The World Transformed?

The 1960s from an International Perspective

Instructor: Martin Klimke

Rutgers University, Spring 2003
History 506:402:08, Wednesdays, 9:50-12.50 p.m.
Hardenberg Hall-A2 (CAC)


During the 1960s, protest movements shattered established orders and radically questioned traditional values virtually simultaneously in France, West Germany, Italy, Japan, the U.S. and many other parts of the world. Recent years have not only seen an increasing historical interest in the legacy of the 1960s on a national level but also various attempts to understand the global character of the sixties’ rebellion. The linkages between domestic and international affairs, the tremendous influence of the media, the cross-cultural exchange of ideas that shaped the networks of protest and challenged the Cold War status quo during this decade have led to an interpretation of the sixties, and especially its most tumultuous and climactic year 1968, as a wide-spread cultural and social revolution, in fact the first global revolution.

This course will test the substance of that assumption by examining the 1960s as a transnational phenomenon. After a thorough exploration of the protest movements in the United States, the decade’s unprecedented wave of social and political activism will be examined from an international perspective. Special attention will be paid to the national conditions that caused domestic dissent before issues which transcended national boundaries and fostered the global impact of protest will be dealt with. For class reports and short papers students will draw on primary and secondary sources of various movements. Major writing for the course consists of a research paper on a theme individually agreed upon with the instructor. Limited to 15 students.


  • Burner, David. Making Peace with the 60s. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1996.
  • Fink, Carole, Philipp Gassert, and Detlef Junker, eds. 1968: A World Transformed. Edited by The German Historical Institute. Washington, D.C.: Cambridge University Press, 1998.
  • Morrison, Joan, and Robert K. Morrison, eds. From Camelot to Kent State: The Sixties Experience in the Words of Those Who Lived It. New York: Oxford University Press, 2001, 2nd ed.
  • Rampolla, Mary Lynn. A Pocket Guide to Writing in History. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2000, 3rd ed.