News

From race riots to love, peace and happiness-new ’60s class has it all

Three decades ago, fire broke out on the steps of Kent State University in an anti-Vietnam protest that injured 30 students and left four dead.

Today, UM students are learning about the tragic event and the preceding decade that witnessed numerous campus revolts, gave rise to the Beat generation, introduced the idea of gay liberation and feminism and initiated urban riots throughout the country.

The difference is that this time they are hearing the stories from the first-hand accounts of professors who lived through the era rather than reading about them in textbooks.

In the first of its kind, UM’s “The Sixties” interdisciplinary class brings an innovative style of teaching and a hodgepodge of perspectives to the classroom while teaching students about an era alien to many of them.

“Books make an official history of any event; people make an unofficial version,” said Professor Zack Bowen. “The totality of the human experience has a larger ring of authenticity than the official version.”

“There is a feeling of reality when listening to people who lived through it,” he added.

Last week, more than 200 students met for the Tuesday night class, while co-professors, Bowen and Donald Spivey, introduced the day’s topic: the ’50s and the post-World War II era. After their scholarly assessment, panelists gave their personal accounts, and then the floor was opened for a question-and-answer session.

“I thought it would be a phenomenal idea to have faculty who lived through the ’60s tell their stories,” said Bowen. “We’re trying to explain a culture with so many ramifications and so many issues to kids who just forget about it since they didn’t live through the era.”

While Bowen and Spivey had to cross through a lot of red tape because of the class size and lack of a permanent dean, the approximately 45 panelists from all schools and disciplines showed eagerness to participate and share their experiences, Spivey said.

“Something we all have in common is the university setting, and we’re sort of making that the focal point of the class,” said Bowen.

“We think we’re right on target with President Shalala’s vision of incorporating more interdisciplinary education throughout the University,” added Spivey.

The Sixties combines courses in English, History and American Studies and is open to sophomores and above.

Academic work is a part of the course, but it is done in innovative ways which include listening to music or watching movies, Bowen and Spivey said.

Upcoming topics include the sit-ins, Catch-22 and the counter-culture of the Beat generation.

Ultimately, Bowen’s goal is to “build a system so that other [students]take the same course” and other professors let the idea rub off and initiate other interdisciplinary courses at the University.

September 20, 2002

Reporters

The Miami Hurricane

Student newspaper at the University of Miami


Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

The Miami Hurricanes are running low on tight ends. But their receivers — notably sophomore speedste ...

A six-pack of Hurricanes notes on a Tuesday: ▪ The pretty even split of carries between Travis Homer ...

The University of Miami has lost another player to surgery, and the depth was already lacking at thi ...

A six-pack of UM notes on a Monday: ▪ There has been no more popular or successful quarterback at UM ...

The Miami Hurricanes’ defense leads the nation in tackles for loss and stopping opponents on third d ...

New technology could help schools identify shooters and other intruders before they enter the door. ...

A University of Miami professor has created software to detect fraud in standardized tests. ...

UM President Julio Frenk outlined the strategies of the Roadmap to Our New Century, part of his Stat ...

Students attending Monday night's State of the U address by UM President Julio Frenk offer thei ...

At UM’s inaugural State of the U address, President Julio Frenk detailed the strategies of the Roadm ...

Jeff Thomas may be quiet off the field, but the sophomore has been consistently making lots of noise ...

The Atlantic Coast Conference announced Tuesday the league slate for the upcoming 2018-19 season. ...

Miami remained ranked in both major polls Sunday, checking in at No. 21 in the Associated Press Top ...

The Miami Hurricanes came to Toledo, Ohio for the biggest home game in the history of Toledo footbal ...

A quartet of University of Miami men's tennis student-athletes concluded the final day of compe ...

TMH Twitter
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.