Teaching California History in a Global Context

By Deverell, William | California History, Winter 2009 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Teaching California History in a Global Context


Deverell, William, California History


One of my favorite teaching techniques in a big California history lecture class is to make the blackboard into North America. Of course, we have the blackboard for the entire term, and I write all over it. But it also makes for a good map, and it's easy to get the students to focus on it. We start in New England with many a lecture, so I point to the upper corner of the blackboard and write this or that reference there. Over the course of the term, we get to move across that board east to west (and west to east); we come up from Mexico; we wander around off the western edge of the blackboard in the Pacific. You get the point: it's important to the architecture of the course to place California in cartographic context immediately, and my blackboard prop is an easy way to do this, both at the outset and throughout the duration of the course.

I am going to have to come up with some other device pretty soon, given the ways in which the study of California is increasingly couched within far wider, even global, contexts. My blackboard tool is mostly a continental cartographic crutch: I use it to divide the nation east and west, north and south. I use it to explore the Wilmot Proviso and the fate of California. We draw the overland trails on it. We let antebellum New England abolitionists and Southern proslavery types ponder the future of California and the Union in the era of the Compromise of 1850. We come cross-country with the Depression, the New Deal, and the Second World War. We talk about the Great Basin and Mormon diasporic migrations to California during and just after the Gold Rush.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Teaching California History in a Global Context
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?