• CSUN History Department

Fall 2015 Graduate Course Descriptions

May 19, 2015


Below you will find descriptions for the graduate courses which we are offering in Fall semester. All graduate classes are restricted and you must contact the instructor for admission to the course and a permission number. 


It is important to meet regularly (once a semester) with the graduate coordinator to discuss your program and to make sure that you are taking a mix of courses that will lead to graduation.  You can make an appointment with Dr. Oliver by calling the History department office (818) 677-3566. 

History 596H:  Medieval and Early Modern England, 1066-1688  W 1600-1845  SH288   Dr. Clementine Oliver 

This course examines a turbulent and exciting period in English history.  From the Norman Conquest to the Hundred Years’ War, from the deposition of kings to the emergence of parliament as a significant political institution, from the Black Death to the Wars of the Roses, from the emergence of the vernacular to Chaucer’s pilgrims to William Shakespeare, from heretics to Puritans — these centuries have it all. Primary source readings are at the heart of this course, supplemented by recent secondary works on select topics. 

HIST 674:  Westlake/MacArthur Park – Discovering a Community’s History to Define its Future   M 1600-1845    SH 266  Professor Susan Fitzpatrick-Behrens  

In Fall 2015, CSUN undergraduate and graduate students from department of history will team up with high school students from Heart of Los Angeles (HOLA), an innovative arts and education program in downtown Los Angeles, to develop a community history of Westlake/MacArthur Park.

Since its foundation, Westlake/MacArthur Park has played an understudied role in the development of arts, culture, social movements, and commerce in Los Angeles. Founded in the 1880s, Westlake was known as the Central Park of Los Angeles.  Its lovely lake surrounded by walkways, palm trees, and grassy knolls offered a welcome respite from the city. Angelinos passed afternoons gliding across the lake on paddleboats, lounging by the lake’s shores, or playing chess on picnic tables surrounding it. 

The area was later transformed by proliferation of art institutions and vast demographic changes. The Choinard Art Institute, Otis School of Art and Design, the Art Center School, and the Denishawn School of Dance all trace their origins to the community, which also gave rise to centers for Labor, Housing, and Immigrant Rights, including CARECEN, the UCLA Labor Center, SALEF, and Cliníca Romero.  Residents built thriving commercial enterprises that frame the periphery of the park and radiate outward to Pico-Union and downtown.  Family-owned enterprises reflect the diversity of the population; they include a plethora of small businesses, a bustling informal sector, and an energetic religious marketplace. As the density and diversity of Westlake/MacArthur Park’s population increased, residents organized around new challenges.  The Park became a site for large-scale protests against police brutality, US involvement in Vietnam and Central America, and for immigrant rights, making it a visible manifestation of political and social transformations defining the country, the city, and the Americas.

Like many ethnically diverse communities in Los Angeles, Westlake/MacArthur Park is experiencing redevelopment/gentrification.  In 1993, the Red Line opened a station at the edge of the park, which contributed to an efflorescence of interest in the community’s economic potential.  The owners of the Roosevelt Hotel recently bought the Plaza Hotel (formerly the Elks Lodge) promising to restore and re-open it.  Hollywood personalities are reported to have purchased architecturally important buildings.  These developments may offer promise, as Urban Studies Specialist Gerardo Sandoval suggested in one of the few published studies of the community.  Yet, they also threaten immigrant and elderly community members with physical displacement and with losing the opportunity to define their community and its history.

This course seeks to provide that opportunity by inviting students and community members to work collaboratively to develop inclusive community histories of Westlake/MacArthur Park.  Developing a strong sense of the community’s history and acting as agents in creating it may catalyze HOLA students, CSUN students and community members to become agents in current debates about development in Los Angeles and to define the direction that development takes in their community.