Program Details

Nonviolent Resistance in Modern History

Doug McGetchin
History / Other

Course Description

This lecture series explains the methods of nonviolent resistance (also known as Satyagraha, “passive” resistance, or soul force) by analyzing historical cases over the past century-and-a-half where nonviolent methods achieved success, while explaining their failures as well. Understanding these techniques will give attendees the capacity to understand how to shape their own lives and modern events using nonviolence. Nonviolent advocates have faced considerable criticism. The program will discuss the debates between advocates of violence and nonviolence in each era. At the core of the series is the work of Gandhi, Dr. King, and the late political theorist and peaceful revolutionary, Gene Sharp (1928-2018) who listed 198 nonviolent techniques of struggle in his work, Waging Nonviolent Struggle (2005).


  1. Reform vs. Revolution: Strikes, Boycotts, and Nonviolence in the Workers’ Movements of the 19th century. This presentation focuses on debates within socialist circles in Europe about the role of workers’ parties and debates between anarchists.
  2. Gandhi: Gandhi's application of Satyagraha (literally grasping onto truth or soul force). Independence campaigns in South Africa and in India, including the Non-Cooperation Movement in 1922, the Salt March of 1930, and his Calcutta fast of 1947.
  3. Nonviolence and the Nazis: Examines actions by Germans in Berlin at Rosenstrasse, as well as by Bulgarians, Danes, and French on behalf of Jewish refugees.
  4. The Civil Rights Era: Examines Dr. King’s campaigns in Montgomery, Birmingham, Albany, and Selma, balancing King, Rustin, and Lawson with advocates for Black Power such as Robert F. Williams, Malcolm X, and the Black Panthers.

About the Instructor

  • Doug McGetchin, PhD, specializes in the history of connections between modern Europe and South Asia. He is the author of Indology, Indomania, Orientalism: Ancient India’s Rebirth in Modern Germany (2009) and several edited volumes. His history courses include world, Germany, India, Gandhi, WWII, and Peace Studies. He is the Associate Director of the FAU Peace, Justice, and Human Rights (PJHR) Initiative for the Jupiter campus.

    Osher Lifelong Learning Institute Professorship in Arts and Humanities, 2018-19

Upcoming programs presented by Doug McGetchin.

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