Autumn 2020

Schedule:

Six classes during October and November, 2020. Six online, on-demand (asynchronous) lessons.

In this year 2020 it has been sixty years since John F. Kennedy won the presidential election in 1960. His historic victory came at a time of great change and great conflict in the world. Hundreds of millions of people throughout the world were hoping that the nuclear arms race could be stopped and further wars in the developing world could be avoided. The assassination of JFK is seen by many as the loss of this hope and the reason the following years, led by Presidents Johnson and Nixon, were a period of chaos and crisis. In this course we will study the United States’ “age of assassinations” (1963-68) and its effects on American and world history.

Students should click on Notes to read the comprehension and discussion questions for each lesson. After the start of the course, students will be invited by email to join a blog where they can ask questions to the teacher and each other in a "bulletin board" discussion.

To contact the teacher: riches@seijo.ac.jp

Note to students (2020/10/15): When we planned this course we were not sure how many people would register for an on-demand style of lesson delivery. I was expecting to have a group of no more than twenty students, so I thought we could have some interactive discussions through an online bulletin board. I also thought it would be possible to respond to students' questions through email. I was surprised to learn that we now have 180 registered students! It may be difficult to have online discussions and to answer all the email from students. I will try to think of a method for publishing some student comments and questions after the course begins and after I receive a few comments from students. Please don't hesitate to send an email, but please write "1963-68" in the subject line so that I can separate the emails concerned with this course.

Lesson Plan (updated 2020/10/12)

Click on the links to view the lecture material

Lesson 1 (10/12).  The history of anti-communism, the Cuban Missile Crisis and the War in Southeast Asia. (Video with narration and transcript, 1 hour, 21 minutes). You can read the transcript here. The transcript has a list of notes and sources for further study. Be sure to refer to the Notes link after each lesson.

      Lesson 2 (10/19).  The JFK assassination (1963/11/22) (Video with narration and transcript, 55 minutes). You can read the transcript here. The transcript has a list of notes and sources for further study. Be sure to refer to the Notes link after each lesson.

Lesson 3 (10/26). The other assassinations: Malcolm X (1965/02/21)

Lesson 4 (11/16). Martin Luther King Jr. (1968/04/04)

Lesson 5 (11/24). Robert Kennedy (1968/06/06)

Lesson 6 (11/30). Aftermath: end of the 60s revolt, the reactionaries' war and other uncanny events (1968-2020)

Advice to Students: 

The subject matter is somewhat difficult, but a very high degree of English proficiency is not required. Students should be capable of participating actively in a course conducted in English and doing some reading before each class. Recommended viewing and reading (but not required): The Untold History of the United States, by Oliver Stone and Peter Kuznick (2013) (available as a book or documentary video, in English and Japanese).