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College conference to focus on the pivotal year of 1968

MIDDLEBURY — Three Middlebury College professors — who cover the disciplines of Geosciences, History of Art & Architecture, and Political Science — are organizing a three-day conference that will bring 15 experts to campus early next month to consider a historically pivotal year: 1968.
The college’s Rohatyn Center for Global Affairs will host “1968, Fifty Years of Struggle,” on March 8-10.
If the 1960s “changed modern history,” 1968 stands out. In this year, anti-imperialist and anti-establishment forces took to the streets of major cities around the globe, challenging the post-1945 power structure. With the rise of national liberation movements on almost every continent — the Civil Rights and Feminist movements, anti-Vietnam demonstrations, and decolonization in Africa — 1968 pulsed with a new sense of optimism.
It heralded new forms of art, music, thinking, and debate.
However, conservative governments came to power in France, Britain, and the U.S; Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy were assassinated; the Soviet Union invaded Czechoslovakia; and Mao Zedong’s Cultural Revolution was met with intensifying violence. On multiple fronts, 1968 symbolizes both a quest for, and intense opposition to dramatic change in the status quo — an ever-evolving dynamic that continues today.
The keynote address by Todd Gitlin will take place that Thursday at 4:30 p.m. in Wilson Hall. Gitlin is a Columbia University professor and author of “The Sixties: Years of Hope, Days of Rage.” All subsequent events will be in the Robert A. Jones ’59 House conference room.
The conference is being organized by professors Tamar Mayer, Edward Vazquez and Mark Williams.
It is free and open to the public.
For more information visit middlebury.edu/international/rcga/international-conference/2018-annual-international-conference.

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