AMST 1850

AMST 1850

Course information provided by the Courses of Study 2019-2020.

On August 9-10, 1969, ex-convict, aspiring rock star, and charismatic leader Charles Manson ordered his so-called Family to brutally murder a few of LA's rich, white, "beautiful people" and leave clues implicating black radicals. The idea was to trigger an apocalyptic race war he called "Helter Skelter" (after a song by The Beatles). Today, these murders stand as the most infamous in twentieth-century U.S. criminal history and as synecdoche for the "end of the Sixties." They have also spawned a veritable Manson Industry in the popular realm: there are now Manson books, movies, TV shows, documentaries, podcasts, websites, music, comics, t-shirts, and even a tourist attraction (the Hollywood "Helter Skelter" tour). This course analyzes the history of the Manson murders as well as their incredible resonance in American culture over the past half century. Who was Charles Manson and who were the members of the Family? What was the Family's relation to the counterculture, to Hollywood, Vietnam, the Black Panther Party, and environmentalism? How might we fit the Manson murders into the long history of apocalyptic violence and terror? And what does it mean that the Manson murders have occupied our collective imagination for fifty years? To answer these and other questions, we will analyze a variety of sources including television and newspaper reports, trial transcripts, true crime writing, memoirs, interviews, novels, films and documentaries, podcasts and pop songs.

When Offered Spring.

Distribution Category (HA-AS)

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Enrollment Information
Syllabi: none
  •   Regular Academic Session.  Combined with: HIST 1850

  • 4 Credits Stdnt Opt

  • 17148AMST 1850  LEC 001

  • Instruction Mode: Hybrid - Online & In Person
    Informal Session Times: Thursday: 12:20-1:10; Thursday: 1:25-2:15; Friday: 10:10-11:00; or Friday: 11:15-12:05.