California Studies Association

The latest news, events, and perspectives from the CSA


Call for Papers: Black California Dreamin’ at UCSB, Web Project and Conference

From the UCSB Center for Black Studies Research.

Call For Papers and Other Works

Black California Dreamin’

Social Vision and the Crisis of California’s African American Communities

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Black California Dreamin’: Social Vision and the Crisis of California’s African American Communities is a book and internet project sponsored by the University of California, Santa Barbara’s Center for Black Studies Research. Articles, essays, and other works will be published in different formats by the Center in July of 2011. A conference on the findings will be held in May, 2011.

The Crisis of California’s African American Communities project is designed to critically examine the multiple challenges faced by Black individuals, families, and communities as a result of the global economic downturn of 2008 and the subsequent state fiscal crisis. Prior to these extraordinary events, African Americans already led the state with the highest rates of high school dropouts, homelessness, incarceration, and mortality. Since the economic crisis, they have also experienced extreme rates of layoffs, unemployment and housing foreclosure, the elimination of life sustaining social and educational programs, and the closure of major organizations, institutions, organizations and cultural programs.

The purpose of the project is as follows:

  • To investigate the central role African Americans have played in transforming their communities, the state, and the nation during the last three decades.
  • To document the origins of the multiple crises currently facing African American communities.
  • To examine the impact of the current economic crisis and the emergence of new conditions, policies, communities, organizations, institutions, social movements, and cultural practices and movements. Of particular interest are differential regional realities and responses.
  • To identify solutions to the crisis emerging throughout the state.

We invite community members, scholars, researchers and students to submit research papers (a maximum 6000 words), shorter essays, policy analysis, poetry, artwork, photographs, photo-essays, lyrics, biographies, autobiographies, organizational profiles, profiles of solution-oriented projects, interviews, dialogues, agendas, and multi-media projects. Additionally, we are particularly interested in documenting the perspectives of youth, women, families, the African American “pioneers” who arrived in California during the 1940s and 1950s.

The work will be published by the Center for Black Studies Research. Abstracts for papers and other works (a maximum of 500 words) should be submitted to Professor Clyde Woods, before November 15, 2010. Final works will be due on April, 1, 2011.

Editors: Professors Clyde Woods (UCSB), Gaye Johnson (UCSB), George Lipsitz (UCSB), Ula Taylor (UCB), Daniel Widener (UCSD), and Program Coordinator Alva Stevenson (UCLA Libraries). Editorial Board:  Curator Susan Anderson ( Collecting Los Angeles, UCLA), Prof. Stephanie Batiste (UCSB),  Laurica Brown (UCSB), Prof. Wendel Eckford (LACC), Gregory Everett (filmmaker), Prof. Dawn-Elissa Fischer (SFSU), Julie Grigsby (UTexas), Alison Jefferson (UCSB), Yusef Omowale (Southern California Library),  Prof. Shana Redmond (USC), Dr. Damien Schnyder (UCSB), and  Miya Williams (Emerson Univ.)

For further information contact the Center for Black Studies Research, University of California, Santa Barbara,  4603 South Hall, University of California Santa Barbara, CA 93106-3140. Phone: (805) 893-3914. Fax: (805) 893-7243. Email:, Website:

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Advance Announcement: 5th Int’l Conference on Charlotte Perkins Gilman to take place in June 2011 at the Univ. of Montana

The University of Montana has announced that the Fifth International Conference on Charlotte Perkins Gilman, “Gilman Goes West”, will take place June 16 – 19, 2011, at the university’s campus in Missoula.

Conference events will include a keynote address by Gary Scharnhorst, a plenary panel of Gilman scholars on the topic of Gilman and Place, an evening of readings by Montana women writers.

Charlotte Perkins Gilman (1860-1935) was a prominent American sociologist, novelist, writer of short stories, poetry, and nonfiction, and a lecturer for social reform.  She was a utopian feminist whose life became an inspiration for later generations of feminists.  For much of her life she made her home in Pasadena, California.

Missoula is a 3 hour drive from Glacier National Park, and a 5 hour drive from Yellowstone National Park, and the organizers of the conference point out that additional possible activities before or after the conference are fly fishing lessons, float trips, and local hiking.

A website will be created soon for the conference.  In the meantime, additional information may be obtained by contacting Sarah Knobel, University of Montana, at


Watsonville Farmworkers Meeting & Demo, August 8

From Chris Lepe via Richard Hobbs


Strawberry Harvesting Demonstration & Field Home Visit Followed by
Dialogue,  Testimonials, & Dinner with Farmworkers at Migrant Labor
Camp in Watsonville

Sunday, August 8, 2010:  3 – 9 PM
Group Size:

Limited to the first 25 who register.  Children with parents welcome.
The first 25 persons to register (pay) will be able to attend.  Must
register by July 31.

$25 per Person – Check Payable to “Human Agenda”.  Send to Human
Agenda Treasurer, 3845 Wellington Square, San Jose, CA 95136. Proceeds
go to farmworker families hosting the tour.

At 3:00 PM in the surface parking lot at SJCC at the corner of
Moorpark and Leigh Avenues.  We will carpool to Watsonville.

Jeans, T-shirts, etc. (nothing flashy or ostentatious).
Tour Leaders

Dr. Ann Lopez, Professor and Author, The Farmworkers’ Journey,Richard
Hobbs, Esq., Executive Director, Human Agenda
Further Info:

Contact Richard Hobbs at 408-460-2999 or


This tour will challenge participants to better understand the
conditions of Mexican farmworkers in Northern California.  We will
drive to a field where a very low-income family will demonstrate how
to harvest strawberries and then show us their very modest home.  Then
we will drive to the Buena Vista Migrant Labor Camp near Watsonville
where farmworkers will share a look at their living quarters and give
testimonies on their wages, working conditions, the use of pesticides,
and the challenges their children have in receiving education.  A
farmworker meal is included in the cost.  The tour leaders will share
detailed information on farmworkers including demographics, how
globalization propels immigration, the prospects for passage of AgJobs
and immigration reform, and the conditions of farmworkers on both
sides of the border.  For those who wish, Ann Lopez will sign copies
of her recent book, The Farmworkers’ Journey, at the discounted rate
of $15.  Photos are OK only at the labor camp.

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LaborFest 2010: Events Throughout July


Welcome to LaborFest 2010

LaborFest 2010 takes place in the midst of devastating economic conditions for working people in the San Francisco Bay Area nationally and internationally. We now have the highest unemployment since the 1930’s. Since last LaborFest, millions of workers have lost their jobs, healthcare and their homes. Furloughs, cutbacks and layoffs are a daily experience for working people in San Francisco and around the country.

Today in San Francisco, 9,000 hotel workers are without a contract and are fighting multi-national hotel chains while over 100,000 state workers are working without a contract and a massive assault on their conditions and benefits.

All pensions and public services are under direct threat as well as the right to a public education for millions of workers and their families in California. All these gains have been won only after decades of effort by working people and organized labor.

The history of working people in San Francisco is one of tremendous struggle and solidarity to defend our unions and living conditions. In the midst of the 30’s depression in San Francisco, workers defeated the union busting efforts in the 1934 general strike and formed unions not only in longshore but among hundreds of thousands of workers making San Francisco one of the most unionized cities in the US.

This year’s LaborFest will commemorate the general strike of 1934 with films, plays, walks and forums. It will also have many new walks tieing the history of the working people to our buildings and regional sites. We are linking up with City Guides who will be co-sponsoring some of these walks with LaborFest.

We are also commemorating the projects of the WPA, which were built during the 1930’s. These monuments are a testament to the fact that public works can make a critical contribution to the lives of the workers who build them and to the advancement of our society. With mass unemployment among building trades workers, the need for work at union scale is critical. Many of these sites still contribute to our lives and make San Francisco and the Bay Area a unique and beautiful place.

We invite your participation and hope to expand LaborFest to your union and community in the coming years. We will be streaming some of the events on the web this year as well. Also, we have a Facebook page and we invite you to contribute your thoughts, ideas and pictures to this festival through these communication tools. Help make LaborFest an important vehicle to bring labor history and consciousness to the fore.

In Solidarity,
The LaborFest Organizing Committee

Graphic by Loise Gilbert “Bridges Negotiates for ILWU”

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Richard Register of Ecocity Builders: Drawings at SPUR in San Francisco

From: Richard Register

My dear friends!

I just finished hanging a show of my drawings over the last 35 years you
might be interested in.

Come on by and see a rather unusual, and in the ³old days,² a rather
prescient development of ideas becoming ever more common.

Some of the features old for me include putting highways underground
(³decking over,² which was originally something of a dreamy hopeful joke,
now coming true in many places), creating high density urban pedestrian
environments (like the new pedestrian Time¹s Square), bridging between
buildings high in the sky (like the High Line, also in New York City and
becoming more common especially on university campuses and at an
extraordinary new development in Changwon, South Korea) and whole supposed ecocities in China (of which I have some drawings that go beyond what they are actually building there). Rooftop gardens? Getting more popular by the day. High-density transit-oriented centers? I preceded the New Urbanists. Recognition of Paolo Soleri and his extraordinary very early versions of ecocities? I¹m one of the few who gives him credit ­ and tries out some of
his ideas for hyper compact extreme low energy cities of the sort that would
make the BP blowout and spill in the Gulf of Mexico a total non-starter. ³We
don¹t need no stinking oil wells!²

So do come by. It¹s something of my retrospective in drawings: the offices
of SPUR (San Francisco Planning and Urban Research) in downtown San

When: The show will be up from today to July 16. Tuesdays 11:00am to 8pm,
Wednesdays through Fridays 11:00am to 5:00pm. Closed Saturday through

Address: 654 Mission Street. I¹ll also be giving a purchasable brown bag
lunch talk there about my life as something of an artist/activist/early
urban ecologist at noon on the 7th. Do come if curious.

For ecological health and good times for all of us including the other
animals and the plants we are busily orbiting with,


PS Buy my book, Ecocities, and join our group, Ecocity Builders: <;
Good work, needs help!

Thanks to Bill Mastin, Tawni Aaron, Rick Smith and Emily Wright for working
with me installing this show of drawings.