California, the West, and the World: From Gold and Guano to Google and the New Gilded Age

History 128AC

Fall 2017
VLSB 2060
Day & Time: 
TuTh 9:30-11
Class Number: 
  • This course satisfies the American Cultures Requirement.
  • This course surveys the history of California and the American West from the mid-nineteenth century to the dawn of the twenty-first century. It will situate this state and regional history within the relevant currents of global history, which have profoundly shaped and been shaped by California and the American West. We will pay particular heed to those elements of Californian and western history that are typically associated with the states and regions distinctiveness as a shifting region on the national map, potent and protean symbol in the national (and, often, international) imagination, and catalyst of world historical developments from the Gold Rush and the global guano trade it sparked in the mid-nineteenth century, to the rise of Hollywood in the early twentieth century, to the development and deployment of atomic weapons in the mid-twentieth century, to the emergence of Silicon Valley technological innovation and New Gilded Age income polarization in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries.