Can nonviolent resistance overcome injustice in all situations? How might a just and peaceful society be built within a state that governs through systemic, militarized violence? In the twentieth century, leaders like Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr., galvanized national reforms through largely peaceful mass demonstrations. Today, Black Lives Matter and Occupy movements worldwide claim this legacy of civil disobedience and noncooperation to denounce oppression, raise consciousness, and catalyze social change. This writing seminar explores the ideal of principled nonviolence alongside real- world strategies for addressing humanitarian crises and national defense. We will study rationales for what is called direct action, or bodily acts of civil disobedience, and we will investigate how activists have used media (oratory, journalism, cultural critique) to make their demands and persuade opponents. How do we measure the effectiveness of historical movements in rallying mass support and catalyzing systemic transformation? What new opportunities and challenges exist in multicultural, interreligious/secular, global contexts? How is social media changing the ways people organize?