More Newspapers- Ala’ Khan

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.


Film & Special Collections- Ala’ Khan

November 6, 2012 § Leave a comment

I found a 23 min videocassette entitled “The American house: a guide to architectural styles”  in Media Resource Center.  The video is an overview of the wide range of architectural styles common to American houses and teaching viewers how to recognize the elements of these styles- including Spanish colonial revival architecture. Since the film is so short and only a small portion of it was relevant to my topic it would be more useful for me to find something like it on Islamic/ Moorish Architecture.


I decided to visit the Environmental Design Library for the first time this week.  I didn’t realize that there are 3 separate libraries in the College of Environmental Design (CED):

1. Environmental Design Library (ENVI)

2. The College of Environmental Design Archives (EDA)

3. The College of Environmental Design Visual Resources Center (CED VRC)

Unfortunately the EDA only contains primary source documents pertaining to architecture in Northern California, so I doubt I will find anything of use to me there.

I emailed and later met with the head of ENVI, David Eifler, and he gave me a ton of suggestions. I was overwhelmed with the prospect of researching a topic I know nearly nothing about so David gave me more reference books to look at to start me off.  I walked in planning to get 3 books and walked out with 9 (as usual).  Once I get a better grasp of what it is I am looking for I will meet with David again to look for primary sources- mostly city plans, photographs and maybe blue prints.  I mentioned the book that got me interested in the idea of Islamic Influences on Spanish architecture, Domes, Arches and Minarets: A History of Islamic-Inspired Buildings in America, and David said he would order it for the library.

I also emailed Jason Miller from CED VRC and have a meeting scheduled it him next week.  He suggested I bring in a list of specific buildings and architects I am interested in so he can help me see if they have any relevant resources.

It was exciting to be in a new library but I was honestly really overwhelmed. This was the first time I was seriously looking into this aspect of my proposed thesis and it will take a lot of back reading to understand the subject- for example using the appropriate terminology to describe architectural devices. 









Ala’ Khan- Visual Resouces

October 30, 2012 § Leave a comment

I was quite disappointed that I was unable to attend the class on visual resources last week as they will be integral to my research.  I will be analyzing the way in which Santa Barbara has portrayed itself through visual presentations of culture as Spanish/ European.  Considering the centrality of visual sources to my research I had already been looking at some and will continue to do so but I was unable to find anything new this week.  I am attaching some photographs from the 1956 Fiesta Pamphlet I shared from Bancroft.  I would like to see how the Fiesta has been represented over time so I will be comparing photographs overtime- some of which can be found on the “Old Spanish Days” website.

Since I will also be looking into colonial Spanish architecture I am including photographs I took of the SB Courthouse since it one of the primary building I will be looking at.  I would like to see if the Environmental Design library has older images I can look at otherwise I will be looking at local SB archives.ImageImageImageImage

I would also like to look into tourism materials, perhaps produced by the Chamber of Commerce, for more images used to promote the city as an ideal tourist destination.

Newspaper Findings- Ala’ Khan

October 16, 2012 § Leave a comment

This week I further developed my (new) research topic:

I am exploring the nostalgia for Spanish heritage in Santa Barbara, California that does not take into account the layers  Mexican/ indigenous heritage and Islamic/Moorish cultural influence.  I am looking at these levels of erasure and consequent “whitening”,  through cultural and the promotion of tourism, primarily architecture and the “Old Spanish Days” festivities.

In preparation for this week’s Bancroft presentations I put on hold a pamphlet for the Santa Barbara Fiesta from 1956. I thought it would be fun to look at the news papers from the same time: August 1956. I found several articles in the “Santa Barbara News-Press”directly related to the Fiesta. My most relative find was a front cover article about the women who won “Saint Barbara” and would preside over that years festivities as a representative of the patron saint of the city. The article included a picture and the story of the martyrdom of Saint Barbara- the same story that is read aloud during the fiesta till today.  One of my more curious finds was a reference to the Fiesta in a furniture advertisement.  The advertisement was for the Kinkade Furniture Co. and reads “Get Ready for Fiesta Brighten Up Meals Times with Colorful Chrome. I’m not quite sure how Chrome furniture has anything to do with Fiesta or why one would need to redecorate for the festivities (since they are all outdoors public events).  The only connection I can see is that the Fiesta is known for its bright colorful decorations and costumes.  The significance to took from the article was understanding that the Fiesta was in people’s consciousness enough to be used as an advertisement ploy.

It was a lot of fun scrolling through the newspaper reels but it was increasingly time consuming and I could see it getting really frustrating since it took me a while to find what I was looking for.

I was disappointed to realize the archive of Santa Barbara News-press only goes back to 1937 and that there are no collections of “The Gazette” Santa Barbara’s first newspapers started in the late 1800’s.


Ala’ Khan- Exploring Online Databases

September 26, 2012 § Leave a comment

Going over online databases last week in class was very helpful.  I usually have a hard time navigating the online resources- knowing where to look and how to narrow down my searches.  I was excited about the resources I found primarily using Melvyl (especially after going through the 8 secondary source books I got in Moffitt and Main Stacks and discovering only a few of them were relevant to my topic).  I was intrigued by, “The Jihad of 1831-1832: The Misunderstood Baptist Rebellion in Jamaica“.  Although I didn’t particularly like the article itself I was happy to find something on the subject, as I am interested in how West African Muslim slaves were motived by their religious beliefs to resist enslavement and preserve their religion.  I know this is a new field of interest for historians and there is very little material on this subject.  The most interesting article I fond was “Remembering Kojo: History, Music, and Gender in the January Sixth Celebration of the Jamaican Accompong Maroons” which is about the January Sixth celebration of the Maroons of Accompong’s victory over the British. Accompong is a Maroon community in the remote mountainous region of the Cockpit Country in Jamaica.  The article focused on the celebration of January Sixth, particularly around music and singing, which I found fascinating because I am most interested in social and cultural history.  The article did also tie the roots of the celebration to the modern day practices.  I had not previously considered taking my research beyond the 19th century.


Ala’ Khan- Catalogue

September 19, 2012 § 1 Comment

The number of sources that come up when I search for key terms is always astounding to me.  I am familiar with OskiCat but I have never used Melvyl (and this is my4th semester here!) before. I really like this search engine because it has helpful filters.  I really enjoy when I choose a few titles to pick up in main stacks and stumble on neighboring books that are also related to my subject- but the danger to me is that I find so many interesting titles that I often get sidetracked.  I need to learn to be more focused- hopefully once I sift though the books I picked up last week I will have a better idea which direction my research will take me.

I found a few authors who are the foremost authors on Maroon communities so I cam going to use them as a spring board.

The next for me will be to search for primary sources in the Bancroft.

Introduction and Research Question- Ala’ Khan

September 12, 2012 § Leave a comment

Greetings of Peace,

 My name is Ala’ Khan and I am a 5th year history major with an emphasis in Latin America.  I am a transfer to Cal and have felt from the onset of my time here that there is a severe lack of instruction or direction in terms of how to do research and how to utilize the vast amount of resources here on campus (it is astounding to me the number of papers I have managed to get through and -to do well on- despite the lack of guidance).  Next semester I will be writing my 101 thesis and would like to begin that process with confidence in my research skills and comfort navigating the library. 

I have a very wide range of interests and have always have trouble narrowing down a topic (probably one of the reasons I have been avoiding my thesis).  Although the majority of my course work has focused on Latin American History and US-Latin American relations I also have a keen interest in African American History. As of now my main topics of interest are:

  1. Maroon communities in the Caribbean, primarily Jamaica.  Maroon communities are groups of enslaves Africans who runaway and form clandestine communities often replicating the social systems of their homelands.  This is a broad topic and I am open to whichever direction my preliminary research may take me in
  2. The way in which West African Muslim slaves maintained their religious practices under enslavement.  This is a new topic of interest for historians interested in the period of the Atlantic Slave trade.   
  3. The establishment of Santa Barbara, California’s annual Fiesta celebration.  The “Fiesta” celebrates California’s Spanish colonial heritage while almost completely disregarding the history of the Mexican/mestizo and indigenous people of the region.  I would like to explore the origins of the celebration as rooted in the pro- Hispanic movement that arose in California after the Gold rush that romanticized, exaggerated and commercialized Spanish colonial history in the forms of arts, architecture and cultural celebration.  This is a new interest of mine what was inspired by my 103 seminar in which we are discussing the Spanish colonial history in North America. I am worried that I may not find enough resources on this narrow topic.

I have many other research interests (too many to innumerate) so these are the three I am most interested in pursuing at the moment.

I am excited to use the Bancroft for the first time!