AMERICA IN THE 1960S
Class meets MWF 11:15-12:05 in 005 HH DEV-East
Philip Jenkins Office: 407 Weaver Building
I check my e-mail regularly (obsessively?) and this is an excellent way to get in touch with me if you have a quick question or if you want to make an appointment for a more substantial discussion.
The course will examine a turbulent and highly creative period in modern American history, namely the 1960s. I will be seeking to integrate social, political and cultural themes. Major themes and individuals will include: the presidency of John F. Kennedy; the race to the moon; the domestic reaction to the Vietnam war; the rise of Black political consciousness and radicalism; the upsurge of youth culture, with all its trappings of sex, drugs, rock and roll; the emergence of social movements like feminism, gay liberation, and environmentalism; and particularly the cultural explosion during and after the critical year of 1968.
There are three components to this course:
a. two essay exams. Both will be in take-home format, and will draw on both classroom materials and outside readings.
b. historical viewing of a contemporary film. Choose any one American film released between 1960 and 1970. Please note, this does NOT mean a film ABOUT the 1960s made at a later point: I mean a film with a copyright date in that decade (so, no, you can't do Austin Powers). It also means an American-made film - see the list appended to this syllabus for a few suggested titles. By the date indicated below, you will turn in a paper of about eight pages that will discuss the film as a historical source on the period under discussion. This is not a simple "book report" on a movie, but is rather a historical analysis (though you might need to touch on literary or cinematographic approaches). You might comment, for example, on how the film reflects the mood of the society at the particular time it was written; what it reveals about attitudes towards race, class or gender; and/or what it suggests about the political attitudes of the time. Basically, I want to know what a historian studying this period might learn from this film. A wide selection of films should be available from any good video store, eg Mikes, Hollywood, or Blockbuster.
c. research paper. You will also be expected to write a major research paper on some topic arising from the class. The paper should be about fifteen pages in length, fully referenced, with the topic to be agreed with the instructor. Please note: I have to approve the specific topic in advance: don’t go ahead until you get written approval from me on this one (ie if you suggest a general topic and I suggest it is on the right lines but you need to think about the exact approach, that does not give the go-ahead). I will of course offer assistance with bibliographies and advice about library materials. You should submit a preliminary draft, which I will then discuss with you on an individual basis during office hours. This draft should be a complete version of everything you propose to be in the final paper, properly written and argued (ie not in point form). This draft will then be revised to create a final version due for presentation in the final examination period. Needless to say, grading will take account of issues such as grammar and punctuation.
Grading for the course will therefore be based on these components:
a. Two essay examinations, each 20% of the total grade = 40%
b. Short paper on historical viewing of a contemporary film = 20%
c. research paper. = 40%
Regular class attendance and participation are of course expected as a necessary element of the final grade.
Deadlines matter, and I intend to enforce them strictly. If you miss a deadline without getting an extension in advance, you get a non-negotiable grade of F on that particular exam, paper or project. Do not get in touch with me after the fact to explain why you missed an exam, unless you produce a proper medical note. Excuses must always be supported by documentation. Valid reasons include medical problems and the like.
If you know anything at all about the 1960s, you know that it was a controversial and forthright time, when people often spoke in very frank terms, using language that to our tender ears, might appear harsh, violent, sexist, racist, or obscene. Also, the era was characterized by quite striking sexual frankness, and (surprise!) a lot of illicit drug use. As a result, the materials we will be reading or viewing will certainly include language or imagery that you might find disturbing, startling, or shocking. If this does bother you, please don’t take the class; or at least, don’t say you weren’t fully warned.
(all are in paperback, all are required)
1. Eldridge Cleaver, Soul on Ice Delta 1999; ISBN: 038533379X
2. Robert A. Heinlein, Stranger in a Strange Land, Ace Books ISBN: 0441790348
3. Ken Kesey, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest New American Library 1989; ISBN: 0451163966 ;
4. Martin A. Lee and Bruce Shlain, Acid Dreams : The Complete Social History of LSD - The CIA, the Sixties, and Beyond Grove Press 1986; ISBN: 0802130623
5. Irwin Unger and Debi Unger (Editors), The Times Were a Changin': The Sixties Reader Three Rivers Press 1998. ISBN: 0609803379
6. Tom Wolfe, Radical Chic & Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers Bantam Doubleday Dell Pub (1999); ISBN: 0553380621
I could easily have used lots more collections of documents, readings etc, but that seems foolish given the unimaginably vast range of texts available for free on the Internet, which cover every conceivable topic you might be researching. Please use them
SYLLABUS OF CLASSES
1. August 22 - The 1960s - myths and stereotypes.
2. August 24 - What's left from the 1950s. DISCUSS: The Times Were a Changin: 1-12
3. August 27 - The New Frontier. DISCUSS: The Times Were a Changin: 13-25
4. August 29 - Cuba and the nuclear threat. DISCUSS: The Times Were a Changin: 241-56
5. August 31 - Civil Rights. DISCUSS: The Times Were a Changin: 115-35
SEPTEMBER 3 -LABOR DAY
6. September 5 - Space: the final frontier. DISCUSS: The Times Were a Changin: 304-13
7. September 7 - Confrontations
8. September 10 - Assassination DISCUSS: The Times Were a Changin: 26-38
9. September 12 - DISCUSS Heinlein, Stranger in a Strange Land
10. September 14 - Conspiracy theories and intelligence wars
I NEED TO KNOW THE TOPICS OF YOUR TERM PAPERS TODAY
11. September 17 - Backlash from the Right. The 1964 election. DISCUSS: The Times Were a Changin: 93-114
12. September 19 - Escalation. DISCUSS: The Times Were a Changin: 257-265
13. September 21 - Welfare and warfare. DISCUSS: The Times Were a Changin: 39-54 AND 135-42
14. September 24 – Protest.
15. September 26 - The emergence of a counter-culture DISCUSS: The Times Were a Changin: 55-78
16. September 28 - British invasion.
17. October 1 - The new Black nationalism DISCUSS: The Times Were a Changin: 142-57
18. October 3 - DISCUSS Cleaver Soul on Ice
19. October 5 - The age of urban riot
OCTOBER 8 - FALL BREAK
20. October 10 - Sex and the new liberalism. DISCUSS: The Times Were a Changin: 158-71
21. October 12 - EXAM ONE
22. October 15 - Normality and deviancy
23. October 17 - The drug culture: DISCUSS: The Times Were a Changin: 177-93
24. October 19 - Beats, hippies and yippies. DISCUSS Lee and Shlain, Acid Dreams
25. October 22 - Mass culture and rock music
26. October 24 - Permissiveness and censorship. DISCUSS: The Times Were a Changin: 219-40
27. October 26 - Crime and violence
FILM PAPER DUE
28. October 29 - Government by gunplay. DISCUSS: The Times Were a Changin: 314-28
29. October 31 - The 1968 election. DISCUSS: The Times Were a Changin: 329-48
30. November 2 - The New Left versus Amerika; American Terrorism. The Times Were a Changin: 78-92
31. November 5 - Dirty Tricks
32. November 7 – Woodstock Nation and Easy Rider
33. November 9 - Going to Hell: Altamont, My Lai, Sharon Tate, Chappaquiddick.
34. November 12 - DISCUSS Wolfe, Radical Chic
35. November 14 - The War Goes Very, Very Wrong DISCUSS: The Times Were a Changin: 265-81
36. November 16 - Feminism. DISCUSS: The Times Were a Changin: 194-218
37. November 19 - 1970: Coming Apart. DISCUSS: The Times Were a Changin: 282-303
DRAFT OF TERM PAPERS DUE
38. November 21 - Stonewall. DISCUSS: The Times Were a Changin: 171-76
NOVEMBER 23 - THANKSGIVING
39. November 26 - DISCUSS Kesey, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
40. November 28 - EXAM TWO
41. November 30 - Nixon and the Plumbers
42. December 3 - Getting Saved From the Sixties
43. December 5 - The new ice age.
44. December 7 - Conclusion
TERM PAPER DUE IN FINALS PERIOD
Movies of the 1960s
The following list of forty or so 1960s movies is nothing like comprehensive, and there are literally hundreds of other options you might come up with. But if you choose any one of the following, I am confident that you will find lots to say about their relationship to the thought, culture and society of America in the 1960s. PS - I am not claiming that any or all of these are necessarily movie classics in their own right, or even good films. Lots of them are neither.
Advise and Consent The Alamo
Bonnie and Clyde Boston Strangler
Bullitt Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
Catch-22 The Chase
Cotton Comes to Harlem Days of Wine and Roses
Dr Strangelove Easy Rider
Fail Safe Five easy pieces
Fritz the Cat Gimme Shelter
The Graduate The Green Berets
Hud The Hustler
In cold blood In the Heat of the Night
The Magnificent Seven The Manchurian Candidate
The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance M*A*S*H
Midnight Cowboy Monterey Pop
Patton The Pawnbroker
Planet of the Apes Seven days in May
To Kill a Mockingbird 2001: A Space Odyssey
Tribes The Ugly American
Watermelon Man Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf
The Wild Bunch Woodstock
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