History 383 - Fall 2012 - Dr. Gayle Olson-Raymer
Founders Hall 165, Phone: 826-4788
Office Hours in Founders Hall 165 : Tuesdays and Thursdays, 3:30-5:00 pm and by appointment Office Hours online via email: Wednesdays from 10:30-Noon.

Please note that revisions to the syllabus were made on Wednesday, November 7th.

Course Description, Goals, and Themes

Course Description: This course analyzes the historical factors that have produced the very complex and diverse state of California. We will explore California's ethnic, economic, and geographical diversity, we will examine the efforts of those Californians who built the political, economic, and social infrastructure of the state and helped shape what people around the world continue to call the "California Dream," and we will learn about the courageous efforts of many Californians to change the reality of their limited and unequal access to that dream.

Course Goals: My goals for teaching History 383 are to help you:

Course Themes:
  1. Geographical, cultural, ethnic, and geological diversity are primary ingredients in California's history.
  2. Interaction, assimilation, and conflict among racial and socioeconomic groups has shaped California's history.
  3. Since statehood, Californians have manipulated their environment in order to extract resources, build more complex economies, and attract and support larger populations.
  4. California's lack of water is perhaps the central fact of its existence - and various water policies have all depended on the manipulation of this scarce resource.
  5. California is a place of the extreme, the unusual, and the spectacular.
  6. In geographical terms, California is a very old place; in socio-political terms, California is a relatively new place.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.

Teaching Assistant: We are fortunate to have Samantha Keogh working with us this semester. Samantha is a history major who has done extremely well in California history and will be able to provide many types of assistance as the semester proceeds. You may contact Samantha at samthekeogh@gmail.com.

Course Requirements

Required ReadingIt is essential that  you complete the required reading before coming to class. You are required to read the following:

Web Site. My web site is available to assist you throughout the course at http://users.humboldt.edu/ogayle.  When you get to the home page, click on "History 383 " where you will find several choices: Course Syllabus, Announcements, Discussion Guides for class meetings.

Attendance: Class attendance is mandatory. If you miss 3 classes, your final grade in the class will drop a full grade. If you miss 5 classes, your final grade will drop two full grades. If you miss 7 classes, your final grade will drop three full grades. More than 8 absences will result in failure.

Required Assignments: The following will be completed throughout the semester: cold call reading reviews, written reading reviews, a social justice research project; participation in the Campus Dialog on Race, and a final examination.  For a list of all course requirements and due dates, click here. All assignments are listed in red on the course syllabus. Please note: You will only get credit for all of the following assignments IF you attend the entire class on the day the assignments are due.



Grades. It is possible to accumulate 460 points for this semester's class. Points and grades will be earned as follows:

******* COURSE OUTLINE *******

Introduction: California - Land of Mythology and Diversity (August 21).

Unit I: Colonizing California (August 23 and 28, September 1, 6, and 8)

Unit II: Building and Modernizing California (September 13 - September 29) Unit III: Bringing California Into the 20th Century (October 4 - November 3) Unit IV: Getting California through the Tumultuous Decades (November 8, 10, 15, 17, and 29 and December 1 and 6)

Tuesday, December 11th from 12:40-14:30 - Final Examination


This course meets the five major skills that the History Department believes historians need and that history majors should develop as they progress through the major: writing, research, critical thinking, historiography and methodology, and oral presentation.

Please note the following information about HSU policies: