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While I have taken some pains to try to present a "scholarly" approach to the subject matter, I have unashamedly focused on what interested me most below, so I fully recognize that the guide remains quirky, and can only say that this quirkiness is the result of a life spent poking around the edges of the subject matter. This page does not pretend to be a substitute for the official "dogma" on the subject, necessary to succeed at the agrégation. My hope is rather that it will provide some context in a fun way, but also serve as an efficient guide to the main issues. The music section is somewhat bloated, but I don't mind...

This page was originally started at agregink [1], a forum that I have been an active member of for three years, however in certain areas that are somewhat sensitive or politically charged, it has seemed to me best that I keep the responsibility for this page to myself. :)

Feel free to create an account if you would like to add information to the wiki. I've wanted to provide context beyond the US (that said, the Cultural Revolution in China would be very important for Mai '68, but for the US?)

Le programme officiel pour l'agrégation 2012-2013 est en bas de cette page.

Bibliography / Webography

links to SUDOC in the 'books' section allow you to find libraries in France owning a copy.


  • Chicano! History of the Mexican American Civil Rights Movement. Video. NLCC Educational Media, 1996. [2]
    • I: Quest for a Homeland (dead link)
    • II: Struggle in the Fields
    • III: Taking Back the Schools (part 1 of 4) live link
    • IV: Fighting for Political Power (dead link)
    • the whole video


  • Alastair GORDON, "True Green: Lessons from 1960s’-70s’ Counterculture Architecture, Architectural Record
  • Justin David SURAN (2001), "Coming Out Against the War: Antimilitarism and the Politicization of Homosexuality in the Era of Vietnam", American Quarterly, 53: 3. Muse
  • Theodore ROZCAK, "From Satori to Silicon Valley" fulltext (1985, c 2000)


  • James BALDWIN, The Fire Next Time [3] SUDOC
  • Todd GITLIN, The Sixties: Years of Hope Days of Rage [4] SUDOC
  • Lewis GOULD, 1968: The Election that Changed America [5] SUDOC
  • Abbie HOFFMAN, Steal This Book (1970) pdf
  • David LEVY, The Debate over Vietnam [6] SUDOC
  • Harvey PEKAR, The Beats: A Graphic History (2010) [7] SUDOC
    • Students for a Democratic Society: A Graphic History (2008) [8]
  • Ethan RARICK (2006), California Rising: The Life and Times of Pat Brown, [9], SUDOC
  • Theodore ROZSAK, The Making of the Counter-Culture [10] SUDOC
  • Frédéric ROBERT, La Révolution hippie, Rennes, PUR, 2011
  • Francisco Arturo ROSALES, Chicano!: the history of the Mexican American civil rights movement [11]
  • Christiane SAINT-JEAN-PAULIN, Quand l'Amérique contestait, 1960-1970. Analyses, chronologie et documents, Paris, Ophrys, 1999. [12] SUDOC
  • Julie STEPHENS, Anti-Disciplinary Protest: Sixties Radicalism and Postmodernism (1998) [13] SUDOC

Book Chapter

  • William GARLINGTON, The Baha'i Faith in America, google books

Collaborative Encyclopedia

  • Many excellent leads at Wikipedia, starting from "Counterculture of the 1960s" [14]. There are many links to more specific wikipedia articles below, I found this page after getting started...


  • Port Huron Statement 1962 [15]


  • Martin Luther King, "I have a dream" (1963) [16]
  • Savio, "History as a Weapon", [17]


  • Kronos Quartet, Howl, U.S.A (1996) [18] (Ginsberg, I.F. Stone (Cold War Suite), Sing Sing (J. Edgar Hoover), Barstow: Eight Hitchhiker's Inscriptions from a Highway Railing in Barstow, California (Partch, 1941)). At times difficult listening (especially Barlow), as one would expect from the title of the album. Nevertheless, very interesting both musically and culturally. The life of the composer Harry Partch (1901-1974) is pretty interesting [19]


  • Eyes on the Prize, PBS [20]


NB: These cases can also be found on where you can read and listen to oral arguments (just copy the case name into the oyez search engine). The full text versions of the decisions are also available, by clicking on "opinion" in the "Case Basics" textbox.

The (Earl) Warren Court (1953-1969)

  • Brown v. Board of Education (1954) [21] (desegregation)
    • Bowling v. Sharpe [22] (DC desegregation)
    • Green v. County School Board of New Kent County [23] (one of several cases related to "free choice" programs being (often) unconstitutional in practice)
  • Boynton v. Virginia (1960) [24] segregation in public transportation illegal. Cf. Freedom riders [25]
  • Mapp v. Ohio (1961) [26] (evidence from unreasonable search & seizure -- 4th amendment -- inadmissible ("exclusionary rule"))
  • Gideon v. Wainwright (1963) [27] (right to counsel)
  • McLaughlin v. Florida (1964) [28] (cohabitation of unmarried man/woman legal regardless of race: overturns Florida's adultery and fornication laws)
  • Reynolds v. Sims (1964) [29] (gerrymandering illegal: distribution of districts of proportional population)
  • Miranda v. Arizona (1966) [30] (reading of rights)

The (Warren) Burger Court (1969-1986)

  • Furman v. Georgia (1972) [31] (death penalty as practiced in Georgia is cruel and unusual punishment (violates 8th amendment)) overturned in 1976 (v. infra.)
  • Roe v. Wade (1973) [32] (abortion)
  • Miller v. California (1973) [33] (pornography)
  • Gregg v. Georgia (1976) [34] (reasserts constitutionality of death penalty)
  • Regents of the University of California v. Bakke (1978) [35] (affirmative action)


  • Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 [36]




  • Dwight D. Eisenhower (1953-1961) -- [37]
  • John Fitzgerald Kennedy -- [38]
  • Lyndon Baines Johnson -- [39]
  • Richard Nixon -- [40]
  • Spiro Agnew -- [41]
  • Henry Kissinger -- [42]
  • George Wallace -- [43]

Also rans

  • Barry Goldwater (1964) [44]
  • Eugene McCarthy (1968) [45]
  • George McGovern (1972) [46]

Civil Rights figures

  • Martin Luther King -- [47]
  • Malcom X -- [48]
  • Jesse Jackson -- [49]
  • César Chavez [50] -- two radio interviews with Studs Terkel [51] for his 1973 book Hard Times
  • Reies Tijerina [52]


  • J. Edgar Hoover -- founded the counterintelligence program in 1955 [53]
  • Howard Hughes [54] (Las Vegas)


  • Black Panther Party [55] -- 1968 video on u2b
  • Chicano Mouvement [56] / [57] --
  • Civil Rights Movement [58] -- cf. also PBS Eyes on the Prize
  • Free Speech Movement [59]
  • Great Proletariat Cultural Movement (China) (1966-1976) [60]
  • National Farm Worker's Association / United Farm Worker's Association [61] --
  • Students for a Democratic Society [62] -- Founded by Tom Hayden, author of the Port Huron statement.
  • Weathermen / Weather Underground [63] -- Academy Award nominated documentary film [64]
  • Women's Liberation Movement --
    • NOW founded in 1966 --
    • ERA passes both houses of Congress in 1972. --
  • Youth International Party (Yippies) [65] -- founded by members of the Chicago Seven [66] (Cf. Democratic Congress of 68 [67])



  • Selma to Montgomery marches (1965) [68]
  • Detroit Riot (1967) [69]
  • First Plebiscite for Puerto Rican statehood (1967) [70]
  • Democratic Convention (1968) [71]
  • Bureau of Indian Affairs building takeover (1972) [72]


Related historical references

  • Korean War --
  • GI Bill [73] --
  • McCarthy hearings --
  • Cuban Missile crisis (1962) [74] --
  • The Great Society --
  • Vietnam war / draft dodging / the vital industry exception / flight to canada / treatment of veterans -- Selective Service [75]
  • Watergate --

Science & Technology / Military

  • Area 51: [76] Extremely secretive and large military base near Las Vegas that has been the source of much conspiracy theorizing as it appears on no official US maps. When inadvertently photos were taken by Skylab, this raised a hullabullo that involved the State Department and the head of the CIA... this area began to be heavily exploited for aviation research from the mid-50s.
  • Arpanet: miltary-industrial complex generated prequel to the internet and later the web
  • Unix: created in 1969 at AT&T by Ken Thompson & Denis Ritichie. note strong countercultural influences on the notions of copyleft (copyleft@gnu)
  • Aviation: Boeing in the 60s (727, 747) [77] Cf. Pynchon, former employee
  • Big Blue: IBM (Cf. Vittorio Giannini's IBM Symphony (1937) [78])
  • NASA: moon landing... but Yuri Gagarin must not be forgotten either ;)
  • statistics: the rise of statistics during this period can be linked to increased computing power, but also to a desire for a scientific results in the social sciences. See also the wikipedia article on negentropy
  • psychology: BF Skinner / DSM-I (1952) / DSM-II (1968) [79]
  • linguistics: origins of generative grammar in the US (at MIT), TAL (traitement automatique de langues) in France (in association with IBM) // liaison informatics-linguistics
    • rise of socio-linguistics [80] (Labov, in particular, but also the much debated Sapir-Whorf hypothesis) // field methods for study of American languages
    • applied linguistics (in particular the audio-lingual method of army language learning during the postwar / Cold War period: Defense Language Institute)

Art and Culture (misc)

some of the widely recognized big names of the day... This list is growing at an alarming rate, some links provide context for the 1960s in general. There may be a time soon to start taking things out (as well as adding important oversights)

Visual Arts


  • Chicano Art Movement [81] / "Cheech" Marin being one of the world's foremost collectors / though not of murals :)
  • Jean-Michel Basquiat 1975 as SAMO
  • Andy Warhol
  • Ralph Steadman (Rolling Stone / Hunter Thompson)


  • John Berger, 1972, Ways of Seeing (pertinent?)
  • Susan Sontag, "Notes on 'Camp'"


  • Diane Arbus
  • Susan Sontag, On Photography, 1977

New Establishment (Vogue, Rolling Stone)

  • Richard Avedon
  • Annie Leibowitz
  • Erni etal., Zeitgeist & Glamour: Photography of the 60s and 70s [82] review squib

War photographers

Counter-culture / Beat

Graphic Arts

Posters / Album covers

Graphic Novels and Comic books


  • The Wild One (1953): (Marlon Brando) (dir. Laslo Benedek) [86]
  • Rebel without a Cause (1955) (dir. Nicholas Ray) [87] (Dustin Hoffman) (Jack Nicholson)
  • Porgy & Bess (1959) (dir. Otto Preminger) [88]
  • The Graduate (1967) -- [89] / Simon & Garfunkel
  • Rosemary's Baby (1968) -- [90]
  • Easy Rider (1969) [91]
  • Alice's Restaurant (1969) [92]
  • Up in Smoke - (Cheech & Chong) (1970) Cf. War (syncretism), Chicano art movement
  • Harold & Maude (1971) -- [93] / Cat Stevens
  • Shaft (1971) -- [94]
  • THX 1138 (1971) -- [95] #dystopia
  • Last Tango in Paris (1972) -- dir. Bertolucci (Brando, Maria Schneider [96])
  • Mean Streets (1973) -- [97] (dir. Scorcese) (Robert de Niro)
  • One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975)- (dir. Milos Forman) (Jack Nicholson)
  • Cassavettes, John
    • Shadows (1959) [98] #jazz #BeatGeneration
    • Faces (1968) [99]
    • Husbands (1970) [100]
    • A Woman Under the Influence (1974) [101]
    • The Killing of a Chinese Bookie (1976) [102]
  • Disney, Walt
    • Alice in Wonderland (1951) -- compare Jefferson Airplane "White Rabbit" U2b
    • Mary Poppins (1964)
    • The Jungle Book (1967)
    • The Aristocats (1970)
    • Robin Hood (1973)
    • creation of Disneyland (1955) / Disneyworld (1971) (symbolic mirror of postwar development of Las Vegas near key posts in the military-industrial complex... Hoover Dam / Nellis Air Force Base / Manhattan Project / Area 51)
  • French New Wave (Au bout de souffle, Vivre sa Vie, Alphaville...) / "kitchen sink realism" (UK) [103] : "over 700 foreign-language films were in US theaters during 1962" [104])
  • Kubrick, Stanley [105]:
    • Lolita (1962) film Nabokov (1958 US) [106] #road #ChallengingSexualMores
    • Dr. Strangelove or How I Learned to Love the Bomb (1964). [107] #ColdWar
    • 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) [108]. moon landing in 69. #space #ArtificialIntelligence
    • A Clockwork Orange (1971) released with an X-rating film(Anthony Burgess: play 1962) [109] #YouthViolence #ProtoPunk #ChallengingSexualMores
  • Whitney, James wikipedia Lapis (1967) #psychedelia #AbstractMusicVideo
  • Whitney, John wikipedia Catalog (1961) #animator

on the dark side

  • rise of pornography industry (Cf. Miller v. California)
  • Herschell Gordon Lewis: "grandfather of gore" [110]

Cultural Studies / Theory

  • Harold Bloom, The Anxiety of Influence
  • continental crit / theory: Derrida, de Man, Foucault (in particular Madness & Civilization, The Birth of the Clinic), Althusser on ideology as a state apparatus / hermeneutics of suspicion, Barthes, Lyotard, Guy Debord, Levi-Strauss were all gaining ground by the 1970s). There is much talk about "British invasion" in music, but there was also a "French colonization" of certain US theory departments in the 70s! Perhaps a bit earlier for Sartre and Camus... Cf. Vince Leitch (ed.) The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism 0-393-97429-4
  • Frantz Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth
  • Stanley Fish, prof. at UC Berkeley 1962-1974 (reader response theory) See also Wolfgang Iser.
  • Stuart Hall, (attention: British, but with a strong influence in the US), see for example 'The Hippies: An American "Moment"', Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies Stencilled Occasional Paper (University of Birmingham: October, 1968).
  • Herbert Marcuse [111]: Eros and Civilization (1955), Essay on Liberation (1972)
  • Adrienne Rich, (she would become known in print later with "Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existence", but was already very active during the period)
  • Hunter S. Thompson, Hells Angels: The Strange and Terrible Saga of the Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs, 1967. Cf. [112] #atavism #ataturkism #atatrumpsim
  • Hayden White [113], Metahistory (1973) [114], "The Historical Text as a Literary Artefact", White v Davis (1972)


Beat Generation

  • Baraka, Amiri / LeRoi Jones -- [115] -- Blues People (Negro Music in White America) (1963)
  • Burroughs II, William Seward -- [116] (Junky, Naked Lunch)
  • Cassady, Neal -- [117]
  • DiPrima, Diane -- [118]
  • Ferlinghetti, Lawrence -- [119] -- cofounder of City Lights Booksellers and Publishers [120]
  • Ginsberg, Allen -- [121] ("Howl" reading: [122] Cf. Kronos Quartet)
  • Kerouac, Jack -- [123] (The Town and the Country, On the Road, Dharma Bums, ...)
  • Kesey, Ken -- [124] One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest (1962), dir. Milos Forman (1975) -- the Merry Pranksters.
  • Reed, Ishmael-- [125], UC Berkely prof 1975-2005, (Mumbo Jumbo, 1972, "A Cowboy in the Boat of Ra")
  • Solomon, Carl -- [126], see also Antonin Artaud [127]
  • Snyder, Gary -- [128] -- ecology / Buddhism / poetry / Cf. Kerouac's Dharma Bums
  • Vallmer, Joan -- [129] -- Cf. Knight, Women of the Beat Generation, google books
  • Wolfe, Tom -- The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test


  • Reed, Ishmael -- Dualism (in Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man): [130]
  • Snyder, Gary -- "Buddhist Anarchism" fulltext

Other literature(s) / literary influences

  • Charles Bukowski -- Notes of a Dirty Old Man (1969)-- originally a newspaper column, first in Open City, then in the LA Free Press, NOLA express
  • Bulgakov, Mikhail -- The Master and Margarita (1940 manuscript) (1966-67 first appeared in Moscow). #historicaldystopia #faust
  • Louis-Ferdinand Céline -- Voyage au bout de la nuit (1932), said to have influenced Bukowski, Vonnegut, Kerouac, Miller, Burroughs.
  • Ralph Ellison -- Invisible Man (1953)
  • Lorraine Hansberry -- A Raisin in the Sun (1961) [131]
  • Herman Hesse -- the hugely influential Steppenwolf (1927 / 1960 -- US re-release) was panned by Kerouac in Big Sur but became a must-read in the counterculture, and the name of the famous band. Siddartha (1922 1951 -- US) #Buddhism, The Glass Bead Game (1943) #androgyny #dystopia
  • Edward Gorey -- [132]
  • Mary McCarthy -- The Group (1963)
  • N. Scott Momaday -- [133] House Made of Dawn, (won Pulitzer 1969) [134]
  • Vladimir Nabokov -- Lolita (1958 US release), Pale Fire (1962)
  • Thomas Ruggles Pynchon, Jr. -- [135] The Crying of Lot 49 (1963) / Gravity's Rainbow (1973) (Pynchon worked for Boeing upon graduation from Cornell) #MilitaryIndustrialComplex
  • Ayn Rand -- Atlas Shrugged [136] (1959), The Fountainhead (1943) [137] film version (1949) [138]: Objectivist Movement (1950s on) [139]
  • J.D. Salinger -- Franny & Zooey, the much banned Catcher in the Rye.
  • Leslie Marmon Silko -- [140]
  • Alexander Solzhenitsyn -- [141]: Noble prize in 1970. #ColdWar
  • Kurt Vonnegut -- [142]

  • Maria Bloshteyn, The Making of a Counter-Culture Icon: Henry Miller's Dostoevsky (2007) [143] SUDOC

Science Fiction / Dystopia

  • Ray Bradbury [144], Farenheit 451 (1951) [145], Truffaut film (1966) [146], I Sing the Body Electric (1969) [147]
  • Phillip K. Dick [148], Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep (1968) -> Bladerunner (Ridley Scott)
  • Marge Piercy, Going Down Fast [149] (1969), Woman on the Edge of Time [150] (1976)
  • Ayn Rand [151], Anthem (1937)
  • Yevgeny Zamyatin [152] fr russe: We [153] (1921) re-released in English translation in 1972 (Viking) fulltext: pdf
    • Cf. Orwell's claim that Huxley borrowed the plot of Brave New World (1932), that he owes a bit something to for 1984 []. Kurt Vonnegut "cheerily ripped it off" for Player Piano 1952)

  • Lewis Mumford, The Story of Utopias (1922) -- available in fulltext at Open Library: Lewis Mumford


  • Jane Jacobs, The Death and Life of Great American Cities (1961) [154]: urbanism
  • Lewis Mumford, The City in History (1961) National Book winner
  • Studs Terkel [155], Working (1972) [156].
  • Thorstein Veblen, The Theory of the Leisure Class, (1899) [157] re-released in (1973) with an introduction by John Kenneth Galbraith. One of the earliest critiques of consumerism. fulltext reader


Legal precedent

  • Roth v. United States (1957) [158]
  • Memoirs v. Massachussets (1966) [159]


  • Victim (1961), A Taste of Honey (1962) (UK films)
  • Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) (highest grossing independent film in history?, banned outright in many counties)
  • The demise of the Motion Picture Production Code [160] during this time is worth noting


  • William Burroughs, Naked Lunch (1959) banned in Boston from 1962 until the Massachusetts Supreme Court overturned the decision in 1966
  • Alan Ginsberg, "Howl", original manuscript seized by SF customs 1957; obscenity charges dismissed at trial
  • D.H. Lawrence, Lady Chatterly's Lover (1928) US customs ban lifted in 1959
  • Henry Miller, Tropic of Cancer (1934) US customs ban lifted in the early 1960s.
  • J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye banned in a Tulsa school in 1963, and nearly so in Columbus, OH
  • see the American Library Association [161] for other titles (Toni Morrison, Ralph Ellison, Richard Wright, Alice Walker... ) that have been challenged.


A remarkable site with many links for both this year's civilisation topic (counterculture) and next year's too: [162]



  • Joan Baez -- [163]
  • Country Joe and the Fish -- "The "Fish" Cheer / I-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-To-Die Rag" - (1965) u2b
  • Crosby, Stills, Nash and (sometimes) Young - "Ohio" - (Kent State 1970) u2b
  • Bob Dylan [164]-- The Times They Are a-Changin (1963) [165]
  • Arlo (and Woody) Guthrie -- (in particular AG "Alice's Restaurant" (remember Alice? This is a song about Alice) U2b not a song about a "White Rabbit" U2b
  • Phil Ochs -- [166]
  • Pete Seeger -- [167]
  • Neil Young -- Buffalo Springfield w/Stephen Stills (For What It's Worth -- Monterey '67 u2b) / Solo After the Gold Rush (1970) ("Southern Man"), Harvest (1971) ("The Needle and the Damage Done", "Alabama")

ProtoPunk / Glam

  • David Bowie, The Man who Sold the World, The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars
  • MC5 [168]
  • Iggy Pop & the Stooges -- Fun House (1970), Raw Power (1973)... joins Bowie in '75 for Ziggy.
  • Velvet Underground [169] / the Factory [170]

Rap / Acid Jazz

  • Gil SCOTT-HERON -- "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised" - (1970) [171]

Rock (for lack of a better word)

  • British Invasion -- Rolling Stones (Pick a title...) / Beatles (Sgt. Pepper's) / Yardbirds -> Led Zeppelin "Ramble On" (69) / Pink Floyd (" Pipers at the Gates of Dawn" "Umma Gumma" "Animals" "Dark Side of the Moon, ...) / Traffic [172] / Cream / Jethro Tull Aqua Lung (1971), Thick as a Brick (1972)
  • The DOORS -- (Cf. the biography of J. Morrison released in 1980: No one here gets out alive!)
  • John LENNON -- "Give Peace a Chance (1969), "Imagine" (1970)
  • Lynyrd Skynyrd -- "Freebird" (1974)
  • Elvis PRESLEY -- "In the Ghetto" (1969) [173] among others...
  • Steppenwolf -- "Magic Carpet Ride", "The Pusher" [174], "Born to be Wild"

Roots Reggae

  • Bob Marley [175] -- Soul Revolution (1971) Catch a Fire (1973), Burnin (& Lootin") (1973), Natty Dread (1975), Rastaman Vibration (1976) toured the US in 1972 with Johnny Nash, then in 73 got fired by Sly and the Family Stone because they were too popular an opening act (Springsteen apparently bailed them out of a jam with a few gigs... :) Remarkable a capella version of "War" by Sinead O'Connor u2b
  • Burning Spear [176]-- Marcus Garvey (1975/6) (though it seems Winston Rodney was first popular in England)
  • Peter Tosh [177]-- Legalize it (1975), Equal Rights (1977)

Syncretism / Improvisation / Jes' Grew

Note: the expression "jes' grew" apparently is originally from James Weldon Johnson's 1922 preface to The Book of American Negro Poetry ([178]) but would become in Ishmael Reed's 1972 novel Mumbo Jumbo [179] a major virus that Harding and the rest of the Wallflower Order would fight against unsuccessfully.


  • Charlie Mingus (wikipedia | deezer), Pithecanthropus Erectus(1956) [180], Ah Um (1959), The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady (1963)
    • Scott Saul (2001), "Outrageous Freedom: Charles Mingus and the Invention of the Jazz Workshop", American Quarterly 53:3, 387-419, Muse
  • Ornette Coleman [181], The Shape of Jazz to Come, (1959) [182] , Tomorrow is the question! (1959) [183], Dancing in Your Head (1975) [184].
    • Collaborations with Jerry Garcia, David Cronenburg / Harry Shore (for Naked Lunch)
  • John Coltrane, Africa Brass, Inspirations, A Love Supreme: Church of Coltrane... (became widely known after playing his modal arrangements of "My Favorite Things" and "Greensleeves" on national televison [185])
  • Miles Davis, Porgy and Bess and Sketches of Spain (1960) [186] with Gil Evans -- in particular "Concierto de Aranjuez" (u2b)

Jazz fusion

  • Weather Report, I sing the body electric, 1972
  • Joni Mitchell, from 1975 began collaborating in jazz fusion (notably with Wayne Shorter & Jaco Pastorious of Weather Report) Cf. Herbie Hancock's 2007 tribute River The Joni Letters (wikipedia)


  • Ravi Shankar [188]
  • John McLaughlin, Mahavishnu Orchestra [189]

Syncretism in Rock

  • Grateful Dead -- wikipedia. To understand the time period, a listen to some of the bootlegs at Deezer is well worth the effort. As the page shows, bootlegs have long been part of the tradition associated with Dead concerts, along with fields full of people who follow the band, tune in, drop out, move on. As much happens off-stage as on, little markets and tailgate restaurants open up and shut down, people talk, walk and generally roam or dance or chat or watch the band with rapt attention. The long drum space (when everyone but the percussion take a quarter hour or a half hour off) at each concert in part facilitated this tradition. In any case most of the tribe following the Dead around knew the songs backwards and forwards.
  • Steely Dan -- named after "Steely Dan III from Yokohama", a strap-on dildo referred to in the William S. Burroughs novel The Naked Lunch. Can't Buy a Thrill(1972) , Countdown to Ecstasy (1973), "Boddhisatva" Pretzel Logic (1974), which caused a bit of a stir by borrowing the piano riff from Horace Silver's 'Songs for My Father' wholesale. Later on Fagen & Becker would focus exclusively on jazz for Aja (1977), collaborating with some amazing studio musicians to produce one of the world's first platinum albums without any particular single. Katy Lied (1975) and The Royal Scam (1976) of which "King Charlemagne", and the entire album, strikes me as being resolutely post-Beat, whatever that might mean: "get along King Charlemagne...". As much as the Dead were a band where the action was on the road, Steely Dan were resolutely FM and studio (working notably with Michael McDonald from the Doobie Brothers).

No idea how to classify

  • Frank Zappa -- [190] Freak Out!, 1966. Zappa would much later move back into national prominence testifying against Tipper Gore's PMRC (advisory labels on music) before various Senate committees on Free Speech grounds crossfire u2b

Funk / Rhythm and Blues / Latin

  • James Brown -- link to § on social activism at Wikipedia [191]
  • Eric Burdon and the Animals, The House of the Rising Sun, 1964 U2b
  • George Clinton [192] / P-Funk, Mother Ship Connection, 1975
  • Earth, Wind & Fire [193]
  • Santana -- Mexican-born Carlos Santana broke through initially in San Francisco in a motley band composed of some members of Jefferson Airplane and the Grateful Dead. This led to an invitation to Woodstock, for which Santana's performance of "Soul Sacrifice" would become legendary. Abraxas (1970) included a reworking of the Fleetwood Mac song "Black Magic Woman" that would become one of Santana's best known hits. Both Abraxas and Santana III would reach number one on the Billboard charts.
  • War (founded -- with Eric Burdon v. supra -- in 1969), The World is a Ghetto, (1972) in particular "Cisco Kid" U2b live, but also "Spill the Wine" (1970) U2b. more on The Cisco Kid, "Low Rider" 1974 U2b (syncretism between Af-Am / Latino (or Chicano) community) from Why Can't Be Friends (Bouygues' cynical hold music ;), note founding of Lowrider magazine in 1977 (synchronizing your ride with your style)

Music Festivals

  • Mantra-Rock Dance: Hare Krishna event that was one of the Grateful Dead's earliest performances [194]
  • Monterey Jazz Festival [195]
  • Monterey Pop Festival [196]
  • Woodstock


  • See it Now (1951-1958): Hosted by Edward Murrow. Very critical of Joseph McCarthy. First television program to focus on the relationship between smoking and lung cancer, of which Murrow died in 1965.
  • I, Spy (1965-1968) [197] (Bill Cosby)
  • The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour (1967-1969)
  • Ed Sullivan Show (1950-1971) [198]


US population change 1950-1980
  1950-1960 1960-1970 1970-1980
Arizona 74% 34% 56%
Florida 79% 37% 44%
California 49% 27% 19%
Texas 24% 17% 27%
Miami metro area 116% 49% 44%
Atlanta metro area 31% 34% 27%
Memphis city 26% 26% 3%
Nashville city -2% 162% 2%
Mobile city 4% -12% -6%
New Orleans city 10% -5% 6%
Houston city 57% 32% 29%
San Antonio city 44% 11% 10%
Los Angeles Metro Area 57% 29% 15%
San Francisco city -5% -3% -5%
San Diego city 57% 21% 26%
Las Vegas city 162% 95% 31%
New York city -1% 1% -12%
Boston city -13% -8% -12%
Baltimore city -1% -4% -13%
Philadelphia city -3% -3% -13%
Chicago city -2% -5% -11%
St. Louis city -13% -17% -27%
Pittsburgh city -11% -14% -19%

Political commentary / Journalism

  • Down Beat (founded in the late 30s)
  • Rolling Stone (1967- ). wikipedia site
  • Life (overwhelming influence of its photos)
  • Ms. magazine (1971- ). wikipedia site
  • Mother Jones (1976- )
  • Hunter Thompson / Gonzo journalism: (Cf. film Where the Buffalo Roam (1980) google video rather than the more recent Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas)
    • Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail, 1972
    • Hell's Angels
    • Gonzo Papers, Vol. 1: The Great Shark Hunt: Strange Tales from a Strange Time. New York: Summit Books, 1979; Simon & Schuster, 2003 (ISBN 0-7432-5045-1)

Migrations / Population Change

See table to the right.

Source: US Census Data Population of the 100 Largest Cities and Other Urban Places in the United States: 1790 To 1990 [200] and/or Wikipedia demographics sections (for states / metro areas)


The following religious views became very visible during this time period.

  • Baha'i -- [201]
  • Hare Krishna [202]-- The basic living rules for Hare Krishna include vegetarianism, no sex, and no drugs. It is rooted in Hinduism, and particularly inspired by the Bhagavad-Gita. It might then be surprising that the movement is so closely associated with the Haight-Ashberry community. One book on the subject is The Hare Krishna Explosion: The birth of Krishna consciousness in America, 1966-1969 (pdf Chapter 7 online: Swami in Hippyland (Ginsberg) [203]), A town in West Virginia was founded in 1968: New Vrindaban [204]
While the counterculture at one point made something of an icon of Shrila Prabhupada, he himself remained vigorously opposed to its standards and practices. For example he wrote to Hayagriva das in 1969: "Anyway, we should be very much careful [not] to publish anything in our paper which will give impression that we are inclined to the hippy movement. ... I must tell you in this connection that if you have any sympathies with the hippy movement you should kindly give it up."

-- Maria Ekstrand, The Hare Krishna movement: the postcharismatic fate of a religious transplant,

google books

  • Buddhism --
  • Rastafari -- A religion of Jamaican origin, whose basic living rules include no alcohol, a vegetarian / ital diet wikipedia, the wearing of dreadlocks (Cf. Leviticus) and marijuana consumption. It is one of the world's religions that seems to me to be the most political (sharing the idea with Christianity of a God becoming incarnate in history (as Halie Selassie, the Ethiopian head of state from the 1930s to 1974), Marcus Garvey is considered to have been his prophet.
    A wikipedia article devoted to Rastafari in the US notes a paucity of scholarship on the subject, however I did manage to track the following articles down:
    • Carole D. Yawney "Rasta make a trod: symbolic ambiguity in a globalizing religon" google books from Arise ye mighty people! gender, class and race in popular struggle and
    • "Chanting Down Babylon in the Belly of the Beast: The Rastafarian Movement in the Metropolitan United States" google books from Chanting Down Babylon: the Rastafari Reader

Education nationale: la définition du B.O. (agreg 2012, 2013)

  • Ce sujet est à étudier pour les agrégations externe et interne 2012.

  • Malgré quelques voix dissonantes, les années cinquante avaient constitué aux États-Unis une période de relative harmonie sociale et de consensus culturel. Mais avec l'entrée à l'université de la génération issue du baby-boom, un nouvel état d'esprit se dessine progressivement. Les enfants de la classe moyenne blanche, plus ou moins directement inspirés par les expériences littéraires et philosophiques de la Beat Generation, commencent à remettre en question les valeurs et les pratiques de leurs parents, celles de l'Amérique mainstream. Ce qui avait débuté, avec l'émergence de la musique rock, par une timide évolution des goûts artistiques se transforme alors en une critique globale de la société. La jeunesse devient le moteur du changement et se place au centre de la vie culturelle et bientôt politique et économique du pays, contestant les hiérarchies établies, rejetant les contraintes de tous ordres. Cette période de bouleversements culturels, politiques et sociaux sans précédents, auquel l'ouvrage de Theodore Roszak, The Making of a Counter Culture (1968) a donné son nom, se caractérise par deux phénomènes complémentaires : une vague de contestation d'ordre social et politique et l'émergence de nouvelles pratiques culturelles.
  • La contestation porte entre autres sur les pratiques consuméristes qui fondent l'organisation capitaliste du pays et met en place les prémices du mouvement environnementaliste. Elle concerne par ailleurs les différentes minorités ethniques, qui se radicalisent progressivement : les communautés africaine-américaine (Black Power), amérindienne (Red Power) et mexicaine-américaine (Brown Power). L'époque est également marquée par le renouveau d'un féminisme (Women's Lib) qui se conjugue aux revendications de la communauté homosexuelle. Plus encore, la guerre du Viêt Nam, après avoir recueilli l'approbation de la majorité des Américains, fait l'objet d'une critique virulente qui touche l'ensemble de la population. La vie politique américaine se durcit sous l'influence d'une « Nouvelle Gauche » militante, voire radicale, du Port Huron Statement (1962) jusqu'aux bombes des Weathermen, en passant par de violentes manifestations sur les campus universitaires et la remise en cause d'une recherche scientifique dédiée au complexe militaro-industriel.
  • En parallèle, de nouvelles pratiques artistiques et sociales apparaissent. Elles s'articulent autour de pratiques spécifiques (musique rock, bandes dessinées, Pop Art, théâtre de rue, happenings, cinéma expérimental), de nouvelles modalités de rapports humains (révolution sexuelle, mouvements hippie et yippie, communes), et d'expérimentations avec les drogues (marijuana, LSD) que relaient les nouveaux médias (presse underground, fanzines, nouveau journalisme).
  • Pourtant, les contradictions ne manquent pas et il faudra s'interroger sur les limites et les ambiguïtés d'une période qui voit la musique populaire devenir une industrie de masse, l'amour libre déboucher sur la pornographie et la critique de la société de consommation régénérer Madison Avenue. Par ailleurs, si la contre-culture s'avère très médiatique, elle ne concerne qu'une fraction relativement modeste de la population, en termes d'âge, de classe sociale, de groupe ethnique ou de localisation géographique. Il conviendra également de s'interroger sur les interprétations contradictoires auxquelles elle a donné lieu, au sein de la droite conservatrice comme de la gauche radicale : s'agit-il d'une véritable révolution ou d'un simple moment de récréation hédoniste ? Comment cette période s'insère-t-elle dans la tradition démocratique américaine et au sein d'une histoire marquée par les rébellions et les utopies religieuses et sociales ?
  • La période concernée s'étend de la fin des années cinquante (émergence d'Elvis Presley sur la scène nationale, mise au point de la pilule contraceptive en 1956, influence de films comme Rebel Without a Cause [1955], etc.) jusqu'aux premières années de la décennie soixante-dix, lorsque le mouvement s'essouffle et change de nature, avec le départ des derniers Américains du Viêt Nam (1975) et l'intensification des violences raciales et politiques.