California Studies Association

The latest news, events, and perspectives from the CSA

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Book Party: Remaking California: Reclaiming the Public Good, Thur Aug 12

Remaking California: Reclaiming the Public Good – Heyday.

Heyday and the California Historical Society invite you to
Is California a Failed State?
The Political Crisis in Historical Perspective

A book party for Heyday’s
Remaking California: Reclaiming the Public Good
Edited by Jeff Lustig

Thursday, August 12
Reception at 6:00 p.m., presentation at 6:30 p.m.
678 Mission St., San Francisco, CA 94105
RSVP by August 6 to

California is in trouble. Its budgets are frozen, its schools in decline, its water system collapsing, and its roads in disrepair. A historical perspective sheds fresh light on the roots of this crisis and on ways to reclaim the public good. It helps us see ways to rebuild the world—the schools, parks, libraries, and political institutions—our children will inherit. Which specific reforms should we seek, or is it time for a constitutional convention?
Join a discussion of these topics with:
Jeff Lustig, editor of Remaking California, and contributors to the book:
Lenny Goldberg, California Tax Reform Association, on “How to Reform Proposition 13”
Osha Meserve, land use lawyer, on “The Dilemmas of Delta Water”
Free and open to the public, but RSVP required; for more informaion call (415) 357-1848, ext. 229.


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

Download PDF

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:


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.


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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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.