New May 4 class offered

Jennifer Shore

The Kent State history department is offering a new course this semester to re-evaluate the events and repercussions of May 4, 1970.

“It’s the 40th anniversary of May 4, and I think it’s important that such a historical event have some presence in the history department,” said Kenneth Bindas, chair of the history department.

Bindas said the special topic class is bringing together the expertise of 13 history professors to teach about how the events of May 4 were part of a worldwide movement.

“The focus of this class is to be looking not just at Kent State, but at all of the student movements and unrest that was going on,” graduate assistant Stephanie Vincent said. “It gives a lot better context and understanding for what happened here and for what happened around the world in terms of protests.”

Vincent, who is currently earning her master’s degree in history, brings student input into the mix. She is the assistant for Clarence E. Wunderlin Jr., who is the facilitator for the course.

Wunderlin said this class is important to him because of his personal stake in trying to understand that period of history.

“I am a veteran of the Vietnam War and the United States Army,” Wunderlin said. “My unit participated in the Cambodian invasion of May 1970, which triggered all of this.”

During the first week of class, Wunderlin taught the general background of cultural change and revolution in a traditional manner. In the following weeks, the other professors will be taking turns and lecturing on the chain of events that happened in the world.

“I’m excited about the different perspective and viewpoints that the different faculty members will bring to the lectures,” Wunderlin said.

Although Wunderlin’s direct link to May 1970 is evident, the other professors have connections and capability to make their specific classes differ from the others.

“I will be working on concepts of memory and problems that come with memory of the Kent State shootings,” Vincent said.

Vincent said during her teachings, she will focus on how May 4 has been remembered at the university level, the city level and around the country.

“It wasn’t something that just happened here in Kent State but was something that happened all across the state, all across the country,” Bindas said. “In a broader context, (it was) happening virtually around the world in youth movements and a change in governance.”

Wunderlin said it’s important to understand that the anti-war protest in the United States was not an isolated set of events but part of a resolution in cultural values and a questioning of authority that had not been done by previous generations.

“Students should be aware that the faculty of the history department is very dedicated to helping them better understand the vast cultural changes that occurred in the world in the last half century,” he said.

Contact College of Arts and Sciences reporter Jennifer Shore at [email protected].