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Class Descriptions

Organizing for Social and Political Action


Credits: 3
Prerequisites: None

Pathway Associations

Community ChangeElective (Host)
Interpersonal Practice
Mgmt & LeadershipElective
Policy & PoliticalElective
Program Evaluation
Older Adults
Children & Families

Course Description

This course examines methods of organizing people for social and political action on their own behalf or on behalf of others. Students will analyze different approaches to bringing people together for collective action, building organizational capacity, and generating power, with emphasis on the role of labor unions, coalitions, political organizing, and community-based policy advocacy. The course includes the study of skills in analyzing power structures, developing action strategies, conflict and persuasive tactics, challenging oppressive structures, conducting community campaigns, using political advocacy as a form of mobilization, and understanding contemporary social issues as they affect oppressed and disadvantaged communities. Special emphasis will be placed on organizing around social, economic, racial, and political injustice in the US and globally. Additional emphasis will be placed on organizing with communities of color, women, LGBTQIA2S+ populations, and other under-represented groups.


Upon completion of the course, students will be able to:
1. Understand and analyze the changing role of context of social and political action in US and global contexts. (Practice Behaviors 5.CO, 9.CO)
2. Understand contemporary social and political issues and their relationship to social and political action strategies and tactics. (Practice Behavior 9.CO)
3. Understand and apply social and political dynamics as they relate to issues of power, privilege, social justice, and resource distribution. (Practice Behavior 5.CO)
4. Analyze alternative models, strategies, tactics, and modes of social and political action directed towards these goals. (Practice Behaviors 3.CO, 6.CO) 5.
5. Demonstrate skills in community assessment, leadership and organizational development, planning and conducting campaigns, and evaluating their results. (Practice Behaviors 10.b.CO, 10.c.CO, 10.d.CO)
6. Formulate strategies to engage constituencies in social and political action. (Practice Behavior 10.a.CO)
7. Identify and incorporate attention to issues related to diversity dimensions such as ability, age, class, color, culture, ethnicity, family structure, gender (including gender identity and gender expression), marital status, national origin, race, religion or spirituality, sex, and sexual orientation, as well community of residence and other dimensions which are associated with privilege, discrimination, domination, and oppression. (Practice Behavior 4.CO)
8. Identify and analyze value and ethical dilemmas that arise in the course of organizing for social and political action. (Practice Behaviors 1.CO, 2.CO)

Intensive Focus on Privilege, Oppression, Diversity and Social Justice (PODS)

This course integrates PODS content and skills with a special emphasis on the identification of theories, practice and/or policies that promote social justice, illuminate injustices and are consistent with scientific and professional knowledge. Through the use of a variety of instructional methods, this course will support students developing a vision of social justice, learn to recognize and reduce mechanisms that support oppression and injustice, work toward social justice processes, apply intersectionality and intercultural frameworks and strengthen critical consciousness, self-knowledge and self-awareness to facilitate PODS learning.

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