Tuesday, April 11, 2006

com 495

i began class today by showing pictures of the huge marches that had taken place in dallas and in los angeles. we meet in a pretty cool computer lab and i can project images from my computer to a large screen (about 8 feet by 8 feet) on the wall. i asked students to get out of their seats and approach the screen for a better look. i wanted them to see what a half a million people look like.

today, we mostly discussed "underground channels," chapter two from todd gitlin's the sixties. the chapter suggests that seeds for what was to become the sixties can be seen in some elements of fifties culture. gitlin focuses on three things: movies, comics, and music. the discussion was really great and all of us were thinking on all cylindars. we could have used way more time on this chapter. we discussed the fact that gitlin's perspective is gendered -- mostly male and mostly white. and then we talked about adding new stories and new voices and new heroes to our collective history.

on wednesday, we're going to try to build two wiki entries - two biographies. rosa parks and allen ginsberg. those two, and especially those two together, immediately illuminate issues of race, of gender, of sexuality, of religion, of nationality. plus, they illuminate individual courage and collective tenacity. i have no idea what the students will build on wednesday and i can't wait.

today, a student asked if she could bring her mother to class. so, about 3 or 4 minutes before class began, i entered the classroom and asked the students who were already there, about 15-20, "hey, is it cool if one of your fellow student's mom attends class today?" everyone said, "yeah." i'm psyched that a student wanted to bring her mom to class.


At 4/11/2006 5:19 AM, Blogger jeremy said...

underground, word of mouth, republic of letters type channels existed before though.... i tend to think that a key point of the 60's social movements is that television started showing something very close to reality in the news. there was a new journalism and a new type of and generation of journalists presenting the world in a way that hadn't been done before on television. i tend to think that the prior constitution of the the mass audience of television allowed and even thus encouraged the concretization of the underground, and when television reporting changed in the 60's, along with the population of youth, this caused a metaphorical explosion and the new social movments. media enabling mass movements, and specifically tv enabling them, isn't that new of an idea. there is a nice paragraph or two about it in the book 1968.

At 4/11/2006 1:27 PM, Anonymous david silver said...

yeah, i hear ya jeremy - good point. i think what i (and gitlin) was trying to do is to suggest that the sixties (whatever that means!) didn't begin on january 1, 1960. rather, it sort of crept up through various veins - from the 1950s, from war years, from times of slavery, from times of genocide, etc. but, in a 10-week course on something as complext as the 1960s, we had to begin somewhere and that was the 1950s and movies, comics, and music. but i hear ya!

At 4/11/2006 7:46 PM, Blogger kq said...


ho hum on mrs. parks.

have them wiki on claudette colvin, the teenager who preceeded her in the movement's work that summer, but who got pregnant along the way. or on highlander folk school where mrs. parks and others learned the possibilities of radical work from union organizers and activists.

and get them to look at the NARA.gov files on the parks case. there's lots of good data and primary sources on-line to get them looking around at african american freedom struggles beyond the iconic figures and cast of characters.

and by the way, i want you to know i had absolutely nothing to do with proof's shooting. R.I.P. much love much respect: D12 i mean D11.

At 4/12/2006 7:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are you going to discuss the ways in which the Right have learned from the 60's?

At 4/13/2006 9:36 AM, Anonymous david silver said...

Are you going to discuss the ways in which the Right have learned from the 60's?

sounds like an interesting and relevant topic. a lot of what we discuss depends on the students and the directions they take the conversations. if we were to explore this topic, do you have any readings to suggest?

At 4/13/2006 1:45 PM, Blogger Derek Baird said...

Another good student resource is MemoryArchive, the encyclopedia of memories.

Students can go there and read first person perspectives/narratives on the events that shaped history. And they can also contribute their own memories to the archive.

In this example, a MemoryArchive participant shares his experience hearing Dr. King speak at the 1963 March on Washington, D.C.

Sounds like an excellent course!



At 4/18/2006 12:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Chapters 4 and 5 of Suburan Warriors talk about the lead-up to and aftermath of Goldwater's loss in 1964 and the direction the GOP went afterwards...you can talk about the obvious stuff like the famous anti-Goldwater ad that the LBJ campaign ran, the JFK-Nixon debates in 1960. But also grass-roots activism (anti-choice movement), the positioning of conservative Christians as being a persecuted segment of society, being able to control and frame the national discourse through language and media (cf George Lakoff). I think it would be cool because it connects what happened in the 60's to what's happening today. Also, have you checked out the doc The Power of Nightmares which traces roots of the war on terror from the immediate post-WW2 era to now.


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