University Relations and Communications

Library Lecture Series explores the 1960s

September 17, 2015 



Brent Roberts, MSUB Library, 657-1655
University Relations, 657-2266 – Story by Blair Koch


 The 60s


Free and open to the public, lectures will be held September 22 and 29 and
October 6, 13, 20, and 27, all beginning at 6:30 p.m. in the library building, room 148 unless otherwise noted.


MSU BILLINGS NEWS SERVICES — American culture experienced so much upheaval and change throughout the 1960s that the decade has been studied ever since and will be in the spotlight for the upcoming Montana State University Billings Library Lecture Series. 

"With the country now in the midst of the 50th Anniversary of the 60s it makes perfect sense for the library to make the era its topic of discussion," said History Professor and department chair Keith Edgerton.

The series of weekly public lectures, sponsored by MSUB Library, begins on September 22 and runs through October 27. The series will delve into the nostalgic, pithy, psychedelic, musical, scientific, and militaristic and oft-times misunderstood events of the decade.

Edgerton will open the series with an overview discussion of the 60s in a lecture titled, "Sex, Drugs and Rock & Roll: The Legacy of the 1960s."

"I'm going to introduce the decade and explain why it continues to hold so much fascination and importance even today," Edgerton said.

MSUB Communication Professor Susan Balter-Reitz's lecture will offer a chance to see 60s culture represented, stereotyped, reinforced and complicated by viewing it through studies of the Grateful Dead.

The musical group, which Balter-Reitz describes as "an experience and not a product," was the #1 touring act in the country as it played 3,000 acts from 1965 through 1995 and never repeated the same set twice.

By investigating the decade through the filter of the Grateful Dead experience Balter-Reitz says it offers a vantage that tells a very particular American story through "music, lyrics and the experience of the show," that many people vividly recall today.

Of course, discussing the 60s couldn't occur without dabbling in conversation about the lasting legacy of drug use and policy arising from that time.

MSUB Psychology Professor Michael Havens will share information about popular drug culture that shaped the decade but also some of the laws that have shaped legal foundations and culture even today.

"The 60s weren't the peak of drug use, but the early 1970s were," Havens said.

Some of the changes occurring in the 60s included not just classifying LSD as an illegal drug but policy shifts making treatment an option over incarnation.

Other topics on the weekly schedule include Andy Warhol, jazz in the 60s and the space program.

The presentations begin at 6:30 p.m. and will be held on the university campus, at 1500 University Drive, in the library building room 148 unless otherwise noted. All are free and open to the public with light refreshments following each lecture.


  Download Lecture Series Poster


  Visit the 60s Lecture Series website for more information and presentations as they become available




Sept 22: Dr. Keith Edgerton, MSUB History Department: "Sex, Drugs, and
Rock & Roll: The Legacy of the 1960s"

Sept 29: Dr. Susan Balter-Reitz, MSUB Communication and Theatre
Department: "What a Long Strange Trip: The Grateful Dead from
Woodstock to Altamont"

Oct 6: Dr. Michael Havens, MSUB Psychology Department: "Turn On, Tune
In, Drop Out: 1960s Drug Culture and Drug Legislation"

Oct 13: Dr. Leanne Gilbertson, MSUB Art Department: "Warhol's Stars:
Fashion and Failure in the 1960s"

Oct 20: Dr. Stuart Snyder, MSUB College of Arts and Sciences, Dr. Loren Acton, Solar Physics Group at MSU, and Dr. John Jurist, adjunct professor of biophysics and aviation at Rocky Mountain College:  “The Final Frontier: The Space Program of the 1960s”

Oct 27: Dr. Mark Fenderson, John Roberts and Dr. Gary Behm joined by
local musicians Parker Brown, Brad Edwards and Eric Olson: "Jazz in the 1960s" in Petro Theatre