- Sanora Babb, Whose Names Are Unknown: A Novel or Ask the Dust by John Fante
- Films: Watch Salt of the Earth — Class screening this Sunday 6-8 P.M.
- John Steinbeck, The Harvest Gypsies
- *George J. Sanchez, “Chapter 10: Where Is Home?: The Dilemma of Repatriation,” in Becoming Mexican American: Ethnicity, Culture and Identity in Chicano Los Angeles, 1900-1945
- *Photogrammar – Explore Yale University’s 170,000 photographs from 1935 to 1945 created by the US Farm Security Administration (use images from this website for your collaborative Wikipedia assignment)
Guided Reading Questions
1) What reoccurring tropes and themes do you notice in the music and literature from the Great Depression? How are metaphors of nature, the environment, and weather used? How are Southern themes recast sectionally to express Western suffering? Overall, what do you notice about how Americans respond to the Great Depression culturally?
2) How does the portrayal of mass migration during the Dust Bowl differ from other migrations (both forced and elective) we’ve studied in the West? How is it similar?
3) What role does fantasy and futurism play in family formation, racial identity, inheritance, and land ownership in the 1920s vs. 1930s? How did owning land (or the dream of it) legitimize households, masculinities, or racial identities?
4) Thinking critically beyond the basic fact that the market economy is global, was the Great Depression and Dust Bowl a national crisis or an international crisis?
5) Was the Great Depression transformative for women and minorities in the U.S. West or did it further entrench stereotypes? Was the Great Depression a moment of heightened white supremacy and masculinity or was whiteness and masculinity in crisis?
4) Literature overview questions for Whose Names are Unknown & Ask the Dust: What is the significance of the book’s title? How does the representation of California change throughout your book’s arch? Consider language, character development, narrative structure, motifs, etc. Be prepared to discuss your book at length in your small group.
5) Which voices are absent this week in the historiography and primary source literature?
Great Depression Music, Movies, & Multimedia
“The Plow That Broke the Plains” (the first documentary made about the Dust Bowl in 1937)
Jimmie Rodgers – Blue Yodel #1
Jimmie Rodgers – In The Jailhouse Now
Carter Family – Keep On the Sunny Side
Woody Gutherie – Goin’ Down the Road Feelin’ Bad
Woody Gutherie’s Dust Bowl Ballads
Skip James – Hard Time Killing Floor Blues
Gene Autry – Tumbling Tumbleweeds
Walt Disney’s first feature length animation film Snow White was released at the height of the Great Depression (where lessons about mining, taking baths, and being happy laborers abound….)
Lena Horne – Stormy Weather
Judy Garland – Somewhere Over the Rainbow (Wizard of Oz)
Vivien Leigh – Gone with the Wind- “Never Be Hungry Again” Speech
John Ford – The Grapes of Wrath
Ken Burns on the Dust Bowl Legacy on Irrigation & Witnessing the Dust Bowl
- “There It Is. Take It.”: A Brief History of Mulholland, Water, & Los Angeles
- When the Snows Fail: The American West Faces Persistent Drought
- American Aqueduct: The Great California Water Saga
- Dramatic Photos of California’s Historic Drought
- Children of the Drought
- Water: The Drying of the West
- Days of Desiccation
Writing Public History of the Great Depression: 3/31 Blog Guidelines
Throughout this course, we have engaged different ways Americans documented their history and lived experiences in the American West. In your blog posts, you have also practiced different forms of argumentative writing and analysis. This week for your blog post, we are going to practice informative non-argumentative writing and contribute to the number one way Americans currently learn about the past: Wikipedia.
- Content Creation: Wikipedia page (e.g. you will be collaboratively creating and updating a Wikipedia page on John Steinbeck’s 1936 work The Harvest Gypsies).
- Document the page before you edit it, either by taking screenshots highlighting your contributions (this is the preferred method) or cutting and pasting the full text into a Word document and saving it.
- Produce at least 300-500 words of new and transformative content, with citations, following Wikipedia guidelines. You can edit a classmate’s work, or create a new subsection on a major theme you identify in the text. You can also do contextual research: why was this written? How was it received? How was it circulated? What genre is this? You will also have to think about taxonomies—where should this article be attributed on parent pages? John Steinbeck? The Great Depression? Etc.
- Adding images: You will also need to add images or hyperlinks that meet Wikipedia standards for multimedia. (Note: you can use material from WikiCommons or use photography from the WPA/ FSA from the 1930s found on Photogrammar that are in the public domain to make this easier).
- Document the page after you edit it, either by taking screenshots or cutting and pasting the full text into a Word document and saving it. Upload your edits (via screenshot or word document) to our class iSite.
- Once you have finished your contributions, you will then request that Wikipedia’s editors Peer Review your edits in a process that typically takes two or more weeks here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Peer_review
- In addition to the article being evaluated by the Wikipedia editorial team, members of both the History and Hist & Lit faculty will review it for accuracy and clarity.
b. Our goal collectively is to create an article that will be evaluated by the Wikipedia review board as a grade of “B” or better. You can read about the editorial team assessment here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Version_1.0_Editorial_Team/Assessment
Some information to get started:
Wikipedia Getting started: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Help:Contents/Getting_started
Wikipedia Tutorial: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Tutorial
This wikipedia assignment has been modified with permission from Carla D. Martin, lecturer in African & African American Studies at Harvard University.