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HIS 03 — Golden Gate Metropolis, Part II: A History of San Francisco, 1915–Present

Quarter: Summer
Day(s): Tuesdays
Course Format: On-campus course
Duration: 6 weeks
Date(s): Jul 11—Aug 15
Time: 7:00—8:50 pm
Drop Deadline: Jul 24
Unit: 1
Tuition: $285
Instructor(s): Bruce Thompson, Eryn Brennan
On-campus course
7:00—8:50 pm
Jul 11—Aug 15
6 weeks
Drop By
Jul 24
1 Unit
Bruce Thompson, Eryn Brennan
At the beginning of the 20th century, San Francisco suffered the greatest urban catastrophe in American history. Because of the devastating 1906 earthquake, it lost to Los Angeles the economic and demographic primacy it had enjoyed during its first half-century. But the city demonstrated a remarkable capacity to reinvent itself: During the 1920s, it became the birthplace of hard-boiled detective fiction, pioneered by Dashiell Hammett, while its architecture was enlivened by one of the great styles of the century, Art Deco. A decade later, the city produced, within four years, two of the greatest engineering achievements in American history: the iconic Golden Gate Bridge and its less glamorous cousin, the Bay Bridge.

During World War II, the city experienced its most dramatic demographic and economic transformations since the Gold Rush era. The postwar period saw the beginning of deindustrialization and the first version of a bohemian movement that would flower into the counterculture of the 1960s, so that certain San Francisco neighborhoods—the Haight and the Castro—would acquire national reputations, their radical innovations radiating across the country and beyond. With its industrial base irretrievably gone, the city managed to reinvent itself once again as one of America’s centers of post-industrial innovation in commerce, culture, and high technology—a transformation reflected in its changing skyline (and rising rents). This survey of the city’s recent history will encompass a century of vertiginously rapid social change and cultural effervescence.

This is the second in a sequence of two courses on the history of San Francisco. While these courses build upon one another, each course can be taken independently as well.

Bruce Thompson, Lecturer in History, UC Santa Cruz

Bruce Thompson received a PhD in history and humanities from Stanford. His research and teaching interests include European and American intellectual and cultural history, Jewish history and literature, the history of espionage and intelligence, and environmental history. He received the first John Dizikes Teaching Award in Humanities from UC Santa Cruz in 2002.

Eryn Brennan, Senior Managing Associate, Environmental Science Associates

Eryn Brennan has been a practicing architectural historian and urban planner for over ten years in both the public and private sectors. She works predominantly on large development projects in San Francisco, and evaluates historic resources throughout the Bay Area. She has also served as adjunct faculty in the Department of Urban and Environmental Planning at the University of Virginia and is the author of Charlottesville (Images of America). She received MAs in architectural history and in urban and environmental planning from the University of Virginia.

Textbooks for this course:

(Required) Chandler, Gael, Chronicles of Old San Francisco (ISBN 978-0-9846334-9-4)
(Required) Starr, Kevin, Golden Gate: The Live and Times of America's Greatest Bridge, Reprint Edition (ISBN 1608193993)
(Required) David Talbot, Season of the Witch (ISBN 1439108242)