The Peopling Of California

Purpose:

 One feature of the world’s history over the last three hundred years has been the increase in the movement of information, material, and people.  We will track one part of that history, the movement of people, in order to see your place in history and make a global historical event more real, and immediate. 

    We will start with the answer to one part of that question, where — to the U.S., to California, and to the particular place there that your family or interviewee resides — to explore who moved when, why, and how, and with what consequences, meaning, and lessons drawn from the experience.  What we’re looking for is how you came to populate this place, to see what our history of migration contributes to and tells us about the worldwide historic developments that have put people on the move in this way. You will be fulfilling another course purpose: to “do” history, through this bit of research.  And you will have the opportunity to seek out the lessons that preceding generations of people close to you would have you learn from their history.   

Task: Your assignment is to gather evidence on the “peopling of California,” to research history by interviewing a parent, grandparent, other relative, family friend, or someone from the community about how they came to be where they are today.  While in most cases I expect that you will find someone’s migration somewhere in your recent past — migration into the U.S. from another place in the world, migration to California from elsewhere in the U.S., or migration within California from one place to another — from country to city, or city to “exurb”– if that is not the case for anyone in your family, or among friends or coworkers, as an alternative you may interview a family member on how and why they managed to stay put for two generations as so much changed around them!  (I am an international Chinese student, I live in Santa Barbara California )

      Find out what about your interviewee’s experience was most memorable and important to them and what they would have us pay attention to a generation later.  You will want to learn where they moved & when, why they moved, what moving required them to do, what challenges they encountered in the process, and what it meant to their life. 

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