Course Syllabus

Activism: Engagement and Resistance

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Semester & Location:

Fall 2023 - DIS Copenhagen

Type & Credits:

Elective Course - 3 credits

Major Disciplines:

Communication, Philosophy, Sociology



Faculty Members:

Jesper Lohmann 

Time & Place:

Monday & Thursday, 11.40 - 13.00, Classroom: N7-C21


Course Description:

This course offers a broad introduction to the concept of activism, focusing on the challenges and opportunities activists face in contemporary society. In the course we will be reading theoretical articles on activism as well as analyzing specific examples. Classes will rest on a combination of empirical and theoretical discussions. We will be looking at different topics of activism (Occupy Movement, Internet, Labor, Human Rights, Feminism, #metoo, #BLM, Environment, Global Justice) and different forms/tools of activism (Social Media, Hacktivism, Strikes, Boycotts, Demonstrations, Gate-crashing, Culture Jamming…).

The variety of cases, topics and forms will help us understand how and why some forms of activism might be more efficient than others in specific contexts. Several of the cases will be from Denmark or other European countries. This focus will give us the opportunity to discuss potential differences and similarities between European and American examples of activism. In short, by looking at multiple cases, our ability to analyze specific cases will be strengthened. This broad perspective will help us decide how to create our own activist projects – in this course as well as in our future lives – that are suited for making a difference in the world we are living in today.

In small groups, you will develop and present your own activist project. After each project presentation, you will evaluate your co-students’ projects and thereby help them make it even stronger. 

Course objectives:

In this course, we will

  • try to understand our increasingly globalized world and the impact it has on what matters to us and what can be done about it
  • obtain theoretical and practical tools for analyzing and carrying out activism
  • critically investigate and analyze activist attempts to change (or create a new/different) society, and finally
  • develop our own activist projects that might make a difference in contemporary society


Jesper Lohmann
Cand.mag. (History of Ideas and American Studies, University of Aarhus, 2002). Former editor of Lettre Internationale. Employment with the public education system. With DIS since 2009.


Please note there are no textbooks for this course.

Audre Lorde: “Age, Race, Class, and Sex: Women Redefining Difference”, (Links to an external site.)

 Audre Lorde: “The Master’s Tools will Never Dismantle the Master’s House”

 Alex Callinicos: “What does revolution mean in the twenty-first century?”

 Andrew X: “Give up Activism”, (Links to an external site.)

 Brian Martin: “Activism, social and political”, (Links to an external site.)

 Brian Martin: “Theory for Activists”, (Links to an external site.)

 Chris Rose: “12 Basic Guidelines”, (Links to an external site.)

 Frieder Otto Wolf & Tadzio Mueller: Green New Deal: Dead end or pathway beyond capitalism?, (Links to an external site.)

 Gabrielle Coleman: “our weirdness is free” (Links to an external site.)

Gay W Seidman: “Labor Rights as Human Rights: Regulation in the Context of a “Thinned” National States

James H Mittelman & Christine B N Chin: “Conceptualizing resistance to globalization”  

J. E. Munoz: "Queerness as Horizon", in Cruising Utopia

Josh Hands: @ is for Activism. Dissent, Resistance and Rebellion in a Digital Culture, Excerpts

Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels: The Communist Manifesto, excerpts

Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor: From #Blacklivesmatter to Black Liberation, excerpts

Mark Fisher: Exiting the Vampire Castle

Mary Kaldor: “Social Movements, NGOs, and Networks”

Mikkel Krauze Frantzen: "Has Capitalism Become Psychologically Unsustainable? Six Tentative Theses on COVID-19 and Mental Health"

Naomi Klein: This Changes Everything. Introduction “One Way or Another, Everything Changes”, pp. 1-28

Occupy Wall Street, NYCGA: “Declaration of the Occupation of New York City”, (Links to an external site.)

Paul Wapner: “Environmental activism and world civic politics”

 Queer Jihad & Friends: “How does one stop being a gay and start becoming a faggot?”, (Links to an external site.)

 “Queers read this” (Links to an external site.)

 Sergey Nechayev (& Mikhail Bakunin): The Revolutionary Catechism, (Links to an external site.)

 Salvador Marti Puig: “”15M”: The Indignados

Sara Ahmed: Living a Feminist Life, excerpts

 Slavoj Zizek: “Don’t Fall in Love with Yourselves”

 The Invisible Committee: The Coming Insurrection (excerpts)

Strike Debt: The Debt Resisters' Operations Manual (excerpt)

 V Spike Peterson & Anne Sisson Runyan: “The politics of resistance: Women as nonstate, antistate, and transstate actors”

 Valerie Solanas: SCUM Manifesto

 Vandana Shiva: Oikonomia: Bringing the Economy Back to the Earth

 Vandana Shiva: “Manifesto on the Future of Seeds”

Field Studies:

  • Wednesday, September 6th, 8.30, Ungdommens Folkemøde
  • Wednesday, September 20th, 12.45, Mellemfolkeligt Samvirke/ActionAid
  • Wednesday, November 15th, 8.30, CMSK

 Course requirements:

  • One 1200 word analytical paper to be submitted by Thursday, October 26th
  • One 1200 word reflection paper to be submitted by Thursday, December 7th
  • Developing and presenting your own activist project. (Information on projects will be given in the “workshop session”)
  • Engagement (having done the readings, attending classes, taking part in discussions, doing the “News Room”, keeping deadlines)

To be eligible for a passing grade in this class you must complete all of the assigned work. I will not accept late papers.












Reflection paper




Laptops in class: You may use your laptop for note-taking or fact-checking in our class. Students should also refrain from any activity/behavior that may be disturbing to other students who are making the effort to be attentive. I am relying on your integrity and your respect for our objectives. If you are using your laptop for reasons not related to class, I will reduce your class participation grade significantly.

*Schedule is subject to change if necessary with as much notice as possible. 

Academic Regulations  

Please make sure to read the Academic Regulations on the DIS website. There you will find regulations on: 



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Course Summary:

Date Details Due