The 1960s was the most transformative decade in the history of American higher education—but not for the reasons you think.
Picture going to college in the sixties: the protests and marches, the teach-ins and sit-ins, the drugs, sex, and rock 'n’ roll—hip, electric, psychedelic. Not so fast, says bestselling historian John R. Thelin. Even at radicalized campuses, volatile student demonstrations coexisted with the "business as usual" of a flagship state university: athletics, fraternities and sororities, and student government.
In Going to College in the Sixties, Thelin reinterprets the campus world shaped during one of the most dramatic decades in American history. Reconstructing all phases of the college experience, Thelin explores how students competed for admission, paid for college in an era before Pell Grants, dealt with crowded classes and dormitories, voiced concerns about the curriculum, grappled with new tensions in big-time college sports, and overcame discrimination. Thelin augments his anecdotal experience with a survey of landmark state and federal policies and programs shaping higher education, a chronological look at media coverage of college campuses over the course of the decade, and an account of institutional changes in terms of curricula and administration.
Combining student memoirs, campus publications, oral histories, and newsreels, along with archival sources and institutional records, the book goes beyond facile stereotypes about going to school in the sixties. Grounded in social and political history, with a scope that will appeal both to a new generation of scholars and to alumni of the era, this engaging book allows readers to consider "going to college" in both the past and the present.
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