Syllabus: The Sixties in the US & the World

Fall 2019 @ College at Brockport, SUNY

Course Description

“If you remember the sixties, you weren’t there.” So goes a famous saying from the time period, yet as we move through the fiftieth anniversary of that decade, fewer and fewer people were actually there, even if they do remember what happened. What does it mean, then, for this tumultuous decade in the American past to move fully from memory to history? How do we understand how the years between 1960 and 1970 (if those are indeed the time markers we should use) became “the sixties” in quotes? What were the sixties in the United States and in the world beyond the United States? How do people understand the sixties in the popular imagination and the media? What do historians argue about when it comes to interpreting the decade?

In this course, we pursue responses to these questions by investigating primary documents such as political tracts, essays, fictional writing, poetry, art, film, television, technology, music, and material culture in order to take stock of subjects such as race, class, gender, sexuality, nationalism, transnationalism, popular culture, economics, 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; participate in seminar discussions; write short interpretative reviews of of both primary and secondary sources; and develop a final short five to ten-minute interpretive audio podcast project for the class.

Expectations, Grades, Assignments

Expectations

Students are expected to engage critically and creatively with their required course readings and assignments and discuss them during class. Constructive participation and thoughtful and respectful dialogue are heavily emphasized and measured into the final grade.

Grades Breakdown

  • Class attendance and participation (start the conversation, add or respond respectfully to a comment by another student or the instructor, listen attentively) — 30%
  • Primary Source Analysis — 10%
  • Secondary Source Analysis — 10%
  • Primary/Secondary Source Analysis — 10%
  • One Document Interpretive Podcast Proposal — 10%                                         
  • One Document Interpretive Podcast Script Draft — 10%
  • One Document Interpretive Podcast and Final Script — 15%
  • One Document Interpretive Podcast Reflection — 5%

*Assignments with voluntary revise and resubmit is averaged with initial grade, assuming the grade is higher than original grade.

Grading Standards

  • A-level work is outstanding and reflects a student’s:
    • regular attendance, timely preparation, and on-time submission of assignments
    • thorough understanding of required course material
    • insightful, constructive, respectful and regular participation in class discussion
    • clear, compelling, and well-written assignments
    • credible arguments integrated with relevant evidence in own compelling analysis
    • excellent formatting of assignments and citations
    • academic integrity and honesty
  • B-level work is good, but with minor problems in one or more areas
  • C-level work is acceptable, but with minor problems in several areas or major problems in at least one area
  • D-level workis poor, with major problems in more than one area
  • E-level workis unacceptable, failing to meet basic course requirements and/or standards of academic integrity/honesty

Learning Goals

The Power of History @ Brockport

By exploring how our world came to be, the study of history fosters the critical knowledge, breadth of perspective, intellectual growth, and communication and problem-solving skills that will help you lead a purposeful life, exercise responsible citizenship, and achieve career success.

Learning Goals

  • Develop knowledge of the American past, including factual knowledge but also a sense of existing historical interpretations and debates.
  • Improve skills of articulating a thesis or argument based on evidence and in response to a historical problem or question.
  • Advance in logical sequence principal arguments in defense of a historical thesis.
  • Provide relevant evidence drawn from the evaluation of primary and/or secondary sources that supports the primary arguments in defense of a historical thesis.
  • Evaluate the significance of a historical thesis by relating it to a broader field of historical knowledge such as historiographical debates or rethinking of popular assumptions about the past.
  • Express yourself clearly in writing that forwards a historical analysis.
  • Use disciplinary standards (Chicago Manual of Style) of documentation when referencing historical sources.

Course-Specific

  • Develop knowledge of the Sixties as a time period in American and global history.
  • Develop knowledge of different methods of historical analysis (political, cultural, social, intellectual, transnational, military, diplomatic, African-American, Latinx-American, Asian-American, Native American, Regional, Women’s, Gender, etc.).
  • Develop skills at analyzing multiple types of historical sources (text, sound, image, moving media, material culture, fashion, etc.). 
  • Experiment with new forms and methods of digital history (audio podcasting).

Attendance, Accommodations, Academic Integrity, Discrimination, Emergencies, and Other Policies

Attendance

Attendance is mandatory—though students are allowed two “free” absences for the semester. Special consideration will be given to absences due to serious illness, religious commitment, or family crisis (BE SURE to contact me as soon as you know you will miss a class—preferably before that class—and if possible provide written documentation from a doctor, etc.). Each additional absence (and/or several excused absences) may lower your grade. Four unexcused absences are grounds for course failure.

Accommodations

If possible, please let me know right away if you have any required or requested accommodations associated with a disability so that we can make necessary arrangements to enable your success in this course.

Academic Integrity

Academic dishonesty, particularly in the form of plagiarized assignments (question sheets, essays), will result in failed assignments, possible course failure, and official reporting.  

Computer laptops and other devices will be allowed in class so long as they are being used for the class, not for other activities. Professor Kramer reserves the right to ask you to turn off and put away your device if it is distracting others.

Discrimination

Sex and gender discrimination, including sexual harassment, are prohibited in educational programs and activities, including classes. Title IX legislation and College policy require the College to provide sex and gender equity in all areas of campus life. If you or someone you know has experienced sex or gender discrimination, sexual harassment, sexual assault, intimate partner violence, or stalking, we encourage you to seek assistance and to report the incident through resources at https://www.brockport.edu/about/title_ix/index.html. Confidential assistance is available on campus at Hazen Center for Integrated Care and RESTORE. Faculty are NOT confidential under Title IX and will need to share information with the Title IX & College Compliance Officer. For these and other policies governing campus life, please see https://www.brockport.edu/support/policies/student.php.

Emergencies

In case of emergency, the Emergency Alert System at The College at Brockport will be activated.  Students are encouraged to maintain updated contact information using the link on the College’s Emergency Information website.  Included on the website is detailed information about the College’s emergency operations plan, classroom emergency preparedness, evacuation procedures, emergency numbers, and safety videos.  In addition, students are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the Emergency Procedures posted in classrooms, halls, and buildings and all college facilities.

*thanks to colleagues Jamie Spiller and Bruce Leslie for grading rubrics and other syllabus language.

Required Materials

  • Alexander Bloom and Winifred Breines, eds. Takin’ It to the Streets: A Sixties Reader Fourth Edition. New York: Oxford University Press, 2015. ISBN-13: 978-0190250706.
  • Tanisha C. Ford. Liberated Threads: Black Women, Style, and the Global Politics of Soul. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2015. ISBN-13: 978-1469636139.
  • Michael W. Flamm and David Steigerwald, Debating the 1960s: Liberal, Conservative, and Radical Perspectives. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2007. ISBN-13: 978-0742522138
  • Maurice Isserman and Michael Kazin. America Divided: The Civil War of the 1960s Fifth Edition. New York: Oxford University Press, 2015. ISBN-13: 978-0190217181.
  • Steven Lawson and Charles Payne, Debating the Civil Rights Movement, 1945-1968Second Edition. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2006. ISBN-13: 978-0742551091.
  • Additional materials via Blackboard.

Schedule

WEEK 01 – From the 1960s to “the Sixties”

Monday 08/26

If You Remember the Sixties You Weren’t There?!

Required:

  • Listen to or read Dr. Kramer’s “What Are We Up To This Week?” weekly audio “podcast” for the course

Wednesday 08/28

Studying the Sixties

Required:

  • Isserman and Kazin, Preface and Introduction, xi-xii, 1-5
  • Bloom and Breines, Preface, xii-xiii
  • Rick Perlstein, “Who Owns the Sixties? The Opening of a Scholarly Gap,” inQuick Studies: The Best of Lingua Franca, ed. Alexander Star (New York: Farrar Straus Giroux, 2002), 234-246, on Blackboard
  • Alice Echols, “We Gotta Get Out of This Place,”: Notes Toward a Remapping of the Sixties,” in Shaky Ground: The Sixties and Its Aftershocks (New York: Columbia University Press), 61-74, on Blackboard
  • Eric Zolov, “Introduction: Latin America in the Global Sixties,” The Americas 70, 3 (January 2014), 349-62, on Blackboard

WEEK 02 – Gathering of the Forces

Monday 09/02

No Class – Labor Day Holiday

Wednesday 09/04

Gathering of the Forces

Required reading:

  • Listen to or read Dr. Kramer’s “What Are We Up To This Week?”
  • Isserman and Kazin, Ch. 1, “Gathering of the Forces,” 6-20
  • Todd Gitlin, “Cornucopia and Its Discontents,” in The Sixties: Years of Hope, Days of Rage (New York: Bantam Books, 1987), 11-30, on Blackboard
  • Bloom and Breines, “‘Past as Prologue’: The 1950s as an Introduction to the 1960s,” 1-11
  • David Steigerwald, “The Liberal-Radical Debates of the 1960s,” in Debating the 1960s, eds. Michael W. Flamm and David Steigerwald (New York: Oxford University Press, 2008), 3-71

WEEK 03 – The Modern African-American Civil Rights Movement, Part 1

Monday 09/09

The Civil Rights Movement Top-Down

Required:

Tuesday 09/10

Primary Source Analysis 01 Due

  • Primary Source Analysis (see Blackboard for instructions)

Wednesday 09/11

The Early Civil Rights Movement Up Close

Required:

  • Bloom and Breines, Ch. 1, “Keep on Walkin’, Keep on Talkin;”: Civil Rights to 1965, From King, “Power of Nonviolence” to Hamer and Schwerner, “Testimony Before the Democratic National Convention,” 12-40

WEEK 04 – The Modern African-American Civil Rights Movement, Part 2

Monday 09/16 

The Civil Rights Movement Bottom Up

Required:

  • Listen to or read Dr. Kramer’s “What Are We Up To This Week?”
  • Charles Payne, “The View from the Trenches,” in Steven Lawson and Charles Payne, Debating the Civil Rights Movement, 1945-1968Second Edition.New York: Routledge, 2006, 115-158
  • Ashley Farmer, “Reframing African American Women’s Grassroots Organizing: Audley Moore and the Universal Association of Ethiopian Women, 1957–1963,” The Journal of African American History 101, no. 1-2 (Winter-Spring 2016): 69-96, on Blackboard

Wednesday 09/18

“Say It Loud, Say It Proud”: The Wide Civil Rights Movement?

Required:

  • Bloom and Breines, Ch. 3, “Say It Loud, Say It Proud,” 117-162
  • Video: Selma, dir. Ava DuVernay, 2014

WEEK 05 – JFK and the New Frontier

Monday 09/23

The New Frontier and the New Left

Required:

  • Listen to or read Dr. Kramer’s “What Are We Up To This Week?”
  • Isserman and Kazin, America Divided,Ch. 3, “The New Frontier of American Liberalism,” Ch. 4, “Why Did the United States Fight in Vietnam,” Ch. 5, “1963,” and Ch. 9, “The New Left,” 44-99
  • Winifred Breines, Preface to the Second Edition, Preface to the First Edition, “An Introduction to the New Left: A Critique of Some Critics,” in Community and Organization in the New Left, 1962-1968, The Great Refusal(New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1989), xi-xxv, 1-9, on Blackboard
  • Van Gosse, “Defining the New Left,” in Rethinking the New Left: An Interpretive History (New York: Palgrave McMillian, 2005), 1-8, on Blackboard

Wednesday 09/25

“My Generation”

Required:

  • Bloom and Breines, Ch. 2, “My Generation,” JFK and the New Frontier through Community Organizing, 52-89
  • Video: Berkeley in the Sixties, dir. Mark Kitchell, 1990, on Blackboard or on reserve at Library

Friday 09/27

Optional: Primary Source Analysis 01 Revise and Resubmit Due

Week 06 – The Great Society

Monday 09/30

The Rise and Fall of the Great Society

Required:

  • Listen to or read Dr. Kramer’s “What Are We Up To This Week?”
  • Isserman and Kazin, America Divided,Ch. 6, “The Rise of the Great Society,” Ch. 7, “1965,” and Ch. 10, “The Fall of the Great Society,” 100-140, 185-201
  • Michael W. Flamm, “The Liberal-Conservative Debates of the 1960s,” in Debating the 1960s, 99-168

Wednesday 10/02

The Great Society Up Close

Required:

  • Bloom and Breines, Ch. 2, “My Generation,” From LBJ and the Great Society to New Left Thinking at Mid-Decade, 90-116
  • Video:July ’64, Dir. Carvin Eison, 2006, on Blackboard

WEEK 07 – Vietnam

Monday 10/07

Working-Class War

Required:

  • Listen to or read Dr. Kramer’s “What Are We Up To This Week?”
  • Christian G. Appy, Introduction, “Facing the Wall” and Ch. 1, “Working Class War,” in Working-Class War: American Combat Soldiers and Vietnam (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1993), 1-43, on Blackboard

Tuesday 10/08

Secondary Source Analysis Due

  • Secondary Source Analysis (see Blackboard for instructions)

Wednesday 10/09

Vietnam In Documents

Required:

  • Bloom and Breines, Ch. 4, “Hey, Hey LBJ,” 163-231
  • Video:The Vietnam War, Episode 1, dirs. Ken Burns and Lynn Novick, 2017, on Blackboard

WEEK 08 – The Rise of Women’s Liberation

Monday 10/14

Debating Second-Wave Feminism

Required:

  • Listen to or read Dr. Kramer’s “What Are We Up To This Week?”
  • Alice Echols, “Nothing Distant About It: Women’s Liberation and Sixties Radicalism,” in Shaky Ground: The Sixties and Its Aftershocks(New York: Columbia University Press), 75-94, on Blackboard
  • Beth Bailey, “Sexual Revolution(s),” in The Sixties: From Memory to History(Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1994), 235-262, on Blackboard
  • Robyn Spencer, “Communalism and the Black Panther Party in Oakland, California in the 1970s,” in West of Eden: Communes and Utopia in Northern California, eds. Iain Boal, Janferie Stone, Michael Watts, and Cal Winslow (Oakland, CA: PM Press, 2012), 92-121, on Blackboard

Wednesday 10/16

Women’s Liberation Up Close

Required:

  • Bloom and Breines, “She’s Leaving Home,” 406-474

WEEK 09 – The Counterculture

Monday 10/21

What Was the Counterculture?

Required:

  • Listen to or read Dr. Kramer’s “What Are We Up To This Week?”
  • Isserman and Kazin, Ch. 8, “The Making of a Youth Culture,” 141-162
  • Peter Braunstein and Michael William Doyle, Introduction, “Historicizing the American Counterculture of the 1960s and 70s,” in Imagine Nation: The American Counterculture of the 1960s and 70s, eds. Peter Braunstein and Michael William Doyle (New York: Routledge, 2002), 5-14, on Blackboard
  • Thomas Frank, “Of Commerce and Counterculture,” in The Conquest of Cool Business Culture, Counterculture, and the Rise of Hip Consumerism (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1997), on Blackboard
  • David Farber, “Building the Counterculture, Creating Right Livelihoods: The Counterculture at Work,” The Sixties: A Journal of History, Politics and Culture 6:1 (2013), 1-24, on Blackboard
  • Jeremi Suri, ” The Rise and Fall of an International Counterculture, 1960–1975,” American Historical Review114 (February 2009): 45-68, on Blackboard
  • Michael J. Kramer, “Epilogue,” The Republic of Rock: Music and Citizenship in the Sixties Counterculture (New York: Oxford University Press, 2013), 219-223, on Blackboard

Wednesday 10/23

Counterculture Up Close

Required:

  • Bloom and Breines, “Eight Miles High,” 236-299
  • Listening Mix, on Blackboard
  • Video: Summer of Love, dirs. Gail Dolgin And Vicente Franco, 2018, on Blackboard

Friday 10/25

Optional Secondary Source Analysis Revise and Resubmit Due

  • Secondary Source Analysis (see Blackboard for instructions)

WEEK 10 – The Rise of Conservatism

Monday 10/28

The Conservative Revival

Required:

  • Isserman and Kazin, Ch. 11, “The Conservative Revival,” 202-217
  • Kim Phillips-Fein, “Conservatism: A State of the Field,”Journal of American History, Volume 98, Issue 3, December 2011, Pages 723–743, on Blackboard
  • Michelle Nickerson, “Moral Mothers and Goldwater Girls,” in The Conservative Sixties, eds. David Farber and Jeff Roche (New York: Peter Lang, 2010), 51-62, on Blackboard
  • Jaime M. Pensado, “‘To Assault with the Truth’: The Revitalization of Conservative Militancy in Mexico During the Global Sixties,” The Americas70, 3 (January 2014), 489–521, on Blackboard

Wednesday 10/30

Conservatism Up Close

Required:

  • Bloom and Breines, “Love It or Leave It,” 300-342

Friday 11/01

Primary/Secondary Source Analysis Due

  • Primary/Secondary Source Analysis (see Blackboard for instructions)

WEEK 11 – 1968 

Monday 11/04

1968: Year on the Barricades

Required:

  • Isserman and Kazin, Ch. 12, “1968,” 218-236
  • Jeremy Varon, “Why we care about 1968,” The Sixties11, 2 (2018), 232-236, on Blackboard  
  • Philipp Gassert and Martin Klimke, “Introduction: 1968 from Revolt to Research,” in 1968: Memories and Legacies of a Global Revolt(Washington, DC: German Historical Institute, 2009), on Blackboard
  • Todd Gitlin, Introduction, The Whole World Is Watching: Mass Media in the Making and Unmaking of the New Left (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1980), 1-18, on Blackboard
  • Robert M. Collins, “The Economic Crisis of 1968 and the Waning of the ‘American Century,’ American Historical Review101, 2 (April 1996), 396–422, on Blackboard

Wednesday 11/06

1968 Up Close

Required:

  • Bloom and Breines, Ch. 7, “The Whole World Is Watching,” 343-405

WEEK 12 – The Wide Civil Rights Movement

Monday 11/11

Black Women and the Global Politics of Soul

Required: 

  • Tanisha C. Ford, Liberated Threads: Black Women, Style, and the Global Politics of Soul. (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2015), Introduction-Ch. 4, 1-122 

Wednesday 11/13

Black Power, Style, and Global Politics

Required: 

  • Ford, Liberated Threads, Chs. 5-Epilogue, 123-189

Friday 11/15 

Optional: Primary/Secondary Source Analysis Revise and Resubmit Due

One Document Interpretive Podcast Proposal Due

  • Primary/Secondary Source Analysis (see Blackboard for instructions)
  • One Document Interpretive Podcast Proposal (see Blackboard for instructions)

WEEK 13 – The End of the Sixties, Or Their Start? The 1970s

Monday 11/18

The End of the Sixties, Or Their Start? The 1970s

Required:

  • Isserman and Kazin, Chs. 13-14, “Many Faiths” and “‘No Cease Fire’: 1969-1974,” 237-290
  • Bloom and Breines, Ch. 9 “When the Music’s Over,” 475-538

Wednesday 11/20

Podcast Workshop 01

Required:

*above readings courtesy of Erin Davis, podcast expert, Middlebury College

Listen to one or more of the following:

WEEK 14 – Thanksgiving, No Class

WEEK 15 – Are the Sixties Over, Or Not?

Monday 12/02

Podcast Workshop 02

Required:

  • TBA

Wednesday 12/04 

One Document Interpretive Podcast Script Draft Due 

  • One Document Interpretive Podcast Script Draft (see Blackboard for instructions)

Wednesday 12/04

Conclusions and Reflections

Required:

  • Isserman and Kazin, Epilogue, 291-300
  • Bloom and Breines, Ch. 10, “For What Its Worth,” 539-562

Final Project

Wednesday 12/11 midnight

Final Project Due

  • One Document Interpretive Podcast and Final Script
  • One Document Interpretive Podcast Reflection

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