From Malcolm X to the Beatles: Youth Activism & Repression in the 60s

This is a history course on youth activism and repression during the twentieth century. While the discussions will incorporate a global perspective expanding several decades, the class will concentrate primarily on the sixties in selected communities of color in the United States and parts of Latin America.

Students will examine the historical roots of today’s “Black Lives Matter,” “Dreamers,” “Anti-Globalization,” “Environmentalist,” and “LGBT” Movements as differently articulated during the sixties by the Black Power, Native American, Feminist, Chicano/a, Gay, Countercultural, and Young Lords Movements. We will draw parallels and key points of contrasts between these and other youth movements in Latin America from a variety of gender, race, and class perspectives. From this multilayered approach, we will also examine the multiple impacts that the Cuban, aesthetic (i.e. film, fashion, and Rock ‘n’ Roll), and sexual revolutions had on these movements.

At the end of the class students will not only have a better appreciation of the wider concepts of “democracy” and “activism” frequently ignored in today’s high school history textbooks, but also a broader understanding of the numerous consequences associated with repression and multiple forms of discrimination.

Academic Director


Jaime Pensado is Associate Professor of History and Co-Director of the Mexico Working Group at the University of Notre Dame. A native of Mexico City, he received his B.A. M.A. in Latin American Studies at Cal State University, Los Angeles and his Ph.D. in history at the University of Chicago.

Pensado specializes in contemporary Mexican history, student movements, youth culture, the sixties, and the Cold War. He is currently working on a second book project that examines “Catholic Youth in Cold War Mexico.” His first book, Rebel Mexico: Student Unrest and Authoritarian Political Culture during the Long Sixties (Stanford University Press, 2013) received the “Mexico History Book Prize” from the Conference on Latin American History (CLAH).

At the University of Notre Dame Pensado offers a variety of undergraduate and graduate courses, including “Art and Revolution in Mexico,” “The Global Sixties,” “Latin American History through Film,” and “Student Activism in the Americas.”