Civil Resistance – How Ideas, Peoples and Movements can Change Politics

International Graduate Workshop, 5 – 7 October 2021 (online)

Everywhere, people protest – democracy campaigners in Iran, Sudan, Chile, students in Hong Kong; citizens in India; indigenous in Brazilian forests; #MeToo and #Black Lives Matter in America; yellow vests in France; European nativists; climate activists, globally. They are challenging a range of political, economic, social and civic ideas, policies, processes and regimes. This workshop will explore theory and praxis behind civil resistance as a form adopted in different modes by different groups at different times – and will seek to understand the circumstances when it is justified, when violence may or may not be appropriate and what deems justification and what deems success.

14.00 CET
Informal Opening and Welcome

14.00 CET
Formal Start / Introduction to the Programme
Dr Paul Flather (Oxford Adam von Trott Memorial CommitteeI
Sarah Reinke (Stiftung Adam von Trott) Lars Jakob (University of Göttingen)

14.50 CET
Panel I: Civil Resistance – Experiments in Resistance

  • Non-violent protest: Legacies from Ghandian thinking
    Professor Faisal Devji (University of Oxford)
  • Resistance of the Muslim Cremean Tatar Community
    Sarah Reinke (Stiftung Adam von Trott)
  • The Orange Revolutions – common themes, current lessons
    Dr Leila Alieva (University of Oxford)

16.15 CET

16:25 CET
Opening Keynote Lecture
Conscience and Conviction: The Case for Civil Disobedience

Professor Kimberley Brownlee (University of British Columbia, Vancouver)

17.30 CET
Working Group Session I

  • Group A – What constitutes successful civil resistance?
  • Group B – Is inter-generational justice a just reason for civil resistance?
  • Group C – Should civil resistance in democracies stay within constitutional laws?
  • Group D – When might civil violence – even civil war – be justified?
  • Group E – How do collective memories and national histories fuel civil resistance?

  • 18.15 CET

    20.00 CET
    Film / After Dinner Conversation (optional)
    Documentary about the resistance fighter Adam von Trott
    Discussion with Professor em. Nancy Lukens, University of New Hampshire
    AM CET
    Working Groups – Session II (optional)
    to be convened independently by group convenors

    14.30 CET
    Panel II: Lessons from the Front Line – Engaged Civil Resistance

    • Charter 77 and Havel's return to Prague Castle
      Pavel Szeifter (Czech Ambassador to the UK 1997–2003)
    • Blocking, rebelling, disrupting – taking action of peaceful civil disobedience
      Joy Opitz (Extinction Rebellion Göttingen)
    • From Umbrellas to Open Defence of Two Systems, One Country
      Evan Fowler (Independent Researcher on Hong Kong/China affairs)

    16.00 CET
    Graduate Presentations – Session I

    • Civic and Economic Protest in Italy in the 1970s
      Matthew Myers (Oxford)
    • Remembering Rebellion: The Teachers' Movement of the Sección 22 in Oaxaca, Mexico
      Susanne Meisch (Munich)
    • Resistance and Class Struggle of Dock Workers in India, 1948–1997
      Rahul Maganti (Göttingen)

    17.00 CET

    17.10 CET
    Special Lecture
    Protest and resistance in French Politics; from Sans Culottes to Gilets Jaunes

    Professor Robert Gildea (Oxford University)

    18.15 CET
    14.30 CET
    Graduate Presentations – Session II

    • Opposing Duterte’s administration – problems of sinophobia and xenophobia
      Jamina Jugo (Göttingen)
    • Protesting movements in contemporary East Europe
      David Saveliev (Oxford)
    • The constitutional right of insurrection: the cases of Honduras and El Salvador
      Gustavo Palamone (Göttingen)

    15.30 CET
    Closing Keynote Lecture
    ‘21st Century Setbacks for Civil Resistance Movements: Lessons to be Learned’

    Professor Sir Adam Roberts (Oxford University)

    16.45 CET

    17.00 CET
    Working Group Reports

    18.00 CET
    Closing Session: Conclusion & Next Steps

    18.30 CET
    Workshop closes