History 383 - Dr. Gayle Olson-Raymer

Introduction - California: Land of Mythology and Diversity

Modern Map of California

Introduction: Welcome to your 15-week exploration of California History. Throughout the semester, we will learn about, discuss, and analyze the historical factors that have produced the very complex and diverse state of California. In so doing, we will ...

Before we go any further, let's get a better understanding of the California Dream:Photo comparing the number of prisons and universities built in California since 1980

Discussion:

  1. How do these ads promote the California Dream?
  2. What are the myths promoted in these ads?
  3. How do these myths "sell" the California Dream to non-Californians?
  4. And how does this photo deflate the California Dream?

We are going to begin this semester by examining some of these myths. Our goals for today's discussion are:

  1. To begin exploring the geographical and other myths of California history.
  2. To examine the diverse geological and geographical past that determined the current geology and geography of the state of California.
  3. To understand the goals and expectations during the 15 weeks that we will be working together in a learning community.

Goal #1: To begin exploring the geographical and other myths of California history

Group Activity: Please take the following steps:

Now, let's dig into our history by examining the powerpoint presentation, California: Land of Mythology, accessed by clicking here.

As we will see - The mythological origins of California are simply an introduction to the fascinating story that is California's history. As our story proceeds, we will uncover many different realities that contradict the myths about California's history. Indeed, as the course proceeds, we will learn that

In short, we must begin to really understand one of our course themes: The real history of California is complex and filled with stories of both success and failure, power and oppression, interaction and conflict, extraordinary and ordinary individuals, environmental conservation and destruction. Map of california earthquakes


Goal #2: To examine the diverse geological and geographical past that determined the current geology and geography of the state of California

To address this goal, we will use the powerpoint presentation, California: Land of Diversity, which can be accessed by clicking here.

If you want to access the California Earthquake map shown to the right, click the last bullet under "For more information" below. You can click on each quake for the date and magnitude.


Goal #3: To understand the goals and expectations during the 15 weeks that we will be working together in a learning community

Let's spend a few moments with the course syllabus - http://users.humboldt.edu/ogayle/hist383/Syllabus2015.html) - which I asked each of you to read prior to coming to class today. Do you have any questions about the requirements? The day-to-day coursework? Anything else?


Conclusions: California: Land of Mythology and Diversity

  1. Before it was ever a place, California was a mythological figment of an author's imagination.
  2. Course Theme: Geographical, cultural, ethnic, and geological diversity are primary ingredients in California's history.
  3. Course Theme: California is a place of the extreme, the unusual, and the spectacular.
  4. Course Theme: In geographical terms, California is a very old place; in socio-political terms, California is a relatively new place.
  5. Course theme: The real history of California is complex and filled with stories of both success and failure, power and oppression, interaction and conflict, extraordinary and ordinary individuals, environmental conservation and destruction.
  6. Course theme: California's society is most accurately characterized by persistent inequality, attempts by certain groups to subordinate others, and inter-group tensions between those in power and those courageous Californians who have resisted social, economic, and political oppression.

Reminder - You will have your first Cold Call at our next meeting - Elinson and Yogi, "Introduction" (pp 1-6) and "Epilogue" (pp 453-470)


For more information , see: