California Studies Association

The latest news, events, and perspectives from the CSA


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UC Berkeley California Studies Dinner Seminar, September 14: Steve Early, “Refinery Town: Big Oil, Big Money, and the Remaking of an American City”

On Thursday, September 14, Steve Early will discuss his recent book on the rise to power of the Richmond Progressive Alliance.  Pitted against the very deep pockets of Chevron, the city’s largest economic power and private employer, the community-based RPA won control of Richmond city government in a series of dramatic organizing campaigns and elections.  A Richmond resident, Early is a lawyer and labor activist, as well as a freelance journalist and author of four books.

The session will be from 7 to 9 p.m. at the UC Berkeley Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, 2521 Channing Way (just east of Telegraph Ave.).  Free admission and dinner.

RSVP: https://goo.gl/forms/S49ntEtM0QtKO0se2.  For information, contact Charlotte Rutty, charlotterutty@berkeley.edu

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UC Berkeley California Studies Dinner Seminar Schedule, Fall, 2017

Supported by grants from the UC Berkeley Institute for Research on Labor and Employment and the Townsend Center for the Humanities, the UCB California Studies Dinner Seminar will begin its 31st year this fall.

Fall Semester Schedule:

September 14: Steve Early, author of a new book on Richmond, “Refinery Town: Big Oil, Big Money and the Remaking of an American City”

October 19: Gary Noy, Sierra College on his recent book, “Gold Rush Stories: Tales of Dreamers, Schemers, Bigots, and Rogues”

November 16: James Zarsadiaz, University of San Francisco, “Asian American Settlements and Suburban Development in Post-World War II Los Angeles”

Although the spring schedule is not complete, it will include Rachel Brahinsky speaking on her new People’s Guide to the Bay Area and Sandra Nichols discussing her student-created Napa Valley Latino History project.

All seminar sessions are 7-9:15 p.m. at the UCB Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, 2521 Channing Way, Berkeley.  Free admission and dinner.

RSVP: Charlotte Rutty at charlotterutty@berkeley.edu


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UC Berkeley California Studies Dinner Seminar, May 17, 2017: Bill Issel, “The 1968 San Francisco State Student Strike”

Dr. William Issel, San Francisco State emeritus Professor of History, will discuss the 1968 student strike, one of the seminal events of the sixties,  at the final seminar session of the academic year on Wednesday May 17.  Issel, author of many works on San Francisco political history, has studied the 1968 strike as both a scholar and a contemporary observer of the event.  Among other topics, he will discuss the role played by San Francisco’s Catholic hierarchy in ending the walkout.

We will also be celebrating the 35th anniversary of the California Studies Seminar on May 17.  Seminar founder Glenna Matthews will be on hand to discuss the program’s beginnings and heritage.  There are even unconfirmed rumors of a birthday cake.  The session will be at the UCB Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, 2521 Channing Way (just east of Telegraph Ave.) from 7-9:15 p.m.  Free admission and dinner.  RSVP Margaret Olney at margaret_olney@berkeley.edu


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U.C. Berkeley California Studies Dinner Seminar, March 21, 2017: Michael C. Healy, “BART The Dramatic History of the Bay Area Rapid Transit System”

Mike Healy will discuss his new book, an insider’s history of BART, on Tuesday, March 21 from 7 to 9:15 p.m.  A graduate of USC and former screen and radio writer and newspaper editor, Healy served as BART’s media and marketing director from 1971, ten months before trains began running,  until his retirement in 2005.  His book delves into Bay Area regional politics, culture,  and economic development as it seeks to describe and explain the evolution of BART.

The session will be at the UCB Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, 2521 Channing Way (just east of Telegraph Avenue).  Free dinner and admission.  RSVP Margaret Olney at margaret_olney@berkeley.edu


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U.C Berkeley California Studies Dinner Seminar: Feb. 16, 2017 Ignacio Ornelas Rodriguez and Daniel Ruanova, “The Bracero Legacy Project”

Ignacio Ornelas Rodriguez and Daniel Ruanova discuss their multi-disciplinary project on Thursday, February 16, from 7 to 9:15 p.m.  Ornelas Rodriguez is on the staff of the Special Collections Department of the Stanford University Library and is a Ph.D. candidate in history at UC Santa Cruz.  Ruanova is an artist who lives and works in Tijuana and is the co-owner of the TJ in China ProjectSpace in that city.  Their project explores and preserves the heritage of the Bracero Program (1942-64), not only the pain and oppression, but also the hard work and and quest for social and economic mobility of the braceros themselves.

The session will be at the UCB Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, 2521 Channing Way (just east of Telegraph Ave.)  Free dinner and admission.

RSVP: Margaret Olney, margaret_olney @berkeley.edu


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UC Berkeley California Studies Dinner Seminar, January 19, 2017: Kathryn Olmsted “Right Out of California, the 1930s and the Big Business Roots of Modern Conservatism”

Kathryn Olmsted will discuss her recent book, “Right Out of California” on Thursday, January 19 from 7 to 9:15 p.m.  Dr. Olmsted is Chair of the History Department at UC Davis and author of several books on American history.  Her latest work deals with the social and economic class conflicts in rural California in the 1930s and discusses the lessons learned by corporate conservatives during that decade that have been put into practice in our own times.

The session will be at the UCB Institute of Research on Labor and Employment, 2521 Channing Way (just east of Telegraph Ave.).  Free dinner and admission.

Contact: Margaret Olney, margaret_olney@berkeley.edu


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UC Berkeley California Studies Dinner Seminar, November 17: Ivy Anderson and Devon Angus, “Alice: Memoirs of a Barbary Coast Prostitute”

Ivy Anderson and Devon Angus will discuss their new book, which won the California Historical Society award for best new manuscript of 2015, on Thursday, November 17 from 7-9:15 p.m.  The book, published by Heyday, puts a San Francisco prostitute’s own story into the context of the city’s broad social and political history, as well as the history of progressive moral reform in early twentieth century U.S.  Crusading editor Fremont Older looms large in the narrative.  Ivy Anderson is a San Francisco writer focusing on the environment and radical history, and Devon Angus is an artist, activist, and historian, and is currently a graduate student in history at San Francisco State.

The program will be at the UCB Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, 2521 Channing Way (just east of Telegraph Ave.).  Free admission and dinner.

Contact Margaret Olney, margaret_olney@berkeley.edu.