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Call for Applications: Free Online Course on Civil Resistance

September 27, 2017 @ 8:00 am - November 16, 2017 @ 5:00 pm


This is a featured organizational post on PCDN

Application Deadline: September 17, 2017
Apply here:

The International Center on Nonviolent Conflict (ICNC), in partnership with Rutgers University International Institute for Peace (Rutgers IIP) will host a free, moderated online course, “People Power: The Study of Strategic Nonviolent Resistance,” which will take place from September 27 to November 10, 2017.

All course materials – primarily readings and videos – will be provided free-of-charge to admitted participants.

The course will take place on ICNC’s online learning platform that applicants can already registered for and automatically get access to our “Online Academic Curriculum” with many resources relevant to civil resistance studies that can be consulted prior and after admission into the People Power course as a way to supplement the learning materials that will be available to admitted applicants once the People Power course commences.

For the People Power online course, an orientation email will be sent out to all accepted participants to guide them through signing up, logging in, interacting in the online space, and getting the most out of the online learning experience. We will also offer a live orientation webinar, available on two occasions during September 28, the day after the official start of the course.
The deadline to apply is September 17, 2017.


Civil resistance is a social and political phenomenon that defies a long-held belief in the power of arms to challenge brutal, violent adversary. Contrary to the dominant news narrative about endless civil wars and political violence, nonviolent resistance campaigns against repressive states have been on the rise in the last few decades, surpassing violent insurgencies by almost 5 to 1 in the last 15 years.

For the past several years, ICNC has supported work to develop unique datasets of nonviolent campaigns (NAVCO). In 2011, this work led to a ground-breaking quantitative study that showed that civil resistance movements often emerge and succeed in challenging environments. It also established that civil resistance struggles are more than twice as effective against violent states as armed resistance groups.

Informed by these important developments in the field and scholarly findings, this free, online course provides an interactive, in-depth and multidisciplinary perspective on civilian-based movements and campaigns that defend and obtain basic rights and justice around the world. The course explains the nature of civil resistance and its force, underlying dynamics, and effectiveness.

During the course we will reflect on the skills and agency of ordinary people, their strategies and tactics, the backfire effect, and defections. We will look at how entrenched political and social structures and practices shift under the pressure of organized nonviolent movements, and the long-term impacts on societies, nations and institutions.

Finally, the course will also examine a variety of case studies of civil resistance struggles, including those whose objectives are not regime change but instead to challenge corruption, change policies, or counter abusive and violent non-state actors.

The online course will involve a number of activities to be completed within specified time frames, including forum posts, recorded webinars, readings, videos, webinar meetings and online discussions. Students will also meet in small video discussion groups every couple of weeks to share their experiences and stories, reflect on how course materials might help movement organizing in their contexts, and learn from others in more depth.

Experts in the field will provide their insights and moderate various forums of the online class while live webinar events will offer participants an opportunity to listen to and engage with other practitioners who will reflect on organizing, planning and waging civil resistance actions in different parts of the world.


The main goals of this online course are:

To introduce main concepts and ideas in civil resistance
To discuss a variety of case studies of nonviolent campaigns and movements
To reflect on the effectiveness of civil resistance and its power to overcome adversarial conditions
To provide a platform for participant exchange and peer-to-peer learning
To offer an interactive and structured learning environment for participants to become a more informed observer of nonviolent conflicts and effective conveyor of civil resistance knowledge


The information below is subject to modification.

Opening of the ICNC online platform for enrollment for the admitted participants. September 27, 2017
Welcome and Orientation Webinar. September 28 @ 9 am or 2 pm Eastern Time-US
Module 1.Introduction to the Course, Participant Introductions, and Present Knowledge Survey. September 27-October 2
Module 2. Foundation of Civil Resistance. October 3-9
What Is Civil Resistance? • The Effectiveness of Civil Resistance.
Module 3. Conditions and Skills. October 10-16
The Emergence of Civil Resistance • Conditions and their Impact • Skills Drive Civil Resistance
Module 4. Strategies and Tactics of Civil Resistance. October 17-23
Analyzing Nashville Lunch Counter Campaign • Strategic Planning and Tactical Choices • Cultural Resistance Tactics • Tactical Innovation • Conflict Analysis Tools
Module 5. Repression, Backfire, Defections. October 24 -30
Repression and Backfire • Defections
Module 6. New Frontiers in Civil Resistance Studies. October 31-November 6
1 of 3 topics will be selected by participants from the list below:
• Women and Nonviolent Resistance • Democratization and Civil Resistance • Civil Resistance against Abusive Corporate Practices
Module 7. Course Evaluation and Learning Gains Survey. November 7-10


The unique learning value of the online course comes from the quality of participants as well as experts and scholars of civil resistance who will moderate forum discussions. The list of moderators for the upcoming course includes various ICNC staff and ICNC Academic Advisors:

Dr. Erica Chenoweth, Professor & Associate Dean for Research, Josef Korbel School of International Studies, University of Denver
Dr. Véronique Dudouet, Senior Researcher and Program Director, Berghof Foundation, Berlin
Dr. Kathleen Gallagher Cunningham, Associate Professor at the Department of Government and Politics, University of Maryland
Dr. Mary King, Professor of Peace and Conflict Studies, UN-affiliated University for Peace, Costa Rica and Distinguished Rothermere American Institute Fellow, University of Oxford
Dr. Jason MacLeod, Instructor of Civil Resistance, the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, University of Sydney
Dr. Kurt Schock, Associate Professor of Sociology, Rutgers University
Dr. Isak Svennson, Professor at the Department of Peace and Conflict Research, Uppsala University
Dr. Maciej Bartkowski, Senior Director of Education and Research, ICNC
Katherine Hughes-Fraitekh, Director of Global Field Initiatives, ICNC
Dr. Steve Chase, Manager of Academic Initiatives, ICNC
Azaz Elshami, Manager of Global Field Initiatives, ICNC
Amber French, Manager of Editorial Initiatives, ICNC


As part of the online course, participants engage with the assigned material and collaborate through online discussions.

All admitted participants are expected to spend between 7 and 10 hours per week in the online classroom, and a minimum of 1 hour per day (7 days) for the full duration of the course on reviewing materials, posting comments about the readings and assigned videos, and interacting with/responding to other participants’ posts and moderators’ comments.

Meeting these commitment requirements is essential to the learning experience, both for the participants themselves and for the group experience as a whole. Course content released each week builds on past content; therefore learning is interrupted and ineffective when participation is irregular. In addition, we believe that all of our participants have important contributions to make to the learning experience. Lack of participation and irregular or no posting are therefore also a disservice to other participants.

Participation in the online class is not restricted by time zone. Course content, forums and posts are all accessible to participants at any time of day.


Participants of ICNC’s 2017 online course who have met all requirements and actively engaged in course activities and interactions throughout the course are eligible to apply for ICNC’s 2018 small grant opportunities. These include the ICNC Local Learning Initiatives Network (LIN fellowship) and Small Grants Program. These programs support grassroots initiatives that build and spread knowledge and skills related to nonviolent resistance in communities around the world. Grant funds can be used to design and give workshops, develop engaging materials, map or monitor movements, translate material into local languages, and other creative activities. ICNC might also reach out to selected participants who completed successfully the online course and stood out with their contributions and insights on various discussion forums and invite them to be webinar speakers in Winter or Spring 2018 as part of the ICNC Webinar Series.

We will also send a signed certificate of successful participation to all qualified candidates who request it.


Participants may choose to take the course and receive graduate credits from the Rutgers University Graduate Schools in Newark, New Jersey, that may be transferable to one’s academic institution. Taking the course for credit will involve a fee and additional assignments (more details available on the application form).


Admitted participants will not be charged for participation in the moderated online course unless they opt to register for graduate credits offered by Rutgers University Graduate School. The fees are as follows:

No credits: FREE | One credit: $702 USD | Two credits: $1,404 USD (payable directly to Rutgers University)

Click here to apply:

The deadline to apply is September 17, 2017. For information or questions, email


1. “Is ICNC planning to run another one of these online courses at some point?”

Yes, we have been running it once a year for several years and plan to run it again next year in fall though we plan to have a new call for applicants sometime in May 2018.”

2. “Can I get a certificate if I undertake the course as a non-credited learning opportunity at no charge?”

Yes. Provided that all the course requirements (posting on the mandatory forums and engaging actively with other participants and materials) are met, we will provide a certificate of completion for this course.

3. “When should I contact Rutgers if I want to take the course for credit?”

After you are accepted for the course, and before the course begins ICNC will send your contact information to the Rutgers administrators who will be in touch with you regarding the payment for the credits.

4. “Should I still apply if I won’t be able to meet all of the participation expectations of the course?”

Preference in admission will be given to those who can commit fully to the stated course requirements, including hourly commitment (min. 1h per day and 7-10h per week). We cannot guarantee an admission for those who cannot commit to the course requirements though they can still submit their online application for our consideration and add a note regarding how much they can commit to if, for various reasons, they cannot take the full course load.

Click here to apply:


Click here to apply:


Graduate students, educators, scholars, activists, organizers, members of civil society, journalists, and policy professionals.


Attendees can participate remotely


September 27, 2017 @ 8:00 am
November 16, 2017 @ 5:00 pm
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