ENGL 483 (Section 001, Schedule #36134)
Virginia Commonwealth University
Fall 2018
TTh 11am-12:15pm :: 407 Hibbs
Prof. David Golumbia
Office: 324D Hibbs Hall
Fall 2018 Office Hours: Thurs 12:30-3:30pm

Texts and Contexts: The 1960s

The 1960s were the most tumultuous and mythologized period in recent US history. From the Cuban Missile Crisis and Kennedy, King and Malcolm X assassinations to protests against the Vietnam War and in favor of civil rights for blacks, women, and other minority groups, to the Summer of Love and Woodstock, US culture shifted profoundly during this short period of time in ways that we have still not fully grasped. This class surveys writing (and to a lesser extent film and TV) from and about the period, taking it less as a chronological term than a cultural one, and so focusing especially on work produced in the mid-to-late 1960s and early 1970s, and on later retrospective work about the period. Writers and artists to be studied (final list to be determined) will include figures like James Baldwin, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Jr., Eldridge Cleaver, Angela Davis, Fred Turner, Emma Cline, Todd Gitlin, Diane Di Prima, Denise Levertov, Valerie Solanas, LeRoi Jones/Amiri Baraka, Richard Brautigan, Ann Charters, Ken Kesey, Thomas Pynchon, Andy Warhol, The Velvet Underground, and Bob Dylan, and works like Star Trek, Shaft, Easy Rider, The Manchurian Candidate, Hair, Land of the Giants, Don’t Look Back, and Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea. The class will be taught mostly by discussion. Student work will include short papers, vigorous class participation, and a presentation.


Texts for purchase (no specific editions are required):

Assignments and Evaluation

Evaluation will be based on written exercises and course participation as follows:

Course-Specific Policies

Official VCU Policy Statements

Please consult the Provost's official page on topics such as classroom conduct, email, the Honor System, and other important policy issues.

Week-by-Week Syllabus

Given the organization of the course, the topic names given each week are approximations at best; we'll keep returning to iterations of the same topics as the semester goes on. Each week has a primary text to read or watch, as listed here; in some cases more detail is provided on a weekly reading list.

Week 1. Introduction

Week 2. SDS, "Port Huron Statement"

Week 3. The Black Power Mixtape, 1967-1975

Week 4. Baldwin, The Fire Next Time

Week 5. Wolfe, The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test

Week 6. Davis, Autobiography

Week 7. No classes, instructor away

Week 8. Stanley, Owsley & Me

Week 9. New York City, Warhol

Week 10. Stern, With the Weathermen

Week 11. No classes, instructor away

Week 12. Shakur, Assata

Week 13. Cline, The Girls

Week 14. Student Protest

Week 15. Papers & Manson Family

Week 16. Spiotta, Eat the Document

Final project is due by the end of the final exam period, 10:50am, Thurs, Dec 13, 2018, per the registrar's exam schedule. The project or paper should be submitted on Blackboard. No late papers can be accepted for the final paper assignment. There is no other final exam for the course.

Last updated December 2, 2018.