Grateful Dead History


December 1, 2021February 1, 2022

Location: The Duke Campus Club Exhibit Wall

An exhibition from the course What Now? Long, Strange Trips: The Grateful Dead & American Cultural Change (ETHICS 89S / HISTORY 89S / MUSIC 89S).

Exhibit created with Professor Eric Mlyn, Ph.D., Lecturer in the Sanford School of Public Policy and Distinguished Faculty Fellow in the Kenan Institute for Ethics and students: Zachary Chapman Carl Dong Ethan Episcope Gus Gress Julia Grimes Darek Harlan Simran Kapoor Ben Koch Rachel Kowalsky Lindsey Latts Sydney Lester Sophia Lehrfman Sam Long Clare New Ali Raich Sabreen Syed Dylan Tuchman.

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Course description: “We're like licorice. Not everybody likes licorice, but the people who like licorice really like licorice.” Jerry Garcia. Few musical acts have ever reached the level of cultural awareness and impact as the Grateful Dead, and perhaps none has enjoyed such ardent devotion for so long. The story of the Grateful Dead offers a lens through which to view not only the tumult of the 1960s counterculture movement but also to understand broader political and historical forces in the United States.  In other words, the Grateful Dead and their history and music will form the backbone for the class, but this will be used to shed light on social upheaval, identity and shared experience, how ideas endure, and the sometimes-murky search for collective meaning. Using a mix of scholarly and biographical accounts, this course will offer students a multidimensional and interdisciplinary examination of how ideas form, inspire, intimidate, and ultimately stand the test of time. We will also explore the significance of how ideas can go from the margins to the mainstream through notions of authenticity and cooptation. Part of the What Now? network of first-year seminars.