The Gutenberg Galaxy: The Making of Typographic Man – Marshall McLuhan (1962)

1960s: Days of Rage


The Gutenberg Galaxy: The Making of Typographic Man is a 1962 book by Marshall McLuhan, in which the author analyzes the effects of mass media, especially the printing press, on European culture and human consciousness. It popularized the term global village, which refers to the idea that mass communication allows a village-like mindset to apply to the entire world; and Gutenberg Galaxy, which we may regard today to refer to the accumulated body of recorded works of human art and knowledge, especially books. McLuhan studies the emergence of what he calls Gutenberg Man, the subject produced by the change of consciousness wrought by the advent of the printed book. Apropos of his axiom, ‘The medium is the message,’ McLuhan argues that technologies are not simply inventions which people employ but are the means by which people are re-invented. The invention of

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Brushstrokes series – Roy Lichtenstein (1965-66)

1960s: Days of Rage

Brushstrokes (1965) was the first element of the Brushstrokes series.

Brushstrokes series is the name for a series of paintings produced in 1965–66 by Roy Lichtenstein. It also refers to derivative sculptural representations of these paintings that were first made in the 1980s. In the series, the theme is art as a subject, but rather than reproduce masterpieces as he had starting in 1962, Lichtenstein depicted the gestural expressions of the painting brushstroke itself. The works in this series are linked to those produced by artists who use the gestural painting style of abstract expressionism made famous by Jackson Pollock, but differ from them due to their mechanically produced appearance. The series is considered a satire or parody of gestural painting by both Lichtenstein and his critics. After 1966, Lichtenstein incorporated this series into later motifs and themes of his work. In the early 1960s, Lichtenstein reproduced…

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Student Peace Union

1960s: Days of Rage


Student Peace Union (SPU) was a nationwide student organization active on college campuses in the United States from 1959 to 1964. Its national headquarters were located near the campus of the University of Chicago. The SPU was founded by Ken Calkins, who had gained notoriety when his pelvis was fractured when he sat in front of a truck during a pacifist demonstration against nuclear weapons at the first Atlas Missile site 20 miles northwest of Cheyenne, Wyoming. He had returned to Chicago and became educational director for the local American Friends Service Committee. As part of his duties in that position he conducted a number of peace seminars at local Chicago high schools, where he developed a number of contacts with local students. By the spring of 1959 this network had been organized in the Student Peace Union and by the end of the school year…

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Within Our Gates, USA 1920

Early & Silent Film

Within Our Gates is a riposte to the racism and white supremacy of D. W. Griffith’s The Birth of a Nation (1915). It is likely that Oscar Micheaux deliberately derived the title from a 1919 Griffith film, A Romance of Happy Valley, which contains the epigraph:

‘Harm not the stranger

Within your gates

Lest you yourself be hurt’.

This point is made in an article by J. Ronald Green in ‘Griffithiana 60/61’, a publication that accompanied the Giornate Festival of 1997, which saw the screenings of both the Griffith classic and the less well-known Micheaux film. Seeing the two films in succession demonstrated Micheaux’s success in confronting the pernicious arguments of the earlier film.

An important aspect of the rediscovery of Micheaux was a sense of the context for his film. Within Our Gates was produced for the US ‘race’ film market, and was therefore denied the resources and…

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