Arts & Culture

New journal casts a critical look at the ‘Swinging Sixties’

2 min read

From the New Left to the sexual revolution, scholarship on 1960s America has focused primarily on social protest and the counterculture. Now, John McMillian, a lecturer on history and literature, plans to expand how we think about one of the nation’s most complex and colorful eras.

McMillian has secured funding from Routledge Publishing for a new journal devoted exclusively to study of the 1960s. The publication, called The Sixties: A Journal of History, Politics, and Culture, will provide a fresh outlet for scholarship in the field.

“Obviously, dissent and protest are fundamentally important,” McMillian says. “But the experience of the 1960s was a lot more variegated than people recognize. We need to consider the era from a grassroots perspective.”

To that end, the journal will feature papers on a wide range of topics, including diplomacy, environmentalism, gender history, and the arts. McMillian hopes the diverse coverage will encourage readers to consider the period in broader terms.

“People tend to focus on the ’60s as only an era of social protest, but the journal encompasses much more.”

In addition to scholarly articles, the journal will offer new perspectives on the 1960s through interviews, graphics, and primary sources.

“This is a robust field, and scholars are exploring some rich archival materials,” McMillian said. “Our journal is meant to be as inclusive as possible.”

For McMillian, the journal provides an opportunity to improve the status of scholarship on the era.

“The fact that Routledge wants to do this project is a sign that the 1960s is getting more visibility and respect,” he explained. “Enough time has passed for us to offer a judicious perspective.”

McMillian will co-edit the journal with Michael S. Foley, associate professor of history at City University of New York, and Jeremy Varon, associate professor of history at Drew University.

“It is exciting to be editing this together. To my knowledge, this is the only academic journal devoted to a specific decade,” McMillian said.

The first issue of The Sixties: A Journal of History, Politics and Culture will appear in June of 2008.