Race and Rage: A History of Civil Rights, the Counterculture, and the Conservative Counterrevolution

Spring 2017 quarter

Taught by

This program examines the political, social, and cultural rise of the modern right beginning with the election of Lyndon Baines Johnson and the passage of the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts of 1964 and 1965. The first third of this program will survey the political and social history of the modern Civil Rights Movement before assessing, in depth, the conservative “counterrevolution,” in part as a reaction to the rising visibility and popularity of counterculture. Our study of civil rights will remain focused on the words and actions of participants while considering the tension between "high and low politics," culture wards, and the importance of democratic movements in American life. As we transition to the conservative counterrevolution for the greater portion of our studies, we will assess the politics of the last fifty years through political, social, and cultural lenses that will incorporate plays, historical texts, primary documents, films, and documentaries.  In addition to assessing how Civil Rights affected politics, this program will also look at its effect on popular culture, specifically on the counterculture and its fallout, with special attention paid to the music of that movement.  The nature of reform and importance of mass movements in American politics will remain central to our studies.

Program meetings will include lecture, seminar, small-group work, and play reading as well as film and or documentary screenings. Students are expected to write two ten-page integrative essays and weekly seminar responses, participate in reader’s theater, prepare two visual assignments, and contribute to a final collaborative group project. By the end of the quarter students will have a firm understanding of late twentieth-century American history, culture, and politics as well as exposure to historical methodology and experience with integrative historical writing.

Program Details

Fields of Study

history literature

Preparatory For

humanities, united states history, politics, government, and education.


Spring Open

Location and Schedule

Campus Location


Time Offered


Online Learning

No Required Online Learning


2017-01-11New spring opportunity added.