Distinguished Lecturers
Barbara L. Tischler

Barbara L. Tischler

Barbara L. Tischler is the author of numerous articles on American culture, the 1960s, and aspects of the anti–Vietnam War movement, along with An American Music (1986), Sights on the Sixties (1992), and Muhammad Ali: A Man of Many Voices (2015). Her latest book is Don't Call Us Girls: Women' Activism, Protest, and Actions in the Vietnam War (2024). Tischler has taught courses on the U.S. Constitution and U.S. history at Teachers College, Columbia University. Her most recent research and presentation interests include African-American history, the civil rights movement, and the discourse of enslaved people as a aspect of community, humanity, and resistance.

NEW IN 2024: Don't Call Us Girls: Women' Activism, Protest, and Actions in the Vietnam War (Pen and Sword Books)

OAH Lectures by Barbara L. Tischler

This lecture, based on Tischler's 2024 book, is about women at an important historical moment in world history when it seemed that pressure on legislative bodies, social activism in the form of street demonstrations, and even outbreaks of violent and destructive behavior might actually change the world. In the early 1960s, young people were confident that their voices would matter. By the end of the decade, optimism that full civil rights could be attained for African Americans and that a land war in Asia could be brought to an end simply because young people willed it to happen began to give way to a profound cynicism about the idea that activism in the streets would matter. This is the story of how women became critical actors in movements for change during the Vietnam Era and how the lessons learned contributed to a new consciousness that women’s voices could be raised on their own behalf.

This lecture asks audiences to connect musically with the struggles of the freedom movement of the 1950s and 60s. It explores the ways in which a musical conversation about the freedom struggle reveals the depth of passion and energy that created and sustained the movement.

African-American history is critical to understanding the broader dynamic of American history and it is more important now than ever to understand the dynamic of slavery through the words and song of enslaved people. This lecture presents what used to be called "slave narratives" in the context of community and resistance to the South's "peculiar institution." The lecture includes excerpts from the narratives of enslaved and free people of color as well as spirituals and songs of resistance.

Although Jack Kerouac's most famous work is called On The Road, the author was constantly searching for a way home. This lecture chronicles the creation of On the Road and also discusses Kerouac's earlier writings, including some high school journalistic efforts from his time at New York's Horace Mann School.

This lecture discusses the various ways in which soldiers exercised their constitutional (but not their military) right to free expression as they opposed the fighting in Vietnam. The primary sources for this conversation are the GI antiwar newspapers published in the United States and abroad.

This is a lecture about music in wartime. What did soldiers sing? How did composers utilize the tools of their craft to support wartime efforts? What role did music play in the development of anti-war sentiment in the military and the population at large? Although the primary area of inquiry is World Wars I and II, the lecture includes additional conflicts in the late-twentieth century. This lecture includes a number of musical examples from World War I and beyond.

Americans have found myriad ways to assert the cultural independence and exceptional ism of their nation. Composers for the concert hall chose to quote folk and popular music in pieces that were intended too describe America in musical terms. In addition, composers in the 1920s and 30s asserted the "American" quality of their compositions by quoting jazz idioms, The presence of hip hop on Broadway is a continuation of the synthesis of popular and concert genres. This lecture explores varieties of American concert music whose creators strove to depict aspects of America's history and culture on stage.

More than a boxer, Muhammad Ali stands as a representative of 1960s culture as a fighter, a self-promoter, draft resister, and a member of the Nation of Islam. This talk focuses on Ali’s transition from Golden Gloves champion to a successful petitioner for justice before the Supreme Court.

More Distinguished Lectureship Program Resources