HST3162/3163: Solidarity, Sabotage, Students: Protest in Europe from 1968 to 1989

Formerly known as "Protest and Democracy in Postwar Europe"

40 credits (semesters 1 and 2)

Module Leader: Dr Andrew Tompkins


A pass in at least two history modules at level two.

Module Summary

This module will explore the history of protest from the 1950s to the early 2000s in Europe, with particular emphasis on France, Germany and Poland in the period from 1968 to 1989. Drawing on primary sources from published texts to police reports and oral history testimonies, participants will examine a range of movements, including anti-war activism, student protest, feminism, lesbian/gay liberation, environmentalism and ‘dissident’ activity. Across the module, participants will weigh different approaches to the study of social movements, focusing on key historiographic questions about who protests and why, how continuous activism is over time and how transnational connections shape protest.


This Special Subject aims to familiarise you with major debates about protest and to show how they can be addressed from different methodological and disciplinary perspectives. It will also encourage you to think about relationships between protest and 'democracy', both by showing how social movements in Western European liberal democracies have contested meanings of the term and by examining how protest has functioned in non-democratic contexts such as in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union. Finally, these and other, non-European examples (including from the United States and Japan) will be brought together in an effort to provoke you to consider the interplay between transnational processes or circulations and local specificities (which may or may not be tied to national politics).

Teaching and Assessment

This module will be centred on twice-weekly discussions addressing the historiography of protest on the one hand and the methods and primary sources for writing such history on the other. Suggestions as to topics and empirical cases you would like to see included in the module will be solicited at the beginning of term. Active participation in discussion is essential to this Level 3 module. You will rotate responsibility for moderating/leading discussion. You will also formulate your own thoughts on readings and discussion in informal, weekly posts to the course web page.

Information on assessment can be found at: http://www.sheffield.ac.uk/history/current_students/undergraduate/assessment/level3

Selected Reading

  • To follow.

Intended Learning Outcomes
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