Please join the Education Studies Initiative for a public lecture featuring David Fowler of the University of Cambridge.
The role American students played in the British, and indeed European, student protests of the late 1960s and early 1970s was much discussed at the time in the national and international media, as well as the senior common rooms of Oxford and Cambridge. No historian has yet examined this issue systematically. Drawing on extensive archival research for my forthcoming study of Britain’s “1968,” this lecture will illuminate the international and trans-Atlantic dimensions of the British student protests of the late 1960s and early 1970s. Who were the student protesters who forced the closure of the world-renowned London School of Economics in February 1969, which attracted international media attention and led to debates in the British House of Commons and House of Lords? The British Education Secretary at the time, Edward Short, described the American students who participated in the protests as "the thugs of the academic world." But who were these American student activists? How radicalized were the American Rhodes Scholars at Oxford University in 1968? How central were American students in radicalizing British university campuses in the Global Sixties? How central were they to Britain's, and indeed Europe's, 1968? What legacy did they leave in Britain and Europe? The lecture will explore these questions, and more, in this under-researched but fascinating strand of the British and American "Special Relationship" of the 1960s and beyond.
David Fowler teaches modern history and politics at the University of Cambridge, where he is a Life Member of Clare Hall Cambridge. He also holds a lectureship in modern history at Cardiff University and is currently a visiting scholar at Amherst College, where he is preparing the first scholarly biography of the transnational sixties student radical, Marshall Bloom '66. The book will shine a light on one of the prime movers of the sixties’ cultural revolutions in the United States, Britain and Europe.
Fowler has published two acclaimed monographs on youth culture in 20th-century Britain: The First Teenagers: the Lifestyle of Young Wage-Earners in Interwar Britain and Youth Culture in Modern Britain, c.1920-c.1970: From Ivory Tower to Global Movement--A New History. His latest book, Oxford and Revolution: Student Power, “1968” and a British Cultural Revolt, will be published by Oxford University Press in 2019.