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History 445
Fall 2019
Prof. John Putman



CA Links

California History




            History 445 is a thematic and chronological examination of California history from late 18th century to the present.  In this course we will address the emergence of California as a major player in the nation’s social, cultural, political, and economic landscape. Organized around the concept of the “California Dream,” we will explore the Spanish and Mexican origins of California, the significance of the Gold Rush, California’s integration into the national market economy, ethnic diversity and conflict, progressive-era politics and reform, the battle over water and the environment, significance of Hollywood, the wonderfully turbulent 1960s, and the rise of California on the contemporary cultural and political scene. 


image Albert Hurtado, Intimate Frontiers
image Lawrence Culver, The Frontier of Leisure: Southern California and the Shaping of Modern America

Additional readings and documents will be available on Blackboard.



Grades will be based on one midterm exam, an 8 page primary source research paper, class participation, and a final exam. The exams are essay in form. Class participation includes classroom discussions and activities as well as attendance. 


Midterm:                                 25%                       


Paper:                                       30%


Final:                                        35%  


Class Participation:                 10%


Student Learning Goals:

1. Students will analyze the major themes and issues in California History and the historical forces that  shaped them.

2. Students will investigate the racial and cultural diversity of California and how this has shaped California history.

3. Students will explore and critically analyze both primary and secondary source material.

4. Students will probe the nature of historical interpretation.

5. Students will engage in historical research using primary source material and improve writing skills.

A brief note on grades:  A student will earn an “A” for only excellent and outstanding work.  A “B” represents very good work, which means more than just doing the job.  A “C” is given to those who demonstrate adequate competence and satisfactory completion of assignments.  “D” work is that which fails to demonstrate competence and/or fails to fully complete the assignment.  I don’t think I need to explain the meaning of an “F” to you. Finally, I always assume that each student puts his or her full effort into an assignment, so please don’t try to make a case for a higher grade based on how much time and effort you put into an assignment.  I can only grade performance not effort.

Please be aware that the major themes and ideas that comprise my exams are generally drawn from my lectures so attendance is critical if you wish to do well in this course. Readings, both from the text and the other assigned books, are not extra or optional assignments. The readings complement, but do not replace, my lectures and are there to help you better understand major themes and issues raised in class.  One key to success in this course is to keep up with the reading assignments.

SDSU Academic Honesty Policy:

Institutions of higher education are founded to impart knowledge, seek truth, and encourage one’s development for the good of society. University students shall thus be intellectually and morally obliged to pursue their course of studies with honesty and integrity. Therefore, in preparing and submitting materials for academic courses and in taking examinations, a student shall not yield to cheating or plagiarism, which violate both academic and student disciplinary standards.
Cheating shall be defined as the act of obtaining or attempting to obtain credit for academic work by the use of dishonest, deceptive, or fraudulent means. Examples of cheating include, but are not limited to (a) copying, in part or in whole, from another’s test or other examination; (b) discussing answers or ideas relating to the answers on a test or other examination without the permission of the instructor; (c) obtaining copies of a test, an examination, or other course material without the permission of the instructor; (d) using notes, cheat sheets, or other devices considered inappropriate under the prescribed testing condition; (e) collaborating with another or others in work to be presented without the permission of the instructor; (f) falsifying records, laboratory work, or other course data; (g) submitting work previously presented in another course, if contrary to the rules of the course; (h) altering or interfering with the grading procedures; (i) plagiarizing, as defined; and (j) knowingly and intentionally assisting another student in any of the above.2.2Plagiarism shall be defined as the act of incorporating ideas, words, or specific substance of another, whether purchased, borrowed, or otherwise obtained, and submitting same to the university as one’s own work to fulfill academic requirements without giving credit to the appropriate source.

Plagiarism shall include but not be limited to (a) submitting work, either in part or in whole, completed by another; (b) omitting footnotes for ideas, statements, facts, or conclusions that belong to another; (c) omitting quotation marks when quoting directly from another, whether it be a paragraph, sentence, or part thereof; (d) close and lengthy paraphrasing of the writings of another; (e) submitting another person’s artistic works, such as musical compositions, photographs, paintings, drawings, or sculptures; and (f) submitting as one’s own work papers purchased from research companies.3.0 Academic and Disciplinary Sanctions: Cheating and plagiarism in connection with the academic program at the university may warrant two separate and distinct courses of disciplinary action that may be applied concurrently in response to a violation of this policy: (a) academic sanctions, such as grade modifications; and (b) disciplinary sanctions, such as probation, suspension, or expulsion.

Academic sanctions are concerned with the student’s grades and are the responsibility of the instructor involved. Disciplinary sanctions are concerned with the student’s records and status on campus and shall be the responsibility of the university President or designated representative. The Coordinator of Judiciary Procedures shall be the President’s representative in matters of student discipline. Those guilty of committing plagiarism or cheating will receive an F for both the assignment and the entire course.

“Students agree that by taking this course all required papers may be subject to submission for textual similarity review to Blackboard's for the detection of plagiarism. All submitted papers will be included as source documents in the reference database solely for the purpose of detecting plagiarism of such papers. You may submit your papers in such a way that no identifying information about you is included. Another option is that you may request, in writing, that your papers not be submitted to However, if you choose this option you will be required to provide documentation to substantiate that the papers are your original work and do not include any plagiarized material.”

Disabilities and Special Needs:
 If you are a student with a disability and believe you will need accommodations for this class, it is your responsibility to contact Student Ability Success Center at (619) 594-6473. To avoid any delay in the receipt of your accommodations, you should contact Student Ability Success Center as soon as possible. Please note that accommodations are not retroactive, and that I cannot provide accommodations based upon disability until I have received an accommodation letter from Student Ability Success Center. Your cooperation is appreciate

Class Etiquette: Please arrive on time and do not leave before the end of class unless you inform me prior to class.  Also, please be sure cell phones are off or on silent.  This includes no text messaging while in class. Finally, laptops can only be used to take notes.