Over the last four years at the University of Miami, I have developed and taught a thematic writing course called California in Literature and Film.  The course combines a focus on writing with the acquisition of basic research skills in Humanities and Social Science literature. Modules on Chicano/a cultures, Asian-American cultures, the Western, and the Hardboiled Detective narrative precede an independent research project on a cultural artifact (literature, film, television, or other media) pertaining to California or the American West.