• Project Title: Protesting with Music: The Politics of 1960s Folk and Rock

  • BASIS Advisor: Matthew Goldman

Music has long played a tremendously important role in American culture. Is it fair to assume then, that if popular music is suffused with political messages, songs are an effective form of political expression for social change? The anti-Vietnam War protest songs of the 1960s encapsulate this question well. Musicians like Phil Ochs, Pete Seeger, and Joan Baez would craft songs denouncing American participation in the War and perform at anti-war demonstrations. Through a deep dive into secondary source literature and archival materials documenting these protests and the climactic decade in general, I hope to gage the political consequences of these songs and better understand music as an expressive medium. I believe I will find music to be a significant source of anti-war sentiment during the 1960s. If this is the case, has music remained an impetus for social activism?