History Department
History Department

R. Joseph Parrott

Master of Public Policy, University of Virginia

R. Joseph Parrott



American Politics, Cold War Foreign Policy and International Relations, Southern Africa, Late Lusophone Colonialism, Decolonization, International Civil Rights


HIS 317L • The Sixties: Protest/Soc Pltcs

38487 • Spring 2016
Meets MWF 1200pm-100pm GAR 0.132

Ask most Americans to summarize the 1960s in one word and you are likely to get a familiar set of responses: hippies, Woodstock, and Vietnam. None of these keywords would be wrong, but the decade was more complex. Ideological debates and the trauma of war challenged entrenched American traditions, creating opportunities for many new forms of individual and political expression. A variety of movements worked together and independently during this period to alter fundamental characteristics of the nation. As a result, many of the cherished ideas of the immediate postwar era gave way to more skeptical, diverse, and in some ways democratic visions of the United States, paving the way for Ronald Reagan, grassroots campaigning, and the age of identity politics. 

In this class, we will explore a sampling of these social debates and movements, which will celebrate the full diversity that typified this period of questioning and transition. Themes will include civil rights, anti-war protest, government cynicism, environmentalism, ethnic nationalism, women’s rights, and national morality. Together, we will seek to identify what common elements of protest, skepticism, hope, experimentation, internationalism, and reform allow historians to define events as belonging to the single conceptual and chronological decade of the 1960s.



Lisa McGirr, Suburban Warriors: The Origins of the New American Right (Princeton, 2002)

Doug Rossinow, The Politics of Authenticity: Liberalism, Christianity, and the New Left in America (Columbia, 1998)

Brian Ward, ed. 1960s: A Documentary Reader (Blackwell-Wiley, 2009)

Additional short articles and multimedia will be posted on Canvas

Curriculum Vitae

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