California Studies Association

The latest news, events, and perspectives from the CSA


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PoliPointPress re-issuing Greg Mitchell’s “Campaign of the Century”

As the first publication in a new series (“P3 Classics”) of re-issues of great books on politics that are out-of-print, PoliPointPress is publishing a reprinted edition of Greg Mitchell’s The Campaign of the Century: Upton Sinclair’s Race for Governor and the Birth of Media Politics. The book, originally published in 1992, recounts the landmark 1934 campaign for governor of California on a day-by-day basis, starting with Upton Sinclair’s nomination and ending with the general election. As the title of the book indicates, Mitchell’s thesis is that the campaign had implications beyond California, in the creation of mass media politics.

For more on the re-issue and the book, take a look at Peter Richardson’s blog post about it.

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Civil Rights and Race During World War 2: Book event Oct. 24 in El Cerrito

Elaine Elinson and Stan Yogi, authors of Wherever There’s a Fight: How Runaway Slaves, Suffragists, Immigrants, Strikers, and Poets Shaped Civil Liberties in California, will discuss and sign copies of their book as part of “Civil Rights and Race During World War II,” a panel discussion with historian Donna Graves and National Park Service Ranger Betty Reid Soskin. This event is cosponsored by Contra Costa Japanese American Citizens League, Rosie the Riveter/WWII Home Front National Historical Park, City of Richmond, Richmond Art Center, and Preserving California’s Japantowns.

Details: Sunday, October 24 from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m., East Bay Free Methodist Church, 5395 Potrero Ave., El Cerrito, CA 94530

Free and open to the public; for more information call (510) 620-6952.


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Patricia McBroom reports on how locals maintain crucial levees in the Sacramento Delta

CSA Steering Committee member Patricia McBroom has a eye-opening piece on her “California Spigot” blog today about how locals in the Sacramento Delta take responsibility for maintaining levees that are crucial not only for their own survival but also for the water supply of the state. At the same time, McBroom reports that the locals feel left out of state planning for the future of the Delta.

From the blog:

This story about Bradford [where locals had stepped in to repair levee damage caused when a freighter struck the levee] is sadly illustrative of a larger phenomena that affects everyone in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.  California relies on local people to maintain levees that are critical to our water supply, yet those same people are all but invisible to State officials planning a huge – and expensive – project to divert water from upriver near Sacramento.  We will get our first view of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) next month in a preliminary draft release, but several things have been clear about this plan for at least a year.

One, it has little or no input from Delta people or their elected representatives in the five county region – Sacramento, Stockton, Contra Costa County, Yolo and Sonoma.  Thirteen members of Congress and the State Legislature from those counties sent a protest letter last month which said in part “The Delta community has long been told….they will be involved in decision–making about the future of their own communities, even though they have been mostly excluded to date.”

To read the whole blog, click here.


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Oakland Museum of California obtains historic poster collection

As reported by the Oakland Tribune on Oct. 9, 2010, the Oakland Museum of California has obtained a collection of more than 23,000 posters collected by Michael Rossman, who was one of the leaders of the Free Speech Movement at UC Berkeley in the ’60s.  Rossman, who died in 2008, assembled the collection over 30 years. When he died, his wishes, according to his widow, Karen McLellan, were that “the collection [be] kept together, and he wanted it to stay in the Bay Area and he wanted it to be accessible to everyone.”

Since Rossman’s death, his friend Lincoln Cushing (a member of the CSA Steering Committee) has cataloged the collection, photographing each poster, and Cushing will continue to work on the collection now that it is housed at the museum.  The museum is already planning three exhibitions from the collection to take place over the next few years, and also has plans to make the collection accessible to the public on-line.

For more information, the Tribune article can be accessed by this link.

 


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Lincoln Cushing on “The Clark Kerr (mis)quote Adventure”

Lincoln Cushing has written a fascinating small piece on the history (and generally ignored) context of a well known quotation from former (and famous) University of California Chancellor Clark Kerr.

The quotation dates from 1959; often referred to, Cushing recently found it in an 1961 article in The Nation by Jessica Mitford Treuhaft. The words of the quote are, “The employers will love this generation, they are not going to press many grievances. They are going to be easy to handle. There aren’t going to be any riots.” Even from Mitford Treuhaft’s perspective in 1961, the ironies seemed obvious.

Cushing noted that the citation for the quotation in the 1961 article was vague (“Buried somewhere in a 1959 publication of the American Council of Education reporting a conference . . .”) and decided to do some sleuthing to find out if the quotation was bona fide. What he learned was interesting — about the possible meaning of the quotation and its context.

To read Cushing’s full piece, click here.


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Huntington Library’s Exhibit on Charles Bukowski opens Oct. 9

The Huntington Library will open a major exhibition on California poet Charles Bukowski on Oct. 9.  The show. “Charles Bukowski: Poet on the Edge” will run until Feb. 14, 2011.  For information, click here to connect to the libary’s website for the exhibition.

From the Huntington’s website:

One of the most original voices in 20th-century American literature, Charles Bukowski (1920-1994) lived and wrote at the edge of society. With unflinching honesty and strong language, his poems and tales speak of life on the streets of Los Angeles among the prostitutes, drunks, gamblers, and outcasts  struggling to survive in an unforgiving world.  In telling these stories, Bukowski wrote without artifice in simple, natural language, repudiating the formal conventions of the literary establishment. He strove to keep his writing “raw, easy, and simple,” to grasp the “hard, clean line that says it.”

This fall, The Huntington presents a much-anticipated exhibition on the life and works of Charles Bukowski, drawn from the archive of his papers donated to The Huntington by his wife, Linda Lee Bukowski, in 2006. “Charles Bukowski: Poet on the Edge” opens Oct. 9 in the West Hall of the Library and continues through Feb. 14, 2011.