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14 free online courses on protests, uprisings and revolutions

Magna Carta and its Legacies: Freedom and protest

Magna Carta and its Legacies: Freedom and protest is a free online history course offered by the University of London International Programmes in the United Kingdom. The course is self-paced, allowing students to view the lecture videos and complete the supplemental assignments from the instructor at a rate that fits their schedules. A total of 17 hours of coursework is provided. The instructor recommends completing one of the course’s six modules each week. Topics of the modules include: Magna Carta, Parliament and the Law 1215-1300; The Reinvention of Magna Carta, 1508-164; Magna Carta: Civil War to Revolution, 1642-1776; Magna Carta and the Wider World: Constitution Making; Commemoration and Memorialisation; and Magna Carta: a History of an Argument c.1800-2015.

After the Arab Spring – Democratic Aspirations and State Failure

After the Arab Spring – Democratic Aspirations and State Failure is a free online political science course offered by the University of Copenhagen in Denmark. The class is open to anyone who is interested in learning more about the outcomes of the Arab spring uprisings. Video lectures are used to present the course material. The course is broken down into six week-long units, each requiring two to three hours of study time to complete. At the start of the course, students learn about the instability and institutional failures that led to the Arab spring uprisings. Next, the class focuses on the challenges to the movements with the following modules: Governance; Institutions; Economics: Bread, Dignity and Freedom; and Human Development: Growth and Frustration. The final module, Outlook: Elusive Stability, provides predictions about the state of the Middle East going forward.

Freedom of Expression and Information in the Time of Globalization: Foundational Course

Freedom of Expression and Information in the Time of Globalization: Foundational Course is a free online law course offered by Columbia University in the United States. To succeed in the class, students will need to have some background in human rights law. The class lasts for five weeks and requires five to 12 hours of study time weekly to watch the video lectures, examine case studies and complete supplemental reading assignments. Among the modules included on the syllabus are: Making a Case for Freedom of Expression: Values; International Norms on Freedom of Expression; Legitimate Restrictions To Freedom of Expression; and Scope of Freedom of Expression. Students who successfully complete all of the coursework are invited to enroll in the second half of the class, Freedom of Expression and Information in the Time of Globalization: Advanced Course.

Freedom of Expression and Information in the Time of Globalization: Advanced Course

Freedom of Expression and Information in the Time of Globalization: Advanced Course is a free online law course offered by Columbia University in the United States. To ensure success in the class, students should first enroll in and complete the prerequisite course, Freedom of Expression and Information in the Time of Globalization: Foundational Course. The four-week class allows students to delve deeper into how information technology impacts freedom of expression and involves a time commitment of four to 12 hours per week to watch videos, review case studies and read assigned articles. There are four modules included on the syllabus: The Normative Framework for Freedom of Expression in the Digital Age Parts One and Two; Challenges to On-Line Freedom of Expression: Hate; and Incitement Speech; and Freedom of Expression in the Digital Age.

Wage Work for Women Citizens: 1870-1920

Wage Work for Women Citizens: 1870-1920 is a free online history course offered by Columbia University. The class examines the history of women’s rights in the United States, focusing primarily on the effects that the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution had on women. In addition, the class discusses how women used work to become more independent and how they organized to gain better working conditions. The class then examines the suffrage movement and the rise of feminism both in the United States and abroad. Lasting for 10 weeks, the class is taught through online videos and supplemental readings and assignments. Student will need to devote roughly two to three hours to the class each week.

Human Rights Activism, Advocacy and Change

Human Rights Activism, Advocacy and Change is a free online humanities course offered by Curtin University in Australia. The course can be taken independently or as a part of the Human Rights Micro Masters program offered by the university. Presented through online videos, assignments and readings, the class involves a time commitment of eight to 10 hours per week. The course lasts for 12 weeks with students completing one unit weekly. Some of the topics explored in the class include: Social Movements and Power; Women’s Rights and Activism: Unity and Difference; Mahatma Gandhi: Satyagraha, Satya and Ahimsa; Women and Nonviolence Movements; Saul Alinsky: Citizen Participation and Organisation; Frantz Fanon and Decolonisation; Queer(y)ing Human Rights Activism; Indigenous Protest and Activism;

Disability Rights and Activism; and Refugee Rights And Activism.

Irish Lives in War and Revolution: Exploring Ireland’s History 1912-1923

Irish Lives in War and Revolution: Exploring Ireland’s History 1912-1923 is a free online history course offered by Trinity College Dublin in Ireland. The class is open to anyone who has an interest in Irish or European history and has no educational or work experience prerequisites. Lasting for six weeks, the class is presented through online videos and supplemental assignments. Students will need to devote about five hours of study time to the class each week. By the end of the course, students will be able to identify major events in Irish history and analyze these events from multiple perspectives. In addition, students will have a chance to develop their own opinions on these events and to defend their positions in writing.

The French Revolution

The French Revolution is a free online history course offered by the University of Melbourne in Australia. Although the class is self-paced, the instructor recommends that students complete one of the course’s video modules each week. The six-week course will require a weekly time commitment of six to seven hours. Open to anyone with an interest in European history, the class has no educational prerequisites or work experience requirements. The course is comprised of six units: France in the 1780s; The Revolution of 1789; The Reconstruction of France, 1789-92; The Republic in Crisis 1792-93; Ending the Terror and Ending the Revolution; and Change and Continuity: How Revolutionary Was the Revolution?

The Civil War and Reconstruction – 1865-1890: The Unfinished Revolution

The Civil War and Reconstruction – 1865-1890: The Unfinished Revolution is a free online history course offered by Columbia University in the United States. Students have the option to take the course alone or as a part of the Civil War and Reconstruction XSeries program offered by the university. Entirely self-paced, the class can be completed at a rate that is comfortable for the student. The instructor does suggest that students break the class down into 15 weekly units, spending about six to eight hours on the coursework each week. Through is class, students will learn about the causes of the Civil War, the impact of the fighting and the reconstruction process. The class ends with an examination of how unresolved issues from the Civil War continue to affect the United States today.

Media Freedom and Freedom of Expression in Africa

Media Freedom and Freedom of Expression in Africa is a free online humanities course offered by University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa. The class can be beneficial for anyone who is interested in human rights, freedom of the press and African political science and culture. Lectures are presented through online videos and supplemented by readings and other assignments. The class lasts for six weeks and involves a weekly time commitment of two to three hours weekly. By the end of the class, students will be able to identify and describe the principles and components of democratic media policy and practice. The class will also enable students to discuss the state of democratic media policy and practice across Africa.

From Freedom Rides to Ferguson: Narratives of Nonviolence in the American Civil Rights Movement

From Freedom Rides to Ferguson: Narratives of Nonviolence in the American Civil Rights Movement is a free online human rights course offered by Emory University in the United States. The five-week class is presented through online video lectures from Emory University professors and guest speakers that include Andrew Young, Reverend C.T. Vivian, Henry “Hank” Thomas and Constance Curry. The five one-week units that make up the class are: Movements & Campaigns; Organizations of the Civil Rights Movement; Nonviolent Philosophies & Tactics; Organizational & Social Change; and Education for Change and the Future of Nonviolence Conflict Transformation.

Music and Social Action

Music and Social Action is a free online music course offered by Yale University in the United States. During the course, students will have an opportunity to learn about how classical music has impacted society in the past and how it can be used as a form of social action in the modern world. The class lasts for nine weeks and is taught through video lectures, documentaries and recorded interviews. Students will also have an opportunity to participate in online discussions with their peers. Among the questions that the course seeks to answer are:  How can classical music affect social change?; How has music made positive change in communities around the globe?; What can the field of classical music learn from other movements for social change? and How have educators and philosophers thought about the arts and their connection to daily contemporary life?

Human Rights Defenders

No other online course is entirely dedicated to the activists who continuously speak against injustice. Amnesty International offers a free course where participants learn about who human rights defenders they are, what they have achieved so far, and how they overcome struggles. The creators of the course have prepared plenty of materials which give insights into hands-on experiences by both human rights defenders and their families. Essentially, this course is not only about honoring human rights defenders but also learning how to become one.

Democracy and Autocracy: Theories and Empirical Findings

Democracy and Autocracy: Theories and Empirical Findings is an online course offered by the University of Naples Federico II of Italy. The class is taught entirely in English with course material presented in the form of online video lectures and supplemental readings. Students will need to spend roughly four to six hours per week on the course material during the five-week class. Through the modules, students will learn more about the relationship between democracy and autocracy and how nations transition from one form of government to the other. The class discusses the topics both from historical and contemporary standpoints.

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Human Rights Careers

Human Rights Careers (HRC) aims to help human rights students, recent graduates and young professionals to pursue a career in the highly competitive field of human rights.