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Flashback: The Sixties, How the Decade Shaped American Politics Today

Evening Program

Evening Lecture/Seminar

Tuesday, October 15, 2019 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:45 p.m. ET
Code: 1H0461
S. Dillon Ripley Center
1100 Jefferson Dr SW
Metro: Smithsonian (Mall exit)
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Iconic photo of a demonstrator offering a flower to military police during an anti-Vietnam protest (Department of Defense)

We might wince at some of the more garish staples of the 1960s, like bell bottoms, tie-dyed T-shirts, and unbridled hair styles—especially when they turn up in our personal photo albums. But even though the decade is now half a century in the past, it’s one that continues to reverberate in our society, politics, culture, and institutions to this day.

In so many ways, it was the Sixties that spawned today's polarization and culture wars, which divide us now the way Vietnam did. From civil rights to feminism to gay liberation, the environmental movement to the silent majority, what began in the Sixties has shaped and influenced our country ever since. To many, the presidency of Barack Obama symbolized the political embodiment of the socially conscious movements of the Sixties. But it’s also important to ask how the era produced the presidency of Donald Trump. 

Join Leonard Steinhorn, a professor in the School of Communication at American University as he explores the decade’s meaning and its legacy—which may well be the widening dividing line in our politics today.