BUILDING SILICON VALLEY:
AN URBAN AND POLITICAL HISTORY
Wednesday 2:15-5:05 p.m.
Office Hours: Tuesday 2:30-4:30 and by appointment
This undergraduate research seminar explores the history of what might be the world’s ultimate post-industrial city: Silicon Valley, California. The readings, discussion, and research assignments explore not only the development of the high-tech capital but examine the region’s natural environment, the diversity of its workers and residents, and the other industries that have shaped its history. In this course, we will examine the region’s development from the age of European colonization to the rise of the Sunbelt and mass suburbs. We’ll see how it was influenced by immigration and workforce patterns, agriculture and extractive industry, the Cold War growth of the military, deindustrialization and globalization, and changing ideas about the design of cities. And we’ll explore how Silicon Valley was a model and influence for other places, exploring how this region influenced the development and design of high-tech regions nationally and globally.
Your required readings come from three sources.
First, BOOKS available at the Stanford Bookstore.
1. Stephen J. Pitti, The Devil in Silicon Valley: Northern California, Race, and Mexican Americans
2. Martin Kenney, ed., Understanding Silicon Valley: The Anatomy of an Entrepreneurial Region
3. David J. Kaplan, The Silicon Boys and their Valley of Dreams
4. AnnaLee Saxenian, Regional Advantage: Culture and Competition in Silicon Valley and Route 128
5. Richard Jones, David J. Neuman, and Paul V. Turner, Stanford University: The Campus Guide
Second, a COURSE READER of primary documents, articles, and book excerpts, also at the Bookstore.
Third, BOOKS ON TWO-HOUR RESERVE in Green Library. I have tried to keep as few of the required readings as possible in this category, but have done this in cases where excerpting certain books in the course reader would have made it significantly more expensive.
The required texts and a copy of the course reader are also on reserve at Green Library. You should arrive at class each week having read the materials listed for that date (e.g., come to class on April 9 having read the first part of Pitti as well as Pincetl, Anderson, Muir).
Each element is worth a certain number of points; the class grade will be based on how many points earned out of a possible 1000, e.g., grades in the A ranges require 900+ points, in the B ranges require 800+ points, etc.
Participation (400 points) that consists of:
Active engagement in class discussion, reflecting completion of assigned readings (250).
Co-leadership of discussion during one week of class (75).
One ten-minute presentation on the history of one of the places, individuals, or
companies listed as report topics (75).
Midterm Paper (200 points) of 6-8 pages. You may sign up to turn this paper in anytime
between April 30 and May 14.
Final Research Project (400 points), due exam week, that consists of:
A research proposal of 1-2 pages (50).
A 10-15 page research paper (350).
A one-time BONUS credit (up to 75 points) may be earned through a 2-3 page book review,
accompanied by an informal in-class presentation, of one of the texts listed as additional
Details of each assignment can be found at the end of this syllabus.
The success of this seminar depends on you. Your preparation, active participation, and intellectual engagement with this material and with your fellow students is what will make these hours worthwhile for all of us. Attendance is mandatory, and your participation grade will suffer if you are not in class every week. Please contact me immediately about anticipated conflicts. In addition, I do not give extensions. The course has been designed to give you some flexibility in choosing when to turn in written assignments, and to help you avoid facing simultaneous deadlines in multiple classes. I expect you to manage your workload in a way that will allow you to submit all assignments on time.
4/2 Introduction and Overview
Langdon Winner, “Silicon Valley Mystery House” (in-class handout)
4/9 “Natural” Spaces, Natural Resources, and Early Industrial Landscapes
BOOK: Pitti, Prologue, Chapters 1, 2 & 3 (pp. 1-77)
RESERVE: Stephanie S. Pincetl, “The Formative Years” in Transforming California:
A Political History of Land Use and Development, pp. 1-24
READER: Anderson et al., “A World of Balance and Plenty”
John Muir, “The Treasures of the Yosemite”
Report topics: Ishi; Searsville Lake; Mayfield
Steven Stoll, The Fruits of Natural Advantage: Making the Industrial Countryside
Dorothy Regnery, The History of Jasper Ridge: From Searsville Pioneers to
4/16 Repudiating the Industrial City: The Design of Stanford
BOOK: Stanford: The Campus Guide, pp. 2-7, 20-53
RESERVE: Philip J. Ethington, “Progressivism as the Politics of Needs” in The Public
City: The Political Construction of Urban Life in San Francisco,
1850-1900, pp. 345-407
READER: Frederick Law Olmsted, “San Francisco 1866: A City in Search of
Roberto Lint Sagarena, “Building California’s Past: Mission Revival
Architecture and Regional Identity”
Report topics: The Big Four; David Starr Jordan; University Park
Gray Brechin, Imperial San Francisco: Earthly Power, Unearthly Ruin
Paul Turner, The Founders & the Architects: The Design of Stanford University
Katherine Ames Taylor, The Romance of Stanford
4/23 Prewar Technology, Wartime Industry
BOOK: Kenney, pp. 15-47 (Sturgeon, “How Silicon Valley Came to Be”)
Pitti, Chapter 5 (pp. 102-127)
READER: Richard Walker, “Industry Builds the City: The Suburbanization of
Manufacturing in the San Francisco Bay Area, 1850-1940”
Marilynn Johnson, “The Second Gold Rush”
Report topics: Philo Farnsworth; U.S. Office of Scientific Research and
Development; Rosie the Riveter
Roger Lotchin, Fortress California: From Warfare to Welfare, 1910-1961
Hugh Aitken, The Continuous Wave: Technology and American Radio, 1900-
4/30 Suburbia Comes to the Peninsula
SUBMITTAL PERIOD BEGINS FOR MIDTERM PAPER
BOOK: Pitti, Chapter 6 (pp. 128-147)
RESERVE: Kenneth T. Jackson, “The Baby Boom and the Age of the Subdivision”
and “The Drive-In Culture of Contemporary America” in
Crabgrass Frontier: The Suburbanization of the United States
(New York: Oxford University Press, 1985), pp. 231-271.
Brett Harvey, “Living the Dream” in The Fifties: A Women’s Oral History
(New York: HarperCollins, 1993), pp. 109-127
READER: Adamson, “California Modernism and the Eichler Homes”
Belser, “The Making of Slurban America”
Report topics: Doelger homes; Interstate Highway Act of 1956; Sunset magazine
Scott Donaldson, The Suburban Myth
Kirse Granat May, Golden State, Golden Youth: The California Image in Popular
5/7 The Cold War and the High-Tech Suburb
BOOK: Kenney, pp. 48-67 (Leslie, “The Biggest Angel of them All”)
Kaplan, Prologue, Chapters 1, 2, 3 (pp. 1-77)
RESERVE: John M. Findlay, “The Stanford Industrial Park: Downtown for Silicon
Valley” in Magic Lands: Western Cityscapes and American
Culture after 1940, (Berkeley: University of California Press,
READER: Bylinsky, “California’s Great Breeding Ground for Industry”
Report topics: civil defense; Trafford Park [England]; Research Triangle Park
Clark Kerr, The Uses of the University
Rebecca Lowen, Creating the Cold War University: The Transformation of
Michael Luger and Harvey Goldstein, Technology in the Garden: Research Parks
in Regional Economic Development.
5/14 Local Politics, from the Stanford Hills to San Jose
SUBMITTAL PERIOD ENDS FOR MIDTERM PAPER
BOOK: Pitti, Chapter 7 (pp.148-172)
Stanford: The Campus Guide, pp. 80-101
RESERVE: Stephanie S. Pincetl, “The Problems and Politics of Growth” in
Transforming California: A Political History of Land Use and
Development, pp. 132-185
READER: Stanford Lands Study, 1968
HANDOUT: Documents re. 1960 referendum on Stanford Industrial Park expansion
Report topics: National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA); California Coastal Initiative;
United Farm Workers
Paul Sutter, Driven Wild: How the Fight Against Automobiles Launched the
Modern Wilderness Movement
Harold Gillam, Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Bay
5/21 Techies in Ferraris: Workforce, Culture, and Wealth
BOOK: Kaplan, Chapters 4-7 (pp. 79-216)
Saxenian, Chapters 2 and 3 (pp. 29-82)
Kenney, pp. 98-140 (Kenney and Florida, “Venture Capital,” and Angel,
Report topics: Stanford Research Institute/SRI International; Cabot, Cabot, & Forbes
[Boston real estate developers]; Xerox PARC
Glenna Matthews, Silicon Valley, Women, and the California Dream: Gender,
Class, and Opportunity in the Twentieth Century
Michael Malone, The Big Score: The Billion-Dollar Story of Silicon Valley
Michael Riordan, Crystal Fire: The Birth of the Information Age
5/28 Globalization and Immigration
VIDEO PRESENTATION (first hour of class): “Secrets of Silicon Valley”
BOOK: Pitti, Chapter 8 and Epilogue (pp. 173-201)
Saxenian, Chapter 4-6 (pp. 83-159)
READER: Saxenian, “Networks of Immigrant Entrepreneurs”
Report topics: Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965; H1-B visas; Bangalore
Saskia Sassen, Cities in a World Economy
Manuel Castells, The Rise of the Network Society
6/4 Digital City?
BOOK: Kaplan, Chapters 8-10, Epilogue (pp. 217-331)
Kenney, pp. 190-240 (Cohen and Fields, “Social Capital and Social
Gains,” and Kenney and von Burg, “Institutions and Economies”)
Stanford: The Campus Guide, pp. 140-159
Report topics: Mission Bay [San Francisco]; New Urbanism; New York State
Joel Garreau, Edge City: Life on the New Frontier
Richard Florida, The Rise of the Creative Class
Jeremy Greenwood, The Third Industrial Revolution: Technology, Productivity,
and Income Inequality
6/10 FINAL PAPER DUE IN INSTRUCTOR’S OFFICE BY 3:00 P.M.
DESCRIPTION OF ASSIGNMENTS
Facilitation of Class Discussion (75 points)
At our second meeting, you will sign up to co-lead class discussion one week during the quarter with one other classmate. You and your partner will be responsible for developing questions on the week’s readings and helping the instructor lead discussion during class. You may prepare handouts or visual aids if you wish, but not electronic presentations such as PowerPoint and overheads (we do not have the technology in this room, nor do I want to you spend your time and energy on elaborate presentations). Creativity encouraged, as long as your facilitation plan will ensure substantive discussion of the readings. Discussion questions and a plan for seminar facilitation should be emailed to the instructor no later than 2:00 p.m. on the Tuesday before the class meeting.
Presentation on a Report Topic (75 points)
You also will sign up for this assignment at our second class meeting. The report should be a substantive and succinct oral presentation lasting no more than ten minutes. It should tell your classmates the history of the person/place/thing, and should contextualize the topic within the issues and themes discussed in the class readings. You may prepare brief handouts or visual aids for your classmates if you feel they will add to your presentation, but they are not required. Again, please do not prepare electronic presentations. The report topic you choose should be presented during the week it is listed on the syllabus, and you should not be a discussion leader the same week you do your oral report.
Midterm Paper (200 points)
The midterm paper should be 6-8 pages long, and must be on one of the two topics below. You may choose to turn the paper any time during a three-week period at the middle of the quarter. However, you must choose the date (April 30, May 7, May 14) you will turn in the paper in advance; a sign-up will be passed around at the second class session
TOPIC #1: ARCHITECTURE AS HISTORY
Use a Stanford campus building or landscape design as a primary text from which to launch an analytical discussion of the history of the Santa Clara/Silicon Valley. Choose one of the buildings or landscape designs discussed in Stanford University: The Campus Guide. Describe the building/landscape and its purpose. Discuss the symbols and cultural messages that its builders (and rebuilders) are trying to communicate through its design. Analyze how the space reflects the social, political, and economic history of this region, and the aspirations and cultural assumptions of the individuals who built it. Assess this element of our campus both as a historical artifact (something that tells us about the time in which it was built) and as an interpretation of history (a “text” through which individuals or institutions express a particular view of the past). Who and what do these designs represent? Who and what do these designs leave out? Relate this discussion to the larger themes discussed in class, and bring in other assigned readings to support your argument.
TOPIC #2: CITY VS. COUNTRY, 1850-1950
“It is without doubt that…the population of the pueblo will grow, and the space which separates it from [Mission] Santa Clara will be filled with houses, the location being extremely favorable for the establishment of a great city.”
Eugene Duflot de Mofras, Exploration de l’Oregon, des Californes, et de la Mer Vermeille (1844)
“It would be no small advantage if every college were...located at the base of a mountain.”
Henry David Thoreau, A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers (1849)
Leland and Jane Stanford founded this university not in the bustling city of San Francisco, but on the land that had been their rural retreat. Yet this valley was as much a site of industrial production as the city that the Stanfords left behind, a center for agriculture and mining. Was this place a city or was it a suburb? Was it an industrial or a “natural” landscape? Use the two above quotes to launch a discussion of land use and land development in this area between 1850 and 1950 that addresses the question of what makes a place urban, suburban, or rural. Explore how different actors and groups reacted to urban places during this period, discuss how natural resources and natural resources shaped attitudes about land use, and examine the contradictions between cultural assumptions and economic realities. Your secondary sources for this paper should be the class readings and at least two other scholarly books.
Final Research Project (400 points)
Your final assignment for this class is a 10-15 page research paper (worth 350 points) that uses primary sources and scholarly secondary sources to explore the history of an individual, group, or institution that you believe has been an important “builder of Silicon Valley” at some point during the past 150 years. Use your sources to delve further into the story of a “builder” discussed in class readings, or to explore the history of a subject not extensively addressed in class. The research paper must incorporate primary and secondary material that goes beyond the assigned reading for the class, but it also must reflect the major themes and issues we have discussed over the quarter. You may cite class reading as extensively as you wish, but you should draw your information from other sources as well.
Your subject could be a person, an ethnicity/race/class/gender, a private institution or institutions, a non-profit organization or organizations, a social movement, a public-sector entity, a corporation or group of corporations. The subject could have literally been a “builder” (whose actions had physical, infrastructural, architectural ramifications) or a figurative one (shaping the region socially, demographically, culturally). Questions to ask in choosing your subject, and to answer in writing your paper, should include: How did this builder shape the physical landscape of this region? How did it affect the social and cultural landscape? Why was it politically, economically or culturally powerful? If it wasn’t powerful, why not? How did it create power structures, or challenge them? How did it prompt change? How did it relate to its contemporaries? How is this builder representative of larger historical trends that extend beyond this region? How was it influential beyond the borders of Silicon Valley? If this is a builder who dominated during a limited time period, how does it relate to other builders who preceded and followed?
Three weeks prior to the due date for this paper, you must turn in a 1-2 page research proposal that identifies your subject, briefly explains why you chose it as a builder of Silicon Valley, and indicates the primary source material you will draw upon in telling its story. The proposal is worth 50 points.
Book Review (possible bonus of up to 75 points)
This is a 2-3 page review of one of the texts listed as additional reading above. You will be asked to write a narrative analysis (not a summary) of the text, and give a very short (5 minute) presentation of your review in class. I also will post reviews on the class web site as a resource for your classmates. Book reviews should tell us:
* a brief but thoughtful summary of the text’s main argument(s);
* a general description of the contents of the book; and
* your evaluation of the usefulness of the book and its relation to the other readings assigned and themes discussed in this class.
The review does not need to be an exhaustive summary of everything in the text, but a brief critical document that conveys main themes and contextualizes the book within the literature. A useful on-line guide is http://library.usask.ca/ref/howto/book_review_write.html. If you would like to do a review for bonus credit, you must e-mail me in advance to let me know the text you would like to read and review (so that more than one person does not do a certain book). For topical consistency, you must present the review on the day that it is listed as “additional reading.”