History of San Francisco:
Gold miners & dreams of riches, hippies & drugs, the Castro & Harvey Milk – popular images of San Francisco are colorful and controversial. In this course, we’ll explore topics like these to trace San Francisco’s adventurous and provocative history. We will also use primary sources including oral history, art, film, newspaper articles, and photographs to examine the rise of a Latino community in the Mission District. As we construct a case study of the Mission, we will investigate the role of radical politics, racial identity, and art and culture in San Francisco neighborhoods. Emphasizing digital history and writing for a public audience, this course will ask students to research and write like historians, producing historical content to share online about the history of San Francisco. | Fall 2016 syllabus
20th Century American Borderlands:
“Security is a double-edged sword: While a fence sure protects the fenced; it also imprisons the protected.” ― Mokokoma Mokhonoana. Debates about borders and borderlands in the 20th century have focused on the U.S. restrictions of the movement of people and goods through these regions. Using novels, histories, first-hand accounts, art, film, and digital sources, we will trace the recent history, politics and culture of America’s borderlands, exploring topics like racial violence, immigration, smuggling, tourism, and cultural exchange. Not only examining the contentious US-Mexico border region, but also the US-Canada, Pacific Coast, and Native American borderlands regions, this course will explore how our nation has defined ideas of borders and belonging in the 20th century. Emphasizing digital history and writing for a public audience, this course will ask students to research and write like historians, producing historical content to share online about 20th century U.S. borderlands.
History of the American West:
Few American regions have generated as many cultural narratives, myths, and icons as the American West. Exploring conflicts and conquests alongside Western culture and the creation of the mythic West, we will examine the West through the multiple perspectives of the many peoples who have lived there. Using novels, histories, first-hand accounts, art, and film, we will trace the history and culture of the West. While discussing the evolution of the West’s regional identity, we’ll explore topics like episodes of violence and conquest, the creation of the US-Mexico border, the rise of national parks and tourism, and the West Coast’s counterculture. In this course, we will investigate how violent frontier battles and brutal discrimination became tamed and commodified to sell the West to Americans through fashion, film, and tourism.
Last Taught: Summer 2015.