Revised Schedule: April 12-May 5

T April 12 Group Symposium Workshop To minimize the challenges and complexities of meeting outside of class I have dedicated our class sessions this week to group work. For next time: Each member of the class will send Mark your working title and a 100 word abstract of your individual project no later than noon on Thursday

R April 14 Group Symposium Workshop Each group will designate a note taker who will keep track of the conversation and write a record of the conversation with specific plans for how the group will work together to share the materials. The plans and any materials will be sent to Mark no later than Friday at 5PM. Mark will use this material to prepare his introduction to each session.

American Studies 140 Class Symposium: What Explains California? The class symposium is designed to help share the materials, to offer each individual a sharper understanding of his / her purpose by explaining the project to peers, and to effectively share the findings of the research projects with the class. The session will give each affinity group thirty minutes to share their project materials and findings. The purpose of the symposium is to share our research and discovery with the class and to more fully explain California using the selected primary and secondary materials you have gathered.

Each of the six groups is organized thematically. Mark will offer a few framing remarks at the opening of each group’s session (no more than five minutes). Following the thirty minutes of sharing the findings there will be fifteen minutes for questions and discussion. 

 T April 19 California Symposium: Session 1 and Session 2 Each symposium session will be forty-five minutes in length: a five minute introduction, a thirty minute core of the session, and fifteen minutes for comments and questions

R April 21 California Symposium: Session 3 and Session 4 Due: First Version of the Project (Your blog URL and content, 5-10 pages, or equivalent). Sign up for a conference with Mark. Conferences Tuesday April 26-Friday April 29. A missed conference will count as an absence

T April 26 California Symposium: Group 5 and Group 6 Each session will be forty-five minutes in length: a five minute introduction, a thirty minute core of the session, and fifteen minutes for comments and questions

R April 28 No Class Meeting There will be no class on Thursday April 28 because I am meeting with each of you in individual conferences

Finals Week: On Monday May 2nd I have a meeting scheduled in Bristol, Vermont, so I will be unavailable. For this reason, please be in touch to arrange an alternate time should you need to meet with me again following your individual conference last week

On Thursday May 5 your project is due. We will not meet as a class. Please submit the project electronically by the end of the day (or send me your URL). The other option is for you to make arrangements with me to drop your final project at my office, 206 Parker Hall, on either Tuesday or on Friday.


Our itinerary will move not chronologically but rather geographically and culturally–through seven areas each with distinct appearances, economies, customs, heritages, and histories. The readings in the first half of this course will be primarily in Philip Fradkin’s book on the natural and human history of California. However there will also be reading using digital texts (Links to these texts are in the schedule below).

Week One 

 T January 19 Introduction to the course

For next time: Read “Preface” and “The Approach” in Philip Fradkin, The Seven States of California: A Natural and Human History. Berkeley: U of California P, 1997. (ISBN 0-520-20942-7)

R January 21 Introduction to the course (continued). Discussion of Approach and guiding question for your work this semester: “What Explains California” and a brief case study in answer: music.

For next time: Read Fradkin “Deserts,” 5-62. Come to class prepared to discuss the chapter. Focus your attention on reading anecdotes and stories, people and places, place and region

Week Two Deserts

AusRaitpT January 26 Introduction to the course (continued): Using the American Studies 140 Web Site; Reading (and Writing) about the California Dream. Begin discussion of Fradkin “Deserts” 5-62. Strategies for reading as a writer

For next time: Read selections from Mary Austin, Land of Little Rain

R January 28 Discussion of Fradkin “Deserts” continues. Writing workshop on short essays and essay #1

For next time: Complete Essay #1 on Chapter One, “Deserts.” Read Fradkin The Mountains (east) 63-112

Week Three The Mountains (east) 63-112

T February 2 Slide presentation on John Muir and the mountains of California. Preservation and conservation. Due: Essay #1 on Chapter One, “Deserts”

For next time: Read John Muir, “Features of the Proposed Yosemite National Park.” The Century Magazine, Vol. XL. September, 1890. No. 5 and The Wild Parks and Forest Reservations of the West. Our National Parks. The Writings of John Muir. Vol. 6. John Muir Collection

R February 4 Discussion of Fradkin’s chapter “The Mountains.” Case Study on natural and cultural history of California’s mountains between 1860 and the present

For next time: Read “Land of Fire,” 113-66

Week Four Land of Fire

T February 9 Discuss chapter “Land of Fire” and Writing workshop


For next time: Supplemental reading and exhibits for study: The Japanese  American Relocation Digital Archive (JARDA)Japanese Relocation in World War II Materials in the National Archives include a brief Background, Resources, and Documents; and for a useful mapping of the questions associated with California negotiating cultural differences across the centuries-in the Spanish and American conquest, the Gold Rush, the San Francisco Fire, WW II, and the Watts and South Central riots in 1965 and 1992-read the “Prologue” in David Wyatt, Five Fires: Race, Catastrophe, and the Shaping of California (1997).

(Right: Instructions for all persons of Japanese ancestry from the Western Defense Command and Forth Army Wartime Civil Control Administration. April 1, 1942. Unknown artist. Poster. Collection of Oakland Museum of California)

R February 11 No class (Mark off campus)

For next time: Complete Essay #2 on Chapter Two “Mountains” or Chapter Three “Land of Fire.” Read “Land of Water” (north coast) 167-212

Week Five Land of Water (north coast) 167-212


San Francisco Bay

T February 16 Due: Essay #2 on Chapter Two “Mountains” or Chapter Three “Land of Fire”

For next time: continue reading in Fradkin. Complete library and web worksheet for class on Thursday

R February 18 Discussion of Fradkin’s chapter “Land of Water”

For next time: Read John Muir The Bee Pastures. Read Gary Soto, New and Selected Poems (1995). Read “Sizing Up the Sparrow, a preface” and the poems from Elements of the San Joaquin (1977), The Tale of Sunlight (1978), Where the Sparrows Work Hard (1981), and Black Hair (1985)

Week Six The Great Valley (central interior) 213-268

T February 23 Due: Essay #3 on Chapter Four “Land of Water”

For next time: Read Gary Soto, from Who Will Know Us? (1990), Home Course in Religion (1991), and Super-Eight Movies, New Poems (1995)

R February 25 Discussion of Project Proposal assignment due on Thursday March 10th

For next time: Read in Fradkin, The Fractured Province (central coast) 269-314

Week Seven The Fractured Province (central coast)

T March 1 Due: Essay #4 on the poems of Gary Soto. Discussion of Fradkin, The Fractured Province (central coast)

R March 3 Continue discussion of Fradkin, The Fractured Province (central coast). Writing Workshop

Week Eight The Profligate Province (south coast) 315-418

For next time: Read Will Parrish, The Politics of California’s Water System

 T March 8 Water rights and the allocation of water: a brief history. Due: Essay #5 on Chapter Six “The Fractured Province” or Chapter Seven “The Profligate Province”

For next time: Complete project proposals!

R March 10 Due: What Explains California? Project Proposals. Discussion of Project responsibilities and timeline

For next time: Enjoy your spring break! Have a restful and productive week. Come back refreshed and ready to work on your project. For those who play to do some academic work over the break consider doing some of the background reading you will be doing for your individual project.

Week Nine

Spring Break

Week Ten Project Workshops

T March 22 In-Class Project Workshop. We will be talking about the forms the project can take: either as a print essay / portfolio /exhibit or a digital essay / portfolio /exhibit (a blog or web site). If you would like to meet with me on Thursday, please sign up for a time.

R March 24 Project Workshop: Materials and Methods. We will be working on the second floor of the Mason Library. You need to sign in and sign out with me. I will be at a table at the top of the stairs above the circulation desk. I am also available to meet with you individually during class time or by appointment outside of class. (Make sure that you sign up for a time on Tuesday.)

Week Eleven 

T March 29 In Class Project Workshop: Accessing and Working with Primary Sources

R March 31 No class: Mark is out of town

Week Twelve

 T April 5 In Class Writing Workshop: Writing with Print Sources.

R April 7 In Class Writing Workshop: Writing with Cultural Materials (artifacts, images, audio, video). Due: Research Notebooks See Research Notebook Post

Week Thirteen 

 T April 12 Group Presentations Workshop

R April 14 Group 1 Individual Presentations

Week Fourteen

T April 19 Group 2 Presentations

R April 21 Group 3 Presentations. Due: Project Drafts (5-10 pages or equivalent)

Week Fifteen 

T April 26 Individual Conferences (no class)

R April 28 Individual Conferences (no class)

Week Sixteen

 M May 2 Reading Day

R May 5 Final Examination Block 1-3 PM. Please submit electronically or bring your final project to my office, 206 Parker Hall, between 1-3