Between 1846 and 1870, California’s Indian population plunged from perhaps 150,000 to 30,000. Diseases, dislocation and starvation caused many of these deaths, but the near-annihilation of the California Indians was not the unavoidable result of two civilizations coming into contact for the first time. It was genocide, sanctioned and facilitated by California officials.
One thing I’m planning on using this space for is talking about pedagogy – my own, mostly, as I rethink my main survey courses over the summer. This is a topic I touch on already in my US I class, but I don’t think I talk about it enough. I’ll be honest – as a native New Englander who has spent her entire personal and professional life on the East Coast,* I have tried to push my survey away from the East Coast bias that is, in turn, an Anglo-Protestant bias.
I’d like to really overhaul the projects my US I and US II students do, and by overhaul I mean “completely ditch and start again.” Something I’m considering is trying to have students take advantage of all of the really great history writing that shows up in popular outlets, articles like this one. I’m not quite sure what direction I’d like to go in, but I think the projects would take distinctly different shapes in US I and US II. This is the sort of piece I’d love to use in US I. Honestly, US II could be “Read the ‘CIA admits involvement in such-and-such coup’ article of the week.”
*I did live in New York for a bit, and worked at Governors Island in its first years as a national park.