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How to Change the World—Theories and Practices

This six session online seminar, co-taught by the co-creator of Occupy Wall Street, was filmed at Bard College’s Hannah Arendt Center and includes a symposium on “Why do protests fail?” featuring Alicia Garza, the co-founder of Black Lives Matter.

All classes are entirely online. You do not need a college degree to enroll at Activist Graduate School. Our courses are open to activists of all ages and educational backgrounds. Tuition is $19.99/month USD.

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Course Information

6 sessions + symposium (5 hours of video)

Each session will take between 3 - 4 hours to complete: one hour to watch the video and 2 hours to do the assigned reading. The course is entirely online.


Hannah Arendt Center at Bard College

$19.99/month USD

Course Description

Whether we are campaigning on civil rights, environmental justice, refugee rights or LGBTQIA and women’s rights, the first prerequisite to success is a theory of social change that guides our methods. The range of potential protest tactics is so plentiful—from direct action in the streets to silent prayerful vigils, self-organized worker cooperatives to electoral ballot initiatives—that every activist, whether consciously or not, relies on a theory of change to decide their actions. If the theory of change underlying our activism is false, then our protests are bound to fail.

At the same time, social change is constant and complex, involving factors both within and beyond human control. Often, an unexamined set of assumptions govern—and limit—our attempts to make change. This course intends to refresh and expand our thinking about activism by studying theories of change.  

Course includes a revolutionary symposium with Alicia Garza, the co-founder of Black Lives Matter, Dr. Lenora Fulani, the first woman to run for President and get on the ballot in all 50 states, and Souta Calling Last, the founder of Indigenous Vision on the question, “Why do protests fail?”

Online students will develop campaign proposals on an issue of their choice.

Course Curriculum

Become a more effective activist as you follow your learning path through the sessions of this online course:

  • Session 1 How does change happen?

  • Session 2 Violence or Nonviolence?

  • Session 3 Symposium on Why Do Protests Fail?

  • Session 4 Structures vs. Agents

  • Session 5 How does inner reality impact external reality?

  • Session 6  Can the gods save us now?

  • Session 7 What is the future of activism?

Gain a theoretical understanding of activism that helps your efforts to create social change.

Take time to step back and define your approach to activism.

Join a global network of activists.

Seminar Faculty

Micah White, PhD, co-creator of Occupy Wall Street

Micah White, PhD, co-creator of Occupy Wall Street

Chiara Ricciardone, PhD

Chiara Ricciardone, PhD

Symposium Lecturers

Alicia Garza, co-creator of Black Lives Matter

Alicia Garza, co-creator of Black Lives Matter

Souta Calling Last

Souta Calling Last

Dr. Lenora Fulani

Dr. Lenora Fulani

Course Samples

Student Testimonials