PPS260.01 – LEADERSHIP, POLICY, AND CHANGE
This is a course about leading political change. Together we will tackle two critical and intimately related aspects of this leadership. First, we will examine the challenge of making courageous moral choices in the public realm. Then we will study the crucial role of social movements in creating change.
Throughout, we will ask these questions: How can we ourselves best contribute to the great social movements of our time? How can we ourselves help lead political change?
To answer these questions, we will first consider the moral choices of well-known historical figures, of ordinary people in history, and characters in fiction and film. We’ll study the psychology of obedience, acquiescence and resistance, and we’ll inspect the conscience and actions of public dissenters from abolitionist John Brown to recent NSA whistle-blowers.
Then we will turn our attention to the role of social movements in making political change. We’ll examine the role of elites—from Theodore Roosevelt to muckraking journalists—in the leadership of the progressive movement. We’ll view Martin Luther King close up—and the people who funded, fought and followed him. We’ll explore the meteoric rise of the modern Tea Party.
Through the lens of this history, we will take stock of our own potential to lead change from positions of authority or from the grassroots. We will learn how to raise difficult public questions, to go beyond our own authority to push for change, to be self-reflective in the midst of action, to find partners and build alliances, to manage value conflicts, to provide a vision of a possible future, and to involve our communities in the difficult work of political engagement and collective action.
[Areas of Knowledge: SS; Inquiries/Competencies: EI]