Class Meets: Tuesdays 1-4:40 p.m.
Room: Stevenson 2079
Instructor: Steve Estes
Office Hours: M/W 1-2:00, T 11-12:00
Office: Stevenson 2070 D
email@example.com or 707.664.2424
This course will familiarize students with the modern history and historiography of California, and it will also hone students’ research and writing skills. The Golden State’s distinctiveness lies in its diversity, and we will explore this diversity in California’s changing environment, demographics, economy, and culture. At the conclusion of the course, students will write a 10-12 page research paper that examines primary and secondary source material on a topic in California history of your choosing.
Mark Arax, West of the West
T. C. Boyle, Drop City
Lou Canon, Governor Reagan
Kathleen Cairns, The Enigma Woman
Chitra Divakaruni, William Justice, James Quay, eds., California Uncovered
Miriam Pawel, The Union of Their Dreams
Kevin Starr, California: A History
Plus Additional Reserve Articles & Essays
Assignments & Grades
Class Participation (25% of final grade): For this course to work, every student must keep up with the reading and actively participate in class discussion every week. Attendance is mandatory, but you may miss up to two classes without an excuse. After the second absence your participation grade will suffer regardless of the excuse. Your participation grade will be based on the frequency and quality of contributions to the class discussion.
Readings Journal (40% of final grade): Each week, you need to write a typed review of the assigned readings (350-400 words). Books split across two weeks get two journal entries. Your review should briefly summarize the primary argument or topic of the readings, and it should analyze how effectively the author(s) convey central points. What questions did the work(s) raise in your mind? Was the writing engaging? What does the reading teach us about California? Include 1-2 short quotes from the reading that support your points. I will take up the journals twice during the semester during class meetings of my choosing, so you must bring all entries to each class and be prepared to turn them in.
Research Paper (30% of final grade): The final assignment for the class is a 10-12 page research paper based on both primary and secondary sources. Over the course of the semester, you will complete a proposal, introduction, and final draft of this paper. You will make copies of these assignments for the instructor and the other members of your writing group.
Research Presentation (5% of final grade): At the conclusion of the semester, you will present your research to the class. This presentation will be five minutes long, followed by five minutes of Q&A with your classmates. The presentation should explain your paper’s topic (briefly), thesis, and include one example/anecdote from your research that support your thesis. You should conclude by discussing the questions your paper left unanswered and/or possible areas for future research on this topic.
Extra Credit (possible extra 5% of final grade): One week during the semester, you can bring in a primary source (e.g. newspaper editorial, song, photo collection, painting, poem, or movie clip (no more than ten minutes)) to show the class relating to the topic of that week’s reading. If you have a print source, you will need to bring copies for the class. You need to come up with three discussion questions for the class related to your source. Finally, you need to email me a few days before class with your idea for a source and questions. Each student can only do this one time for up to five additional points on the final grade.
1.14 “Wouldn’t It Be Nice?” California in the Popular Imagination
Video Clips: Beach Blanket Bingo, American Graffiti, & Clueless
Audio Clips: Woody Guthrie, Beach Boys, Dead Kennedys, Tupac Shakur, etc.
1.21 Early California History
Kevin Starr, California (Introduction, Chronology, and Chapters 1-5)
1.28 The California Century
Kevin Starr, California (Chapters 6-13)
2.04 LA Noir
Kathleen Cairns, The Enigma Woman
2.11 Reagan’s Rise
Lou Canon, Governor Reagan (Chs 1, 6-8, and 10-17)
2.18 Governor Reagan
Lou Canon, Governor Reagan (Chs 18-25)
2.25 Communes and Communities
T.C. Boyle, Drop City (1-188)
3.04 La Causa (Part 1)
Miriam Pawel, The Union of Their Dreams (pp. ix-212)
3.11 La Causa (Part 2)
Miriam Pawel, The Union of Their Dreams (213-334)
*****Research Paper Proposals Due.*****
Bring three copies of a one page research proposal that outlines the topic, scope, primary sources, secondary sources, and a list of questions that will drive your research paper.
3.18 Spring Break [No Class]
3.25 California Cultures (Part 1)
Divakaruni, Justice, and Quay, eds., California Uncovered (pp. vii-176)
4.01 California Cultures (Part 2)
Divakaruni, Justice, and Quay, eds., California Uncovered (pp. 177-364)
4.08 California Contemporary (Part 1)
Mark Arax, West of the West (Prologue–Ch. 6)
*****[Draft first three pages (introduction) to term paper.]*****
4.15 California Contemporary (Part 2)
Mark Arax, West of the West (Ch. 7-11)
4.22 Your California (Part 1)
[Begin student presentations]
4.29 Your California (Part 2)
*****Research Papers Due*****
[Complete Student Presentations]
5.06 Final Exam (TBA)