California Studies Association

The latest news, events, and perspectives from the CSA


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Parched: Dry Times in the Golden State — Oct 24!!

Join us next weekend  — Oct 24 — for a day of conversation and exploration into drought, water, policy, history, race, art and more! We’ll be at the University of San Francisco all day long and we hope to see you!

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PDF of schedule: CSA Drought flyerV6-1

USF campus map: usf-campus-map.PARCHED2015.RevOct21

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Parched! Coming up on Oct 24!

Join us for Parched: Dry Times in the Golden State on Saturday Oct 24 at the University of San Francisco!

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PDF with full schedule here: CSA Drought flyerV5-3

Map & directions here: usf-campus-map.PARCHED2015.pdf


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In case you missed the May 2015 CSA Newsletter…

Our May newsletter went out at the end of the month. Here’s a preview with a link to it… If you want to receive it in the future, subscribe here! The next newsletter is slated for September, just before our annual conference, which is scheduled for Oct 24-25. Click on the image below to read the whole newsletter:

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Howard Zinn Book Fair in SF — Sat. Nov 15, 2014

Many current and former California Studies Associationhoward-zinn-book-fair_final-design-o-pp2 members and friends will be participating in the Howard Zinn book Fair this weekend at Mission High School in San Francisco.

Many of the tables and workshops will focus on California history, in various ways. All are oriented around the kind of “people’s history” that Zinn popularized, and the line-up is very exciting.

The event is free and open to all, including tables and workshops from 10-5pm and an evening plenary from 5:30 onward.

Full schedule here: http://howardzinnbookfair.com/


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Richmond, CA: Big Oil attacks local politics

Democracy Now trained its lens on little Richmond California today, where progressive politics is taking a beating from Chevron. But it’s not over yet:

Screen Shot 2014-11-03 at 9.06.11 AMFrom Democracy Now: “The oil giant Chevron is being accused of attempting to buy the city government of Richmond, California. The company has spent more than $3 million to back a slate of pro-Chevron candidates for mayor and city council ahead of Tuesday’s election. According to a report in the Los Angeles Times, Chevron has paid for TV attack ads, purchased space on virtually every billboard in town,

funded a flood of mailers and financed a fake “news” website run by a Chevron employee. The move comes two years after a massive fire at Chevron’s oil refinery in Richmond sent 15,000 residents to the hospital. It was the third refinery fire since 1989 in the city. The city of Richmond responded to the latest fire by suing Chevron, accusing officials of placing profits and executive pay over public safety. We speak to one of the politicians being targeted, outgoing Mayor Gayle McLaughlin. She was elected mayor of Richmond in 2006, becoming the first Green Party official to represent a city of more than 100,000. Due to mayoral term limits, McLaughlin is now running for Richmond City Council. ….”

Read the whole story here.


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William Issel on Catholic politics in San Francisco

For a great review of Bill Issel’s new book, nose on over to Chris Carlsson’s Nowtowpian blog…

San Francisco’s much touted reputation as a bastion of liberal tolerance has an unexpected foundation in of all things, the Catholic Church! It’s a complicated tale involving the emergence of a liberal cross-class majority in favor of economic growth and individual rights that has important issel book coverroots in Catholic doctrine. By the last quarter of the 20th century the same liberalism that had prevailed as a manifestation of a “vital political center” had sown the seeds of its own demise. The dominance of Catholic morality over politicians, police, business, and labor leaders began eroding under the pressure of the post-war demographic changes in San Francisco. By the time the Soviet Union finally dissolved in 1991, liberalism had already lost its defining purpose (anti-communism combined with a capitalist-friendly regime of limited labor and human rights), while in San Francisco, the liberals had long become fused with elite business interests in their pursuit of a growth economy based on white-collar finance, real estate, medicine, tourism, and technology.

William Issel does a wonderful job of revealing and analyzing this history in his 2013 book Church and State in the City: Catholics and Politics in Twentieth-Century San Francisco (Temple University Press). Rooted in the early 20th century’s labor movement, then dominated by Irish Catholics (and to a much lesser extent Italian and Latin American Catholics), “native sons” of San Francisco’s Mission District born between 1890 and 1930 played an extraordinarily influential role in the political and social development of San Francisco up to the 1970s.

Read the rest here….