That Seventies Seminar: Discovering a Decade that Made America

Semester: 

Spring

Offered: 

2021

Jane Kamensky (Department of History)
Freshman Seminar 72E 4 credits (spring term) Enrollment:  Limited to 12

Sure, you know Watergate and disco. But did you know that the American 1970s also witnessed the rise of phenomena as diverse as the environmental movement, neoliberal economic policy, mass incarceration, modern conservatism, terrorism, gay rights, hip hop, the “zipless fuck,” and the abortion wars? Freshman Seminar 72E takes a short, strange trip through this generative and often-mocked decade, whose imprint lingers powerfully today, now fifty years on. Our approach is both thematic and chronological. Each week, our discussions will center on a particular year, with special attention to a hot-button topic that gripped the American public then (and throughout the decade). Our encounter is meant to be immersive: most of the readings, listening, and viewing consists of primary sources 
(produced at the time). By the end of the semester, you should have a feel for this slice of the past, ear-worms and all, a sense of the decade’s enduring impact, and through that, new strategies about how to navigate the political, economic, and cultural dilemmas of the present moment. 

See also: Spring 2021