A103 TMA08

TMA08: The Sixties

TMA08 is an interdisciplinary assignment relating to Block 6. When you have completed it, please send it to your tutor to arrive no later than 16 May 2008.

Please remember that this assignment is non-substitutable and carries a threshold of 30%.

You should answer this question in an essay of no more than 2,000 words.

How far were the Sixties distinctive in their own right and how significant were they in bringing about changes? Discuss with reference to any two or three of the disciplines represented in Block 6.

Guidance note
Whether or not you agree with either or both parts of the question, this assignment requires you to test this general view of the Sixties against the specific examples of social, cultural, religious, artistic and scientific enterprise examined in Block 6. You should choose two or three of the five disciplines – History, History of Science, Religious Studies, Music, Art History – and consider how distinctive and significant were developments in those fields during the 1960s. To answer the question, you will need to discuss the concept and practicality of historical periodisation (sic!), for which you should refer to pp.18-23 of Units 25-26. Note that you will need to do this regardless of whether History is one of the disciplines you choose for the bulk of your answer. You are recommended to use no more than 500 words of your essay, or two paragraphs, discussing this concept. For the rest of your essay you should show how appropriate the statement is in providing a contextual framework for any two of the five disciplines in Block 6. If you answer with reference to History you should draw on examples from Units 25-26 to support your argument. If you answer with reference to any of the other disciplines, History of Science, Religious Studies, Music or Art History, you should draw on examples from the relevant units.

If Music or Art History are among the disciplines you choose, you should consider what factors other than notable public events and changes might be useful in making divisions of period. For instance, how much weight should be given to specific traditions or movements, to major changes in musical or artistic style, or even to significant moments in the careers of individuals? These may coincide with the kinds of events and changes that historians consider decisive, but if they don’t, should we just ignore the evidence they seem to offer? You should argue your case by using specific examples from Block 6 and Resource Book 4. Do not write a narrative history of the 1960s, but rather use your essay to develop an argument that will lead you towards a conclusion that either supports, refutes or qualifies the assertions at the heart of the question.

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32 Responses to A103 TMA08

  1. LizSara says:

    Now i’m freaked out…i did A103 last year!

  2. Richard says:

    Out of all the decade’s in the 20th century this is the one i would have wanted to avoid. But thats like most topics in this course ha

  3. Dudius says:

    Got 68% for last TMA.


    I remember the sixties (mainly because I wasn’t there) so hopefully things will pick up…

  4. Sarah says:

    Yay, we’re nearly at the end!!! An interesting one for me being born at the back end of the 60s I was totally oblivious to the happenings!! Ho hum no more than 2,000 words should be easy enough, as long as I don’t have to listen to that Beatles song again – you know what I mean 😉

    Still waiting for the result of TMA7 which will continue with the flow and be above 65%.

    And how are you doing Brennig – I got a mac and had to find you via Google ;P

  5. Brennig says:

    Hi Folks,

    Well, my dissatisfaction with the OU continues. We’ve paid a lot of money for this course yet the materials read as though they’ve been knocked up by a bunch of 14-year-old school-children during a rained-in Tuesday afternoon.

    Surely I can’t be the only one who actually reads this stuff with expectations of literacy?

    How far were the Sixties distinctive in their own right and how significant were they in bringing about changes? Discuss with reference to any two or three of the disciplines represented in Block 6.

    First of all the first part of these two questions is meaningless.

    How far were the Sixties distinctive in their own right?
    At the risk of being the boy who laughed at The Emperor’s New Clothes here I have to ask distinctive from what?

    If one asks whether something is distinctive one should complete the thought with the words from this thing/period.


    Are we being asked ‘distinctive from any other period of time in particular?’ Or ‘distinctive from all periods of time?’

    This question is so woolly a flock of mountain sheep would take pity on it in warmer weather. It’s ill-defined and renders whatever sense might have been intended behind the words incomprehensible.

    How significant were they [the Sixties] in bringing about changes?

    Here we are told to discuss with reference “to any two or three disciplines represented in Block 6 – History, History of Science, Religious Studies, Music, Art History – and consider how distinctive and significant were developments in those fields during the 1960s.”

    Good grief.

    Who worded this?

    As if these two questions aren’t bad enough (though frankly… they are!), the guidance note begins with this howler: ‘Whether or not you agree with either or both parts of the question…’

    Will someone please, please explain how it might be possible to agree with a question in this context?

    At the risk of sounding like a Teaching English as a Foreign Language tutor, a question is an interrogative device designed to produce a response.

    Therefore it is the response that one agrees (or disagrees) with, not the question.

    Grammatically this should have been phrased as: Did the Sixties bring about change in [insert area of change here]. Discuss and test through reasoned argument (etc).

    I am becoming so terribly disheartened with this course.

    The material we are given to work from lacks substance, is two-dimensional and has the general feeling that it was knocked up on a ‘this’ll do’ basis by someone whose grasp of English is significantly less than that of my ten-year-old daughter.

    Is it any wonder that I have felt more comfortable researching outside the narrow remit that the OU coursework gives?

    But sadly this is actively discouraged – something, in academia (given that I work in academia – in the UK’s largest scientific research establishment), I find incomprehensible (more so, given the poor quality of course materials).

    I do understand why working away from the coursework is discouraged, it’s because our tutors aren’t specialists.

    They too work from notes – from a corresponding set of tutorial notes – that support rather than enhance the narrow parameters of our course work

    So all in all everything I look at with a professional eye falls far short of my expectations.

  6. Lisa Wallman says:

    Lmao I just don’t get the quetion either
    I think our material should alll be updated.
    I havent been able to make a single tutorial and yet my tutor gave up sending me the tutorial material.
    And i’m so sick of the incorrect use of COMMAS in the books.
    Oh and i’m sick of being told i got downgraded over stupidist things e.g.in TMA07, I didn’t mention analyis of language like I should have more, yet it didn’t mention anywhere in the title or guidance notes that you should. I mean i am a pro at language analysis, did it in college constantly. They point us totally in the wrong direction.


  7. Brennig says:

    Thank you Lisa. A very heartfelt thank you.

  8. Sarah says:

    I don’t wanna do this anymore! I’ve done one sentence. Wish (as you say) I knew what I was comparing them too – maybe I should compare them to the ice age or something!

  9. Richard says:

    Im sure that ‘distinctive’ and ‘changes’ should give us something as a comparison. But then again that would be too obvious one thinks for this course!

  10. Lisa Wallman says:

    btw is anyone else slightly concerned that now they have discontinuted the course we are currently doing…when we come to sign up to the next bit they will make us start again, using the new one they’ve created? i’m so confused about what i’m meant to sign up to next in order to carry on in English Lang and Lit


  11. Lynne says:

    Lisa, don’t worry. I’m also following the English Language and Literature path and I promise you, you won’t need to do the replacement course for A103. I’ve just started An Intro to Shakespeare as a filler between Humanities and the compulsory Approaching Literature in September and the replacement course hasn’t been an issue at all.

  12. Sam says:

    never done a course at this level befor so realy struggled with the critical analisis throughout and not got above 50% for any of my essays.
    Got to agree with sarah with this essay though, i meen you think they would of given us a era to compare it to.

  13. Brennig says:

    Thanks for your comments tallullah.

    Would it be fair, given the poor state of your own use of structured English, to say that you have yet to complete secondary school?

    You are a showcase of poor standard on so many different levels. Please keep up the good work, you are an inspiration to everyone.

  14. tallullah says:

    oh my god, what a bunch of winers!! don’t do the bloody course if it doesn’t ‘challenge’ your cerebral areas!! Jesus you should read what you just wrote, you are soooooo far up your own ‘academic’ (!) arse it is untrue!!!
    p.s bet you don’t publish this comment because i don’t agree with you, another sure sign of arragance beyond belief.xxx

  15. Brennig says:

    Hi Celine,

    Nothing wrong with your English!

    The point you’ve raised about the poor wording of the TMA question is well made.

    I’d suggest you should discuss this with your tutor to get his/her view on which period you should use to compare against.

  16. Celine says:

    Hi guys! I am also doing this TMA at the moment, and I am strugling. By the way, I’m French, so I appologize for my poor use of English. I did a lot of research on the Sixties, the periodisation and little bit everything, but I think I have now too much material. I don’t understand the question: how far were the Sixties distinctive in their own right? Distinctive in the 20th century? Or distinctive in the western world history? or both? Or have I got it totally wrong? And the changes? Are they just all the changes during this period or the long-term changes, that still applies today? Or again both? I was also planning to do the history of science, but I am a little bit confused: should I mention the feminist issue in science (from page 97 in block 6)? I don’t know why, but it seems kind of confusing to incorporate this part…
    I am not asking for a full answer, but that will be great if you can give your opinion…
    Thank you!

  17. Sarah says:

    300 words to go and I have done it. I hope my answer is what the tutor is looking for as I went and distinguished the 60s from a short period of time before (period of time put int he first para of th essay)!

    Anyone got the brown envelope for TMA09? I’m looking forward to getting it opened and done with 🙂 although I might not say that when the time does come to open it!

  18. Sarah says:

    I do apologise for my spelling, I missed an “e” off the end of “th” before the word “essay” 😉

  19. Celine says:

    Thank you Brenning, I think that is the best solution…

  20. fiona says:

    glad to see other people are struggling with this one too, i have so many issues with this tma i’m going round in crazy circles. i think the question is meaning how distinctive were the 60’s as a ‘period’ in their own right, which takes in the whole concept of periodization and if they can be defined as their own distinct period or if they are merely part of post war recovery. if you’re so unhappy with course work you should complain, though i feel thats prob why its getting updated and hell we only need a measly 30percent to pass the course thats nothing!

  21. Brennig says:

    Hi Fiona,

    The fact that you needed to say i think the question is meaning emphasises how unclear the wording is. And your interpretation: how distinctive were the 60’s as a ‘period’ in their own right, which takes in the whole concept of periodization and if they can be defined as their own distinct period or if they are merely part of post war recovery is just your translation of the incredibly badly worded question.

    But what stops another student from interpreting the question as how distinctive were the 60s when compared to the Dark Ages (or the Hundred Years War, or the Moorish Occupation of Spain or even the Industrial Revolution)?

    Yes, quite. Nothing at all.

  22. Brennig says:

    I’m staving off boredom Fiona. I need the brain food.

    My degree and Masters are in business subjects. I thought it would be nice to cream off a little time to study something for pure pleasure. Such a shame that everything about this course feels so… cack-handed.

  23. fiona says:

    well we are meant to use our brains and if someone chooses to write about how distinctive the 60’s were compared to the dark ages they’d be a total neep as nowhere in the course work is their metion of the dark ages, its common sense! but yes, i do agree its badly worded but thats where some common sense comes in.
    out of mere curiousity, why does a man who works in ‘academia’, in the UK’s largest scientific research establishment, who likes to portray the image of a well educated person, doing a measley level 1 open uni course in the arts and humanities?

  24. fiona says:

    i like it!i find that rather amusing, which is possibly very telling!! are you going to work toward another degree? i’m very much looking forward to this course ending and heading down the old literature and philosophy root, and waving goodbye to half the stuff this course contains!

  25. Helen says:

    Hi. I think these types of courses give questions that are open to interpretation in order to leave you the freedom to form and raise your own argument from the course material. If it was worded more explicitly by detailing which distinctive features you should discuss in relation to each discipline then it wouldn’t allow you to learn this skill that you need for the higher levels.

  26. Imogen says:

    Thank you Helen, for being the voice of reason here. I agree with you absolutely. Brennig, despite your superior education and obviously exceptional command of the english language, some of your comments strike me as very narrow minded. Perhaps you should try LSD, and turn yourself on?

  27. Brennig says:

    Thanks for those kind words jodie_jolly/Imogen. I do wonder why someone as barbed as yourself sits in front of her NTL/Virgin-connected AppleMac in the evening googling ‘a103 tma08’…

    Unless it’s to fill a deep chasm of understanding?

    I do find it very strange that you should advocate and even encourage an illegal activity. This is of course, illegal in itself?

    It’s equally strange that you should spell English with a small ‘E’.

    Back to school for you I think.

  28. Imogen says:

    So glad I checked for a response! I knew you wouldn’t be able to resist. What exactly are you trying to achieve by publishing half of my email address and my ISP etc? A little defensive, I conclude. Sad, considering that all I accused you of was occasionally sounding narrow minded.

    My comment regarding the use of LSD was a pun directed at the course material by the way. I’m sure anyone else would have seen the humour in it.

  29. JD says:

    Imogen, you are a hateful narrow-minded middle-class twat.

    As a former drug rehabilitation worker who has, in fifteen years of working with people, helped over a hundred addicts back in to the community, your remark is at best careless and at worst ignorant.

    You think it’s funny? You are pathetic.

  30. Kathy says:


    I too am on this course and am enjoying a good old chuckle reading this website.

    Imogen! perhaps the reference to LSD was a little short sighted but good for you for expressing your opinion!

    Brennig! You strike me as being a bit of an academic snob, self absorbed and arrogant. Degree and Masters in business eh? Why not try a course in the art of being humble?

    Helen! You are absolutely right about the essay qustion. I think it’s deliberately ambiguous to test our skills in raising argument and expressing our own opinions.
    Good luck everyone – Keep up the chit chat -it’s all sooooo entertaining.

    Kathy x

  31. Imogen says:

    JD – You are so far off the mark your arrow has 360’d and hit you in the eye. Ouch. Always consider the content and purpose before you write a hasty critique. Like Brennig, you have completely misinterpreted my comment.

    Thank God for people like Helen and Kathy.

    Good luck to everyone who is still working on TMA08. x

  32. Brennig says:

    Imogen, read the records.

    JD thinks your comment about drugs was unacceptable.

    Kathy says you’re short-sighted.

    I think you’re just nasty.

    You are no longer welcome here because I won’t permit this place to become a nest of bitches and you, frankly are behaving in that manner.