View/Open - San Diego State University


History 445:

California History

Spring 2014

Prof. S. Elkind

Phone: 594-0930 / email

Office: 532 AL

Office Hours: Tues & Thurs 11-12

This course provides an overview of California’s social, economic, political, and cultural history from the precolonial period to the present. In particular, we will explore the impact of successive conquest, economic transformations, industrialization and urbanization on the people and landscapes of the state. But we will also explore the different ways Californians understand their history, and will discuss what that means for the state today.

You will have the opportunity to select amongst some reading assignments to explore your own interests in the multifaceted and complex history of the state.


Required: Rice, et al. The Elusive Eden, fourth edition. ISBN 978-0-07-338556-3

Optional: see books listed under Monograph Assignments on class schedule


Plagiarism quiz on Blackboard: You must complete this with a grade of 100% to pass the class

In-Class Discussion (15% of semester grade): We will spend as much time as possible discussing readings and lectures (see discussion questions listed each week). You will be graded on consistent, productive participation: I will call on you randomly, and will grade you on your attendance, and the quality of your responses. You should prepare for discussions by writing brief answers to all the discussion questions.

3 Essays (45% of semester grade) or 2 Essays and 1 Formal Presentation: During the semester, you will write formal essays on a monograph, and on a set of primary sources; you will also complete a formal presentation or an essay on a Field Experience. You must complete one of these assignments each month, and you must complete each type of assignment. Select the assignments that interest you and the deadlines that work for you. You must turn in a paper draft of your essay in class on Thursdays, and a final version via Blackboard by midnight on Fridays. If you cannot complete an assignment on time, move on to the next week. I will not accept late papers in this class.

1 Exam (40% of semester grade): The final exam will be a cumulative, open-note exam. The exam will ask you to use assigned readings, lectures and in class discussion to explain the main themes of the semester.

The class will determine if this will be an in-class or take-home exam.

Policies: Registering for this course implies that you understand and accept all of the policies posted on Blackboard

– Syllabus – H445 Classroom and Course Policies.


Jan 23: Introduction to course

Jan 28-30 (w2): Native American History: Resource uses

Read: Rice c2, c3

Field Experience Presentations: Go to the Museum of Man and Barona Cultural Center and Museum.

Compare the presentation of Native American culture in San Diego.

Feb 4-6 (w3): Presidio, Mission and Pueblo: California in the context of Spanish colonization

Read: Rice c5, c6. Optional: Rice c4.

Field Experience: Visit any two: San Diego Mission; the Presidio; Old Town; Cabrillo National Monument museum.

Monograph Paper on Hurtado, Intimate Frontiers (1999), ISBN 978-0-8263-1954-8

Feb 4 is also last day to add/drop classes.

Feb 11-13 (w4): Hide Trade: Global trade networks

Read: Rice c8.

Primary Source Paper: Analyze hide trade manifests by first transcribing and analyzing ship manifests from the hide trade. This is a great assignment if you are numerically inclined. (Contact me ahead of time so I can send you a scan of a few pages of the manifest).

Field Experience: Details on Blackboard

Option 1: Tour The Pilgrim at the Ocean Institute at Dana Point. Tours available only on Sundays.

Option 2: Tour the Rancho Guajome Adobe House Museum in Vista.

Feb 18-20 (w5): Mexican-American War: How does the Mexican War open the west and shape American politics.

Why did America go to war? What did the war look like in San Diego?

Read: Rice c9. Optional: Rice c7; Griswold de Castillo, “the US – Mexican War in San Diego, 1846-

1847,” Journal of San Diego History, 49:1 (2003) on Blackboard.

Primary Source Papers: Compare Colton, Three Years in California to Dana, Two Years before the Mast.

The Squatter and the Dawn.

Field Experience: Mormon Battalion memorials in Presidio Park/Fort Stockton site compared to the

Mormon Battalion.

Feb 25-27 (w6): Gold Rush

Read: Rice c11, c12. Optional: Rice, c10.

Monograph: Johnson, Roaring Camp

Primary Source: Read the Gold Rush chapters (starting chapter 18) from Colton, Three Years in

California .

Field Experience: Vallecitos County Park - about 20 miles east of Julian on the way to Anza Borrego.

Mar 4-6 (w7): Railroad and the Integration of California into the Nation

Read: Rice, c13 & c14

Monograph: White, Railroaded (Intro, c4, c7, c11 and conclusion only)

Primary Source: A few chapters in Nordhoff, California for Settlers and Travellers (but NOT c1 or c2).

Field Experience:

Option 1: Pacific Southwest Railway Museum in Campo. Limited hours. Check Blackboard.

Option 2: Hike Goat Trestle in the Carrizo Gorge Wilderness. Details on Blackboard.

Mar 11-13 (w8): No Class - but papers and reading still due.

Read: Rice, c15. Optional: Robert L. Kelley, "The Mining Debris Controversy in the Sacramento Valley,"

Pacific Historical Review, 25:4 (1956), pp. 331-346 (on Jstor).

Monograph: Igler, Industrial Cowboys

Primary Source: Historic Los Angeles Times coverage of Lux v Haggin posted on Blackboard.

Mar 18-20 (w9): Reform Politics in Late Nineteenth Century California (EBMUD)

Read: Rice, c16 & c18

Monograph: Elkind, Bay Cities and Water Politics (Oakland/East Bay sections only)

Primary Source: The City of San Diego vs The Cuyamaca Water Company (18417) from the California

Supreme Court Briefs collection in SDSU’s special collections. Posted on Blackboard.

Mar 25-27 (w10): Promotion and Tourism: History Mythology North and South

Read: Rice, c17.

Monograph: Kropp, California Vieja

Primary Source: Images in McClelland, California Orange Box Labels (on reserve).

Field Experience: Historical Mythology: Casa de Estudillo and Old Town State Park. Details on


Spring Break Mar 31-Apr 4.

Apr 8-10 (w11): Industrial Development and the Great Depression: Oil in Los Angeles

Read: Rice c20 & c21.

Monograph: Pick one: Elkind, How Local Politics Shape Federal Policy, ISBN 978-0-8078-3489-3; or

Nicolaides, My Blue Heaven ISBN-13: 978-0226583013.

Primary Source: Editorial cartoons about beaches in Los Angeles. See Blackboard.

Field Experience: Visit WPA murals on SDSU. Details on Blackboard.

Last chance to turn in extra credit.

Apr 15-17 (w12): World War II: Mobilization and Economic Development in California

Read: Rice c22 & c23

Monograph: Johnson, The Second Gold Rush ISBN-13: 978-0809069323

Field Experience:

Option 1: Coastal defenses of Fort Rosecrans (Cabrillo National Monument) and neighborhoods built during World War II. See also “San Diego’s Navy” at the Maritime Museum.

Option 2: Go to “Women, War and Industry” at the San Diego Museum of Art ( closed Feb 18 )

Apr 22-24 (w13): Postwar California: Prosperity, Government and Growth

Read: Rice c24

Monograph: Parson, Making a Better World: Public Housing, the Red Scare, and the Direction of Modern Los

Angeles , ISBN 978-0816643707.

Primary Source: Chavez Ravine photographs. See Blackboard.

Field Experience: Visit 3 museums participating in the “Presidio to Pacific Powerhouse” collaborative exhibition. Details on Blackboard.

Apr 29- May 1 (w14): Race and Radicalism

Read: Rice c25, c26

Monograph: Self, American Babylon: Race and the Struggle for Postwar Oakland . ISBN 9780691124865.

Primary Sources: San Diego newspaper coverage of the Chicano Park standoff posted on Blackboard.

Field Experience (last one): Go to Chicano Park. Describe the murals, in terms of content, tone and imagery.

How do the murals express the ideals of chicanismo? Contrast them with the Spanish colonial images promoted in the 1910s and 1920s.

May 6-8 (w15): Land and Property: the era of environmentalism and Prop 13

Read: Rice, pp. 504-522, & c28

Monograph: McGirr, Suburban Warriors: The Origins of the New American Right. ISBN-13: 978-0691096117

Primary Source: Look up Los Angeles Times and New York Times coverage of Proposition 13 campaign (use

Proquest Research Library – Historical Newspapers to find these newspapers to search for Jarvis-Gann in

Spring of 1978). More instructions on Blackboard

Scheduled final exam: Tuesday, May 13 from 8:00 to 10:00am.