California Studies Association

The latest news, events, and perspectives from the CSA


The California Indian Conference | 25th Anniversary

The California Indian Conference | 25th Anniversary.

Please join us for the celebratory 25th annual meeting of the California Indian Conference! , For the last quarter century the exchange of knowledge and perspectives has been the hallmark of the CIC, which was Inaugurated at UC Berkeley in 1985. The CIC is committed to the the recovery and advancement of California Indians and the promotion of excellence in collaborative cutting-edge scholarship in linguistics, archaeology, anthropology, and history. Much has changed for the better in the last quarter century in tribal politics, law, economics, scholarship, technology, and the preservation, retrieval and renewal of California Indian peoples’ culture. Tribal leaders, elders and youth, culture bearers, museum administrators, California Parks personnel, artists, environmentalists, educators from elementary grades to institutions of higher learning, independent scholars, archaeologists and others engaged in cultural resource management: all are encouraged to attend this landmark conference. We are communities in conversation, dedicated to the revival, preservation and protection of Native California.

We anticipate registration will begin after April 15. Please revisit our site for updates.

Tanis C. Thorne and Carolyn Kuali’i, Conference Co-Organizers

Our conference partners: UC Irvine’s Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs, the School of Humanities, the Department of History, and the International Center for Writing and Translation; the California Center for Native Nations and Rupert Costo Chair, UC Riverside; the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians; Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians; News from Native California, and Kua’aina Associates, Inc., Pacific Coast Archaeological Society

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California Labor History course starts August 17 at the Mission campus of San Francisco City College

Fred Glass, Communications Director of the California Federation of Teachers, AFT/AFL-CIO, will be teaching a course on California Labor History at the Mission Campus of San Francisco City College (1125 Valencia Street), starting August 17. Classes will be Tuesday evenings, 6:30 – 9:15 pm.

The course will be based on the award-winning video series & curriculum, Golden Lands, Working Hands.

The course offers 3 units college credit, CSU-applicable; scholarships are available.

For questions about the course and requirements call 510-523-5238.

Register for LCS 88 online at

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California Poet Wins Pulitzer Prize (Guest Post)

[Ed. Note: This is the first “guest post” on the California Studies Blog.  It was submitted by Katheryn Rivas, who writes on the topics of online universities.  She welcomes your comments at her email Id: The Blog will be pleased to consider guest posts, on subjects relating to California Studies only.  Send any for consideration to]

In April, California poet Rae Armantrout won the Pulitzer Prize for her book of poetry, entitled “Versed”. What was most surprising about Armantrout’s win was that she was diagnosed with the very rare adrenal cortical cancer in 2006.The poet did not expect to live to finish her work.

“Versed” is Amantrout’s 10th book of poetry, which is divided in two parts. The first part renders the horrors of war in Iraq and the second part is the poet’s reflections on living with cancer. Of the book, the New York Times lauded it, “Poetry that conveys the invention, the wit and the force of a mind that contests all assumptions.”

Armantrout was herself stunned to receive the Pulitzer, the highest literary honor in the United States. Despite her surprise, she noted that what kept her writing, despite her personal struggle with disease, was the disease itself. “I felt as long as I kept writing, I wasn’t really dying,” SignOnSanDiego reported her saying. In 2009, Armantrout also received the National Book Critics Circle Award for “Versed”, and her work has now been nominated additionally for the National Book Award.

Armantrout was born in Vallejo, California. She attended the University of California at Berkeley and completed her Master’s degree in creative writing at San Francisco State University. Armantrout is considered part of the school of poetics known as the Language Poets. Although it was a national movement that begun in the 1970s, it has a rich history particular to California. The Language Poets are seen as an extension of postmodernist thought, which grew out of the works of earlier writers such as Gertrude Stein and poet William Carlos Williams.

Armantrout has long been considered an innovator in American poetics. The critic Stephen Burt wrote in a 2002 Boston Review article of Armantrout’s poetry: “To enjoy Armantrout one has to like her choppy surfaces, accede to her demands that we read slowly, and appreciate her overarching worries about figuration, mediation, symbolism-in-general. At the same time, Armantrout’s poems offer psychological truths and sad ironies wholly separable from her commitment to difficulty and disjunction.”

Armantrout’s brand of poetry can be seen as part and parcel of California’s clear, established stake in American poetry in general. California’s Poet Laureate position is considered a more respected honor than in other states across the country. Armantrout’s recent literary and personal triumph is only yet another indication of California’s persistence of the human spirit, as seen through the telescope of poetry.

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Peter Richardson on Freedberg’s “California Watch”

The following blog comes from Peter Richardson’s blog:

I should have done this a while back, but I’m including a link to the California Watch website on your starboard as well as here. Former Chronicle writer (and former Ramparts contributor!) Louis Freedberg has been serving as founding director, but I just received an email from him announcing that he will now become a senior reporter.

California Watch is a project of the Center for Investigative Reporting, which was co-founded in the 1970s by David Weir, Dan Noyes, and Lowell Bergman–all of whom I’ve met, one way or another, through the Ramparts project.

Dan is the only one I haven’t met personally, but we exchanged email about Angus Mackenzie’s book, Secrets: The CIA’s War at Home, which appeared in 1998. In addition to writing a superb book, which Dan helped see the light of day, Mackenzie worked for the Center for Investigative Reporting.

Although I mention Mackenzie and cite Secrets in the Ramparts book, Dan thought I could have been more generous with my credit. A trade book needs to keep the story hurtling forward, and there’s little opportunity to praise one’s sources, no matter how valuable, along the way. But let the record show that I learned a lot from the book and recommend it highly to everyone.

via Peter Richardson: California Watch.

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“Santa Monica Politics: The Left in Charge,” in Calif. Journal of Politics and Policy

Frank Gruber (a member of the Steering Committee of the California Studies Association) has just had published in the California Journal of Politics and Policy a paper about the politics of Santa Monica since the “Left,” in the form of Santa Monicans for Renters Rights, first elected a majority to the city council in 1981, after voters enacted one of California’s strictest rent control laws.  Its thesis is that once the Left obtained power, progressive politics were turned on their head, and attitudes and policies normally associated with the Right became identified as leftist.  Then later, the pendulum swung back.

The title of the paper is “Santa Monica Politics: The Left in Charge”.

Gruber presented an earlier version of the paper at one of the monthly dinners of the California Studies Association in Berkeley.

The paper may be downloaded from the journal’s website.  (The journal allows guests to download without having to pay a fee.)

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Summer 2010 Issue of Southern California Quarterly now available

The latest issue (Vol. 92, No. 2) of Southern California Quarterly, the journal of the Historical Society of Southern California, has been published.

Here is the Table of Contents:


Water Politics and the San Fernando Valley: The Role of Water Rights in The 1915 Annexation and 1996-2002 Secession Campaigns; By Jordan Scavo

Josefina Fierro’s Sleepy Lagoon Crusade, 1942-1945; by Carlos Larralde

Standing Up to Sugar Cubes: The Contest Over Ethnic Identity in California’s Fourth-Grade Mission Curriculum; by Zevi Gutfreund


Hayes, Historical Atlas of California With Original Maps, by James P. Allen

Reyes, Private Women, Public Lives: Gender and the Missions of the Californias, by Brett Garcia Myhren

Zack, Southern California Story: Seeking the Better Life in Sierra Madre, by Abraham Hoffman

McLerran, A New Deal for Native Art: Indian Arts and Federal Policy, 1933-1943, by Mark White

Eisenberg, The First to Cry Down Injustice? Western Jews and Japanese Removal During WWII, by Jeffrey Blutinger

To order copies of the Quarterly, contact the Historical Society at (323) 460-5632 or at