History of Nonviolence Wiki Textbook


This online interactive wiki textbook is the result of on-going collaboration by my History of Nonviolence students (HS juniors and seniors). It is a work in progress, with students constantly identifying material (and mistakes) and refining their work. Our primary goal is to create a resource that brings together as much information about theories and practices to accurately demonstrate both the existence, persistence and prevalence, as well as the tremendous diversity, variation, and expression of nonviolence throughout human history. As such, we hope to provide resources and information to educators so they can more easily integrate the histories of nonviolence into their standardized curricula. As a pedagogical method, all material is intended for educational purposes only. Student work may be imperfect, however our goal is to provide accurate information, critical analysis, and appropriate citation guidelines. Please contact me if you are concerned about unauthorized or improper use of material. We also welcome comments that may help us expand or focus upon important material and become better learners.
Thank you,
Sandra Switzer
Upper School Religion and History

About my class:
Open to Spring semester Juniors and Seniors at the Lovett School, a K-12 independent school in Atlanta, Georgia.
"Throughout history and across cultures, individuals and groups have used nonviolence as a strategy for social, political, economic, and interpersonal change. Nonviolence has brought down dictators, gained civil and human rights for oppressed groups, and improved our personal and work relationships, yet we rarely look at this phenomenon systematically, analyzing theories and evaluating practices. In this course, students will learn about the wide variety of religious and practice methods of nonviolent and violent methods of social change at personal, national, and international levels. Students will learn to compare and contrast different historical movements to identify similarities and differences in terms of power dynamics, leadership issues, strategies, methods, outcomes, and other variables contributing to success or failure" (From the course catalogue, 2011).

About this Project
History of Nonviolence is about exposing and exploring nonviolence as a "hidden history" omitted from most textbooks and formal history curricula. Because mainstream history has focused upon wars and conflicts, students conclude nonviolence is nonexistent, ineffective, or exceptional. Students trust the authority of their teachers and textbooks. They assume they are learning THE truth about the past when in fact, they are only learning part of the truth, which are falsehoods by omission. As a consequence, students feel betrayed, cynical, and disempowered. Worse, they conclude that violence is the only real or effective response to conflict, making nonviolence appear elusive, idealistic, rare, and ineffective. Understanding multiple historical methods for responding to conflict not only provides a fuller appreciation for history, it also increases the likelihood nonviolence will be applied to present and future conflict.

My hope with this project is to provide a forum through which students can co-create a complementary resource by expanding upon the standardized history curriculum and deepening their overall understanding of the complexities and relevance of history. Initially, students will focus on the Histories of American Nonviolence, but over time, I hope to expand this text to include international histories. Students work collaboratively to investigate the existence and processes by which nonviolence has been used to address social conflict. They are challenged to analyze and evaluate the merits and success of specific tactics, organizations, and movements. And they are asked to reflect upon how and why learning about nonviolent efforts to effect social change helps them to better understand and appreciate history.

Spring 2011-- The Founding!
Two classes (35 students) will be working collaboratively.
Each group will have its own wiki page to which they will contribute information and resources, such as timelines of significant events, short biographies of key leaders, description and analysis of specific nonviolent tactics and overall strategies, and links to video clips, images, and related websites. Each group will develop annotated bibliographies identifying resources that might assist teachers and students of nonviolence.
Over time, I hope students will identify an organizing template that will make navigating between pages coherent and accessible to readers
Spring 2012-- 36 Seniors!

Expectations for Students

Outline Templates

Comprehensive Timeline

Nonviolent Theory

American Nonviolence


Anti-Nuclear Movement

Anti-War Movements

Vietnam War Protest Music

Civil Rights

Conscientious Objection

Disability Rights

Environmentalist Movement

Gay Rights

Animal Rights

Indigenous Rights

Labor Movement

Military Applications

Occupy Movement

Peace Movement

Peaceful Societies

Prison Reform

Protest Art

Utopian Communities and Literature

Women's Rights

International Nonviolence




  • Japan
  • Myanmar
  • China
  • Vietnam
  • Korea


South Pacific

Middle East

  • Syria
  • Egypt
  • Palestine
  • Israel
  • Yemen
  • Kuwait


Image credits: