Syllabus: The Sixties—From Memory To History, Fall 2015

new adult education master’s level course, fall 2015 @ northwestern university.

THE SIXTIES: FROM MEMORY TO HISTORY

rauschenberg signs

Robert Rauschenberg, Signs (1970).

Dr. Michael J. Kramer

Visiting Assistant Professor, History and American Studies 

Overview

“If you remember the sixties, you weren’t there,” goes a famous saying, yet as we move through the fiftieth anniversary of that decade, fewer and fewer people were actually there even if they did remember. What does it mean, then, for this tumultuous decade in the American past to move fully from memory to history? How do we understand the sixties now as more than just a caricature as it recedes into the past? In this course, we investigate primary documents such as political tracts, essays, novels, poetry, art, film, and music in order to take stock of subjects such as race, class, gender, sexuality, nationalism, transnationalism, popular culture, and politics in the sixties. We also read a wide range of historical studies that offer analysis and arguments about ways that the sixties continue to matter. Students will complete readings, viewings, and listening assignments; annotate and analyze materials on our course website. write short interpretative reviews of materials; participate in seminar discussions; and develop one longer multimedia essay on a particular aspect of the sixties as a final project for the course.  (This course may count towards the American Studies, History, or Interdisciplinary Studies specializations in the liberal studies graduate and advanced graduate study certificate programs.)

Course Info

IPLS 492-50

Thursdays, 7-9:30 pm

Wieboldt Hall 509

Chicago Campus

Course Website

https://canvas.northwestern.edu/courses/26776

Instructor

Dr. Michael J. Kramer

Visiting Assistant Professor, History and American Studies

Contact: <mjk@northwestern.edu>

Office hours: Tuesday and Thursday, 2­–3 pm

Office: Harris Hall 212, Evanston Campus

Books

All books are available at the Northwestern Bookstore or can be purchased online. Reserve copies are also available for one-day use at the Northwestern Library. Additional viewings and readings are available on our course website.

  • David Farber, The Age of Great Dreams: America in the Sixties (New York: Hill and Wang, 1994)
  • Alexander Bloom and Winifred Breines, eds.,“Takin’ It To The Streets”: A Sixties Reader (3rd edition, New York: Oxford University Press, 2011) **Be sure to purchase third edition**
  • Steven F. Lawson and Charles Payne, Debating the Civil Rights Movement, 1945-1968 (2nd edition, Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 2006) **Be sure to purchase second edition**
  • Doug Rossinow, The Politics of Authenticity: Liberalism, Christianity, and the New Left in America (New York: Columbia University Press, 1998)
  • Christian Appy, Working-Class War: American Combat Soldiers and Vietnam (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1993)
  • David Farber and Jeff Roche, eds., The Conservative Sixties (New York: Peter Lang, 2003)
  • Michael J. Kramer, The Republic of Rock: Music and Citizenship in the Sixties Counterculture (New York: Oxford University Press, 2013)
  • Additional readings, viewings on course website

Schedule:

WEEK 1           
Th 9/24 What Were The Sixties?

  • Rick Perlstein, “Who Owns the Sixties? The Opening of a Scholarly Gap,” in Quick Studies: The Best of Lingua Franca, ed. Alexander Star (New York: Farrar Straus Giroux, 2002), 234-246
  • Alice Echols, “We Gotta Get Out of This Place,”: Notes Twoard a Remapping of the Sixties,” in Shaky Ground: The Sixties and Its Aftershocks (New York: Columbia University Press), 61-74.
  • Jeremy Varon, “Between Revolution 9 and Thesis 11: Or, Will we Learn (Again) to Start Worrying and Change the World?,” in The New Left Revisited, eds. John McMillian and Paul Buhle (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2003), 214-240.
WEEK 2
Th 10/01 Age of Great Dreams 1

·      Post short summaries.

·      David Farber, The Age of Great Dreams: America in the Sixties (New York: Hill and Wang, 1994), 1-137.

·      Alexander Bloom and Winifred Breines, “‘Past as Prologue’: The 1950s as an Introduction to the 1960s,” in “Takin’ It To The Streets”: A Sixties Reader, eds. Alexander Bloom and Winifred Breines (3rd edition, New York: Oxford University Press, 2011), 1-11.

·      Optional Viewing: Berkeley in the Sixties

WEEK 3
Th 10/08 Age of Great Dreams 2

·      Post short summaries.

·      David Farber, The Age of Great Dreams, 138-268.

·      Optional Viewing: Berkeley in the Sixties

WEEK 4
Tu 10/13 Essay 1: Forward Foreword!

·      David Farber has asked you to write a foreword to the new edition of The Age of Great Dreams. How would you introduce the book to a general reader? What do *you* think is most important to understand about the book and why? What do you take to be Farber’s overarching argument about the 1960s and why? What are its sub-arguments? What evidence does it use to construct its interpretation? What else do you think is important to write about the book for its new edition? Develop a well-reasoned, gracefully written 1000-word essay (see the comments below about writing for this course). Your essay should have an enticing introduction and a thesis statement with paragraphs that flow logically and begin with strong topic sentences. Be sure to support your claims with specific evidence. End with a snappy conclusion.

Th 10/15 Civil Rights

·      Post short summaries.

·      Steven F. Lawson and Charles Payne, Debating the Civil Rights Movement, 1945-1968 (2nd edition, Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 2006)

·      Browse Bloom/Breines, 12-47

·      Optional Viewing: Eyes on the Prize

WEEK 5
Th 10/22 New Left, Part 1

·      Post short summaries.

·      Doug Rossinow, The Politics of Authenticity: Liberalism, Christianity, and the New Left in America (New York: Columbia University Press, 1998), 1-155.

·      Browse Bloom/Breines, 48-151

WEEK 6  
Th 10/29 New Left, Part 2

·      Post short summaries.

·      Doug Rossinow, The Politics of Authenticity, 159-207, 247-345.

·      Alice Echols, “Nothing Distant About It: Women’s Liberation and Sixties Radicalism,” in The Sixties: From Memory to History, ed. David Farber (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1994), 149-174.

·      Browse Bloom/Breines, 392-463, 490-504

WEEK 7  
Th 11/05 Vietnam and the Peace Movement

·      Post short summaries.

·      Christian Appy, Working-Class War: American Combat Soldiers and Vietnam (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1993), 1-85, 117-144, 206-297.

·      Rossinow, The Politics of Authenticity, 208-246.

·      Browse Bloom/Breines, 152-224, 329-391

·      Optional Viewing: Apocalypse Now Redux

WEEK 8
Th 11/12 Conservatives

·      Post short summaries.

·      David Farber and Jeff Roche, eds., The Conservative Sixties (New York: Peter Lang, 2003), pages TK.

·      Beth Bailey, “Sexual Revolution(s),” in The Sixties: From Memory to History, ed. David Farber (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1994), 235-262.

·      Browse Bloom/Breines, 286-328

WEEK 9
Tu 11/17 Essay 2: Comparing For Sharing

·      Write a comparative analytic essay that uses three of the secondary readings/viewings from our past weeks together to develop your own argument about a topic or theme in the course thus far. For instance, you might develop an essay about the relationship between radicalism and liberalism or the emergence of women’s liberation or the debates about top-down and grassroots activism in the 1960s (or another topic that interests you). Your task is to use evidence from our readings skillfully to develop your own original interpretation of the topic you choose. Develop a well-reasoned, gracefully written 1500-2000 word essay (see the comments below about writing for this course). Your essay should have an enticing introduction and a thesis statement with paragraphs that flow logically and begin with strong topic sentences. Be sure to support your claims with specific evidence. End with a snappy conclusion.

Th 11/19 Counterculture 1

·      Post short summaries.

·      Michael J. Kramer, The Republic of Rock: Music and Citizenship in the Sixties Counterculture (New York: Oxford University Press, 2013), ix-129.

·      Tom Frank, Excerpt from Introduction, The Conquest of Cool: Business Culture, Counterculture, and the Rise of Hip Consumerism (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1997), http://www.press.uchicago.edu/Misc/Chicago/259919.html.

·      Browse Bloom/Breines, 225-285

Week 10
Th 12/03 Counterculture 2

·      Post short summaries.

·      Kramer, The Republic of Rock, 131-223.

·      Jeremi Suri, ” The Rise and Fall of an International Counterculture, 1960–1975,” American Historical Review 114 (February 2009): 45-68.

·      Browse Bloom/Breines, 464-532

Final  
Th 12/09 Essay #3: Do Your Own Thing

Develop and write a multimedia essay on a topic of your choice relevant to our course. You may return to one or more of our readings for closer inspection or conduct your own additional reading or original research. Your goal is to wield your materials effectively, including any images, video, sound, or design elements to mount an evidence-based argument with a clear and compelling point toyou’re your multimedia essay should be a well-reasoned, gracefully written 1500-2000 word essay (the word count can vary depending on how you choose to use multimedia components, for instance you might even record or film parts of your essay if you think that form of communication suits your delivery of an evidence-based argument best). In written or multimedia format, or some “combination of the two” (who knows which sixties band had a song by that name?), your essay should have an enticing introduction and a thesis statement with paragraphs that flow logically and begin with strong topic sentences. Multimedia elements should flow into and out of text in strategic ways (if your essay relies on an interplay between different forms). Be sure to support your claims with specific evidence. End with a snappy conclusion.

 

Expectations:

Attendance: Students are expected to attend all meetings. If a student misses more than two meetings, the instructor reserves the right to issue a failing grade.

Assignments:

Short summaries

(1) should attempt to summarize each required reading in one sentence. This is no easy task and a good way to crystallize your thoughts about the reading. Think of it as your thesis statement if you were writing an essay or review. You might ask yourself: with whom the author is arguing? What evidence does the author use and why? What method does the author adopt for interpreting this evidence? And what is the author’s major conclusion (the “take away,” as is sometimes now said)?

(2) should pose a question of your own about the reading. What did you not understand or want to know more about?

(3) can offer any other associations: a list of terms, a multimedia link, a miscellaneous observation, a passage you wish to examine; etc.

Essays

Students must complete all assignments to pass the course. These are designed to be fun, but they are also demanding—and perhaps for some, frustrating. Please be aware that historical analysis is not a science in the strict sense of the term. There is no purely objective, machine-like way to develop interpretation within the traditions of historical meaning-making. This means there is not some perfectly standardized way to evaluate your work. There is, however, a craft to this mode of thinking, writing, and reasoning. It is in the improvement of this craft that these assignments and evaluations can help you. Your task is to develop effective and compelling evidence-based arguments informed by historical awareness and thinking. These will often work by applying your judgment and assessment to explain how things connect or contrast to each other and what the larger stakes of those linkages and differences are, which is to say, why they matter or how they matter to our understanding of the past.

Rather than test the breadth of your absorption of course materials, the assignments test your ability to wield knowledge of materials in the course (lectures, readings, viewings) in order to mount effective and compelling evidence-based arguments. If this mode of evaluation is not to your tastes, I recommend that you do not take the course. Your assignments must be well written in order to communicate a convincing, compelling, and precise argument that is driven by our description and analysis of meaning in materials drawn from the course (and other sources if needed). Evaluations are based on the following rubric:

  • the presence of an articulated and compelling argument (a thesis statement, see number 4 below for more)
  • the presence of evidence and your ability to wield different types of evidence
  • the compelling and precise connection of evidence to argument by comparing and contrasting details and their significance to the argument of the essay
  • an effective opening introduction that uses (a) a “hook” to (b) frame a precise and compelling question in order to (c) articulate a thesis statement that addresses the question and characterizes how and why it matters to our understanding of the historical topic at hand
  • logical flow and grace of prose: the presence of an introduction that ends with a thesis statement (see number 4), clear topic sentences for each paragraph of the essay, the presence of effective transitions from one part of the essay to the next, and a compelling conclusion that restates the thesis in new language and closes with a memorable sense of why the thesis matters to our historical understanding
  • an effective use of multimedia elements (embedded images, video, or audio; relevant links; explorations of design such as size and look of type or relationship of text to other media forms) to deepen and advance an evidence based argument online
  • where applicable, proper citations in footnote or endnote form (your choice) as per Chicago Manual of Style guidelines (http://libguides.northwestern.edu/content.php?pid=67073&sid=495340)

If you have any questions about evaluation in the course geared at helping you access and develop the craft of historical analysis, please speak with the instructor. Assignments that students submit after the due date without explicit plans for an extension arranged with the instructor and teaching assistant prior to the deadline are subject to reductions in grade.

Academic Integrity: All Weinberg College and Northwestern policies concerning plagiarism and academic dishonesty are strictly enforced in this course. The instructor also reserves the right to assign a failing grade for the course if a student is found to have violated college or university policy concerning academic integrity. See http://www.weinberg.northwestern.edu/handbook/integrity/ for more details.

Special Needs: Students with special needs and disabilities that have been declared and documented through the Northwestern Office of Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD) should meet with the instructor to discuss any specific accommodations. For further information, see the Office of Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD) website: http://www.northwestern.edu/disability.

Evaluation:

Essay 1: 15%

Essay 2: 20%

Essay 3: 25%

Participation: 40% (contributions to discussions; one-sentence summaries; comments)

The instructor will issue a midterm report on your grade for the course in addition to comments on your essays and assignments.

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