The 1960s

The decade of the sixties casts long shadows, even today.  But whether those years represented American society at its best or worst is a matter of serious disagreement. The most prevalent imagery from the period – civil rights and anti-Vietnam protests, sex, drugs and rock n roll, yippies and hippies — provoke violently different reactions among Americans.  This course will provide students with the opportunity to examine these phenomena and other major events of this decade, probing them for the roots of the divergent interpretations Americans have of them today.  At the same time, the course will alter our “common knowledge” about the sixties – calling into question which movements were born in these years, who really had influence, and what constitutes the real legacy of the period.  By the end of the course, students will be able to describe and debate the major historical events and trends of the period.