Fifty Years after 1968: Research on the Global 1960s, Part 5: Mass Higher Education in the Global 1960s: Inclusions/Exclusions

AHA Session 263
Sunday, January 7, 2018: 9:00 AM-10:30 AM
Hampton Room (Omni Shoreham, East Lobby)
Ibram X. Kendi, American University
Ibram X. Kendi

Session Abstract

In the 1960s, institutions of higher education became key sites of activism, and students mobilized around issues both inside and outside of their schools. This reflected the expanding role of the university in producing workers and citizens, and also new inclusions into what had in many cases been an elite social category: the university student. Changing demographics in higher education, particularly for black and female students, prompted re-imaginings of the proper relationship between educational institutions and social change, and deeped critiques of the exclusions perpetuated within and by universities.

These presentations introduce cases of university students active in their institutions, communities, and societies. Each provides an example of a fine-grained local history with a focus on the specific struggles against racism, class exclusion, sexism, and colonialism that were central to students’ activism. Put into conversation across contexts and continents, the papers lead to a consideration of both what was shared and what was distinct about various experiences of mass higher education and political engagement at universities in the global 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.

Welcoming in the fifty-year anniversary of the iconic year of 1968, this workshop brings together scholars working in various areas to assess the state of historical research on the 1960s. It will challenge historians working across regions to consider how to link their case studies and thus consider what can be meant by the "global 1960s." It will also stage discussions on key ideas in the sixties, such as Black Power and Third Worldism, that transformed understandings of race, ethnicity, and power. This workshop will put into conversation scholars who would not usually present together, fostering a truly global perspective.