Roszak, scholar of '60s counterculture, dies at 77

AP News
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Posted: Jul 14, 2011 7:55 PM
Roszak, scholar of '60s counterculture, dies at 77

Theodore Roszak, the author, scholar and critic who brought the term "counterculture" into the mainstream as he documented the social upheavals of the 1960s, has died. He was 77.

Roszak died in Berkeley on July 5. His wife, Betty Roszak, told the Los Angeles Times the cause of his death was cancer.

The longtime professor's best-seller "The Making of a Counter Culture" was published in 1969 and gave a label to the assortment of youth movements upending life on college campuses and beyond.

"People were trying to figure out, `What is this thing that has come upon us?' He named it," Columbia University historian Todd Gitlin told the Times. "That's why the book was a best-seller."

As author or editor of more than a dozen works of nonfiction, including "The Cult of Information" and "The Voice of the Earth: An Exploration of Ecopsychology," Roszak explored not just life in the `60s but broader issues of humanity's relationship with technology and nature. He also wrote several popular science fiction novels delving into similar themes.

His last book, "The Making of an Elder Culture: Reflections on the Future of America's Most Audacious Generation," published in 2009, called on baby boomers to resurrect the spirit of the counterculture in their later years.

Born in Chicago, Roszak graduated from high school in Los Angeles and received his bachelor's degree from the University of California, Los Angeles before earning his doctorate in English history from Princeton University. He began teaching history at California State University-East Bay in 1963 and remained there for more than 30 years.

He is survived by his wife, daughter and granddaughter.