The authors would like to thank Rod Kedward and Bill Osgerby for their insights, and those former and current students who took the trouble to respond to the written questionnaire.
Investigating the sixties at a sixties institution: teaching as historiography†
Article first published online: 14 OCT 2013
Copyright © 2013 Institute of Historical Research
Volume 87, Issue 235, pages 154–177, February 2014
How to Cite
Robinson, L. and Warne, C. (2014), Investigating the sixties at a sixties institution: teaching as historiography. Historical Research, 87: 154–177. doi: 10.1111/1468-2281.12038
- Issue published online: 16 JAN 2014
- Article first published online: 14 OCT 2013
- 1With any historical discussion, questions are inevitably raised about the scope of eras and periods. In relation to the 1960s, it is commonplace to refer to a ‘long sixties’ that exceeds the strictly chronological bounds of the period, in part to capture the sense that widespread and accelerated change was occurring across the fields of politics culture and society (see The Sixties: Cultural Revolution in Britain, France, Italy, and the United States, c.1958–c.1974 (Oxford, 1998)). Throughout this article, we refer to the period as ‘the sixties’ to evoke this sense of a wider change.,
- 2Roundtable: 20th-century British history in North America’, Twentieth Century British Hist., xxi (2010), 375–418, at pp. 377–8., , and . ‘
- 3Editorial: history's value’, History Workshop Jour., lxxii (2011), 1–4;The importance of studying the past’, History Workshop Jour., lxxii (2011), 258–267;Intellectual pluralism and the future of British history’, History Workshop Jour., lxxii (2011), 212–221, at pp. 218–20;“A continuing supply of history”: thoughts from the archive’, History Workshop Jour., lxxii (2011), 249–255.and , ‘
- 5First offered to final-year undergraduate history students in 1992, it was listed as an optional choice from a range that has included such topics as ‘Fascisms’, ‘Empire’, ‘Revolutions’ and ‘Enlightenment’, and presented according to a model that had existed since the founding of the university in the early 1960s. This expressed the desire to present thematic and comparative approaches to history, and can be viewed as characteristic of history at Sussex. The course itself has consistently attracted large numbers of students, generally around 50% of the cohort. While this percentage has remained pretty constant, it should be noted that class sizes have increased from around 7–8 students in the mid 1990s, to 15–18 in the early 2000s, to a current norm of 22–4, with obvious ramifications for teaching practice. The course covers the years 1956–73, while geographical coverage includes Britain, western mainland Europe and the United States, as well as east Europe, Mexico, Australia and China.
- 6The recent introduction of increasingly interactive virtual or e-learning has significant implications for our understanding of teaching as history, not least because of its implications for course delivery in the current economic climate, but also through the potential impact of student-generated course materials and a more integrated use of audio-visual primary evidence. In this respect, the ‘virtual sixties’ would be a theme to explore in future research.
- 7Nym Mayhall and others, p. 378.
- 8Emeritus professor of history and founding member of the History Group at Sussex, Roderick Kedward established his reputation principally as a historian of contemporary France, most notably through his pioneering studies of the French Resistance. Drawing on perspectives developed in anthropology and life history, Kedward sought to reconstruct the total world of resistance in a way that did justice both to its local and particular expressions, and to its broader social, political and cultural significance (Resistance in Vichy France: a Study of Ideas and Motivation in the Southern Zone, 1940–2 (Oxford, 1978) and In Search of the Maquis: Rural Resistance in Southern France, 1942–4 (Oxford, 1993)).,
- 9Bill Osgerby was himself a graduate of the University of Sussex, and has moved from a history background into media and cultural studies. His D.Phil. undertaken at Sussex was published as Youth in Britain since 1945 (Oxford, 1998). Now professor of media, culture and communications at London Metropolitan University, he continues to focus on youth and subcultural identities, producing numerous articles and books on youth, media and new media technologies.
- 10Where the bright girls go’, Falmer Magazine, xxix (Summer 1998), 17., ‘
- 11The New History: Confessions and Conversations (Cambridge, 2002), p. 33.,
- 12Winepress (1966) (cited in Skinner, p. 17).
- 13The Sixties Papers: Documents of a Rebellious Decade, ed. J. C. Albert and S. E. Albert (New York, 1984), pp. xv–xvii.
- 14‘The sixties without apology’, ed. S. Sayres and others, Social Text, iii–iv (Spring–Summer 1984).
- 15‘Takin’ it to the Streets’: a Sixties Reader, ed. A. Bloom and W. Breines (New York, 1995), p. 15. Albert and Albert also insisted on the need to treat the various social movements as an integrated phenomenon (p. xv).
- 16R. Fraser , 1968: a Student Generation in Revolt (1988).
- 17The Vietnam Era: Media and Popular Culture in the US and Vietnam, ed. M. Klein (1989), p. 8.
- 18In their edited reader aimed at high school students, James Haskins and Kathleen Benson draw on Arthur Schlesinger's notion of 30-year cycles in American history, swinging between poles of materialism and private purpose at home and a willingness to intervene in world affairs, on the one hand, and a sense of selflessness and public purpose at home and an unwillingness to intervene directly in the affairs of other countries, on the other. Viewing the 1960s as marked by the latter impulse, they present their reader as a necessary education for a new generation about to experience a swing back towards it (The Sixties Reader, ed. J. Haskins and K. Benson (New York, 1988), p. 3–4).
- 19R. Hewison , Too Much: Art and Society in the Sixties, 1960–75 (1986).
- 20The Feminist Challenge: the Movement for Women's Liberation in Britain and the USA (New York, 1983).,
- 21D. Caute , Sixty-Eight: the Year of the Barricades (1988); , The Fire Last Time: 1968 and After (1988).
- 22Introduction’, in The Sixties: from Memory to History, ed. D. R. Farber (Chapel Hill, N.C., 1994), pp. 1–7, at p. 1., ‘
- 23Introduction’, p. 5., ‘
- 24Introduction’, p. 5., ‘
- 25Introduction’, p. 2., ‘
- 26Introduction’, p. 2., ‘
- 2717., p.
- 28Introduction’, p. 2. Marwick chose his starting dates not based on any particular event, but on the assertion that social and cultural developments, especially the growing power of young people, changes in family relationships and the new standards of sexual behaviour, really take hold at that time. His end point is marked by the first noticeable effects of the oil crises, but also by U.S. withdrawal from Vietnam, and the introduction of significant social reforms in France and Italy. Despite the consistent presence of Marwick's lengthy book on the course reading list since its publication, it is his periodization that is certainly the most quoted aspect of his work in student coursework., ‘
- 29Introduction’, p. 2., ‘
- 31Introduction’, p. 3., ‘
- 32585., p.
- 3315., p.
- 34The Times Were a Changin' the Sixties Reader, ed. I. Unger and D. Unger (New York, 1998), p. 13.
- 35The Imaginary Revolution: Parisian Students and Workers in 1968 (New York, 2004); , Protest Movements in 1960s West Germany: a Social History of Dissent and Democracy (Oxford, 2003).,
- 36Radio Free Dixie: Robert F. Williams and the Roots of Black Power (Chapel Hill, N.C., 1999); , The Spirit and the Shotgun: Armed Resistance and the Struggle for Civil Rights (Gainesville, Fla., 2007).,
- 37The Sixties Unplugged: a Kaleidoscopic History of a Disorderly Decade (2008).,
- 38The Conservative Sixties, ed. D. R. Farber and J. Roche (New York, 2003).
- 39Never had it so Good: a History of Britain from Suez to the Beatles (2005); , White Heat: a History of Britain in the Swinging Sixties (2006).,
- 40The ‘Other’ Alliance: Student Protest in West Germany and the United States in the Global Sixties (Princeton, N.J., 2009). See also Changing the World, Changing Oneself: Political Protest and Collective Identities in West Germany and the U.S. in the 1960s and 1970s, ed. B. Davis and others (Oxford, 2010).,
- 41Memories of 1968: International Perspectives, ed. I. Cornils and S. Waters (Bern, 2010); Between Prague Spring and French May: Opposition and Revolt in Europe, 1960–80, ed. M. Klimke , J. Pekelder and J. Scharloth (Oxford, 2011); ‘Historising: 1968 and the long sixties’, ed. A. Dialla , V. Karamanolakis and K. Kornetis , Historein, ix (2009), 46–56; ‘1968: memories and legacies of a global revolt’, ed. P. Gassert and M. Klimke , Bull. German Hist. Inst., suppl. vi (2009).
- 42There is a history of students campaigning for the reinstatement of courses at Sussex: in 2007 a student occupation on Sussex campus included the reinstatement of a third-year special subject, ‘May 1968: origins, impacts, afterlives’, in its lists of demands.
- 43The course still attracts almost half of the history students, on a par with the most oversubscribed courses (‘1942: the Holocaust’ and ‘Britain in the Second World War’).
- 44Black and Green: the Fight for Civil Rights in Northern Ireland and Black America (1998); , Bringing the War Home: the Weather Underground, the Red Army Faction, and Revolutionary Violence in the Sixties and Seventies (Berkeley, Calif., 2004).,