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Unit information: Sixties America and its Aftermath (Level I Lecture Response Unit) in 2015/16

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Unit name Sixties America and its Aftermath (Level I Lecture Response Unit)
Unit code HIST20052
Credit points 20
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Ms. Tricha Passes
Open unit status Open




School/department Department of History (Historical Studies)
Faculty Faculty of Arts


Emerging out of the conservatism of 1950s McCarthyism, the U.S.A during the 1960s witnessed large scale cultural and political shifts that brought about significant challenges to the status quo. Racial segregation came under increasing attack, activism against the war in Vietnam erupted, gendered stereotypical roles were contested and counter culture initiatives opened up innovative creative practices in music, literature, art and film. The 1962 Cuban missile crisis cranked up the voltage on Cold War antagonisms. The publication of Rachel Carson's Silent Spring brought a paradigm shift for environmental awareness. The assassinations of John Fitzgerald Kennedy in 1963 and Martin Luther King in 1968 highlighted many of the anxieties of the age. In 1969 as Neil Armstrong walked on the moon the Stonewall riots inaugurating gay rights broke out in Greenwich Village. The Monterey and Woodstock festivals of 1967 and 1969 demarcated a new era for music and counter culture audiences. This unit will explore the wider impact of the 1960s and its aftermath through a range of historical and cultural sources including the emergence of 'The New Left' and growth of media technology in an era dubbed the Global Village.

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this unit students will have developed: (1) a broad understanding of the ways in which American culture developed during the 1960s; (2) the ability to analyse and generalise about how and why America changed at this time and the impact those changes had on subsequent developments in America and the wider world; (3) the ability to select pertinent evidence/data in order to illustrate/demonstrate more general issues and arguments; (4) the ability to identify a particular academic interpretation, evaluate it critically, and form an individual viewpoint.

Teaching details

1 x 2-hour interactive lecture per week.

Assessment Details

One summative coursework essay of 3000 words (50%) and one unseen examination (50%). Both elements will assess ILOs 1-4.

Reading and References

Hall, Simon Peace and Freedom: The Civil Rights and Antiwar Movements in the 1960s (Philadelphia, 2005).

Woolfe, Tom The Electric Koolaid Acid Test ( Farrar Strauss Giroux, 1968)

Van Deburg, William L. New Day in Babylon: The Black Power Movement and American Culture, 1965–1975 (Chicago 1993)

Friedan, Betty The Feminine Mystique (W.W. Norton and Company Inc. 1963)

Isserman Maurice and Kazin, Michael America Divided: The Civil War of the 1960s (New York 2000)

Gitlin, Todd The Sixties: Years of Hope, Days of Rage (New York 1993); Bloom, Alexander (ed.), Long Time Gone: Sixties America Then and Now (Oxford 2001)