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Week Fourteen: The Post-World War II West

Page history last edited by mwitgen@... 9 years, 9 months ago



December 2: Okie immigration and plain folks populism









  • Watch the following videos:


Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys, Take me Back to Tulsa 


Merle Haggard, Okie from Muskogee 


Study Questions 


1. Taking into account Jim Gregory's article how would you interpret the performances of of Bob Wills and Merle Haggard as evidence of the evolution of Okie social status in California?  How would you relate these songs to the stories told by John Ford in Grapes of Wrath or the songs of Woody Guthrie in the film Columbia?


2. According to Gregory what was the cultural and political impact of Okie migration in California?  What are the ideological dimensions of Okie cultural production?  (use the performances by Wills and Haggard and or search other artist performances cited by the Gregory article)


3. According to Gregory what did Steinbeck get wrong in his interpretation of the Okie experience in California?


4. How would you compare the Bracero program to the experience of Japanese or Chinese immigrants in the west?


5. How have economic outcomes for Okie immigrants compared to the economic outcomes of Latino and Asian immigrants in the mid to late 20th century?


6. What was the relationship between the Bracero program and the UFW and how was this relationship significant to the strike and grape boycotts of the mid 1960s?


7. Watch the two films produced by unions, what types of imagery and narratives do they use to gain support for their cause? How do the experiences of the Braceros, Mexican-American farm workers, and the Oakies in John Ford's Grape's of Wrath differ and how were their experiences similar?


8. How do you explain the simultaneous success of Chavez and La Causa and the landslide victory of Ronald Reagan in his race for Governor of California in 1966? 




December 4: The Urban West







Study Questions 


1. Compare the articles from The Black Panther to material from our last class, such as Reagan's speech and "Okie from Muskogee," what are some of the key political, economic, and social issues in the 1960s and early 1970s? What stance did the Black Panthers take on some of these issues? 


2. Consider the imagery used in The Black Panther and the articles that speak directly to gender. What place do women have in this organization? What role does masculinity play? What type of masculinity is on display in this newspaper? How might this compare to other types of masculinity we have discussed throughout this class (for example, the type of masculinity encouraged by Okie culture)? 


3. Look at the Los Angeles Times articles for different perspectives on the violence in California during the 1960s. Who would the Peace and Freedom Party appeal to? In comparison, who would Reagan and his politics appeal to and why?


4. Can you interpret Richard Nixon's speech on the philosophy of government as a reaction against movements like the black power movement in Oakland? Who does Nixon refer to when he mentions "the silent Majority"?



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