Week 03

This week our class story moves up in time to the 19th century. As we do, our focus moves more toward the history of the United States. We’ll start with the U.S.-Mexico War of 1846-48, the war that resulted in the United States taking ownership of almost half of Mexico’s territory.

On Tuesday, just to give some greater context for our seminar, our class will begin with a lecture on Manifest Destiny and U.S. expansion. We’ll follow that up with our more collaborative part of class, a seminar on the readings. Those readings are: chapter 5 from a new book (The End of the Myth: From the Frontier to the Border Wall in the Mind of America) by historian Greg Grandin, provided to you as DR 06 on Sakai; and chapter 2 from the book by Paul Ortiz, An African American and Latinx History of the United States. As you prepare for our discussion, focus on questions we can ask of each other to facilitate our learning. Questions that focus our attention to specific parts of the texts are especially welcome.

On Thursday we’ll discuss more related to the U.S.-Mexico War. For that day, you will also read a historical primary source and then write your analysis of it in our first Document-Based Analysis (DBA) assignment.

The DBAs are short (only 2-3 pages) analyses of a historical primary document. It’s kind of a written version of the work we’ve been doing with primary documents in class. For this first DBA, you will read “Proclamation to the People of California,” a document provided to you as DR 07. You goal is to tell us what the document is and what it “says” (being mindful of context, voice, and audience) while also telling us what it means. Answering that question means discussing how the source illuminates some aspect of the past.

There’s no one answer to this question. All sources have multiple meanings and uses. Just stay focused on making an argument about ONE thing we can learn about the past from this source while showing us how we can learn that through the use of direct quotes and analysis. In other words, don’t just tell use what the source means. Show us.

Your DBA should be type-written in a clear and organized fashion and composed in accordance with our “Writing Guidelines.” Bring it–printed out–to class on Thursday.

Have a great weekend! We’ll see you next Tuesday.


Week 02

We’ve made it through the first week of the fall semester! I hope you all are feeling settled in to the life of our campuses and with your new schedules. I know it always takes me a few weeks before the new routine doesn’t feel so “new.” Here’s hoping it’s a quicker transition for you.

We spent our first two meetings getting familiar with the class and establishing some introductory thoughts for our class and history itself. Now it’s time for us to delve a little deeper into the process of building our class “story.”

On Tuesday we’ll start class by discussing the readings for the day. The first is the introduction and chapter 1 of An African American and Latinx History of the United States by Paul Ortiz, one of our course books. The other is chapter 2 from the book Harvest of Empire by Juan Gonzalez (provided to you as DR 03).  We’ll also be able to share some thoughts on the first chapter by Gonzalez, which we read for last Thursday.  We’ll follow-up our discussion with a lecture on the Spanish conquest and its aftermath.

As I wrote on the syllabus, most Tuesdays will involve a more formal discussion of the readings for that day. Our weekly discussions will evolve for us over time but the way to think about them is like a “history lab” where we build understanding together.  You can prepare for them by thinking about some of the questions provided to you on page 3 of our syllabus.  Then bring your thoughts to class for our discussion.

On Thursday we’ll discuss how colonialism reshaped the lives of people in the Americas, as well as how they responded to it.  To help our learning and focus it a bit, we’ll read two things: a short article written by Antonia Castañeda––one of the trailblazers in the field––and a primary source document relating to an indigenous woman named Toypurina.  They are available on Sakai as DR 04 and DR 05.  We’ll use them both for a short (and less formal than Tuesday’s) discussion.

Have a great first weekend of the fall semester!  Be safe and try to get some rest…

Week 01

It was wonderful to meet you this morning!  Every class is its own unique community and it’s always a good day when we first meet each other face-to-face. Now we can begin our intellectual journey together this Thursday.

But first some good news! The powers that be (in the Registrar’s office) have smiled upon us and granted us a room change. We’ll be in the same building, but we’ll be meeting in room 10 (that’s “ten”) instead of our original (and much smaller) room 1. They’ve made the change official already, so we are cleared to meet there starting this Thursday!

As we discussed today (and as you can read on the “Course Schedule”) we have two readings for Thursday’s class. The first is a chapter from the book Harvest of Empire by Juan González. It’s provided to you as DR 01 in the “Resources” folder on Sakai. Our second is a historical document, an excerpt from the log of Christopher Columbus (DR02).

In case you don’t know already, the first reading is a historical “secondary source,” the name we give to sources written by historians about the past. The second reading is a historical “primary source.” Those are documents written in the past, the stuff historians use to make sense of the past as they write secondary sources.

On Thursday we’ll discuss the readings a bit and have a lecture introducing us to some other historical concepts and the beginning of our class “story.”

See you then!

Welcome to History 17CH!

Welcome to “Intro to Chicanx~Latinx Histories” (History 17CH at Pomona College)! I’m Tomás F. Summers Sandoval Jr., Associate Professor of History and Chicanx~Latinx Studies, and it’s my pleasure to introduce you to our class website and blog.

On the pages above you can access the course description; details about our course outcomes; explanations of our course assignments; the policies related to grading; and our required books. You will also find a complete schedule of our upcoming semester.

I’ve made some major revisions to History 17CH this semester. Some things haven’t changed, like our sustained partnership with the students of Eleanor Roosevelt High School. Among other things, this partnership will require your physical involvement in two events: one on Friday, October 25 and another on Friday, December 6. If you can not participate in at least one of the events we have scheduled for October 25 (starting at 9:00AM and ending around 1:00PM) and fully participate in our field trip on December 7, then you should not register for the class. More information on both dates can be found in the Schedule page above.

We’ll be using this website to communicate with one other, primarily through weekly posts and comments. Of course, none of this is a substitute for our face-to-face meetings with each other. Those begin on Tuesday, September 3, at 9:35 AM, in Crookshank 1.

Until then, welcome to our learning community!