American Culture in the 1960s

American Culture in the 1960s

American Culture in the 1960s

American Culture in the 1960s

Synopsis

This book charts the changing complexion of American culture in one of the most culturally vibrant of twentieth-century decades. It provides a vivid account of the major cultural forms of 1960s America - music and performance; film and television; fiction and poetry; art and photography - as well as influential texts, trends and figures of the decade: from Norman Mailer to Susan Sontag; from Muhammad Ali's anti-war protests to Tom Lehrer's stand-up comedy; from Bob Dylan to Rachel Carson; and from Pop Art to photojournalism. A chapter on new social movements demonstrates that a current of conservatism runs through even the most revolutionary movements of the 1960s and the book as a whole looks to the West and especially to the South in the making of the sixties as myth and as history. Key Features:
• Focused case studies featuring key texts, genres, writers, artists and cultural trends
• Detailed chronology of 1960s American culture
• Bibliographies for each chapter
• Over 30 black and white illustrations

Excerpt

C. Van Woodward described the 1960s as a 'twilight zone', caught between living memory and written history. This region of the mind and of record is the site where mythology is forged. It is axiomatic to love or hate 'sixties' culture but it is much more of a problem to define a decade about which myths and images often masquerade as cultural history. Superlatives and provocative statements abound. The 1960s has been described as 'the most dynamic and icon-shattering decade of the twentieth century' when 'everything seemed possible for a brief shining moment' as well as the decade in which 'murder became an accepted form of political discourse'. Music producer Jerry Wexler, the face of Atlantic Records since 1953 and its foremost promoter in the 1960s, dismisses the idea of the decade itself as a rhetorical impulse: 'We didn't know we were at some cosmic threshold … You never know that. I think that's all literary, all this business about decades. I think it's part of the bullshit rhetoric of rock … you know, the confluence of certain things, the myth period, the golden period … ' Looking back to the moment just before conglomerates controlled all mass cultural forms, Wexler reiterates 'the rhetoric of rock' even as he debunks it. There is a significant difference between a rhetorical sixties and a historical 1960s but if it is difficult to escape reaccentuating those images legitimated by continual retelling in a set sequence of events, it is important to examine their persistence. The most important domestic crises – the fight for civil rights and the Vietnam War – and domestic policies such as the 'War on Poverty' and the 'space race' are examined here in some detail in the plethora of forms through which they found, and continue to find, representation.

This book also seeks to emphasise ways in which the local and the regional contribute to dominant images of the national. Rather than explore the 'global unbinding of energies' that Fredric Jameson . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.