1968 Now: Revolution- Art, History & Philosophy

(HIST48400- Prof Rob Savage)
(PHIL553901- Prof Richard Kearney)
(ARTS332001- Prof Sheila Gallagher)

Course description:

This interdisciplinary class uses the year 1968 to explore the intersection of popular culture, art, history, philosophy, and radical politics. This course will critically investigate some of the main historical events, philosophical thought, and art movements which informed and embodied the revolution of 1968 in Paris and beyond. Critical questions discussed include the relationship between freedom and determinism, imagination and language, self and society, popular culture and politics. In addition to readings, students will be introduced to films, music, and art-making strategies that explore revolutionary ideas of personal and societal transformation.

Class policies:

  • No cell phones.
  • Attendance is mandatory. If you miss a class, please contact your class partner to review what was covered in class.
  • Consult the website frequently:
  • All students are expected to be aware of and observe Boston College’s academic integrity policies. Please review the standards and procedures that are published in the university catalog and on the web: (

Course Outline:

1) August 29

Introductions, review of class
Film clips: PBS Vietnam

Homework due next week:
After reading Michael Herr’s article “Hell Sucks‘, watching Apocalypse Now and the clip from the Ken Burns documentary Vietnam, address how each of these presentations articulates the experience of soldiers sent to war. Are these narratives effective in enabling a better understanding of the conflict? Be concise in explaining your answer. (200 words maximum)
Additional reading of Rights of Sacrifice: Strangers, Gods and Monsters’ – Richard Kearney

2) September 5 – Savage:  Master class, overview/chronology

Movie discussion: Apocalypse Now

Homework for next week:
— After reading the Marshall McLuhan excerpt , the sample of the Whole Earth catalog, and a short essay on the artist Sister Corita, your assignment is to find two (hi-res) images and posT them in the discussion  part of the website.  The first should be a striking visual image of an event , which will be added to our 1968 timeline . The second should be a piece of protest art from the time. Make sure to include captions and artist attributions where applicable.
Other homework:
Get to the ICA to see the Black Radical Women exhibition before it closes on Sept 29.
Start thinking about what you want to protest now. Begin doodling out ideas for your own protest poster.

3) September 12 – Gallagher:  Master class on visual culture and art movements of late 1960’s

Homework for next week:

4) September 19 – Kearney:  Master class on ’The Paris Revolt’

Homework for next week

– READ: Review: The Beatles – ‘White Album’

– listen to:


5) September 26 – Murray Littlejohn, guest lecturer:  Music of 1968 (Beatles, Dylan, Hendrix, Cohen, etc.)

Homework for next week:
Each student is to read the selected readings and bring a short answer to these two prompt questions to class for discussion in groups – along with a concrete contemporary example (local, national or global) of what you would ideally like to protest.
  • Questions:
    • Is ‘Power to Imagination’ a realistic slogan of protest?
    • Is protest more than refusal? Does protest need to supplement negation with affirmation? Resistance with utopia?

6) October 3 – Joint class: PROTEST! Gallagher, Kearney, Savage. Philosophies of refusal, protest art, 1968 protests and riots

Homework for next week: Reading on Black Power and Black Art Movement; begin working on protest poster; blog

  • Please post: 
    • After attending the We Wanted a Revolution Exhibition at the ICA, screening the Black Women movie clip, reading Angela Davis and others, please reflect and post (1-2 paragraphs) on how/if the Black Power and Black Arts Movement continues to influence culture in terms of aesthetics, spoken word and music, and protest movements. Come with a specific question (post it!) to ask Dr. Woodard after his lecture on October 10 at 7:00 in Higgins.

7) October 10 – Professor Komozi Woodard, guest lecturer: Black Power and the Black Art Movement.

Note: this class will begin at 7 PM in Higgins

Homework for next week:
  • READ: Selections from Foreign Correspondent – A memoir by H.D.S. Greenway
  • Post on discussion page:
    • What strikes you about Greenway’s account of his time in Vietnam? Does his description of the war the soldiers and attitudes toward the conflict enhance your understanding of America’s war in Vietnam? Explain with specific reference to the reading.
    • Please post a draft or a sketch of the image for their protest poster. If students need extra help, they should go to Professor Gallagher’s office hours on Wednesday between 12:00-1:30.

8) October 17 – Covering War: Savage and Greenway- The Troubles and Vietnam

Homework for next week:

Please work on designs for protest posters. Visit Professor Gallagher in office hours to if you want to discuss your protest poster.

9) October 24 – Gallagher: Studio class

Silkscreening protest posters. This class will take place in DELVIN, ROOM 417.

Homework for next week:
 In order to facilitate your reading for wednesday’s class I would suggest the following:
2) Take a glance at the translator’s helpful Intro (p 1-10) to Foucault’s ‘This is not a Pipe’ (esp if you find the main text too difficult or technical)
3) Start with Barthes’ ‘Death of an Author’ (only four pages)
4) Concentrate on Julian Bourg’s Ist chapter ‘Under the Cobblestones’ – though if you can find time to (re)read his intro and conclusion (which are very clear and readable) it would be an ideal preparation for our conversation with the author. Most of you will have already done this reading for the first Philosophy class. Emily has kindly reposted it on syllabus for this weeks reading.

10) October 31 – Richard Kearney:  Master class, ‘The Postmodern Crisis of the Image’

Discussion of readings from Guy Debord, Michel Foucault, Roland Barthes. Discussion of ‘Blow Up’ by Antonioni)

Homework for next week: work on silkscreens and final presentations; Selected readings from Psychedelic Art and Michael Pollan’s How to Change Your Mind; blog and instagram

Michael Pollan, How to Change Your Mind FULL TEXT for further reading

11) November 7 – Joint Class:  Savage, Kearney, Gallagher: Psychedelics and Consciousness Expansion

Homework for next week:
For your presentations please plan to have a written outline that will address the following:
1- Why you decided to choose this topic?
2- What questions you looking to ask and answer?
3- What sources you are using for the project?
You should post these three points on the website under the discussion section, as well as bring a hard copy to class on Wednesday.
Please keep in mind that the written project should be no more that 5 pages, (1250 words) carefully written and presented with sources cited in endnotes or footnotes

12) November 14 – Student Presentations

13) November 28 – Student Presentations

14) December 5 – Exhibition and Reception, Carney Gallery

Office hours for Prof Kearney, Stokes 225N Wed 5-6.00 PM or by appointment
Office hours for Prof Gallagher, Devlin 401F, Wed 12-1:30 PM or by appointment
Emily Castro, media designer and technology assistant,