Global 1968 Panel Explores Iconic Year’s Influence on Pop Culture

By Caitlin Burns | April 25, 2018

By Caitlin Joyce ’20

On March 29, a panel, “1968: Transformations in Art, Media, and Culture,” discussed how political and social climate changes during that year influenced pop culture. The panel, part of the Global 1968: Explosions and Legacies series, featured Dr. Bruce Campbell, Jr., associate professor of Education; Dr. Michael Dwyer, assistant professor of Media and Communication; Elizabeth Ferrell, assistant professor of Art History; and Dr. Jonathan Shandell, associate professor of Theater Arts.

The panelists discussed popular music, literature, cinema, theater, and news stories from 1968 and how they reflected the changing sociological current of the time. Dr. Campbell discussed connections between music of the era, such as James Brown’s song “Say It Loud, I’m Black and I’m Proud” and the civil rights movement of the 60s and 70s. Dr. Shandell discussed the publications of two journals which indicated changing themes in African American theater, as black actors started rejecting mainstream theater institutions such as Broadway, and instead began envisioning new productions which focused on black communities. Other panel discussions focused on intersectionality and how pop culture messages from 1968 are reflected in pop culture today.

The Global 1968 class, taught by Dr. Peter Siskind, assistant professor of History and chair of Historical and Political Studies, hosted a series of events related to and in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of 1968.

For the final event in the series, the class curated “Yearbook 1968/Student Life,” an exhibition that features art pieces created by current students, as well as photographs and artifacts from students who attended the University in 1968. The exhibition is now open in the Judith Taylor Gallery in Landman Library.