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Radicalism at York in the Global Sixties

Wednesday 20 October 2021, 12.00PM to 1:30 PM

Speaker(s): David Fowler

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Britain’s ‘Swinging Sixties’ continue to be viewed-even by notable scholars such as Dominic Sandbrook and the late Arthur Marwick-as a metropolitan world peopled by Carnaby Street Mods,the Beatles, countercultural music venues like the UFO Club in Tottenham Court Road and the rarified nightclubs of St James’s and the Kings Road. This talk will argue that university students and dons were among the prime movers in the cultural revolution of the ‘Long 1960s’ (c.1965-c.1974). It does so through an exploration of academic and student radicalism at York; one of the first ‘new universities’ of the 1960s. Opened in 1963, by 1970 the university had attracted Americans, students from the Commonwealth, iconoclastic Cambridge dons like F.R. Leavis, pioneering radical sociologists, musicologists and social and political scientists like Laurie Taylor, Wilfrid Mellers, Peter Sedgwick and Adrian Leftwich; and the legendary Sixties virtuoso rock guitarist and fashion icon Jimi Hendrix. The key protagonists in this educational and cultural experiment at York were a generation of

edgy, politically conscious, entrepreneurial and countercultural student activists; among whom were Peter Hitchens, David Goodhart, Greg Dyke and Nigel Fountain. As will be demonstrated, this indefatigable generation of university students, many of whom later

became distinguished journalists, cultural leaders, writers and ‘Public Intellectuals’ shaped not only a pioneering campus university of the 1960s but the wider culture beyond the University. How did this happen? What has subsequently happened to student and don

radicalism since the 1960s? Such questions will be explored in this talk; and, hopefully, debated afterwards.

Dr David Fowler of Clare Hall Cambridge is an Associate Researcher in the Department of Politics at York and is conducting a major new research project at York on ‘Radicalism in Britain’s Campus Universities of the 1960s: Donsand Students’. He is an historian of 20th century British cultural history and has published two major books; the most recent being Youth Culture in Modern Britain: From Ivory Tower to Global.

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Location: Online Event

Admission: Free, All welcome