The history and historiography of American constitutional development in the context of social, political, and cultural change in the twentieth century.
In this course, students will prepare for the general examination. The general examination tests the student’s acquaintance with the events and historiography of a given period or topic, grasp of major issues and questions, and the ability to follow, construct, and criticize historical interpretations. During the course, the student will identify relevant readings; complete and review those readings; and explore the larger questions raised by those readings and their fields more generally.
Fifty years after the 1960s, Americans still debate what and how much changed during the era, as well as whether what changed was good for the United States or bad for it. This course will explore what was at stake in the legal, social, political, cultural, and intellectual developments of the "long 1960s"—roughly from the mid-1950s until the mid-1970s. Topics covered will include the legal history of the African American and other civil rights movements; free speech and political protest; the Vietnam War and the antiwar movement; the student movement and the New Left; Second Wave Feminism, the sexual revolution, and the gay rights movement; the Warren Court criminal procedure revolution; Black Power and radical movements; poverty, alcoholism, and skid row; hippies and the counterculture; and the rise of the New Right. Grades will be based on weekly 1-2-page papers responding to the readings and on class participation.