Course Title: Social Movements in Global and Historical Context

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Social Movements in Global and Historical Context

Credit Points: 12


Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


City Campus


365H Global, Urban and Social Studies


Sem 1 2014,
Sem 1 2015

Course Coordinator: Assoc Prof Julian Lee

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925 3440

Course Coordinator Email:

Course Coordinator Location: 37.5.16

Course Coordinator Availability: By appointment

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities


Course Description

In this course you will explore the ways in which civil society organisations, social movements, and individuals at different times and places have deployed diverse strategies to bring about social and political change in both specific and global contexts. Non-government organisations and social movements have played an increasingly influential and important role in shaping policy and practice in a wide array of fields. In this course you will critically examine a variety of movements as well as mechanisms by which movements exert their influence. You will critically evaluate social movements working in areas including human rights, democratisation, and the environment. You will analyse the utility of various methods of deployed by social movements including engaging with governments and United Nations mechanisms, and violent and non-violent protest. You will also develop a grounded knowledge of some of the key processes used by many social movements in pursuit of their objectives. 

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

Program Learning Outcomes 

In course you will develop the following program learning outcomes: 

  • Apply a body of theoretical and practical knowledge of international relations, global cultures, language and economic issues to your professional practice or further study.  
  • Critically analyse, synthesise and reflect on knowledge about a rapidly changing world derived from multiple sources, perspectives and values systems.  
  • Apply logical, critical and creative thinking to effectively solve a range of problems associated with policies and programs in international and cross-cultural settings, and assess economic, cultural, social, environmental and political opportunities and risks.  
  • Work professionally and effectively with others in diverse cultural, linguistic and organisational contexts, and to adapt practices and knowledge to local circumstances.  
  • Communicate effectively in international and cross-cultural contexts, and facilitate collaborative partnerships within diverse communities of practice, using appropriate formats, media and styles.  

Course Learning Outcomes 

Upon successful completion of this course, you will be able to:

  1. Draw on social movement studies literature to describe and analyse the key features of social movements operating in diverse contexts 
  2. Compare and contrast the objectives and modes of operation of a number of key social movements from around the world 
  3. Critically analyse the methods by which civil society organisations and individuals have developed their movements over time 
  4. Assess the utility of varieties of strategies used by social movements in pursuit of their goals 

Overview of Learning Activities

You will be engaged in learning that involves a range of activities including face to face and online lectures, workshops and individual research. 

Overview of Learning Resources

RMIT will provide you with resources and tools for learning in this course through our online systems. 

There are services available to support your learning through the University Library. The Library provides guides on academic referencing and subject specialist help as well as a range of study support services. For further information, please visit the Library page on the RMIT University website and the myRMIT student portal. 

Overview of Assessment

You will be assessed on how well you meet the course’s learning outcomes and on your development against the program learning outcomes. 

Assessment Tasks

Assessment Task 1: Press release, 25%, CLO4 

Assessment Task 2: United Nations document, 40%, CLO1, CLO3 and CLO4 

Assessment Task 3: Social movement product, 35%, CLO1, CLO2, CLO3, and CLO4 

Feedback will be given on all assessment tasks. 

If you have a long term medical condition and/or disability it may be possible to negotiate to vary aspects of the learning or assessment methods. You can contact the program coordinator or Equitable Learning Services if you would like to find out more. 

Your course assessment conforms to RMIT assessment principles, regulations, policies, procedures and instructions.