This seminar investigates the literature, film, music, and philosophy of what some historians have termed “the long sixties” (starting in the late 1950s and ending in the 1970s). The sixties saw an explosion of youth culture as the baby boomers came of age, a media revolution with the rise of TV, and the triumph of new postcolonial states as classical European colonialism drew to a belated close. Yet the memory of the 1960s is disputed. Was this a time of repression on a vast scale or of a great flowering of political consciousness? Did radically liberatory forms of subjectivity begin to assert themselves in the sixties, or did the Cold War instead create a geopolitical order of stifling Manichaeism and unprecedented violence? With these questions in mind, we’ll look at conflicts, social movements, and sexual revolution in comparative perspective. The class will devote special attention to archival material, in both digital and physical collections, culminating in independent student research projects. Authors read might include Aimé Césaire, Guy Debord, Mavis Gallant, Frantz Fanon, José Craveirinha, Elena Poniatowska, Donald Barthelme, Venedikt Erofeev, Assia Djebar, and Carla Lonzi (specifically, her pamphlet, “Let’s Spit on
Hegel”); we will watch films by Tomás Gutiérrez Alea, Gillo Pontecorvo, Ingmar Bergman, and Rosa von
Praunheim; and we listen to music from Sun Ra, Nina Hagen, and the 1967 Brazilian TV Record Contest.