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Sixties Project
Syllabus Collection

General Sixties Courses | Literature Film & Popular Culture | Viet Nam War

Berkeley and the 1960s

Professor: M.M. Lovell
Institution: University of California at Berkeley
Date: Spring 1994
Listing: American Studies 10
Class meetings: 90 minutes, twice weekly. Additional 1 hour section.


  • Philip Caputo, A Rumor of War
  • Rachel Carson, Silent Spring
  • Betty Friedan, The Feminine Mystique
  • Todd Gitlin, The Sixties: Years of Hope, Days of Rage
  • Malcolm Margolin, The Ohlone Way
  • Ann Moody, Coming of Age in Mississippi
  • Don Pitcher, Berkeley Inside/Out
  • Howell Raines, My Soul is Rested
  • W.J. Rorabaugh, Berkeley at War: The 1960s
  • Wallace Terry, Bloods
  • G.B. Trudeau, A Few Bugs in the System
  • Kurt Vonnegut, Cat's Cradle
  • Tom Wolfe, The Right Stuff


The object of this course is to introduce students to important methods of analysis used in American Studies as a field and to the two organizing principles of American Studies as practiced at UCB: time and place. Secondly, it also seeks to introduce students to the subjects pertinent to an interdisciplinary consideration of the 1960s as a cultural era and Berkeley as a place. This course serves as the foundation of the major in American Studies.


There is no midterm; there is a final exam. Students write three 5-page papers. The proportions that these various components will count toward the final grade will be decided by the class. Enrolled students are expected to attend all lectures, films, and sections (sections will meet every week of term); they are responsible for all readings, other assignments, and discussions. Assignments which are gathered in the Reader are indicated with (R) on this syllabus.

Two of the maps are available from the Map Center at 2440 Bancroft; they are "Richmond" and "Oakland East." The other two maps ("Briones Valley" and "Oakland West" are out of print and therefore they are included (partially) in photocopy form in the Reader. If you wish to look at the originals you may go tot he University Map Room.

Paper Assignments:

Four essays are noted here and on your syllabus; you will elect three of these that you wish to do. In this series of three essays you will have an opportunity to integrate knowledge from a variety of sources into cohesive pieces of writing. Personal experience, oral history, library research, object analysis, and textual analysis will all play a part.

Each essay will be 5 pages, typed, double-spaced (font size 10 or 12; one inch margins), proofread and in on time. Please conform to the conventions of English analytical prose as you have mastered them in your earlier courses. For matters about which you are unsure, please refer to Fred Crews' Random House Handbook. For your convenience we have included in the Reader his remarks on documentation as this in particular often confuses students. Generally speaking, footnote (or indicate in parenthetical notes) all sources that contributed to your thinking and writing. Do not include a bibliography; any source that has been useful to you should be indicated in your footnotes.

Drafts: Your GSIs are willing to read drafts (a draft is an essay received by the GSI at least one week before that essay is due). They will give you no-fault feedback on strategy, data content, and argument; they do not do editorial sentence-mending but may give you general pointers on grammatical problems as well as comments onn the intellectual content of your paper. It is important that you show your GSI your best work so that s/he may more effectively coach you toward improvement.

Late Papers: Late essays present difficulties for the graders and threaten the equality of opportunity among enrolled students. For this reason, students handing in one instance of late work (for whatever reason) will find these consequences:

  • no comments on that essay, oral or written; just a grad
  • while the grade of this one late paper will not be penalized, the student's grade for the course will go down if it is a borderline situation (i.e., if the course grade is on the border between B and B- the lower grade will be assigned).
  • if subsequent essays are late, they will be marked down.

Paper I: Berkeley Streetscape Analysis, due in section the week of 2/9, 10.

Noting the social context, the physical topography, the built environment, the sounds, smells, density, geology, flora, and fauna of each section of your route, take two walks in Berkeley and compare them:

  1. Take the #43 bus which stops on the south side of Shattuck at University as it travels north on Shattuck Ave. Continue on it through the Solano Tunnel. Get off at the second stop after the tunnel and walk uphill on the left side of Solano. As you cross the Alameda you will see steps in front of you leading up Indian Rock Path; follow this path (continuing your observations) until it ends at Indian Rock and then climb the rock (using the steps) and study the prospect(s) from the summing. To return to the University you can retrace your steps or you can follow Shattuck Ave. south, picking up the bus where the street widens at Shattuck Square.
  2. Starting at Sather Gate walk south down Telegraph Ave. six blocks (to Parker) noting evidence in the same categories you noted on your first walk.

Back home, study the same terrain on your Geologic Survey Maps of Berkeley and construct your essay comparing these three elements: walk 1, walk 2, and map. (You may also draw, if you wish, on other readings and lectures in this course, but the focus should be on these three elements. If you would like, you may supplement your verbal discussion with drawings or photographs. Note what kinds of information are available to you from what sources, and what deductions you can only draw indirectly. How is the knowledge of Berkeley's cultural geography that you gain by studying the maps different from that you gain by studying specific streetscapes? What kinds of questions remain unanswered from either source?

Paper II: Autobiography-Interview Essay, due in section week of March 2,3.

Interview one individual who was in the U.S. (and at least a teenager) during the decade of the 1960s concerning the Vietnam War or the Civil Rights Movement, drawing out their personal experience (and their second-hand experience through the media) of events they found personally significant or culturally dramatic. A parent, a teacher, a 40- or 50-something friend or acquaintance, a grandparent would all be suitable choices. You may find it useful to take some time to frame your questions before you call or meet with them. Then construct an essay drawing together your insights from this interview with your reading of Caputo or Moody. You may also draw on your other readings, but be sure to focus on the nature and uses of personal narrative in understanding historic events and cultural processes.

Paper III: Essay on Song Lyric: due in section week of April 13, 14.

Select at least two carefully chosen songs written or popular in the U.S. during the 1960s and, transcribing the lyrics, analyze them within the context of the set of readings in this course, bringing in other data if it seems useful. While the selection of songs is up to you, they must be sufficiently rich in images and potential meanings to enable you to discuss their connection to the events and ideas of the period. For instance, Aretha Franklin's "Respect," Woody Guthries' "This Land is Your Land," or Bob Dylan's "Subterranean Homesick Blues" would be good choices. If you are already familiar with either of the films we will see later in the course (Yellow Submarine, The Graduate) you might enjoy including one of the songs from these projects or from Hair, bringing in your analysis of how it works filmicly. Be sure to include the complete lyrics of both songs as an appendix to your essay and include basic data concerning the songwriter, the release date, etc. If you like, discuss how the muscial qualities of the song interact with the verbal elements.

Paper IV: Object Essay, due in section week of May 4, 5.

Selecting one of the following objects in the Oakland Museum, write a careful description and analysis of the object, drawing on your readings and experience in this course, and on your own research.

  1. 1960s Bay Area dressing table/altar
  2. 1960s Bay Area Indian regalia

These objects are in the Oakland Museum ("The California Dream," the history section).

Section 1: Berkeley as a Place

1/18: Introduction to the course

1/20: Topography, geography, geology, flora, fauna of the Berkely region. (Eric Edland, Dept of Geography)

Assignment: study Geologic Survey Maps

1/25: PreColumbian and PostColonial Native Americans in/of the region. (M. Wolfson, English Department)

Assignment: Malcolm Margolin, The Ohlone Way: 1-58; 95-102; 145-170
Evening film: Berkeley in the 1960s (118 minutes)

1/27: The Native Americans of Berkeley; Spanish Exploration and Settlement. (Malcolm Margolin, independent scholar; publisher)

Assignment: Don Pitcher, Berkeley Inside/Out: 7-16

2/1: Dean Berkeley ("Westward the Course of Empire"); Manifest Destiny and the ideology of a University in the wilderness.

Assignment: (R) Berleley, "Prospect..."

2/3: Looking at cultural landscape; recognizing a healthy landscape. (Paul Groth, Departments of Landscape and Architecture)

Assignment: Don Pitcher, Berkeley: 165-186.
(R) Pierce Lewis, "Axioms for Reading the Landscape," from Meinig, ed., The Interpretation of Ordinary Landscape.

2/8: Berkeley and the Bay Area landscape, 1850-1960. (Richard Walker, Dept. of Geography)

Assignment: study geologic Survey Maps, Pitcher, Berkeley: 355-358. Walking excerise, essay due in section.

2/10: U.C. Berkeley, The Early Years. (James Long, Dept. of History)

Assignment: Don Pitcher, Berkeley: 17-85; 205-233 (R) Charles S. Greene, "The University of California: A Birdseye of Recent Progress," Overland Monthly 31 (series 2), c. 1899: 451-466.

Section 2: The 1960s as a Cultural Era

2/15: Civil Rights Turbulance-1 (Tod Gitlin, Dept. of Sociology)

Assignment: Todd Gitlin, The Sixties: Years of Hope, Days of Rage: 11-35; 45-54; 81-109. (R) John F. Kennedy, Inaugural Address, 1/20/1961. "The Port Huran Statement," in Massimo Teodori, ed., The New Student Left: A Dcumentary History: 163-1972.
Evening film: Eyes on the Prize: Ain't Scared of Your Jails, 1960-61 (part 3, 45 min.) and "Mississippi--Is This America? 1962-64" (part 5, 45 min.)

2/17: No lecture (in exchange for evening films) 2/22: Civil Rights Turbulence-2

Assignment: Anne Moody, Coming of Age in Mississippi (all). Howell Raines, My Soul is Rested: 37-129; 139-185; 233-290. (R) Martin Luther King, "Letter from Brimingham Jail"
Evening film: The Anderson Platoon (63 min.) and Dear America: Letters from Vietnam or America Against Itself

2/24: Vietnam war and its opposition-1 (S. Rawlings, Dept of Social Welfare)

Assignment: Philip Caputo, A Rumor of War: xiii-197; George C. Herring, America's Longest War: The United States and Vietnam, 1950-1975: 73-185.

3/1: Vietnam War and its opposition-2

Assignment: Philip Caputo, A Rumor of War: 201-328. (R) Wallace Terry, Bloods: An Oral History of the Vietnam War by Black Veterans: xiii-xvi; 1-15; 53-62. Autobiography-interview essay due in section.

3/3: No lecture (in exchange for evening film) 3/8: Early feminism

Assignment: Betty Friedan, The Feminine Mystique: 15-68; 103-125; 150-205; 338-378. (R) documents from Sara Evans, Personal Politics: The Roots of Women's Liberation in the Civil Rights Movement and the New Left. Ellen Willis, "Radical Feminism and Feminist Racialism," in Sohnya Sayres et al., eds., The Sixties Without Apology: 91-118.

3/10: Consumer activism

Assignment: (R) Ralph Nader, Unsafe at Any Speed: 119-137, 171-188.

3/15: Early environmentalism

Assignment: Rachel Carson, Silent Spring (all)
Evening film: Hair.

3/17: Body politics: Twiggy, hair, and bellbottoms (B. Haiken, Dept. of History)

Assignment: Betty Friedan, The Feminine Mystique: 206-232; 258-281. (R) Gloria Steinem, "I was a Playboy Bunny." Ann Koedt, "The Myth of the Vaginal Orgasm."

3/22: Youth Culture and the university

Assignment: Gitlin, The Sixties: 214-221. (R) G.B. Trudeau, A Few Bugs in the System.

2/24: Space Race

Assignment: Tom Wolfe, The Right Stuff (all)

2/28-4/1: Spring break 4/5: Literature

Assignment: Kurt Vonnegut, Cat's Cradle (all). (R) poems in Reader.

4/7: Painting, architecture, sculpture

Assignment: Walk through Barrows Hall; spend an hour in the U. Art Museum looking at 1960s objects on view: 2625 Durant, free with UCB ID.

4/12: Music: Popular culture and counterculture: Beatles, B. Dylan, Woodie Guthrie, P. Simon, etc. (Kathleen Moran, Joe Sartell, Steve Rubio, et al.)

Assignment: listen to selected 60s songs. Gitlin, The Sixties: 195-214. Essay on song lyric due in section. Evening film: Yellow Submarine

4/14: Social activism and urban renewal.

Assignment: Michael Harrington, The Other America: to be assigned.

III. Berkeley in the 1960s

4/19: Protest and Response at UC Berkeley-1

Assignment: W.J. Rorabaugh, Berkeley at War: The 1960s: 8-166. (R) Nathan Glazer, "What Happened at Berkeley," and Mario Savio, "The Berkeley Rebellion of 1964" in Katopes and Zolbrod, eds, Beyond Berkeley: 43-66; 83-89. Evening film: Berkeley in the 1960s

4/21: Protest and Response at UC Berkeley-2

Assignment: (R) Paul Goodman, "Berkeley in February," Dissent (Spring, 1965): 161-75. Sheldon S. Wolin and John HJ. Schaar, "A Special Supplement: Berkeley and the Fate of the Multiversity," New York Review of Books, March 11, 1965: 15-18.

4/26: Music in the Bay Area in the 1960s (Katherine Bergerson, Dept. of Music)

Evening film: The Graduate

4/28: Looking at film as a cultural product (Kathleen Moran, Division of Undergraduate and Interdisciplinary Studies)

Assignment: (R) Graeme Turner, Film as a Social Practice: 42-64

5/3: "Tofu Politics": Berkeley and the Culture of Food, 1960-93

Assignment: Pitcher: 253-263; 281-296. Read menu posted by sidewalk at Chez Panisse, 1517 Shattuck Ave. (R) Frances Moore Lappe, Diet for a Small Planet, Part I. Object essay due in section.

5/5: Concluding lecture 5/20, 12:30-3:30: Exam

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