Discussion of new interdisciplinary course proposal: "America 1968"
- Tuesday, April 3, 2018 from 12:00pm to 1:00pm
- Jake Jabs Hall, 207 - view map
Proposed Course: America 1968
This is a proposed special interdisciplinary, multi-instructor course based on the confluence of “1968 in America.” Many historic threads of the 20th century converged in that storied year, and many of our present-day challenges can be traced back to threads passing through 1968.
A meeting to discuss the proposed course will take place April 3, 2018, noon-1PM, Jabs Hall 207. All interested faculty and staff are invited. Please come, and please bring a friend.
If you are interested in finding out more about the proposed course but cannot come on April 3, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to be added to the distribution list.
The year 1968 -- 50 years ago -- was a critical nexus of U.S. and world history, culture, political science, technology, art, sociology, music, fashion, psychology, etc., etc.
A few examples include:
- The Cold War and the Vietnam experience (the Tet Offensive was in January 1968, My Lai massacre in March)
- Civil Rights in America (Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was assassinated in 1968, and so was Robert F. Kennedy)
- The moon landing program (Apollo 8, first manned spacecraft to orbit the moon, December 1968)
- The environmental movement (Wilderness Act, 1964; National Environmental Policy Act, 1969; First Earth Day, 1970)
- The American Indian experience (AIM was founded in 1968)
- The American political party system (the tumultuous Democratic Convention in Chicago that year)
- The rise of George Wallace and Richard Nixon (Nixon elected president in 1968)
- The appearance of psychoactive drugs and the drug culture
- Hippies, Yippies, Woodstock, and the counter-culture movements ("Turn on, tune in, drop out")
- The "Pill" and the sexual revolution
- Studio music and electronic music synthesis ("Sgt. Pepper" 1967; Moog synthesizer and "Switched-On Bach" in 1968)
- Changes in music, art, film, architecture…
...and many, many more potential ideas
A single special topics course obviously cannot possibly cover every relevant thread, but the hope would be to discuss the framework and come up with a course outline involving several topics that can be intertwined in a meaningful and provocative manner using areas about which each instructor could be passionately personal.
The Course Concept
The course will contain six threads, with each thread occupying approximately two weeks of the semester. The thread topics will be conceived deliberately so that connections and cross-linkages are made clear.
The in-class format will encourage the use of multimedia: videos, film clips, audio recordings, images, examples, artifacts, etc., to create a dynamic and compelling classroom environment.
The out-of-class work will emphasize key readings, discussion, writing, and observation.
The student products will be journal entries, reading responses, essays, and a culminating activity presented by the students. The culminating activity might include posters, discussion panels, dramatic presentations, student films/music, and other creative examples.
The proposed course logistics: 3 credits, two class meetings per week (Tuesday & Thursday). Class size: TBD
The coordinating committee (instructors) for the course will first need to choose the six particular “threads” and decide who will be responsible for preparing and presenting each portion of the course.
This will likely mean six key instructors, each having a “back room” of others who contribute ideas, instructional material, or direct participation.
Besides the intellectual challenge of deciding how best to present the thread, the key instructors will need to have a set of planning meetings in which the linkages between and within the threads are highlighted. For example, an American politics thread and a music and art thread will have ways of understanding the mutual influence of these forces upon each other, and the corresponding threads will highlight the mutuality.
- 1968 course proposal draft for Fall 2019.pdf
Draft course prospectus.