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James C. Williams

History Department

James Williams is a native Californian and emeritus professor at De Anza College.  He is no longer teaching courses but is still active in historical scholarship: research, writing, and some consulting.  His latest publications include the online essay “History of Energy,” Scientists and the Franklin Institute: Making Their Cases (2006); and “The American Industrial Revolution,” in A Companion to American Technology, ed. Carroll Pursell (New York: Blackwell Publishers, 2005), pp. 31-51; later this year is essay “Understanding the Place of Humans in Nature” will appear in 2009 as the lead chapter in Illusory Boundary: Technology and the Environment (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press).  He can be found cruising the Bahamas or Chesapeake Bay on his sailboat Alizée, a Cabo Rico 36 (2001) and occasionally sailing San Francisco Bay on Dog Days, his Islander Bahama 28 (1981).  He still plays jazz piano, each year with his group Article 19, and wherever else he can pick up with a group.  

Home page index:

     A note on history

     Curriculum Vitae:
           Education
           Teaching and Related Experience
           Honors
           Professional Activities
           Publications
           Technical Reports and Exhibitions

A note on history: Those of us who are fortunate to live long enough inevitably discover that we do not own the world in which we live.  We face our own mortality and realize that we are but runners in a relay race who happen for a little while to be carrying the baton.  We discover that the values embraced by our parents, grandparents, and generations before them endure in us even as the material world changes.  If we have gotten this far, even though the world sometimes seems to change at light-speed, we understand that life is evolutionary much more than it is revolutionary; we know the past is at least as important a part of the here and now as is the future.  Some of us reach this stage understanding early in our chronological lives; others take longer.  But for all of us, it is this understanding that will make studying history a fascinating undertaking. Are you ready?

Curriculum Vitae:

Education:

   Ph.D., University of California at Santa Barbara, 1984

   M.A., San Jose State University, 1971

   B.A., University of Oregon, 1964

   Intensive language studies: Inlingua, Santander, Spain,
1990; Proyecto Linguistico Francisco Marroquin, Antigua, Guatemala, 1989
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Teaching and Related Experience:

   De Anza College, Emeritus Professor, 2004 to present

   De Anza College, Professor, 1993 to 2004

   California History Center Foundation, Executive Director, 1985-1993

   Gavilan College, Professor, 1971-1985

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Honors

   Vice President, International Committee for the History
of Technology (2001-present)
   Who's Who Among America's Teachers, 8th ed. (2003-2004) and 9th ed. (2004-2005).
 
   Contemporary Who's Who, 2003.
 
   Honored by the California Council for the Promotion of History,
            which names its annual distinguished service award the
            “James C. Williams Award” (1999 and on-going).
 
   American Association for State and Local History
Certificate of Commendation for the book Energy and the Making of Modern California, September 1998
   California Council for the Promotion of History,
Distinguished Service Award, September 1994
   California Historical Society Award of Merit for
Interpretation, 1989,  for “By the Sweat of Thy Brow: The Story of Labor in Santa Clara County,” an exhibit at the California History Center
   California Council for the Promotion of History, Award of
Distinction, October 1985
   Sourisseau Academy Local History Award for general
contributions to a better understanding of local and state history.  Granted by the Sourisseau Academy, San Jose State University, May 1984
   Phi Alpha Theta, Gamma-Iota Chapter, University of
             California, Santa Barbara, 1977.

   Rockefeller Fellow, Public Historical Studies Graduate

Program, University of California, Santa Barbara, 1976-1977
   National Endowment for the Humanities Summer
Studies Fellowship, in “Technology, Society and Values in the Twentieth Century,” University of California, Los Angeles, 1973
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Professional Activities:

   Registered Professional Historian (#518), California
Council for the Promotion of History.
   Co-Founder and Co-Chair of Envirotech, the Technology
             and Environment Special Interest Group of the Society
             of the History of Technology and the American
             Society of Environmental History (2000-2004).
 
   International Committee for the History of Technology:
Executive Committee Member (1998-2001),
   Society for the History of Technology: Treasurer
(1992-2000)
   American Society for Environmental History: Sites
Committee Chairperson (1999-2000)
   California Council for the Promotion of History: State
Chairperson (1982-1985, Executive Secretary (1985-1994), Board Member (1982-1988, 1995-1997)
   California Historical Society: Member of the Board
of Trustees (1989-1992)
   California History Center Foundation: Executive Director
(1985-1993); Board Member (1985-1993 and 2000-present)
   California Studies Association: Steering Committee
Member (1990-1992)
   Heritage Council of Santa Clara County: Founding
Member of the Steering Committee (1989-1990)
   National Council on Public History: Member of the Board
of Directors (1988-1991)
   Sourriseau Academy for State and Local History, San
Jose State University: Board Member (1989-2001).
   Preservation Action Council of San Jose: Advisory
Board Member (1991-present)
   California on Stage: Board Member (1987-1989).
   Morgan Hill Historical Society: President (1978-1979),
Board Member (1979-1983, 1988-1989)
   Member of the California Heritage Task Force Review
Board, Economic Development Committee, California State Assembly (1987-1988)
   Association for the Improvement of Community College
Teaching and Community College Social Science Association: Vice President and Board Member (1982-1984)
   Gilroy Historical Society: President and Board Member
(1982 to 1984)
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Publications

Books

   Energy and the Making of Modern California (Akron, Ohio: University of Akron Press, 1997).
   The Rise of Silicon Valley (Cupertino: California History Center, 1993).  Click here for an on-line version of this essay.
Articles

  “Recent Symposia of the International Committee for the History of Technology, 2002-2004,” with
         Susan Horning, Technology and Culture, 46 (July 2005): 594-603.

  “From Forests and Wetlands to Industry and Recreation: Changing
         Landscapes of a Maritime Community,” The Carson: Journal
         of Environmental Studies, 2 (2005): 75-90.

  “Technology and Engineering in the American Experience: A Survey
         of Literature,”
         http://www.cr.nps.gov/history/resedu/bb_williams.htm,
         National Park Service and the Organization of American
         Historians, 2004

   “Waterpower and Nature in California's Sierra Nevada,”
         The Carson: Journal of Environmental Studies, 1 (2004):
         103-116.

   “Faulty Construction: Earthquakes and the Culture of
Prevention in California,” Geojournal, 52 (July 2001): 59-62.
   “Strictly Business: Notes on Deregulating Electricity,”
Technology and Culture, 42 (July 2001): 626-630.  A shorter, revised version appeared as “Strictly Business: California’s Energy Crisis,” California Studies: The Newsletter of the California Studies Association, 10 (Spring/Summer 2001): 1-2, 6.
   “The Technology Junction: Exploring Technology and the
Environment,” ICON: Journal of the International Committee for the History of Technology, 6 (2000): 7-20.
   “History Advocacy in California,” The Public Historian,
22 (Spring 2000): 29-38.   Reprinted in California History Action, 18 (Fall 2000): 10-13.
   “Faulty Construction: Earthquakes and the Modern City,”
The Carson: Environmental History Research Journal, 1 (Fall 1999): 143-158.
   “Hydroelectricity and the FERC 106 Process--A View
from the West,” CRM, 21 (1998): 2-6, 52.
   “Frederick E. Terman and the Rise of Silicon Valley”
(1990), reprinted in International Journal of Technology Management, 16:8 (1998): 751-760; reprinted in American Heritage of Invention and Technology, 6 (Spring/Summer, 1990): 18-24; revised and reprinted as The Rise of Silicon Valley, Cupertino: California History Center, 1993.
   “California’s First High-Head Turbine Installation,” IA:
The Journal of the Society for Industrial Archeology, 22:1 (1996): 50-64.
   “Fuel at Last: Oil and Gas for California, 1860s-1940s,”
California History, 75 (Summer 1996): 114-127, 180-181.
   “Earthquake Engineering: Designing Unseen
Technology against Invisible Forces,” ICON: Journal of the International Committee for the History of Technology, 1 (1995): 172-194.
   “The California Energy Experience,” The Californian,
17 (December 1995): 6-10.
   “Cycling Came to California,” California Historian, 39
(June 1993): 7-11, 30.
   “Otherwise a Mere Clod: California Rural
Electrification,” IEEE Technology and Society Magazine, 7 (December 1988): 13-19.
   “Technology and Technical Sciences in History --
ICOHTEC Symposium, Dresden, August 25-29, 1986,” with Karen J. Freeze, Technology and Culture, 28 (October 1987): 842-849.
   “Science, Technology and Society in the Community
College,” Bulletin of Science, Technology and Society, 6:2/3 (1986): 259-260.
   “Standards of Professional Conduct in California,” The
Public Historian, 8 (Winter 1986): 57-59.
   “Cultural Conflict: The Origins of American Santa
Barbara,” The Southern California Quarterly, 60 (Winter 1978): 349-377.
   “Relics Are History: Teaching Technology’s Past at a
Community College,” Humanities Perspectives on Technology(December 1978): 6-7.
   “The Trolley: Technology and Values in Retrospect,”
San Jose Studies, 3 (November 1977): 74-90.
   “Contributive Survival: Technology and Values in
Education,” Community College Social Science Quarterly, 5 (Summer-Fall 1975): 118-122.
   “Horace Greeley in California, 1859,” Journal of the
West, 8 (October 1969): 592-605.
   “The Long Tom Rebellion,” The Oregon Historical
Quarterly, 67 (March 1966): 54-60.
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Book Chapters

   “The American Industrial Revolution,” in A Companion to American Technology, ed. Carroll Pursell (New York: Blackwell Publishers, 2005), pp. 31-51.

   “Getting Housewives the Electric
Message: Gender and Energy Marketing in the Early Twentieth Century,” in His & Hers: Gender, Consumption, and Technology, eds. Roger Horowitz and Arwen Mohen (Charlottesville, Virginia: University of Virginia Press, 1998), pp. 149-170 [+ notes].
   “Energy and the Making of California,”
in Green Versus Gold: Sources in California's Environmental History, ed. Carolyn Merchant (Washington, D.C.: Island Press, 1998), pp. 333-338.
   “Energy, Conservation, and Modernity: The
Failure to Electrify Railroads in the American West,” in Technology and Western Landscapes, ed. Stephen Tchudi (Reno: Nevada Humanities Committee, Halcyon Imprint, 1998), pp. 51-69.
   “Engineering California Cities,” in Science-Technology
Relationships/Relations Science-Technique, ed. Alexandre Herlea (San Francisco: San Francisco Press, 1993), pp. 394-400.
   “Frederick E. Terman and the Rise of
Silicon Valley,” in Technology in America, 2nd ed., ed. Carroll Pursell (Cambridge: M.I.T. Press, 1990).
   “Standards of Professional Conduct in California”
(1986), reprinted in Ethics and Public History: An Anthology, ed. Theodore J. Karamanski (Malabar, FL: Robert E. Krieger Publishing Co., 1990).
   “Civil Engineering on the Spanish Frontier: Alta
California Water Systems,” in XVI Simposio Internacional I.C.O.H.T.E.C. Libro de Phonencias, September 5-9, 1988 (Madrid: Ministerio de Obras Publicas y Urbanismo, 1988).
   “Regional Development in the Technical Sciences in
California’s Electric Power Industry, 1890-1920,” in Technik und Technikwissenschaften in der Geschichte, Proceedings of the 12th Symposium of the International Committee for Cooperation in the History of Technology (ICOHTEC), Dresden, August 25-29, 1986 (Berlin: VEB Deutshcer Verlag der Wissenschaften, 1987).
   “California Energy Supply Systems: Two Cases In
Regional Development,” in Energie in der Geschichte (Energy in History): The Topicality of the History of Technology, Proceedings of the 11th Symposium of the International Committee for Cooperation in the History of Technology (ICOHTEC), September 2-7, 1984, Vol. II (Dusseldorf, Federal Republic of Germany, 1984).
   “Television--Reflection of American Society,” in
The Evolution of Mass Culture in America, 1877 to the Present, ed. Gerald Baydo (St. Louis: Forum Press, 1982).
   “The Christian Church of Gilroy,” in Sketches of
Gilroy, ed. James C. Williams (Gilroy, CA: Gilroy Historical Society, 1980).
   “Hispanic California” and “Cultural Tensions: The
Origins of Old Town,” in Old Town Santa Barbara: A Narrative History of State Street from Gutierrez to Ortega, 1850-1975, ed. James C. Williams.  Public History Monograph #1, The Graduate History in Public Historical Studies.  (Department of History, University of California, Santa Barbara, 1977).  Limited publication.
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Other Publications

   Guest editor with Wolfhard Weber and Hans-Joachim Braun,
           ICON: Journal of the International Committee for the
            History of Technology, 10 (2004).
 
  “Technology and the Environment in America –
            Course Syllabus,” Science, Technology & Society:
            Curriculum Newsletter of the Lehigh University STS
            Program (Spring/Summer 2003): 2-4.
 
   “Introduction,” Passing Farms, Enduring Values:
California’s Santa Clara Valley by Yvonne Jacobsen, 2d ed. (Cupertino: California History Center, 2001).
   “An Energy Policy for You,” distributed to roughly 90
metropolitan daily newspapers in the United States and North America by the History News Service on March 28, 2001.  Appeared as “Bush’s Oil Industry Favoritism,” Sacramento Bee, April 2, 2001; “An Energy Policy for You: Environmentalism and Renewable Energy be Damned, Fossil Fuel is Still King,” TomPaine.com: A Journal of Opinion, April 6, 2001; “Has Bush Got a Plan for You,” Sun-Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, FL, Broward Metro Edition), April 16, 2001.
   “Energy, Deregulation and Prosperity,” distributed to
roughly 90 metropolitan daily newspapers in the United States and North America by the History News Service on January 3, 2001.  Appeared as “Energy and Prosperity are linked in California History” in San Diego Union-Tribune, December 28, 2000; “Deregulation Ends in Failure,” Eugene Register-Guard, January 5, 2001; “Deregulation Becomes ‘Big Mistake’ for State’s Residents,” The Bakersfield Californian, January 14, 2001; “Take Warning from Deregulation,” The Idaho Statesman, February 11, 2001.  Broadcast on “Talking History,” distributed by Creighton Web Radio to over 400 National Public Radio stations, February 5, 2001.  Broadcast as a “Perspective” on KQED FM, February 5, 2001.
   “Electricity” and “Civil Engineering: Sewage and
Sanitation,” Encyclopedia of the United States in the Nineteenth Century, ed Paul Finkelman (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons Reference Books, 2000).
   “Active Solar Energy,” “Geothermal Energy,” “Passive
Solar Design,” “Photovoltaics,” in The Facts on File Encyclopedia of Science, Technology, and Society, 3 vols, ed Rudi Volti (New York: Facts on File, 1999).
   Compiler and Editor.  Science, Technology, and Society
in Community Colleges.  Gilroy, CA: Social Science Division, Gavilan College, July 1981.  Summary reports in Science, Technology & Society: Curriculum Newsletter of the Lehigh University STS Program (September 1981): 16-17; and CCSSA Newsletter, No. 3, 1982, pp. 7-8.
   “Heritage and Preservation: Reflections on the 1989
Earthquake,” The Californian, 11 (December 1989): 10-11.
   “Grace Carpenter Hudson: The Artist,” in Pomo Dawn of
Song by Lois Prante Stevens and Jewell Malm Newburn (Cupertino: California History Center Foundation, 1987).
   “Civilizing the Machine: History of American
Technology,” The Machine in the University: Sample Course Syllabi for the History of Technology and Technology Studies, ed Stephen H. Cutcliffe and the Technology Studies and Education Committee for the Society for the History of Technology (Lehigh University: Science, Technology and Society Program, June 1983): 85-89.
   “Local Sources for Independent Research,” Science,
Technology & Society: Curriculum Newsletter of the Lehigh University STS Program (February 1983): 5-6, 21.
   “So You’ve Got Some Old Ruins--Now What?” AHA
Newsletter, 18 (January 1980): 6-7.
   “The Division Chairman: An Incumbant’s View,”
Community College, 1 (January 1977): 14-15.
   “Tomorrow,” in The Best of Poetry, ed Barbara Fischer
(New York: J. Mark Press, 1972).
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Book Reviews Published In

    Good Old Boat Magazine (on-line)
    Technology and Culture

    Journal of American History
    Environmental History
    The Public Historian
    California History
    Journal of San Diego History
    The Californians
    Teaching History
    Californians for Preservation Action Newsletter
    Heritage Shared - Perspectives (San Luis Obisopo)
    Community College Social Science Quarterly

Dissertation and Thesis

   “Energy Resources and Uses in Rural California:
An Historical Overview.”  Ph.D. dissertation.  University of California, Santa Barbara, 1984.
   “The Economic Impact of Defense Spending in the
San Francisco Bay Area Since World War Two.”  Masters thesis.  San Jose State University, 1971.
Technical Reports and Exhibitions

Unpublished Technical Reports

   “Gilroy Hot Springs Resort,” National Register
Nomination and California State Landmarks Application. Cupertino: Public History Services for Fukuyama International, Inc., January 1995.
   “Resource Inventory and Statement of Significance,” A
History and Significance Evaluation of the Kaweah Hydroelectric System, Tulare County, California.  Santa Cruz, CA: Biosystems Analysis, Inc., February, 1990.
   “Evaluation of the Historic Resources of the Lee Vining
Creek (FERC Project Number 1388) and Rush Creek (FERC Project Number 1389)” Hydroelectric Systems, Mono County, California.  Fair Oaks, CA: Theodoratus Cultural Research, Inc., July 1989.  Reviewed in The Public Historian, 13 (Winter 1991): 115-117.
   “De Sabla Historical Report,” An Archaeological and
Historical Investigation of Site CA-But-868H at the De Sabla Powerhouse Butte County, California.  Prepared by Alfred Farber. Paradise, CA: Professional Archaeological Services, April 1988, pp. 99-144.
   “Centerville-DeSabla Project Historical Report and
Project Significance and Recommendations,” Cultural Resources Inventory and Management Plan for the Proposed Improvements to the DeSabla-Centerville Hydroelectric System, Butte County, California, FERC No. 803.  Prepared by Mary L. Maniery, et. al.  Sacramento: Public Anthropological Research, 1985, pp. B1-B27.
   “Historical Significance of Lilly’s Auto Camp, Gilroy,
California.”  Gilroy, CA: Public History Services, 1984.
   “Pre-1940 Hydroelectric Developments Historic
Evaluation Survey.”  Pacific Gas and Electric Contract 17-83.  Gilroy, CA: Public History Services, 1983.
   “A Critical Analysis of the Practice of History in the
Pacific Southwest Region of the U.S. Forest Service.” Gilroy, CA: Public History Services, 1983.
   “The Downtown Morgan Hill Historic Preservation
Survey,” with Larry Scettrini.  Gilroy, CA: Public History Services [1980].
   “Jens Jensen’s General Merchandise Store: A History.”
Gilroy, CA: Public History Services, 1979.
Exhibitions
   “The Early Edition: The Story of Newspapers in Santa
Clara County.”  March-June 1991, California History Center, Cupertino, California.
   “Santa Clara County--A Half Century of Change.”
October 1990-January 1991, California History Center, Cupertino, California.
   “A Century of Cycling in the Santa Clara Valley.”
October 1989-February 1990, California History Center, Cupertino, California.
   “By the Sweat of Thy Brow: The Story of Labor in Santa
Clara County.”  Design and curation by Anna Koster, additional research by George Gastil.  October 1988-March 1989, California History Center, Cupertino, California.  Reviewed in The Public Historian, 11 (Fall 1989): 148-150.
   “Shipwrights and Sailors.”  Design and curation by
Jean Eckert.  April-June 1987, California History Center, Cupertino, California.
   “California Woman Suffrage 75th Anniversary.”
Research by Judith Adams, text by Jeanne McDonnell, design by Anna Koster, curation by Madeline Crawford.  October 1986-March 1987, California History Center, Cupertino, California.  Traveled to various U.S. venues.  Co-sponsored by the Women’s Heritage Museum, Palo Alto, California.  Reviewed in The Public Historian, 9 (Fall 1987): 70-73.
   “California Consumerism.”  April-June 1986, California
History Center, Cupertino, California.
   “Living the California Dream.”  January-March 1986,
California History Center, Cupertino, California.
Other Activities

   Jazz and stride piano for over 40 years.  Currently plays with The Email Special.

   Sailor (Dog Days, Islander Bahama 28, and Alizee, Cabo Rico 36) and 
         member of Encinal Yacht Club, Alameda, CA.

   Bicycling and foreign travel.

   Two years active and five years active reserve with the U.S. Army.  Highest 
         grade attained: Captain.

   Pi Kappa Alpha, Gamma Pi Chapter, University of Oregon.