Michael Carpenter

Michael  Carpenter
Sessional instructor
Political Science
Office: SED C193

Michael J. Carpenter received his PhD from the Department of Political Science at the University of Victoria in 2017. His dissertation focused on the theory and practice of civic struggle, also known as nonviolent direct action, civil resistance, and ‘people power,’ especially in the context of the Middle East, and Palestine in particular.

Michael’s research builds on the legacy of Gene Sharp, a pioneer in the practical study of nonviolent action, and draws heavily on Hannah Arendt’s conceptualization of power and James Tully’s work on nonviolent civic engagement. This alternative approach to struggle has manifested in numerous social movements around the world and has demonstrated the potential to substitute for armed strategies and tactics in conflict settings.

Michael’s thesis explores the neglected question of how resistance movements organize. He argues that bottom-up, community-based forms of participation and decision-making are most conducive to effective and sustainable civic action.

He recently conducted research with a grassroots popular resistance movement in the occupied Palestinian territories (the West Bank), examining their methods of action and forms of organization through interviews, surveys, and embedded observation.


Teaching Fall 2022

Previously taught:

  • POLI 309: Democracy and Disobedience
  • POLI 319: Protest and Change in the Middle East
  • POLI 323: Issues in Politics: Civil Disobedience in the Middle East
  • POLI 347: Discourses in World Politics
  • POLI 433: Issues in Politics: Borders and Migration (Seminar)