Catherine Breen: Belated Introduction

February 21, 2013 § Leave a comment

Hi there research workshop,

My name’s Catherine Breen, and this spring marks my final semester as an undergraduate at UC Berkeley. I’m an English major looking to work and (eventually) apply to grad schools abroad, so my research topic will most likely center around the European Union. Since I’m planning to study in England, interest in British political policy will be practical as I begin developing conceptual questions for this workshop’s focus. 

This semester I’m taking classes outside of the English department for general interest, which has made me realize how difficult it’s really going to be once I have to bid my final farewell to Berkeley this May. There is so much that this campus has to offer to a point at which the material is truly overwhelming. After researching Decals, I decided that this workshop would be the most effective in helping me take full advantage of campus resources for the remaining months at Berkeley.


After having lived (and studied) my entire life within the San Francisco Bay Area, I’m looking forward to breaking out of California after graduation to experience the world outside of the Unite States. If grad school pans out, I’ll be taking on research projects in Britain. Since I hope to study internationally, I currently live at International House. It’s a great place to be, but sometimes it’s difficult to break out of the bubble to explore the rest of campus. 

Looking forward to constructing a topic, and I anticipate a great semester working with everyone in the Decal!

~ Catherine 


Ariana: An Introduction

February 20, 2013 § 1 Comment

Hello Classmates,

I am a Junior transfer from CCSF (a very AMAZING place!) This is my second semester here at UC Berkeley (so I’m kinda like a freshmen, just with a lot more units and a better registration date). I am a History major and a Legal Studies major (very cool since they are super similar, well at least to me).

I am currently taking a 103 seminar. I am taking this decal course to prepare me for the research that I will have to conduct for that class. I would like to know what research resources this university has to offer (seems like every month I learn of a new Berkeley library). I don’t know what my research topic will be about, but it will probably end up being about the United States in the 19th or 20th century and it will probably have something to do with laws.

I’m from San Francisco, but currently I live in the dorms (Martinez Commons). Yes the dorm life! Difficult to get studying done, but hey we get a meal plan. My current obsession is updating my dorm to become a multi-colored haven (aka lots of lights) that sync in with the music (still trying to install some connectors). I like dogs (wish I had one) and cats (I’ll wait many years for one) and any other cute animal.  I like finding out random historical and legal facts.

I look forward to having a very awesome research-filled semester with all of you.



Happy early Valentines Day! ❤


PS I hope this post went in the right place… if not then Enjoy!

Dominic LiMandri: Intro and Topic

February 15, 2013 § 2 Comments

Hello, my name is Dominic LiMandri and I’m a third year majoring in history and geography.
I am interested in studying the varying effects of Military Keynesianism on the built environment of the East Bay in the past 50 years, more specifically the enduring legacy of this phenomenon after the relative structures have been either abandoned or reconstituted for various other purposes.
To find out how these structures adapted to the massive military demobilization and federal disinvestment of areas like Richmond and Oakland.
In order to help the reader better understand the role of military investment had in the structuring of particular aspects of the contemporary built environment, as well as being able to better interpret the symptoms of the broader fluctuating scale of capital circulation as represented within such enduring cultural landscapes.
In regards to relative keywords, exclusive terms and phrases such as “Military Keynesianism”, “Oakland/ Richmond military investment”, “Kaiser shipyards”, and “Port of Oakland” have all proven to be instrumental in narrowing my search results on both Melvyl and OskiCat. More general terms such as “World War II”, “Oakland”, “Richmond”, “military investment”, and “demobilization” have also aided my search tremendously. Overall, both sets of terms and phrases have produced an abundance of information that I look forward to dissecting and utilizing for my future projects.
A particular source that I have used in the past and have decided to take advantage of once more is Robert O. Self’s American Babylon: Race and Struggle for Postwar Oakland. The book analyzes the genealogy of decentralization and suburbanization of the East Bay Area following the demobilization of the area’s major industrial sectors, as well as meticulously detailing the various political activist movements that have distinguished Oakland as a cultural hearth of African-American politics on the West Coast. This is a source I had found on OskiCat last semester for another research paper located in the Environmental Design library and is a book that I couldn’t resist falling back into. I look forward to reading it again with a renewed approach to analyzing the significance that deindustrialization has on working-class communities.

Benjamin Remington: Intro

February 12, 2013 § Leave a comment

Hello fellow scholars,

I’m a 4th year Urban Studies major with a minor is Sustainable Design.  I’ll be in three different classes with a large research component this semester, so I’m really looking forward to exploring and utilizing the overabundance of resources available here at Cal.

I’m a pet lover, vegetarian, quirky-car enthusiast, audiophile, thrift shopper, former pastry chef, former massage therapist, former marketing manager, current broke Berkeley undergrad.  I’m at my happiest when traveling, whether driving a rickety van across the Australian outback, hostel-hopping across Europe, or taking the bullet train from Tokyo to Osaka.  At home, when I’m not frantically trying to get through my massive piles of assigned readings, you’d usually find me drinking wine and listening to old Brian Eno records on one of my ridiculously oversized hi-fi systems, and shopping for my latest strange ebay obsession.  (The last one was pre-LED digital alarm clocks.  WTF, right?)

I’m also a proud new father to a ridiculously adorable baby boy named Miles, (born February 1st) and I’ll be raising him in a made-for-TV modern family with my partner Chris, and our good friend Suzy.  So… when you see the bleary red-rimmed eyes this semester you’ll know why.


Yup. He’s still cute at 4 AM.

My research interests are pretty broad, but I tend to latch onto anything involving cultural landscapes and the myriad ways that identity and culture are made manifest in our daily environments.  I’ve always been more of a watcher and thinker than a doer and talker, (I like to think it lets me learn from other people’s mistakes, but oftentimes it’s not exactly proactive.) so researching and observing the physical details of urban life keeps me endlessly fascinated.

This semester I’ll likely be looking at: the ways that Asian-American immigrants altered the landscape of the Bay Area through agricultural practices and food ways; the private shuttles of Silicon Valley firms and their effect on transit, traffic congestion, and property values; and maaaybe trying to delve into shale oil and natural gas exploration in northeastern Utah and its effects on air quality and health.  The last one may be a bit of stretch, so we’ll have to see how good I get at finding obscure research data from this class.

I’m really excited to see what everyone’s getting into this semester.  I’ve already noticed a few of you guys looking into some pretty interesting stuff that I’d love to chat about.



Gabriel: The Introduction

February 11, 2013 § Leave a comment

Hello Comrades,

Looking forward to having a wonderful semester with all of you.
I’m looking forward to utilizing the library’s to their full capacity, to become better prepared for my Thesis in Spring 14. I’m very in researching World War 2 history and Vietnam especially on Latino Medal of Honor recipients or possibly focusing this semester on Soviet History during World War 2.
But for my thesis I want to focus on U.S. Diplomatic History in the Middle East, especially in the Palestine and Israeli conflict. I would like to focus on 21st century foreign policy doctrines, and the arab spring. But I’m looking forward to diving into the Berkeley library’s and learning skills that will give us all success here at CAL.


Go For Broke, Sincerely,

Nicholas Franks: Introduction

February 11, 2013 § Leave a comment

Hello everyone! My name is Nick. I am a 4th year History major. I am currently in the process of creating a thesis. I am hoping this class will keep me on track and provide me with some tools to make my research well rounded. I have taken all of my upper divisions dealing with US History. Almost all of them have dealt with western expansion.

My research will be focusing on food trucks and taco trucks right now. I want to know about the traditional ones as well as the gourmet ones. Who runs and operates both types? Is there any conflict over areas for serving food? How did the current phenomena of gourmet trucks build off of traditional taco or food trucks? What problems do both face today?

I hope to have a great semester with everyone here.

Lexie Ryan: an introduction

February 11, 2013 § Leave a comment

Hey everyone, my name is Lexie and I’m a third year history major and am also pursuing a German minor (not sure how that will end up, though), and I enthusiastically love chocolate, London, cats, and running. I tend to get really really excited about every history class I take, and thus I have a very hard time narrowing down an interest for a potential 101 thesis. I recently got back from an eight month epic tour of western Europe, an experience that is currently exerting the most pressure on my potential thesis topics.

I seem to be leaning toward two options for further research: sport rivalries in Europe during the Cold War, like the Olympics or football matches, or architectural representations of imperialism in the capital cities of Europe, specifically London’s Trafalgar Square. This semester I will have the chance to research both of these topics, as I will be writing a research paper for a history class on British Modernity, as well as giving a report on any topic I desire in German history. I hope that I don’t stumble across something else that I immediately fall in love with, but I realize that is a possibility, especially in a class that is centered around research.

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