To many Americans, the 1960s was a decade characterized by idealism, protest, and youthful rebellion in support of social equality. To others, it was a time when the morality, authority, and discipline of the country collapsed. Fascination with “the sixties” remains strong today but many of the decade's lessons are lost in hype, misinformation, ideological bias, and wishful thinking. We’ll cut through the confusion to better understand the significance of the era. Drawing on the work of social scientists, historians, writers, filmmakers, and cultural critics, we’ll examine the major protest movements of the sixties. Our main focus will be on the US civil rights movement, but we will also consider other movements such as the anti-Vietnam War, New Left, and feminist movements. We’ll study the conservative (new right) reaction to protest, the impacts of the civil rights movements on other movements, the achievements and shortfalls of the movements, and the influence of activism on the lives of activists, in our attempt to assess the legacies of the sixties. Finally, we’ll move our focus to the modern era, assessing what 1960s movements can tell us about recent and current social movements.


4 sh

Course Types

Society; Sociology Elective; Anthropology Elective;African/African-Amer Elective; Peace and Conflict Studies Elective; American Studies Elective


Offered Fall, Winter, Spring, and Summer.


  • Fall
  • Spring
  • Winter
  • Summer

Previous Course Number

SOC 344

Course Outcomes

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