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?
We will answer these questions against the backdrop of the 2016 presidential election, and we will pay close attention to the race as it reaches its climax in November. We will consider the moral and political choices of the candidates, and we will consider how their campaigns advance or hinder social movements in making political change. We will also consider the public moral choices of well-known historical figures 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 the abolitionists to NSA whistle-blowers.
Then we will turn our attention to the historical role of social movements in making political change. We’ll examine the creators of the American Revolution. We’ll follow the young people who led the Civil Rights Movement. We’ll see the Second Wave of the Women’s Movement close up. We’ll examine the Trump phenomenon as an authentic movement of committed activists.
Through the lens of this history, we will take stock of our own potential to lead political change from positions of authority or from the grassroots. We will think about how to raise difficult public questions, to go beyond our own authority to push for change, 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]