What circumstances prompt people to disrupt their daily lives, with the goal of bringing about social change? Through literature, journalistic accounts and ethnographies of social movements, this course will explore the contexts in which social movements arise, the strategies they use and the issues they address, throughout Latin America. We will explore how the shared aspects of Latin American countries’ histories—colonization, postcolonial imperialism and neoliberal restructuring–foreground their similarities and collaboration. We will examine the conundrums, faced by revolutions in the late 20th century, of envisioning widespread equality and fomenting change in the face of internal and external persecution. We will also sample ethnographies of social movements produced about the region. Anthropologists have increasingly called for analytical approaches which consider shared regional backgrounds in which movements take place. Moreover, they examine how social movements reflect distinct national histories, state-citizen relationships, social hierarchies, economic structure and cultural diversity, among others. Taken together, this literature serves as an example of the diverse expressions of how people respond to oppressions, at different scales and under different circumstances.