The Politics and Culture of the 1960s

Few decades in American life carry as much meaning as the 1960s. Simply hearing the phrase “the sixties” conjures up meaning, ideas, or images to most Americans. The 1960s have a mythic quality in our political and cultural life. The civil rights movement, the Vietnam War, feminism, student movements, hippies and counterculture, rock and roll, Motown, Camelot, The Great Society, and assassinations were all key components of the 1960s and had a tremendous impact on American life. This course will engage questions that will allow us to critically examine how the 1960s became a decade of profound social, cultural, and political change. Why were people struggling for social and cultural change in American society during the 1960s? How did social movements affect American politics? What is the relationship between cultural and political change during the 1960s? How did American culture and media represent and reflect movements for social and political change in the 1960s? What has been the lasting impact of backlash and resistance to social and cultural change in the 1960s? How and why did the 1960s foster both liberal and conservative ideas and movements? Lastly, why do ideas and debates about “the sixties” continue to resonate and remain important in America?

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