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This paper proposes a theoretical framework for understanding emergent disciplines as knowledge-focused social movement phenomena called New Knowledge Movements, or NKMs. The proposed theoretical framework is developed through a synthesis of new social movement theory and Frickel and Gross's Scientific/Intellectual Movements (SIMs) model. In contrast to the SIMs model, this paper argues that many new disciplines emerge through contentious collective action on the part of political and intellectual outsiders rather than through the action of intellectual elites. The framework is examined through historical narratives of two disciplines, women's studies and Asian American studies, in the USA. This framework will be useful to scholars studying the emergence of other disciplines and their related social movement dynamics, particularly those disciplines connected to deeply held personal identities or belief systems.