November 28, 2012 § Leave a comment
I’ve been reading “We Are Here.” It’s been really enlightening so far. What I have read so far has discussed how anti-Semitism persisted among Germans, manifesting itself in beliefs that Jews were criminals. They received goods that Germans could not receive. Germans were also sometimes displaced when homes for Displaced Persons (of whom Jews were a small minority) were needed. Jews were in a new position in Germany. It became a strange situation where Munich was even described as a safe haven for Jews and that Jews were taking an inappropriate advantage over Germans. I read another book “München: 1945 bis heute Chronik eiens Aufstiegs,” which documents the post-war experience of Munich until when the book was published, which was 1970. It describes how the basic necessities were still in very short supply into the late 1940s and the city was in ruins. The position of Jews must have created an immense tension, as they must have been seen as benefiting while Germans continued to suffer.
“We are Here” also describes the difficulties in identity faced by Jews as they were in Displaced Persons camps. Were they the nationality from their home country? Stateless? Transients on their way to Palestine or the United States? I’m considering looking how Jews justified their existence in Germany after the end of the DP camps, to Jews, Germans, Zionists, and the rest of the world. It would be interesting to see if their were any intellectuals that attempted to answer this question, especially how they answered the question of Zionism.
This class has made me realize all of the different ways I can answer a question, especially through different types of resources. I feel like I’m definitely more prepared to tackle resources and where I can look to find resources. Despite my continued confusion over my thesis, this class really helped to generate my thinking and to keep me thinking about topics.
November 27, 2012 § Leave a comment
Originally, I took this class for fun, just to explore resources and to educate myself on a topic in history that sparked my interest. Unexpectedly, I had my first exposure to the “101”. I was totally clueless when everyone discussed their “101’s” or “103’s” in class. I now have a gist of what an extended research project may entail. Considering that this is my first semester at college, I consider the exploration of resources around campus to be potentially helpful for me in the future. The topic I decided to research I found was relatively obscure. There are few books written on Hessian involvement in the revolution. Most information I found on Hessians came from unusual places such as family genealogies. The two books I found in main stacks, however, illustrated Hessian involvement quite well. “A Hessian Diary of the American Revolution” and “The Hessians” both gave interesting personal and purely academic perspectives on mercenary involvement during the American War of Independence. Overall, they dispelled my stereotypical notions about mercenaries; that they were disorganized and wandering bands of warriors with dubious social standing. Contrary to this point, by the American Revolution, mercenaries had attained a more official reputation. Governments created mercenary regiments to pay for military upkeep. Although mercenaries during the revolutionary war still held mostly rear echelon and support positions, their duty then may not have been so much different than that of a modern private security company such as “Executive Outcomes”.
Actually, just the exposure to different resources on campus was more helpful in some of my other courses. I didn’t know that Cal even had a music library. The Media Resources Center had some of the more obscure films that I needed to view for my film course. Before coming to college, I hadn’t used a library legitimately. I had never checked out a book or used an online database such as oskicat. Most of the books I read I also own. Now that I’ve been exposed to such places, I realize their research value. Many of the articles that I might be looking for could not be bought from Barnes and Noble. Expanding on different research mediums, I found microfilm to be an informative source. Although most of the information that I sought was not on microfilm, the vast archive of microfilm was impressive enough to return. For example, I found a microfilm of newspaper dated 1870 from the Walnut Creek area (my hometown). To summarize, I am glad I took this course for the research opportunity and I hope to use the libraries and film archives on campus to propel my research later on.
November 27, 2012 § Leave a comment
This semester we have utilized so many different library resources that I had no idea even existed. Through my research I have encountered so many different sources and have had to find new ways to organize all the information that I have been going through. Having to work on the preliminary research for my thesis this semester has challenged me to utilize this class in the most efficient and useful way as possible. Thus, working on my prospectus for my 103 has allowed me to utilize the different libraries and different sources that I was unaware of before this semester and this class.
Until a few weeks ago I had only encountered one secondary source on my topic and I was mainly using primary sources such as newspapers and legal journals to put together a historiography. However, having recently explained this dilemma to one of my professors, she sent me an email with a list of four secondary sources that I might find of some use. I spent the time off school over Thanksgiving “break” to read three of these books and thankfully, I have a much better sense of what my topic truly is and where my discourse can fit into the literature. One of the books I read this last week was The Day Care Ritual Abuse Moral Panic by Mary de Young. This book was published in 2004 and gives a really detailed understanding of the satanic aspect of this panic. De Young examines the “big cases” of the decade and puts the hysteria in perspective. What I found most useful about this book is De Young’s emphasis on the “cultural cauldron” of the 1980’s and her explanation of the societal stresses and strains of this decade set the stage for the day care panic that was to surface in 1983. The other book I read was Nursery Crimes: Sexual Abuse in Day Care by David Finkelhor, which was published in November 1988. This book was the product of a study that Finkelhor was contracted to do by the government to truly understand if day care centers were actually a high risk environment. Finkelhor describes a high-risk environment as an environment where the child is subject to treatment/abuse that they would not be subject to in their home. This of course ignores the knowledge that some children might also be suffering similar or worse abuse in their home environment. This book definitely gave a different perspective of these crimes since it was written in the decade and not in retrospect. De Young even addresses Nursery Crimes in her book and elucidates the flaws in the study but she also addresses the much needed knowledge that was a result of that study. These two books, among other sources, have certainly helped me formulate my prospectus for my 103 this semester and give me a better understanding as to what is missing in the literature and where my research can fit in.
November 14, 2012 § Leave a comment
This class has been really helpful in helping me identify alternative and more exotic library resources. I had never really ventured outside Doe and the Bancroft for historical research, but actually physically visiting other resources like the Media Center, the Environmental Studies Library, and microfilm helped me realize there are whole worlds of material that I had never really considered. I am not sure what my future holds, in terms of scholarship, but if I do get into grad school for history and continue with it, this class will have proved invaluable. If not, I have become really interested in geography lately, a field in which the ability to dig out information would also greatly add to my success.
This week I found a few good more good books in Doe, including one on the African American population in Richmond. I had read an article based on it before, but it was good to be able to get my hands on the fleshed out work. I have been getting a little distracted going on research tangents pertaining to pre-war housing policy- I’m finding myself wanting to understand the history of the history I need to understand to analyze my project. A tendency I’m afraid is probably not unfamiliar to many of us. I’m going to try to pin down concrete things I need to delve into and focus on those rather than get so distracted.
November 13, 2012 § Leave a comment
For me, this class has been so helpful in discovering some many different resources. I wish I knew about all of these things 3 years ago! Would have been super helpful with all my papers. But I’m really looking forward to using them for my thesis. Though I’m not sure what I want to do exactly in the future, whether it be directly involved with academic historical research or perhaps research current foreign affairs and events, this will certainly all come in handy.
As for this week, I checked out a couple more books, including one called “We are Here:” New Approaches to Jewish Displaced Persons in Postwar Germany. I’m thinking about taking an intellectual history approach to the topic of the rebuilding of Jewish life in post-war Germany. There must have been intellectual arguments for and against it. But I will need to look further into it.
November 13, 2012 § Leave a comment
Some of the research I might see myself doing later on might include histories of sorts. Perhaps background checks or analysis of certain situations through a strategic or tactical lens. In the situations meriting this outlook, I hope to have the ability to draw on several historical examples for additional reference in solving the particular dilemma. In other words I hope, one day, I will be able to use historical research as a reference to solve an urgent problem or security threat. In a less serious sense, I feel that referencing history would help me life a more present life, full of less anxiety and distress over what the future may bring. I could also see myself accessing libraries just as a general interest. A month or two ago, I hadn’t used a library legitimately in my life.
November 13, 2012 § Leave a comment
I can’t believe the semester if almost over!
Unfortunately I was unable to make the appointment I had with Jason Miller of The College of Environmental Design Visual Resources Center (CED VRC)—its been hectic with end of the term papers, but I will definitely use him as a resource in the future. I did some more online newspaper research this week. The week we did microfilms I focused on learning how to use the machines and looked at the Santa Barbara News Press. Since my research is covering how Santa Barbara portrays itself as a “white” tourist city I thought it would be a good idea to look at coverage of the Santa Barbara Fiesta in other cities’ newspapers. I found quite a few interesting articles by using ProQuest: Historical Newspapers. I searched keyword “Santa Barbara and Fiesta” and found articles covering or announcing the festivities in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune primarily from the 1930’s to 1960’s. One of the most interesting articles was: Cass, Judith. “Chicagoans in Santa Barbara for Gay Fiesta.” Chicago Daily Tribune, August 12, 1938. Accessed November 11, 2012. The article highlighted some of the fiesta events and mentioned specific elite Chicagoans who were attending. This is a great primary for me because the language used to describe the fiesta is very nostalgic and demonstrates that it was a tourist attraction and what type of people attended.