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The Global 1960s, Fifty Years After 1968

Gate of the barricaded Agricultural Faculty at Nihon University in 1968「バリケードに賭けた青春」より

For the 2018 annual meeting of the American Historical Association (AHA), I organized five panels and a roundtable on the theme of the global 1960s. Twenty-six historians participated, junior and senior, working across regions.

As someone trained in a historical field with strong ties to Area Studies and the nation-centric and essentialist discourses often produced therein, I felt particularly compelled to include scholars of non-Western (really, non-European or American) history in the conversation.

The first time I attended the AHA annual meeting, I was "on the market" and interviewing for a job. I did manage to attend one panel, on gendered violence in Bangladesh. The presentations were excellent, including a memorable one by Yasmin Saikia). The discussion afterwards was...intimate. There were few attendees in the audience, in part because the room hosting the panel was at quite a distance from the central venue.

This physical segregation of what the organizers perhaps interpreted as a peripheral sort of history surprised me a bit.

So, to usher in the fifty-year of the iconic year of 1968, our series of panels brought together scholars working in various areas to assess the state of historical research on the 1960s. Social movements of the 1960s powerfully define the world we live in today. From citizen protests to decolonization struggles, collective action created and responded to global events and ideas.

The sessions formally address one of the following topics, although themes appear across sessions: Black Power in the World, Third Worldism, Cold War Conservatism, Mass Higher Education, and the Violence Question in Protest. The roundtable considered "1968" as a global and local event.

The workshop tried to put into conversation scholars who would not usually present together, fostering a truly global perspective and (hopefully) challenging historians working across regions to consider how to link their case studies and thus consider what can be meant by the "global 1960s."

We got a nice mention in the Washington Post, and our roundtable was broadcast on C-SPAN.

“Fifty Years after 1968: Research on the Global 1960s”

Part One: “Roundtable: ‘1968’ as a Global / Local Event”

Part Two: “The ‘Violence Question’ in the Global 1960s”

Part Three: “Third Worldism in the Global 1960s”

Part Four: “Black Power in the World in the Global 1960s”

Part Five: “Mass Higher Education in the Global 1960s: Inclusions / Exclusions”

Part Six: “The Other Sixties: Cold War Conservatism and the New Right”

American Historical Association Annual Conference, Washington, DC

January 2018

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