Teaching How to Study #Resistance

Much of the content on this site has focused on understanding the Resistance: where it came from, who was involved, why they were involved, and what it means to political life in America today. My writing is informed by my independent research on activists and at protests in the US, along with my personal interpretation of historical perspectives on Resistance. Beyond the American Resistance book, I have written numerous articles about the activism I observed, including this collaborative paper on the science of protest.

I am also a teacher. This semester, my undergraduate honors course teaches how to study environmental problems using cases of environmental/climate activism and civic environmentalism more broadly. To that end, last week I took students from my undergraduate honors class down to the “Appalachian Resistance” Rally against expanding Fossil Fuel Pipelines in Washington, DC. Students observed as activists assembled and gave speeches about the issue and their lobbying on the issue. We also were briefed by an organizer and a journalist who covers protest for the Washington Post. There is no question that experiencing this Resistance gave the students a lot more information than any book, article, or video could.

My hope is that this experience will inform our conversations about how to study environmental problems and will inspire my students as the prepare to do their own research projects in the class this semester.