April 10, 2009 (Berkeley, CA) — University of California Press (UC Press) is pleased to announce it has received a major grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to fund a strategic initiative in California Studies. The $722,000 award will support the creation of a journal, working papers collection, and annual conference in this emerging field.

Creating a multi-campus research and teaching initiative in California Studies is among the University of California’s most important current priorities. “Support from the Mellon Foundation is critically important at a variety of levels,” states University of California (UC) Vice Provost Daniel Greenstein, “lending credibility to an evolving field of scholarly inquiry while at the same time enabling substantial innovation on the part of UC Press and the partners it has invited into this venture.”

The collaborative project will be led by UC Press in partnership with a number of organizations both within and outside UC, including the UC Humanities Research Institute (UCHRI), the UC California Studies Consortium (UCCSC), and the California Digital Library (CDL). The interdisciplinary, peer-reviewed journal, which will be published in both print and digital editions, will draw on perspectives from numerous disciplines, including history, literature, anthropology, sociology, politics, ecology, and the visual arts. The journal will be supported by a collection of working papers, which will allow scholars in the field to post work in progress and invite comment. In addition, an annual conference will help guide the continuing development of the field.

UCHRI Director David Theo Goldberg states, “This project is crucial to the long-term viability, stability, and expanding capacity of UC’s California Studies initiative to impact scholarship across a range of fields. Furthermore, it is instrumental to reaching citizens and policymakers outside of academia, as well as communities beyond state borders.”

Books on California and the West have formed a major part of UC Press’s editorial program for decades. In recent years California has become a vital topic of research, teaching, and policy debate. Recent trends suggest California has assumed a level of demographic and economic power that is reconfiguring the politics and economics of the United States, the Pacific region, and the world. The state’s increasingly global reach is evident in its immigrant population, which is among the most diverse anywhere.

“The relations between California and the larger world constitute subjects of compelling importance not only for scholars but for the public at large,” asserts Louis S. Warren, W. Turrentine Jackson Professor of Western U.S. History at UC Davis and a member of the UCCSC steering committee. “To my mind, there could be no better home for the new journal than UC Press, one of the nation’s leading academic publishers and one of the few in the world that has the ability to bring scholarship to a broad public audience.”

The Mellon Foundation’s grant will enable UC Press and its partners to broaden the forum for scholarly communication in California Studies, provide an interdisciplinary venue for new research findings, foster interconnections among scholars, and serve as an incubator for more extensive research and publications.

“We are deeply grateful to the Mellon Foundation for fostering scholarship in California Studies at this critical moment,” notes UC Press Director Lynne Withey. “We look forward to collaborating with our partners throughout the scholarly community to disseminate the results of the Foundation’s investment to a wide and diverse international audience.”