WEEk 7 (update)

As discussed in class, the due date for the DBA 2 assignment has been pushed back to no later than Saturday, October 20 at 10:50a.m.  If you do not turn the assignment in on Thursday during class, you will have to turn it in via the Sakai Drop Box function.  After Saturday at 10:50a.m. the assignment will be considered “late” and the standard 48 hour deadline and 10% deduction stands.

See you in class on Thursday…



We’re almost at the halfway point in the semester!

On Tuesday we’ll focus on the evolution of the border and the construction of the “illegal immigrant” as we read and discuss chapters 2-5 in Migra! by Kelly Lytle-Hernandez.  As usual, bring your “prep sheet” to class.  Work on creating a thesis for your short one-pager and practice the skill of substantiating that thesis with the text.  As always, don’t feel the need to cover everything she says.  Be focused and selective as you discuss something you found important, provocative, or interesting.

We’ll follow up our seminar with a short lecture on the Immigration Act of 1924, also known as the Johnson Reed Act.

On Thursday we’ll discuss the mass deportations of the 1930s in class.  You will also turn in your second (and final) Document-Based Analysis (DBA) assignment.  This one is on a short historical document from the Los Angeles Times, an article title “Making Americans.”  It is provided to you as DR 15.

In two weeks you will also be responsible for tuning in the first part of your semester-long research project—the Primary Source Identification.  Be sure to read the Assignments page for more information.  You should also consult with your group.  As a team it is your collective job to do your best to “represent” the time period you have been assigned.  At the least this means not duplicating sources or topics.  But it can also mean helping each other out with the search process.  Remember: finding usable primary sources takes time!  Start now!


This wee we will focus on early 20th century migration. We’ll focus in on the evolution of immigration restriction in this period, a political story taking place against the backdrop of a major influx of Southern and Eastern Europeans.

We’ll begin our discussion of this history as we also begin reading our next course book, Migra! A History of the U.S. Border Patrol by Kelly Lytle Hernández. As I mentioned in class, this is one of the best and most important books written on Chicanx/Latinx history in the last decade. While the story she tells is focused largely on the U.S.-Mexico border——one that is mostly focused on the region of Texas and on Mexican migrants——the story she tells is fundamentally also the story of how the experiences of all Latinx migrants (and other migrants) have been shaped by the construction of “the border.”

For Tuesday we’ll begin our discussion of this important book by reading the introduction and chapter 1. I’ve also asked you to read chapter 3 from my own book, Latinos at the Golden Gate (provided to you as DR 13). As always, bring your “prep sheet” to class. (I have some notes on your “prep sheet” below.) We’ll follow-up our seminar with a short lecture.

On Thursday we’ll continue building the story with a discussion of early 20th-century backlash against brown migrants. You have a short historical document to read in preparation for this class, an article from the Los Angeles Times titled “Filth, Disease and Poverty at Old San Gabriel” provided to you as DR 14.

The “prep sheet” assignments have been evolving nicely. This week I’d like to ask you to start being more focused in your discussion. One-page was never meant to be enough space for us to describe everything the author said. So focus in on one argument, one story, or one concept she puts forward. Build your one-page essay based on that. Give us a thesis statement about what you will discuss. Use quotes and examples to show us what it is. Most importantly, try to teach us what is important about it. In other words——don’t just describe. Analyze.

See you next week!


This week we’ll focus in on the extension of US empire abroad as we learn about the so-called “Spanish American War.”

On Tuesday we’ll begin with our regular seminar discussion on the readings.  This week you read two chapters from two classic texts in the field—chapter 7 from Racial Fault Lines by Tomás Almaguer (DR 10) and chapter 4 from Culture of Empire by Gilbert Gonzalez (DR 11).  As usual, type up and bring your “prep sheet” to class.

To add to your preparation for this week, I also ask you watch a documentary online.  “Empire of Dreams” is episode 2 from the PBS series Latino Americans.  It can be found online).

On Thursday we’ll talk about Puerto Rico.  We’ll also have an in-class discussion of some primary source readings—“An Idle Dream” and “The Future of My Country”—both provided to you as DR 12 via Sakai.  You don’t have to write anything for them.  Just read them and come prepared to discuss them a bit.

We’ll begin Thursday’s class with some time for us to meet as “groups” for the semester-long research project.


This week we’ll discuss the growth of the U.S. Empire in the late 19th century and examine what this meant for Latinx populations.  We’ll also start work on our semester-long research project.

On Tuesday you have two reading assignments to complete for our weekly seminar: chapters 4 and 5 in the book Harvest of Empire and chapter 1 from the book The Puerto Rican Diaspora, provided to you as a digital reading (DR 8).  As usual, write your “prep sheet” and bring it to class.  We’ll follow our discussion with a short lecture on race and empire in the late 19th century.

On Thursday we’ll have a little bit of a different class, one focused on how we do historical research.  We’ll break up into assigned groups on Thursday, and each group will be assigned a timer period.  This will be the period you research for your semester project.  We’ll talk about how we do that: how we locate and identify historical primary sources, how we select topics, how we find secondary sources, and how we turn these all into a research script that will be the foundation of our digital movie.  To help us in our process, I’ve assigned a historical primary source for you to read.  It’s a 1928 article from a newspaper titled “Hands Off!” and it’s on Sakai as DR 9.

Have a great week!


This week we slow down our class story a bit and start to dig deeper into the topics we discuss.

For Tuesday, we’ll discuss U.S. “Manifest Destiny” and the construction of race.  We read two chapters from two important books in the field for Tuesday: chapter 2 from Manifest Destinies: the Making of the Mexican American Race (DR 4), by Laura E. Gómez; and chapter 1 from David Gutiérrez’ landmark study Walls and Mirrors: Mexican Americans, Mexican Immigrants, and the Politics of Ethnicity (DR 6).  You also have a recent news article to read, one dealing with the history of indigenous slavery (DR 5).

As usual, we’ll begin our class with a discussion of those readings.  You are to write your “prep sheet” relating to one “essential understanding” you identify in one or more of the readings.  We’ll also have 3 new students read their’s aloud.

On Thursday we’ll talk about the U.S.-Mexico War and the period that followed it.  You will also turn in your first “major” course assignment—your first Document Based Analysis.

The source for this assignment is a historical document provided to you as DR 7.  It is a “proclamation” made to the people of California after the war with Mexico.  The assignment is a written version of the kind of work we have been doing in class.  You read the primary source document, identify it, tell us what it says, and then develop a perspective that tells us what it means.  Read the syllabus for more information about length and format.

Be well!


This week we’ll continue building out our class story as we experience what a “regular” week looks and feels like for our class.

On Tuesday we’ll discuss Spanish imperialism in the Americas. We’ll begin our class with our first seminar discussion of the readings. The readings we’ll discuss are chapters 1-2 in Harvest of Empire and an article by historian Antonia Castañeda titled “Sexual Violence in the Politics and the Policies of Conquest,” provided to you as a digital reading on Sakai (DR02).

To prepare for the discussion you must also write your first “prep sheet.” Consult the Assignments page for more details on that weekly assignment. You are required to print out your “prep sheet” and bring it t class. Not only will we use them to spark discussion, I will select 3-4 students at random at the start of our seminar to read theirs aloud.

We’ll follow up our seminar discussion with a short lecture.

On Thursday we’ll continue with a further discussion of Spanish colonialism, emphasizing peoples’ responses to it. You have one short reading—a historical document provided to you as DR 03—which we will use as part of an in-class activity.  It will be useful to consult our “Primary Document Worksheet,” provided to you as Appendix 3 in your syllabus.

Congratulations on surviving the first week of the fall semester! Be well until we see each other next.


“Art Heals” by Raul González, Ricardo Estrada, and Joséph “Nuke” Montalvo at Ramona Gardens, East Los Angeles (2008).