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Anegada 2008 James C. Williams

History Department

James Williams is a native Californian and emeritus professor at De Anza College now living in Deland, Florida.  While he no longer teaches courses, he is still active in historical scholarship: research, writing, and some consulting.  His latest publications include “Understanding the Place of Humans in Nature,” in Illusory Boundary: Technology and the Environment (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2010), pp. 9-25; "Energy in Nineteenth Century California," in The Pioneer, 30 (2007-2008), pp. 13-16; an 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 .  He can be found cruising Florida's Gulf Coast, the Keys and Bahamas on his sailboat Alizée, a Cabo Rico 36 (2001).  He plays jazz and stride piano, each year with his group The Email Special, and wherever else he can pick up with a group.  

Home page index:

     A note on history

     Curriculum Vitae:
           Teaching and Related Experience
           Professional Activities
           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.

Curriculum Vitae:


   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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   President, International Committee for the History of Technology (2008-present);  
            Vice President (2001-2008).
   Who's Who Among America's Teachers, 8th ed. (2003-2004) and 9th ed.
   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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Other 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
   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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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.

  "Energy in Nineteenth-Century California," The Pioneer, 33 (2007-2008): 13-16.

  "Emergency Tiller Please!" SAIL Magazine (March 2007): 48, 50-51.

  “History of Energy,” Scientists and the Franklin Institute: Making Their Cases

         an online essay (Philadelphia, PA: The Franklin Institute, 2006).

  “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):

   “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): 
   “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

“Understanding the Place of Humans in Nature,” in Illusory Boundary: Technology and the Environment (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2010), pp. 9-25.

“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 Reinhold Bauer and Wolfhard Weber, Technik zwischen
  artes und arts: Festschrift fur Hans-Joachim Braun.  Munster,
            Germany: Waxmann, 2008.
   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): 23.
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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.
   “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 (Alizee, Cabo Rico 36) 

   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.

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