Ernesto Capello, Macalester College
Renee Michelle Ragin, Duke University
Brenda J. Elsey, Hofstra University
During the fall of 2019, these dynamics have exploded across the world. Protests in Hong Kong, Ecuador, Lebanon, and Chile, among others, have challenged entrenched political power, opened spaces for grass-roots mobilization, and put forth new conceptualizations of democracy. While it is tempting to consider these protests as outgrowths of a singular moment of global instability, all protest, like all politics, is inherently local. Moreover, protest as a historical phenomenon operates under unstable logics and activities, which Richard Schechner has described as “vortexes of activities [and] people, ... moving in spirals and circles without easy to locate centers or heads.”
Reflecting a wide range of historical fields and geographical expertise, “Mass Protests in Historical Perspective” seeks to place the cascading nature of contemporary mass protest in historical relief – telescoping upon four of the most dramatic political protest movements of 2019 – Hong Kong, Ecuador, Lebanon, and Chile. Our panel will reflect upon current mass mobilizations through a mixed-format session that will combine short presentations, commentary, and a roundtable discussion. We will welcome the discussion of other examples and encourage significant audience participation to expand from these local examples back toward a consideration of the global reach of mass protest, the historical significance of the contemporary moment, and local idiosyncrasies.