HIST 202B STUDY QUESTIONS FOR ERIC AVILA’S BOOK, pages 1-70, 96-105.

General reading tips: When you start a chapter in the book, read the chapter intro and chapter conclusion first.  This will give you a general overview of the main argument and topics in the chapter.  When you take notes and read the body of each chapter, do not get bogged down in all the details.  If something seems relatively trivial, read it quickly and move on.  This will save time and let you linger longer on the more interesting passages.  To help you determine what is most important in the book, use these study questions as a guide.  For more tips on readings books in college, see my faculty website’s links page.

CHAPTER ONE
-Keep your focus on the line, “Culture, like war, is politics by other means” (p. 18).  How does this idea appear in the chapter, and throughout the book?

-How does Ronald Reagan appear in the various topics that Avila’s book will cover?

-How did “white flight” influence what Avila calls “the history of white racial formation”?

CHAPTER TWO
-What is the thesis of the chapter?  (Read the chapter intro and conclusion to find out.  Do this for all the chapters of the book too.)

-How did Los Angeles elites imagine the city as a “white spot” for the nation?

-Why were neighborhoods like Watts and Boyle Heights conducive to the Democratic Party’s New Deal coalition?

-What challenges did the New Deal order face in post-World War II Los Angeles?

-How did the HOLC and FHA undermine the New Deal order (even though both government agencies were themselves creations of the New Deal)?

-According to Avila, what is the significance of Lakewood?

-How did Orange County develop “a distinct political culture”?

-What is the significance of Ritchie Valens and the venues in which he played?

-How does the history of Bunker Hill illustrate broader themes in the chapter and book?


CHAPTER THREE (remember we are skipping the film noir pages of this chapter)
-How did the rise of Hollywood studios change the nature of early film-making?

-According to Avila, what is the significance of movies such as Them, War of the Worlds, and Invasion of the Saucer Men?

 -What film details and broader historical context does Avila provide to support his interpretation of these films?



HIST 202B STUDY QUESTIONS FOR ERIC AVILA’S BOOK, pages 106-242.

CHAPTER 4
-How did Disney modify the older Coney Island model when creating Disneyland?

-What does the “rage for order” phrase in the chapter title mean?

-What role did race play at Disneyland?  What specific attractions or features at Disneyland made the park a precursor to “the political culture of suburban whiteness”?  

-What did Disneyland mean to Teresa Hernandez?  How does her relationship with Disneyland relate to Avila’s idea on “popular culture’s capacity to incorporate diverse and often contradictory meanings” (xiii)?

CHAPTER 5
-How did Dodger Stadium represent a challenge to New Deal political culture?

-What different factors determined why government officials razed Chavez Ravine but never built the promised public housing?

-What was the significance of the Arechiga evictions to different groups in Southern California?

-What does Avila mean when he calls Dodger Stadium a “gender subsidy”?

CHAPTER 6
-What cultural values and economic interests motivated the critics of Southern California’s streetcar system?

-How did freeways increase the “racialization” of Southern California political culture?

-What were the ideological beliefs, values, or assumptions of the Division of Highways?

-What is the significance of Chief Tahachwee?

EPILOGUE
How did Proposition 13 reflect some of the political, cultural, and spatial changes that had taken place earlier in Southern California?