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People and the Humanities


John F. Kennedy delivering the first live news conference

President John F. Kennedy delivers the first live news conference, establishes the Peace Corps, announces his goal to put a man on the Moon before 1970 with the Apollo Program and sends 18,000 military advisors to South Vietnam. Sixties Project, 1961. sixties60s.com/1961.htm

This week deals with intellectual changes in the 1950s. In the Lecture, Professor Mayer addresses the concerns that developed as a result of growing affluence and an obsession with conformity. He also discusses popular culture and the rise of youth culture.

Maps & Cityscapes features the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair while Tribal Perspectives focuses on Indian intellectuals D’Arcy McNickle and Ellla Cara Deloria.

In People and the Humanities, we discuss the Beat Generation writers and John Updike’s Rabbit, Run. The Research section presents our top reading and viewing picks for this topic.

Assignment suggestions for this week’s content include:

  • What were the concerns of the social critics of the 1950s, from sociologists to politicians to novelists? Were their concerns legitimate? Have they been solved, or are we still dealing with forms of them today?
  • If you are not working in this time period, consider asking what the social critics of your period focused on. What were their concerns? Did they recognize the major issues of their day, or did they miss some? Did those concerns get resolved or cease to be important?

Books from the 1960s

Photo of John Updike

John Updike with Rabbit Run in 1960 captures the tedium of middle class life in this acclaimed best seller. Sixties Project, 1960. sixties60s.com/1960books.htm.

To Kill a Mockingbird cover

To Kill a Mockingbird - 34 year old Alabama novelist Harper Lee won the Pulitzer Prize for her novel decrying racism. Sixties Project, 1960. sixties60s.com/1960books.htm.

Photo of A Raisin in the Sun

A Raisin in the Sun, first play on Broadway written and directed by African Americans. Sixties Project, 1960. sixties60s.com/1960books.htm.