California Studies Association

The latest news, events, and perspectives from the CSA

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Next California Studies Dinner Nov. 17: Tony Platt speaking about Berkeley’s Role in the Looting of Native Gravesites

The next California Studies dinner will take place Nov. 17, 2011 in Berkeley; the speaker will be Tony Platt, Professor Emeritus, California State University, Sacramento; the title of his talk is “10,000 Skeletons in the Basement:  Berkeley’s Role in the Looting of Native Gravesites.” 


Nov. 17, 2011
7 :00 p.m. – 10 :00 p.m.
Director’s Room, Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, 2521 Channing St.(just above Telegraph Ave).

The dinner is buffet style. Dinners are free, but a small donation is requested from those partaking of wine and beverages.

PLEASE RSVP by Friday, Oct. 14, 2011, to Delores Dillard, Department of Geography, 507 McCone Hall, UC Berkeley, Berkeley, CA  94720-4740 phone (510)  642-3903 or FAX (510) 642-3370, or e-mail:

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Next Los Angeles History & Metro Studies Group Meeting Nov. 4 at the Huntington: on the crisis in Bell

The next meeting of the L.A. History & Metro Studies Group will take place on Friday, November 4, 2011, at 12 noon at the Huntington Library.  This will be a panel discussion on the Bell Political Crisis.  The panelists will include: Jeff Gottlieb and Ruben Vives of the Los Angeles Times, Jerry Gonzalez, Assistant Professor of History at University of Texas San Antonio, and Gilda Ochoa, Professor of Sociology and Chicana/o Studies at Pomona College.

Jeff Gottlieb and Ruben Vives, the Times reporters who won Pulitzer Prizes for their coverage of this crisis, will recount their experience breaking the story about massive political corruption in Bell.  This will be followed by a discussion with the panelists and the audience that seeks to place the situation in Bell in historical and political context.  (There will be no pre-circulated paper for the session.)

The group will meet in Seaver Classrooms 1 & 2 in the Munger Research Center at the Huntington Library, starting at 12 noon.  A complimentary lunch will be available to those who RSVP by November 1.  If you would like to attend, please RSVP at this link.

For answer to questions, contact the coordinators:

Becky Nicolaides                           David Levitus             

The LA History & Metro Studies Group is generously sponsored by the Huntington-USC Institute on California and the West (ICW)

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Elaine Elinson Writes to Commemorate the Centennial of Women’s Suffrage in California

This month marks the centennial of women’s suffrage in California, a victory won almost a full decade before the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment granting women the right to vote nationally.  In the San Francisco Chronicle edition of Oct. 9 CSA Steering Committee member Elaine Elinson described in her article “S.F. Women Helped Forge Suffrage Victory in State”, the creativity, tenacity and pure chutzpah involved in this crucial campaign for women’s right to vote.

From the article:

The campaign for suffrage began long before that momentous victory. In the late 1800s, California women – primarily from the urban upper-middle class – lobbied state and local governments for the right to vote. Buoyed by visits from leaders of the national suffrage movement, including Susan B. Anthony, California suffragists organized an intense lobbying campaign in the Legislature. Three hundred women went to Sacramento, claiming they represented 50,000 more who wanted the vote. They were met with ridicule. One legislator told them, “You are no more than 50,000 mice. Go home and look after your own girls. They may be walking the streets for all you know.”

In 1896, the first attempt to win the vote through a referendum suffered a crushing defeat, especially in San Francisco, then the most populous city in the state.

After the earthquake and fire of 1906, however, the movement regrouped and was transformed. It moved out of the parlors of upper-class women and into more public spaces – union halls, theaters, African American churches, libraries and even the street. In 1908, three-hundred women marched on the state Republican convention, meeting in Oakland, to demand that the party include suffrage in its electoral platform.



Frank Bardacke to speak Nov. 6 on “Trampling Out the Vintage”: his new book on Cesar Chavez and the UFW

Frank Bardacke will discuss his recently published book from Verso Press, Trampling Out the Vintage: Cesar Chavez and the Two Souls of the United Farm Workers, at a celebration of its publication. The event will take place Sunday, Nov. 6, 3:00 P.M., at Heyday Books, 1633 University Ave, Berkeley.

From the invitation:

“Trampling out the Vintage” is a narrative history of the UFW, study of the work and world of California farm workers, and reappraisal of the conflicts that shaped the union’s trajectory. Here’s what initial reviews have said about it:

“Frank Bardacke’s long-awaited masterpiece is the kind of book that comes along only once in a generation. Not only is the research spectacular and his analysis of the United Farm Workers as a social movement nuanced and compelling, but he finally places rank-and-file farm workers at the center of the story as savvy and opinionated activists. Best of all, he’s a superb writer who’s constructed a gripping tale.”  –Dana Frank, Professor of History, University of California, Santa Cruz

“It is the human beings that come alive here—union officials, organizers, and workers—with their foibles, rivalries and triumphs. Cesar Chavez emerges as a hugely complex individual with a full range of all-too-human traits. An extraordinary book about an extraordinary movement and man, and a story as inspiring as it is tragic.” –Douglas Monroy, author of The Borders within: Encounters Between Mexico and the US.

“There is so much marvelous stuff in Frank Bardacke’s book that’s simply not been done before. At the book’s core are the men and women who pick the crops in California’s fields and orchards., their skill and endurance,  the world they built among themselves, and the ways they shaped the history of the UFW. It is their story—refreshingly, sympathetically, and beautifully told—that makes this book stand apart and will make it stand forever.” –Alexander Cockburn, CounterPunch



“Making Cents” Conference in Berkeley Will Address State Budget Crisis Oct. 22

An group of graduate students in several departments at UC Berkeley including, City and Regional Planning, Sociology, the School of Education and the Berkeley Law School, along with many co-sponsors, have organized a conference to take place Saturday, Oct. 22, 2011 at the Berkeley Law School to address the state’s budget crisis. Entitled, “Making Cents: Forging a New California in a Time of Crisis” the conference will address “the causes of the California budget crisis, the impact across diverse communities, and the most innovative short-term and long-term strategies for forging a new California in this crisis.”

For more information and to register to attend, click this link.


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Festival of California Poets — at the Hammer Museum, Oct. 14, 7:00 p.m.

The Hammer Museum, along with PEN Center USA and the Poetry Society of America, will present on Oct. 14, the 5th Annual Festival of California Poets.

The event will celebrate the poetic tradition of the Golden State. Three distinguished, contemporary California poets will introduce and read poems by canonical California poets, as well as their own poems. Featured readers include: Maxine Hong Kingston on Lucille Clifton; Suzanne Lummis on Nora May French; and James Ragan on Denise Levertov.

A Q&A will follow the readings.

FRI OCT 14, 7:00PM

HAMMER MUSEUM, 10899 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90024

For more information, click here.