When considering the evolution of the African American Civil Rights movement, 1963 looms large in

historical study and memory. In 1963, the Birmingham campaign (and the state violence wrought

upon it) captured national and international attention, and a quarter of a million people marched on

Washington D.C. and listened to Martin Luther King, Jr.’s iconic ‘I Have a Dream’ speech. The wider

struggle for civil liberties extended beyond the Civil Rights Movement, even while it remained

inspired by and crucially intertwined with it. From housewives inspired by the publication of Betty

Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique to white evangelicals protesting the secularization of public

education, 1963 was a year in which the struggle for civil liberties manifested in new forms and

adopted new rhetorics. As such, the year of 1963 demonstrates how broader changes in the

political, intellectual, media, and cinematic landscape provided a variety of societal groups with new

ways to interact with the civil rights story and to reimagine themselves as part of it.


This edited volume engages with and interrogates the historical concept of the calendar year,

capturing the breadth of diverse historical actors whose ideals and actions were inspired by and

interwoven with the Civil Rights Movement. The kaleidoscopic nature of 1963 – with interconnected

shifts at a micro and macro level – indicates the distorting and transforming impact of the year on

American life. This strict chronological focus, combined with a thematic breadth of papers, offers a

range of new perspectives on a crucial year for the Civil Rights Movement. However, it also

encourages students and scholars to reflect on the purpose, significance, and potential limitations of

the calendar year as a category of analysis in history.


We are seeking chapter proposals that interact with the concept of 1963 as a ‘watershed year’ in

the struggle for civil liberties. Whilst we will consider papers from a broad spectrum of topics, we

particularly encourage papers that address gaps in the current plan for the volume. These include,

but are not limited to:


• Students and student activism

• Women’s history and the history of feminism

• Cultural forms and their relationships to civil rights, including literature and literary figures


Chapter proposal submission:

Please contact the volume editors, Uta Balbier (uta.balbier@history.ox.ac.uk), Emily Brady

(emily.brady@rai.ox.ac.uk), and Megan Hunt (megan.hunt@ed.ac.uk) by March 1, 2024, if you are

interested in submitting a proposal for the volume.


Please include a proposal of 300-500 words, alongside a short biography (max. 300 words).


Deadline for abstract submission: March 15, 2024


Further information: We intend to conduct a workshop for authors which will take place in

September 2024 (in person or online depending on funding) to workshop draft chapters and to work

jointly towards a cohesive volume.


Subject Fields

History, American History, American Studies, Film and Film History, Literature, Black Studies, Gender