The Princeton Mellon Initiative in Architecture, Urbanism, and the Humanities and The Humanities Council are pleased to announce the continued series of conversations, film screenings, and symposia related to the 50th anniversaries of the tumultuous events of 1968. Additional support is kindly provided by the Mamdouha S. Bobst Center for Peace and Justice, the Center for the Study of Democratic Politics, the Departments of French & Italian, German and East Asian Studies, and the Program in African Studies.
1968 saw the unraveling of a postwar political and social order in multiple societies across the globe. Several regimes experienced mass mobilizations that took explicitly urban forms – cities were the focus and nodes of the crises of 1968. For locales such as Paris, Mexico City, and Prague, the year 1968 conjures turbulent images, scenes, and narratives. Across the United States, cities responded to and refracted infamous and traumatic events, including the assassinations of Dr. Martin Luther King and Sen. Robert Kennedy, and the violent Democratic Convention in Chicago. Campus protests in Berlin, Tokyo, and New York altered the future course of higher education and national politics, while upheavals in Trenton and Washington, D.C. shaped the future of our local region and federal urban policy. Other cultural artifacts in addition to policy and politics--from architecture, design, literature, film, and journalism—reflect and embody fundamental shifts rooted in urban transformation.
Click event titles for more information.
In conjunction with the Picturing Protest installation, Katherine M. H. Reischl (Slavic Languages and Literatures) and Katherine A. Bussard (Art Museum), will discuss examples of photographs that did—and did not—circulate at the height of the 1960s protest movements in the United States, former Czechoslovakia, and former USSR. Moderated by Juliana Dweck (Art Museum).
Political pundits identify a “suburban revolt” as the key to victory in the 2018 midterms. In a reversal of Richard Nixon’s 1968 efforts to court “Forgotten Americans” wary of the excesses of 1960s liberalism, Democratic politicians and strategists hope to turn suburban voters against President Trump and right-wing Republican extremism fifty years later. Join three award-winning historians for a discussion of the roots of this political strategy, the changing nature of suburbs, and the significance of the election for the future of American politics. With Kevin Kruse (History), Lily Geismer (Claremont McKenna) and Matthew Lassiter (Michigan).
October 8: Algiers 1958 / Paris 1968
What do these moments of coup d’état, revolt and change in Algeria and France have to tell us about American society today? What can we learn from these events? How did the Algerian Revolution, the end of the Fourth Republic, and the coming of General Charles de Gaulle as president change French society? Were there repercussions all over the world? Did the student riots and the general strike of 1968–what de Gaulle called the "chi-en-lit"–alter the basic fabric of French society in any profound way? What were the students trying to accomplish and what relevance does their struggle have today? With the help of some personal experiences and political insights the writers: Sheila Kohler, author of fourteen books and the recent memoir "Once we were sisters," who was present at some of these moments in Paris, and Samia Henni, author of Architecture of Counterrevolution: The French Army in Northern Algeria, in which she investigated the psychology of the 1958 and 1961 French Generals putsches in Algiers during the Algerian Revolution will discuss these events.
Why did some students killed during protests become “martyrs” while others were labeled “delinquents”? Why did some protests generate iconic press images and others did not? From the Kent State shootings to Trenton, Newark, and Princeton, Alison Isenberg (History) examines the photography of urban youth unrest and fatal violence in the 1960s.
October 15: After '68 in Japan: Urban/Media/Critique
A roundtable discussion led by Franz Prichard (East Asian Studies), with participants Yuriko Furuhata (McGill), Nick Kapur (Rutgers-Camden), Takuya Tsunoda (Columbia), Ayako Kano (Penn) and Nicholas Risteen (Architecture).
From campus occupations to urban riots, West Berlin was without a doubt the center of the West German 1968. But what was it about the isolated Cold War city in the late 1960s and early 1970s that made it a locus of political struggle? This talk examines how state investment in education and arts infrastructure, intended to bolster West Berlin against a communist threat, actually helped transform the city into a hotbed for movements against capital and imperialism. With M. Shane Boyle, School of English and Drama, Queen Mary University of London, and Judith Hamera, Lewis Center.
December 5: Cities in Turmoil: The 1960s in India/Indonesia
By the mid-1960s, crises gripped the ruling regimes throughout South and Southeast Asia. The postcolonial promise, articulated at the end of WW II and the retreat of European empires, began to come apart under the pressures of popular unrest, social and political cleavages, and the Cold War realities. Cities became stages for violent turmoil. This talk charts the historical roots of urban tumult in India and Indonesia, with Gyan Prakash and Michael Laffan, both of the Princeton University History Department.
Events held Spring 2018:
1968/2018 Film Series - In the Intense Now (2018) (February 14)
The Trenton Project Remembers April 9, 1968 (April 9 @ Artworks Trenton)
1968/2018 Film Series – Uptight! (1968) (April 24 @ Princeton Garden Theatre)
1968/2018 Film Series – Medium Cool (1969) (May 8 @ Princeton Garden Theatre)