Course: West Coast Urbanism

HC 444H/431H

Professor: Ocean Howell

Graduation Requirement: This class will fulfill the following requirement(s): a Social Science colloquium (431H) and an American Cultures multicultural class. If the student has already taken a Social Science colloquium, this class will fulfill an Elective colloquium. 

The West Coast is different.  Its cities exhibit many patterns--patterns of physical development, governance and authority, and ethnic and race relations--which are impossible to explain only with reference to the industrial cities of the Northeast and Midwest (the staples in the field of urban history).  This course will consider the subject of West Coast urbanism through a case study format.  Specifically, we will be looking at San Francisco's Mission District, as a lens through which to examine larger questions of American urban history.  Special attention will be paid to questions of urban planning and ethnicity.  Pedagogically, this class will use what might be called a "lab approach" to a humanities topic.  That means that students will be participating in an ongoing faculty research project.  Each student will focus on a specific body of archival materials, reporting their findings to the larger group.  Options include map collections, police arrest reports, historical photographs, protest group pamphlets, urban planning documents, mayoral papers, and historical newspapers (in English, Spanish, Chinese, Swedish, and German).  The course might include a research trip to the San Francisco Bay Area.