict (ICNC), in partnership with Rutgers University International Institute for Peace (Rutgers IIP) will host a free, moderated online course, “People Power: The Study of Strategic Nonviolent Resistance,” from September 6 through November 1, 2018.
The course will take place on ICNC’s online learning platform.
Interested applicants can register on the platform now and get access to ICNC’s “Online Academic Curriculum” (AOC), which includes many resources relevant to civil resistance studies that can be consulted prior to and after admission into the People Power course to augment the learning materials that will be available to admitted applicants once the course commences.
The applicants can also access the AOC through ICNC’s new mobile app, available on iPhone and Android devices. The mobile app is currently in a public testing stage and is free to the public. With ICNC’s mobile app, learners can download AOC content for offline use. ICNC-Rutgers online course with its content and discussion forums will also be accessible on the mobile app for the admitted participants.
All accepted participants to the People Power online course will receive an orientation email to guide them through signing up to the course site, logging in, interacting in the online space, and getting the most out of the online learning experience.
We will also offer a live orientation webinar, available at two different times on September 7, 2018, the day after the official start of the course. To learn more about the course, watch the promotion video, and scroll down or click the links on the left side of the page.
The deadline to apply is August 31, 2018
Basic Info & Course Goals
Civil resistance is a social and political phenomenon that defies a long-held belief in the power of arms to challenge brutal, violent adversaries. Contrary to the dominant news narrative about endless civil wars and political violence, nonviolent resistance campaigns against repressive states have been on the rise in the last few decades, surpassing violent insurgencies by almost 5 to 1 in the last 15 years. Civil resistance has also proved more effective in achieving a movement’s goals, creating long-term democratization, and limiting the severity of government repression during the campaign.
For the past several years, ICNC has supported work to develop unique data sets of nonviolent campaigns (NAVCO). In 2011, this work led to a ground-breaking quantitative study that showed that civil resistance movements often emerge and succeed in challenging environments. It also established that civil resistance struggles are more than twice as effective against violent states as armed resistance groups. More recent research has found that nonviolent campaigns dramatically reduce the severity of government repression compared to armed insurrections.
Informed by these scholarly findings and important developments in the field, this free, online course provides an interactive, in-depth and multidisciplinary perspective on civil resistance movements and campaigns that defend and obtain basic rights and justice around the world. The course explains the nature of civil resistance, as well as its force, underlying dynamics, and effectiveness.
During the course we will reflect on the skills and agency of ordinary people, their strategies and tactics, the backfire effect, and defections from a power elite’s pillars of support. We will look at how entrenched political and social structures and practices shift under the pressure of organized nonviolent movements, and the long-term impacts on societies, nations and institutions.
Finally, the course will examine a variety of case studies of civil resistance struggles, including those whose objectives are not regime change but instead to challenge corruption, change policies, or counter abusive and violent non-state actors, such as corporations.
The online course will involve a number of activities to be completed within specified time frames, including recorded webinars, readings, videos, webinar meetings, and online discussions. Students will also meet in small video discussion groups twice during the course to grapple with some strategic challenges, share their experiences and stories, reflect on how course materials might help movement organizing in their contexts, and learn from others in more depth. In addition, interested students have the option of playing the online nonviolent strategy game People Power and share their challenges, successes, and insights with other students playing the game.
Experts in the field and ICNC staff will also share their insights and moderate various forums of the online class. Live webinar events will also offer participants an opportunity to listen to and engage with other practitioners who will reflect on organizing, planning and waging civil resistance actions in different parts of the world.
- To introduce main concepts and ideas in civil resistance
- To discuss a variety of case studies of nonviolent campaigns and movements
- To reflect on the effectiveness of civil resistance and its power to overcome adversarial conditions
- To provide a platform for participant exchange and peer-to-peer learning
- To offer an interactive and structured learning environment for participants to become a more informed observer of nonviolent conflicts and effective conveyor of civil resistance knowledge
Course Content & Schedule
- Module 1. Introduction to the Course (Sept. 6-10)
Opening of the ICNC Course Site • Welcome and Orientation Webinar • Participant Introductions • Take Knowledge Survey.
- Module 2. Foundations of Civil Resistance (Sept. 11-17)
What Is Civil Resistance? • Political Power • The Effectiveness of Civil Resistance.
- Module 3. The Role of Conditions and Skills (Sept. 18-24)
The Emergence of Civil Resistance • Conditions and their Impact • Skills Drive Civil Resistance to Victory
- Module 4. Movement Media Strategies–Small Group Work (Sept. 25-Oct. 1)
Media Strategies Video • Online Discussion and Video Conferencing • Group Writing and Sharing Strategic Reflections With Rest of Class
- Module 5. Strategies and Tactics of Civil Resistance (Oct. 2-8)
Analyzing Nashville Lunch Counter Campaign • Strategic Planning and Tactical Choices • Cultural Resistance Tactics • Tactical Innovation • Conflict Analysis Tools
- Module 6. Key Dynamics of Nonviolent Struggle (Oct. 9-15)
Repression and Backfire • Defections from Pillars of Support • Violent Flank
- Module 7. Anti-Corruption Campaign Strategies–Small Group Work (Oct. 16-22)
Anti-Corruption Campaign Scenario and Background Reading • Online Discussion and Video Conferencing • Writing and Sharing Strategic Plans With Rest of Class
- Module 8. New Frontiers in Civil Resistance Studies (October 23-29)
At least 2 of 4 topics will be selected by each participant from the list below:
• Women and Nonviolent Resistance • Democratization and Civil Resistance • Civil Resistance Against Abusive Corporate Practices
- Module 9. Finishing the Course (Oct. 30 – Nov.1)
Course Evaluation • Learning Gains Survey
The unique learning value of the online course comes from the quality of participants as well as experts and scholars of civil resistance who will moderate forum discussions. The list of moderators for the upcoming course includes various ICNC Academic Advisors and ICNC staff:
- Dr. Véronique Dudouet, Senior Researcher and Program Director, Berghof Foundation, Berlin
- Dr. Kurt Schock, Associate Professor of Sociology, Rutgers University
- Dr. Kathleen Gallagher Cunningham, Associate Professor at the Department of Government and Politics, University of Maryland
- Dr. Mary King, Professor of Peace and Conflict Studies, UN-affiliated University for Peace, Costa Rica and Distinguished Rothermere American Institute Fellow, University of Oxford
- Dr. Isak Svennson, Professor at the Department of Peace and Conflict Research, Uppsala University in Sweden
- Dr. Cécile Mouly, Research Professor at the Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales (FLACSO) in Ecuador
- Dr. Janjira Sombatpoonsiri, Assistant Professor of Political Science at Thammasat University in Thailand
- Dr. Maciej Bartkowski, Senior Director of Education and Research, ICNC
- Dr. Steve Chase, Manager of Academic Initiatives, ICNC
- Azaz Elshami, Manager of Global Field Initiatives, ICNC
Expectations of Participants
All admitted participants are expected to spend at least 7 and 10 hours per week in the online classroom. More time spent on this class can be helpful if you can make time for it on some weeks, especially during the two small group work weeks. Except for rare circumstances, we also expect a minimum of 1 hour per day (7 days a week) for the full duration of the course. You will need to frequently visit the course site for reviewing materials, posting comments about the readings and assigned videos, and interacting with/responding to other participants’ posts and moderators’ comments.
Meeting these commitment requirements is essential to the learning experience, both for the participants themselves and for the group experience as a whole. Course content released each week builds on past content; therefore learning is interrupted and ineffective when participation is irregular. In addition, we believe that all of our participants have important contributions to make to the learning experience. Lack of participation and irregular or no posting are therefore also a disservice to other participants.
Participation in the online class is not restricted by time zone, however. Course content, forum,s and posts for each newly opened module are all accessible to participants at any time of day.
We will also send a signed certificate of successful participation to all qualified candidates who request it.
How To Apply
The deadline to apply is August 31, 2018.
This course has been taken in the past by students, educators, scholars, activists, organizers, members of civil society, journalists, and public policy professionals around the world. Last year, we admitted 60 participants from 29 countries. Does this course seem useful to you? If so:
You will then be asked to fill out a detailed application form for ICNC’s selection committee. We often have two to three times as many applicants as we can accept, so please fill out the online application form thoughtfully and carefully.
For information or questions about the application form, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Free Admission & Academic Credit Fees
The course is free for all admitted participants unless they opt to register for graduate credits offered by Rutgers University Graduate School in Newark, New Jersey, These credits may be transferable to one’s own academic institution, but you should check with your home institution first. Taking the course for credit will involve both a fee and additional assignments (more details available on the course application form). The fees are as follows:
No credit: FREE | One graduate credit: $702 USD | Two graduate credits: $1,404 USD (payable directly to Rutgers University)
If you want to take the course for credit, please let us know on your application. If you are admitted to the course, we will then let you know how to arrange payment directly to Rutgers University, as well as who to contact about turning in your additional assignment(s).
Frequently Asked Questions
1. “Is ICNC planning to run another one of these online courses at some point?”
Yes, we have been running it once a year for several years and plan to run it again next year in the Fall though we plan to have a new call for applicants sometime in June 2019. We also offer a similar, but un-moderated, participant-led online course each year. Please sign up on our e-mailing list to receive announcements of these and other educational opportunities.
2. “Can I get a certificate if I undertake the course as a non-credited learning opportunity at no charge?”
Yes. Provided that all the course requirements (posting on the mandatory forums and engaging actively with other participants and materials) are met, we will provide a certificate of completion for this course. If you complete all the work and want at a certificate at the close of the course, please contact us then.
3. “When should I contact Rutgers if I want to take the course for credit?”
After you are accepted for the course, and before the course begins ICNC will send your contact information to the Rutgers administrators who will be in touch with you regarding the payment for the credits. We will also provide you with information about how to submit your additional assignments.
4. “Should I still apply if I won’t be able to meet all of the participation expectations of the course?”
Preference in admission will be given to those who can commit fully to the stated course requirements, including hourly commitment (min. 1h per day and 7-10h per week). We cannot guarantee an admission for those who cannot commit to the course requirements though they can still submit their online application for our consideration and add a note regarding how much they can commit to if, for various reasons, they cannot take the full course load.
Tips from Past Participants
- “Advance planning is key. I blocked out specific times in my schedule to work on the course, and tried to look through the modules when they were released to get a sense of the requirements of each unit and plot my weekly schedule accordingly. Everyone has different time-management strategies, but some form of advance planning seems vital to preventing the course from falling by the wayside of a busy schedule.” – Rutgers 2017 participant
- “The method that I used and that I found useful was to study a part of the module per day and participate in the corresponding forums as soon as I finished reading the topic, so that afterwards I had other days to read what my classmates wrote and it gave me time to comment.” -Rutgers 2017 participant
- “I’d state that it may take more than 10 hours a week, so people can plan for it.” – Rutgers 2017 participant