The Long 1968: Revisions and New Perspectives

The Long 1968: Revisions and New Perspectives

The Long 1968: Revisions and New Perspectives

The Long 1968: Revisions and New Perspectives

Synopsis

From the mid-1960s to the early 1970s, revolutions in theory, politics, and cultural experimentation swept around the world. These changes had as great a transformative impact on the right as on the left. A touchstone for activists, artists, and theorists of all stripes, the year 1968 has taken on new significance for the present moment, which bears certain uncanny resemblances to that time. The Long 1968 explores the wide-ranging impact of the year and its aftermath in politics, theory, the arts, and international relations—and its uses today.

Excerpt

Jasmine Alinder, A. Aneesh, Daniel J. Sherman, and Ruud van Dijk

In his gripping documentary Le fond de l’air est rouge (A Grin without a Cat), the French filmmaker Chris Marker posits that the upheaval subsequently associated with 1968 actually began as a student demonstration against a visit by the shah of Iran to West Berlin and an attack on the students by the shah’s secret police in June 1967. Released in several versions over more than a decade, from 1979 to 1992, Marker’s film reflects the continuously changing contours of the long 1968; with footage from the jungles of Venezuela to the streets of Tokyo, from Czechoslovakia to China to Chile, from Vietnam to the Pentagon, it also provides a visual touchstone for the global reach of 1968. in its final cut, Le fond de l’air extends as far as 1977, with Marker’s voice-over, a unique fusion of elegance, rue, and disillusionment, taking the viewer even closer to his present.

Although the decade or so covered by Le fond de l’air est rouge represents a reasonable chronological framework for the long 1968 of our title, this book is concerned less with chronology than with connections, diachronic as well as synchronic. the book has several objectives. First, it seeks to explore both the commonalities and the variations of the long 1968 around the world: a pervasive search for new forms of social organization and political action, as well as new ways of thinking about them; an impatience, sometimes to the point of violence, with existing authority; an eagerness to find in other parts of the world, the more remote and exotic the better, the means of combating that authority and creating an alternative to it; disillusionment, but in some places the continued hope as alternatives were increasingly foreclosed. Second, by examining events, groups, and ideas through new lenses—whether the broader . . .

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