Expanded Description: The purpose of the course is to explore the American experience and historical impact of the 1970s on class members and our country via lectures, videos, music, books, articles, and student personal recollections.
Books/Materials Required: How We Got Here, David Frum (available through bookfinder.com as low as $16.79 new or $4.74 used). Optional: Something Happened: A Political & Cultural Overview of the 1970s, Edward Berkowitz. Movies/videos required: “Muscle Shoals” (available on YouTube for rent at $3.99 HD or purchase at $12.99), “Shaft” (available on YouTube for rent at $2.99 HD or purchase at $9.99 HD), and “Saturday Night Fever” (available on YouTube for rent at $3.99 HD or purchase at $13.99 HD).
Week One: Overview of class and schedule of topics, readings, etc. Share personal experiences. Assignment: Read the lyrics and listen to “American Pie” – be prepared to discuss the importance of the song to the culture of the 70s and the meanings of the lyrics.
Week Two: National Politics – Political Party Realignment, Leadership Success and Failures.
Assignments: Video of Ted Kennedy’s 1980 Convention Speech; Music: The Beatles “Let it Be.”
Week Three: Foreign Policy – Vietnam War, China, Iranian Crisis. Assignment: Watch movie: “Muscle Shoals”; Music: Transition of Country Western Music; Possible presenter to discuss Vietnam War.
Week Four: Race Relations – Electoral Politics, Revolutionary Movements, Sports & Music.
Assignment: Watch “Shaft”; Video Clip: Pittsburgh Pro Sports in the 70s, the City of Champions – Sports & Race; Music: The move to Hip Hop & Jazz Rock Fusion.
Week Five: “Me Generation” Culture – Values, Social Structures & Technology. Assignment: Read “The Me Generation,” by Tom Wolfe; Music: Hard Rock—Heavy Metal.
Week Six: American Cities: Growth, Crime & Decline. Assignment: Watch “Saturday Night Fever”; Video Clip: Film “The Godfather”; Music: Disco, R&B.
Week Seven: Social Change – Women’s & Gay Rights Movements, Death of Mainline Religion. Music: “YMCA,” Village People; “Gotta Change My Way of Thinking,” Bob Dylan.
Week Eight: Impact of the “70s” 50 Years later. Music: “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” Simon & Garfunkel.