Class Schedule


Exam Study Guide

Paper Guide

Califoria Maps

Required Reading

(Class Books are on Reserve at the Oviatt)

1-William Deverell and David Igler, A Companion to California History (Wiley-Blackwell, 2014)

2-Stacey Smith, Freedom’s Frontier (University of North Carolina Press, 2015)

3-William Deverell and Tom Sitton, Metropolis in the Making (University of California Press, 2001)

4-Robert Self, Babylon: Race and the Struggle for Postwar Oakland (Princeton, 2005)

5-Beth Slutsky, Gendering Radicalism (University of Nebraska Press, 2015)

6-Lisa McGirr, Suburban Warrior:  Origins of the New American Right (Princeton,2015)


Spring 2018



Course Purpose and Goals

"It was a splendid population--for all the slow, sleepy, sluggish-brained sloths stayed at home--you never find that sort of people among pioneers--you cannot build pioneers out of that sort of material. It was that population that gave to California a name for getting up astounding enterprises and rushing them through with a magnificent dash and daring and a recklessness of cost or consequences, which she bears unto this day--and when she projects a new surprise the grave world smiles as usual and says, 'Well, that is California all over.'"                                                                             Mark Twain from Roughing It (1872)

What is the (S)tate of California? Are we extraordinarily innovative, or especially imitative? Are we truly unique, or a mere reflection of the nation as a whole? Part of the West, or an extension of the East? What part of our State's identity is myth, and what part reality? We will chase down ideas about our "elusive Eden" by following shifting land and resource use, various cultural influences, and governing polities from the time of indigenous populations to the present. How have environmental, economic, social, and political forces molded California, and which of these do you consider most significant?  To what extent has the state's economy become (more) global?  What impact does California have on the world, and what impact has the world of immigrants and migrants had on California?

This is a survey class of California’s history, and the purpose is to gain a basic and broad understanding of California’s past. We will explore California's history in lectures, discussions, and readings. Our text is A Companion to California History edited by William Deverell and David Igler. In addition, for the first half of class, we will read from Competing Visions and Testimonios (Electronic Reserve), as well as Freedom's Frontier.  For the second part of class, along with the Companion to California History reader, Metropolis in the Making, American Babylon, Gendering Radicalism, testimonial accounts of the Free Speech Movement (Electronic Reserve) and Suburban Warrior give us insight into the twentieth century.

The past is all around us, and it is also my hope that you will be able to observe traces of California's history in our local region. I encourage you, as you are able, to take hikes, visit local museums, and talk to people who have experienced our history. Share with us your discoveries, along with any interesting books or film/ video forms you may find. From hikes in the Santa Monica Mountains to visiting any on of the rich variety of museums, there are many ways to learn about California's past. Follow your curiosity.

Additional Required Electronic Reserve Reading (by second week):  “California’s Origins,” “Spanish Colonization,” and Mexican Californios” in Robert Cherny, Gretchen Lemke-Santangelo, and Richard Griswold del Castillo’s Competing Visions: A History of California, Second Edition (Wadsworth-Cengage, 2014);  “Introduction";” “Isidora Filomena;” “Rosalia Vallejo;” Dorotea Valdez;” “Maria Antonia Rodriguez;” “Teresa de la Guerra;” and "Josefa Carillo” from Rose Marie Beebe and Robert M. Senkewicz (eds), Testimonias:  Early California through the eyes of Women, 1815-1848 (Heyday, 2006); and Jacquie Godberg, Margot Adler, and Bettina Aptheker accounts in Robert Cohen (ed.), The Free Speech Movement (UC Press, 2002), pp. 105-139.