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What is Civil Disobedience?

Eraldo Souza dos Santos (Panthéon-Sorbonne University)

Overview: Over the last half-century, civil disobedience has become a key political and philosophical concept. The meaning of the phrase, however, has been contested on more than one occasion – from discussions on the radicalism of Occupy Wall Street and Black Lives Matter to controversy over the legitimacy of Edward Snowden’s whistleblowing and recent debates about the appropriation of the concept by anti-abortion movements. But what does “civil disobedience” mean? This group will explore the global history of civil disobedience through readings of some of the key thinkers of civil disobedience, including Henry David Thoreau, Mohandas Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr, John Rawls, Hannah Arendt, and Bertrand Russell.

Week 1: A short history of civil disobedience
Week 2: Civil disobedience and (non-)violence
Week 3: Black disobedience
Week 4: Queer disobedience
Week 5: Climate disobedience
Week 6: Is there a duty to be an activist?

Group Leader: Eraldo Souza dos Santos is a philosopher and historian of political thought. He specializes in the history and politics of social movements. In his current project, he traces the global history of the idea of civil disobedience.

Dates and Times: This group will run weekly on Wednesdays from 10th May to 14th June via Zoom. Sessions will last one hour from 10am PST/1pm Eastern/6pm UK/ 7pm CET.

Group Size and Entry Requirements: The size of the group will be limited to 12 people, including the group leader. No previous philosophy knowledge is required.

Cost: This group is free to attend in order to open it to anyone, albeit with an encouragement to offer a donation if you can afford to in order to cover administrative costs, pay the group leader for their time, and so on. The recommended donation is £50.

10th May to 14th June

One hour sessions from 10am PST / 1pm EST / 6pm UK / 7pm CET

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