California Studies Association

The latest news, events, and perspectives from the CSA

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Richard Walker and Ashok Bardhan on California’s Role in the financial crisis

CSA board member Richard Walker, of the Department of Geography, UC Berkeley, and Ashok Bardham, of the Fisher Center for Real Estate and Urban Economics and the Haas School of Business at Berkeley, have published a working paper arguing that California was the chief playing field of speculative finance in the great housing bubble that crashed in 2008, laying waste to the state’s economy and finances, and triggering the “Great Recession.”  The paper, “California: Pivot of the Great Recession,” is available for download at the eScholarship site.

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California Up for Grabs; Huntington-USC Institute on California and the West sponsors evening of politics and discussion Oct. 12

The Huntington-USC Institute on California and the West will sponsor an evening of debate, dialogue, and politics:

California Up for Grabs:
The 2010 Gubernatorial Race and the Politics of Reform in the Golden State

The evening will begin with viewing on wide screen televisions of the 3rd debate between gubernatorial candidates Jerry Brown and Meg Whitman.  Refreshments, agreements, and disagreements will  be cheerfully served.  Then veteran political journalist Bill Boyarsky will moderate a discussion between the audience members and authors Joe Mathews and Mark Paul, whose new book California Crack Up: How Reform Broke the Golden State and How We Can Fix It (University of California Press) offers provocative insights into the roots of political crisis and government dysfunction, as well as ideas about getting the state, and its millions of citizens, unstuck.  Of the book, the American Prospect has noted that it contains “the best ideas for rebuilding California’s government that the state has seen since — well, probably ever.”

The gubernatorial debate begins at 6:30.  The moderated panel discussion will begin just as soon as the debate concludes.


Tuesday, October 12
6:30 to 9:00pm
Friends’ Hall
The Huntington Library
1151 Oxford Road
San Marino, CA  91108

The event is free of charge.  But all those wishing to attend must RSVP to, as space is limited.

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The Living New Deal; Richard Walker & Gray Brechin on the continuing impact of New Deal projects in California

Former CSA Chair and longtime CSA Steering Committee member Richard Walker & Gray Brechin, both of the Department of Geography, University of California, Berkeley, have written a  thorough study of the benefits of the New Deal for California and the United States.  It covers the recovery of the 1930s, the lasting effects for the postwar Golden Age, and the beneficial impact on California.  The Working Paper, “The Living New Deal”, can be downloaded by clicking here.

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Loyola Law School to host “Rebooting California” Symposium Sept. 24

A full-day symposium on “Rebooting California: Initiatives, Conventions & Government Reform” will be held at Loyola Law School on Friday, September 24th. Experts will explore how to fix what’s wrong with the Golden State, as again California finds itself in paralysis: No budget. A divided legislature. Initiative measures that cost taxpayers millions.

Panelists are also expected to explore a possible constitutional convention.

Participants include Robert Hertzberg, Sheila Kuehl ,Sherry Bebitch Jeffe , Raphael Sonenshein and former Gov. Gray Davis. Moderastors include KCRW’s Warren Olney, Sacramento Bee’s Dan Walters and NPR’s Karen Grigsby Bates.

Loyola Law School, Fri., Sept. 24, 9a-5:45pm. Free of charge.

For more information and to register, click here.

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Joe Mathews to give Pat Brown Institute’s “Distinguished Lecture” Oct. 26 in Los Angeles

The Pat Brown Institute of Public Affairs (PBI) has announced that Joe Mathews, co-author of California Crackup: How Reform Broke the Golden State and How We Can Fix It, will deliver PBI’s 2010 Distinguished Lecture.

From the announcement:

Governor Edmund G. “Pat” Brown was instrumental in laying the foundation for the Golden State’s infrastructure in the 1950s and 1960s.  Almost 50 years later, we find ourselves in a state of economic and political crisis and unrest. What steps must be taken to stabilize the state’s current and future outlook? How do we revive a reeling California while being equally visionary to the 32nd Governor? Concluding the 2010 California Agenda public policy forum series, this distinguished lecture will examine the origins of California’s unprecedented crisis, its current weakened condition, and the means to fixing the “cracks.”

Tuesday, October 26, 2010
6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
City Club at Bunker Hill  @ 333 S. Grand Avenue, 54th Floor, Los Angeles, CA 90071
$8 parking at the Wells Fargo Parking Garage ( @ 333 S. Hope Street)
Refreshments will be provided.

Mr. Mathews will be available for a book signing at the conclusion of the event.

This Distinguished Lecture concludes the 2010 California Agenda series and is free and open to the public.  Please be sure to confirm your spot as space is limited.  To R.S.V.P., call (323) 343-3770, register online or visit our website

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New Issue of Southern California Quarterly now available

The Fall 2010 issue (Vol. 92, No. 3) of the Southern California Quarterly has now been published by the Historical Society of Southern California.  Here is the table of contents:


“Neutra: From Japan in 1930 to His European Audiences and Southern California Work”, By Barbara Lamprecht

“The Conscience of a Public Official: Los Angeles Mayor Fletcher Bowron and Japanese Removal” By Abraham Hoffman

“‘Obey the Rules or Get Out’: Ronald Reagan’s 1966 Gubernatorial Campaign and the ‘Trouble In Berkeley’”, By Michelle Reeves


Hayes, Historical Atlas of the American West: With Original Maps, by Michael McDaniel

White, Pre-Gay L.A.: A Social History of the Movement for Homosexual Rights, by Whitney Strub

Vernon, A Maritime History of Baja California, by David Igler

Gruber, Urban Worrier: Making Politics Personal, by Kenneth Breisch

Morgan, The Real Hiphop: Battling for Knowledge, Power, and Respect in the LA Underground, by Michael Nevin Willard

Other Recent Publications, by Sarah Schrank

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Job Opening at California Council for the Humanities

The California Council for the Humanities has announced an opening for a program associate in its Los Angeles office and is seeking applications.

From the California Council for the Humanities:

The California Council for the Humanities (CCH) is a nonprofit organization with a mission to connect Californians to ideas and one another in order to understand our shared heritage and diverse cultures, inspire civic participation, and shape our future. CCH is an independent state partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities, which provides a base of core funding. CCH is hiring a Program Associate whose primary responsibilities are to provide programmatic and administrative support and some program management in alignment with the Council’s strategic goals and mission. The full job description and qualifications can be found at:

How to Apply: Please email a letter of interest and resume as file attachments to:

Applications will be accepted through Friday, October 1, 2010.  No phone calls, please.