Monday, February 11, 2013

What do you know about Orange County History?

Up until maybe two years ago, I knew very little about the history of Orange County, the place I'd spent most of my life.  I knew there used to be orange groves everywhere which had been replaced by houses and buildings.  I knew Richard Nixon was from here.  I knew some prominent names from my hometown that now had streets and buildings named after them: Chapman, Plummer, Amerige.  I knew that these names had to do with men who had something to do with the history of my community.  Up until a coupe years ago, my knowledge of the history of the place I lived was very limited, based on casual bits of information you pick up over the years.

But over the past couple years, I've been actively researching the history of this place, trying to fill in the massive gaps in my knowledge.  I've been diving into newspaper archives, academic articles, oral history interviews, and books like Postsuburban California: The Transformation of Orange County Since World War II, published by UC Press.  It's a collection of academic articles about how Orange County has changed and evolved in the past 60 or so years.

This book, while kind of dry and "academic", is filled with illuminations.  Today, in my Critical Thinking and Writing class, we discussed chapter 1, "The Emergence of Postsuburbia."  Here are some questions that this chapter prompted us to talk about.  Feel free to discuss with your friends:

1.) How did World War II contribute to the growth of Orange County?

2.) What does "postindustrial" mean?  How is Orange County a "postindustrial" area?

3.) Why is it important to study Orange County academically?

4.) How is Orange County distinct from traditional urban regions like Los Angeles and New York?  What are the consequences of the layout of the land on the people who live here?

5.) Discuss this quote: "Many of the more affluent neighborhoods are designed so that individual homes are walled off from the street…residents who walk through their neighborhoods may see some of their neighbors out doing yard work by day.  But such neighborhoods do not provide much support for casual interaction and thereby dilute the possible richness of public social life."

6.) What is "consumerism"?  How is it a "core cultural value" of Orange County?  Give examples.

7.) What is "information capitalism"?  Give an example.


1 comment:

  1. Thank you for sharing. I would love to own Orange County Real Estate. Everyone who lives in the OC should feel very lucky to call it home.

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