San Francisco: A History of the Present
This course explores the unique cultural history of San Francisco, particularly with respect to modernism / modernity. (What is San Francisco Modernism?) How do we read the unique forms of human expression, such as art, architecture, music, literature, photography, film, and politics associated with the city and their relation to modern life? We will explore these and other questions by tracing our own unique history of the present of San Francisco. Rather than a simple chronological re-telling of dates, facts and major events, we will endeavor to creatively enter into the historical life of the city, thereby changing and expanding our conception of San Francisco. Close attention will be paid to major historical events and cultural locations in the life of the city, such as the gold rush, immigration, ethnicity, race, gender, sexuality, Chinatown, the Chinese Exclusion Act, modernity, World’s Fairs, censorship and the Beat Generation, vice and sin, cinema and literature, photography and music. By the end of the semester, students should come away from the course with a greater knowledge of the cultural history of San Francisco, and, hopefully, a new experience of the city in relation to its past.
Required Books (available at the bookstore):
- Barbara Bergland – Making San Francisco American: Cultural Frontiers in the Urban West, 1846 – 1906
- Allen Ginsberg – Howl: Original Draft Facsimile, Transcript, and Variant Versions
- Jessica Ellen Sewell – Women and the Everyday City: Public Space in San Francisco, 1890-1915
- Rebecca Solnit – Infinite City: A San Francisco Atlas
- Rebecca Solnit — River of Shadows: Eadweard Muybridge and the Technological Wild West
Required Essays and Book Selections (will be available as PDF files at course website):
- Rachel Brahinsky – “‘Hush Puppies’ Communalist Politics and Demolition Governance: The Rise and Fall of the Black Fillmore”
- Jonathan Crary, “Modernizing Vision”
- Tommi Avicolli Mecca– “Sometimes you work with the Democrats and Sometimes you Riot”
- Celesete Olalquiaga, “The Crystal Palace” from the Artificial Kingdom
- Nancy J. Peters – “The Beat Generation and San Francisco’s Culture of Dissent”
- Mary Jean Robertson – “Reflections from Occupied Ohlone Territory”
- John Kuo Wei Tchen – “Introduction: Tangrenbu-The Streetlife of San Francisco’s Chinatown, 1895-1906″ from Genthe’s Photographs of San Francisco’s Old Chinatown
- Ken Wark, “Vectoral Cinema”
Required Films (viewed in class):
- Rick Butler – Hidden Cities of San Francisco: The Fillmore (1999)
- James Dallesandro – The Damndest Finest Ruins (2006)
- Felicia Lowe – Carved in Silence (1987)
- Felecia Lowe – Hidden Cities of San Francisco: Chinatown (1996)
- Arthur Dong – Forbidden City, USA (1989)
- Alfred Hitchcock – Vertigo (1958)
- Riff and Roberts – Ishi: The Last Yahi (1992)
- Michael Rohde – Madams of the Barbary Coast (2008)
- Pam Rorke – Hidden Cities of San Francisco: The Mission (1994)
- Stryker/Silverman – Screaming Queens: The Riot at Compton’s Cafeteria (2010)
Students are responsible for completing all the assigned course work and are expected to regularly attend and participate in course discussions. Students are expected to come to class prepared. Prepared means that you have done the assigned reading, have thought about it, and have something relevant to say. Always bring the assigned reading material (for each particular day) to class. Always take notes. My lectures, comments, and rants constitute an important “text” for the course. Be aware that my style is casual and approachable—this should not detract from the seriousness of the work we do together (this style of presentation is meant to make it easier for you to grasp the material). There will be 2 “formal” papers required (following the requirements for segment III, see below). There will be a mid-term essay 5-pages in length, and a final essay 5-pages in length (typed and double spaced). There will be a handout on the essay assignments two weeks before each essay is due. Each essay must contain 5-pages of formal college level writing. Your essays must demonstrate mastery of the reading material and course lectures for the assignments (your grade will be based on this). All essays must be critical. No grade will be awarded for non-critical writing. No papers will be accepted via e-mail (no exceptions). (Please note that Wikipedia is NOT a critical source and cannot be used for college writing.) No papers will be accepted via e-mail (no exceptions). No rewrites of written work (no exceptions). No late papers accepted (no exceptions). Plagiarism in any of the course assignments, in any form, will be dealt with harshly and will be forwarded to the Dean’s Office for appropriate action. Plagiarism on any assignment will also result in a grade of zero. You must receive a letter grade on all assignments in order to complete the course. (Please note that Wikipedia is NOT a critical source and cannot be used for college writing. The same is true of IMDB.) Cell phones and PDA’s are to be turned off in class. If you are caught text–messaging in class, surfing the web, or playing video games, or engaging in any other non–course related activity, you will be required to leave the classroom. No eating in class (unless you bring enough to share with everyone). No electronic recording in the classroom. Students are responsible for all of the course content and materials even if they are absent (absences of more than two class sessions can result in your final grade being substantially lowered). No incompletes will be given, no exceptions. Please be aware that from time to time I may need to contact you via e–mail. In order to facilitate this, you will need to make sure that your SFSU e–mail account is actively working. I will not send these e–mails to a non–SFSU account. It is your responsibility to make sure your account is accessible and working.
There will be a final exam for the course. The final exam will consist of 10 questions and may cover all of the material from the course. The questions will be short answer questions. Generally, it should take no more than 30 minutes to complete the exam.
Please note: the 6th floor of the San Francisco Public Library is devoted to the SF History Center.
SEGMENT III WRITING REQUIREMENT
To meet the segment III writing requirement, you will be required to write two five page critical papers. These papers are “formal” and will be read and graded by the professor. You will be expected to argue coherently, to support your arguments with detailed examples from the works analyzed, to edit your papers for spelling, grammar punctuation and agreement, and to meet recognized standards for notes and bibliography when relevant. All of the above will be taken into account in the grading of these assignments.
There may be in-class assignments as part of your participation grade
STATEMENT ON DISABILITIES
Students with disabilities who need reasonable accommodations are encouraged to contact the instructor. The Disability Programs and Resource Center (DPRC) is available to facilitate the reasonable accommodations process. The DPRC is located in the Student Service Building and can be reached by telephone (voice/TTY 415–338–2472) or by email: email@example.com, http://www.sfsu.edu/~dprc/facultyfaq.html#1
- Attendance and participation: 10%
- Midterm Essay: 40%
- Final Essay: 40%
- Final Exam: 10%
Adobe PDF of course schedule