Global 1968 History 499, Fall 2022

Prof. Chad Black
Phone: 974-9871
Office: 2627 Dunford Hall, 6th Floor
Office Hours: Tuesday 1:30-3:30, or by appointment


In 1968, the world felt like it was on a revolutionary precipice. Assassination, protest, uprising, war, utopian dreams, consciousness… so much seemed to be on the table. The heaviness of that year, of its possibilities and its threats, continues to haunt global politics and capital accumulation, even as dreams of change have ceded to a capitalist realism. This class will ask the question, “What were the stakes of 1968?” Students will read theories and histories that defined the moment, often synonymous with the shorthand of their location and time: Japan ’68, Mexico ’68, May ’68, etc. Students will conduct research and write capstone papers on some aspect of Global 1968, following the themes of the course. The stakes of that paper are graduation!

Course Objectives

Department guidelines for 499 set the following expectations for students:

  1. to research and write a paper that displays the skills they have learned throughout the major;

  2. to learn to develop a research question;

  3. to learn to build an argument using primary sources and relevant secondary literature;

  4. to do history on another level, not merely as consumers but as writers of history;

  5. to progress to a stage where they can conduct research and teach themselves things they don’t know;

  6. to learn to take a large volume of information and explain it in an intelligible format.

These skills will culminate in the student writing a 4,500-6,000 word research paper in which they advance their own historical argument. We will work on these goals on paper and in discussion.

Reading, writing, and oral assignments for this course are designed to meet these goals. In meeting them, you will also be able to place global unrest and backlash from 1968 in its historical contexts and ambiguities.


Accommodations: Qualified students with disabilities needing appropriate academic adjustments should contact me as soon as possible to ensure that your needs are met in a timely manner with appropriate documentation.

Attendance: Attendance at all class sessions is mandatory. If you will not be able to attend class, please contact me ahead of time.

Deadlines: Assignments must be turned in to the instructor or teaching assistant at the end of class on the day they are due, unless otherwise arranged by the professor. Late papers will not be accepted without prior arrangement, for any reason. This includes technology problems.

Cell Phones and Laptops: Please silence our cell phones prior to class. Please do not text during class. Cell phones are not permitted in class, and need to be put away for the duration of our meetings. Laptops are allowed only for tasks related to this class. Distracting use of technology (social media, surfing, GroupMe chats, etc.) causes problems not only for your own learning, but for those around you. Research shows that analog notetaking improves learning. Consider having paper with you. Based on the prevailing literature, hand note-taking– both while reading and in class– leads to substantially better educational outcomes. You are not required to have a laptop in class, so feel free to leave it at home. If, however, you have reason to use your laptop for notetaking, I won’t stop you from doing so.

Plagiarism and Academic Honesty: Plagiarism occurs when someone knowingly or unknowingly presents another person’s words or ideas as his or her own. Any work turned in for this class must meet University standards for academic honesty. Any students unsure about how to apply these rules are urged to consult with me prior to turning in any written work.

Drop-In Hours: Students are strongly encouraged to speak with me outside of class. The advantages of talking with me include: extra help on an assignment or preparation for an exam; clarification of materials covered in lecture, discussion of my comments on your work; discussion of this or related courses. I am available during office hours on a first-come, first-served basis; if you cannot come by during office hours, please contact me via email or phone and I will be happy to set up an appointment with you.

Changes: I reserve the write to change this syllabus as the semester progresses. This is not a contract, but rather a document to guide expectations and clearly communicate weekly assignments. Please bring the syllabus with you to our class meetings. Or, keep up with it on the course website.