Making Sense of 'the Sixties' in the USA

Organized thematically and chronologically, this course examines the history of the 1960s in the United States to shed light on why these years were so important and their larger meaning and legacy.
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Course outline

  • Topic 1: Civil Rights and White Resistance
    Discusses the civil rights movement’s struggles and successes in the 1960s as well as white resistance to the movement. As civil rights activists battled against racial segregation and disenfranchisement, other Americans sought to defend the existing system of white supremacy.
  • Topic 2: The Liberalism of JFK and LBJ Meets the New Right
    Covers the connections and conflicts between the two political ideologies of liberalism and conservatism. Although the decade of the 1960s is known as an important period for political liberalism, it also was the birth of modern American conservatism.
  • Topic 3: The American War in Vietnam and Antiwar Activism
    Examines the causes, course, and consequences of US military intervention in Vietnam over the ‘long Sixties’, including the growth and impact of anti-Vietnam War movements.
  • Topic 4: High, Low, Pop, Counter (and Co-opted) Cultures
    Explores cultural developments during the decade in American art, fiction, music, and movies, as well as among members of the counterculture, or so-called ‘hippies.’ Even if co-opted by consumerism, such cultural change is considered one of the decade’s longest-lasting legacies.
  • Topic 5: Protest Movements and Backlash
    Surveys the kaleidoscope of movements that emerged over the 1960s in the US—including Black Power, the American Indian Movement, the Chicano Movement, women’s and gay liberation movements, and the modern environmental movement—and the backlash against them.

Learning outcomes

Demonstrate greater knowledge and understanding of the history, meanings, legacies of the ‘long Sixties’ in the USA.

Who should attend?

Lifelong learners interested in the USA in the 1960s.


  • 5 x Wednesdays, 1 - 29 May, 10am – 12pm
  • $150.00 incl. GST
  • The University of Auckland, City Campus
  • Presented by Jennifer Frost

Seminar presenter

Jennifer Frost

Jennifer Frost

I am a United States women’s historian, focused on social, cultural, and political developments in the twentieth-century United States. I am the author of several books, including my first on the Sixties: An Interracial Movement of the Poor: Community Organizing and the New Left in the 1960s, published by New York University Press in 2001, and named a Choice Outstanding Academic Title. My new research returns me to the era, as I am working on the campaign for youth voting rights in the United States, which culminated in the 26th Amendment to the Constitution in 1971.

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