Civil Resistance: How Ideas, Peoples, and Movements can change Politics

Recent times have seen people protesting all over the world – democracy campaigners in Belarus, Burma, Iran, Sudan, Chile; students in Hong Kong; citizens in India; indigenous in Brazilian forests; #MeToo and #BlackLivesMatter; gilets jaunes in France; climate activists leading to COP#26, and so on.

They are challenging a range of political, economic, social and civic ideas, policies, processes and regimes. Success though has been rare and hard to achieve, and sometimes protesters have been forced to turn to violence even.

This three-day graduate event will set out to examine the nature of Civil Resistance. From marches to vigils, from petitions to strikes, from go-slows to boycotts, and from occupations to new institutions. Our discussions and working groups will explore the forms and methods of such protests.

Such resistance, to be found throughout history, and especially prominent in contemporary struggles, raises many questions: What makes for successful civil resistance? Can we learn from recent failures? How effective is non-violence? How far should civil resistance stay within laws? What historical influences impact today’s forms of resistance, like Gandhi’s ideas of satyagraha? What roles do ethics and morality play? How have social media affected such movements?

The workshop is held in memory of Adam von Trott who sought to remove the Nazi Regime. It will be participatory over three afternoons, with contributions from expert academics and those actively involved in such resistance. Keynote Lecturers will include Professors Sir Adam Roberts (Oxford University), Kimberley Brownlee (British Columbia University) (to be confirmed); Faisal Devji (Modern South Asian History, Oxford), and Robert Gildea (Modern History, Oxford), Leila Alieva (Oxford Russian Studies Centre) Nathan Law, Hong Kong Watch (to be confirmed) and talks to cover Charter 77, Extinction Rebellion, Tartar Muslims, and Black Lives Matter among others.

Additional places are now available for doctoral / Master graduates.  Applications - a CV (max. 2 pages) and a short letter of motivation, including your relevant areas of interest and possible inputs for the workshop – together with one academic reference.

The event is part of the project “Resistance – Democracy – Internationality”, a cooperation of the University of Göttingen, the Stiftung Adam von Trott, Imshausen e.V. and the Oxford Adam von Trott Memorial Committee, at Mansfield College, Oxford.


For more information, please contact:                                                                                        Sponsored by:
Dr Paul Flather

Lars Jakob