Tune in: New Playlist for The Tide Was Always High and Peeks Inside the Book

Music and musicians from Latin America are inextricable from the development of Los Angeles as a modern musical city. This volume listens for the musical urbanism of Los Angeles through the ear of Latin America. It makes the argument that the musical life of this dispersed and dynamic metropolis is shaped by immigrant musicians and migrating, cross-border musical cultures that not only have determined LA’s “harmonies of scenery,” but have been active participants in the making of the city’s modern aesthetics and modern industries.—Josh Kun, in his introduction to The Tide Was Always High

Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA continues throughout Los Angeles, and for the unprecedented Getty-led collaboration, MacArthur Fellow and cultural historian Josh Kun curated a multi-part “musical exhibition” that explore the musical networks between Los Angeles and various Latin American communities and cultures. Tune in to his latest Musical Intervention (details at the bottom of the page), plus a new curated playlist.

To deepen the experience of these events, The Tide Was Always High: The Music of Latin America in Los Angeles accompanies the series with essays, interviews, and analysis from leading academics, artists, journalists on the iconic Latin American musicians who shaped Los Angeles—and America: Carmen Miranda, Esquivel, Yma Sumac, Agustín Lara, Pérez Prado, Cannonball Adderley, Eva Quintanar, Paulinho da Costa, Lalo Schifrin, Earth, Wind & Fire, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Ninón Sevilla, João Donato, Eddie Cano, Abraham Laboriel Sr, Elisabeth Waldo, David Axelrod, María Conesa, Arsenio Rodríguez, Justo Almario, Tito Rodríguez, Flora Purim, Banda Nueva Dinastía de Zoochila, Roy Ayers, Alex Acuña, Airto Moreira, Sergio Mendes, Luis Conte.

From Hollywood film sets to recording studios, from vaudeville theaters to Sunset Strip nightclubs, the book explores the deep connections between Los Angeles and Latin America, complete with lush imagery and historical photos. Take a peek inside at some of the vibrant vintage album covers:

From the emergence of Afro-Cuban jazz to the influence of Brazilian samba and bossa nova…
… to the cha cha cha rhythms of Cuban cha cha cha, Hollywood cha cha cha, rock and roll cha cha cha, and R&B cha cha cha…
…to the Hollywood scores arranged by the most influential, post-war, Latin American composer to the King of the Mambo…
… and the King of Space Age Pop…
…to ethnomusicology and everyone and sound in between, “The Tide Was Always High” shows how the music of Latin America has impacted Los Angeles and American culture for decades.

Musical Interventions
All events listed at tidewasalwayshigh.com

November 4, 2017: Guillermo Galindo’s Human Nature: Sonic Botany—The Huntington, Rose Hills Garden Court

Experimental composer, sonic architect, and performance artist Guillermo Galindo presents a work inspired by “Visual Voyages.”  Free; no reservations required.

UC Press is thrilled to publish three books in conjunction with PST: LA/LA. Learn more here.


Tyina Steptoe Wins the 2017 WHA W. Turrentine-Jackson Award

We’re pleased to announce that Tyina Steptoe, author of Houston Bound: Culture and Color in a Jim Crow City is the winner of the 2017 Western History Association W. Turrentine-Jackson Award for Best First Book on the History of the American West.

The W. Turrentine-Jackson Award, carrying a $1,000 stipend, is presented to a beginning professional historian for a first book on any aspect of the history of the American West. Presses may submit more than one book. Tyina Steptoe will be awarded this prize at the Western History Association’s annual conference in San Diego, CA.

“Tyina Steptoe pushes the historical and theoretical boundaries of Borderlands and Black Studies to produce a magnificent relational history of Blacks, Creoles, whites, and Mexicans in Houston.  The stories she uncovers remind us of the indelible historical and cultural links between these communities. Houston Bound will dramatically expand how we think about the history of race, politics, and popular culture in Houston and, more broadly, the confederate South.”
—Gaye Theresa Johnson, Associate Professor of Chicana/o Studies and Black Studies, University of California—Los Angeles.

Hear more about Houston Bound from Tyina Steptoe on this episode of Jacobin’s The Dig podcast.

Many congratulations to Prof. Steptoe!


Save 40% on New & Notable Western History Titles

The 2017 Western History Association convenes November 1-4 in San Diego, CA, and WHA members can save 40% on UC Press titles when they visit us at booth #28.

Get an early look at just some of the titles we’ll have on view by visiting our Western History Association landing page—and take advantage of the conference discount early. Browse new and forthcoming UC Press titles in the field of Western History, and save.


Transforming Shattered Grounds into New Beginnings

by Christina Zanfagna, author of Holy Hip Hop in the City of Angels

At UC Press, open access—the free, immediate, unrestricted, online access to peer-reviewed research and scholarly work—is central to our mission. In celebration of 2017 International Open Access Week (October 23-29), we are highlighting open access publishing initiatives at UC Press, including our Collabra and Luminos publishing programs. This year’s OA Week theme “Open in order to . . . ” is an invitation to answer the question of what concrete benefits can be realized by making scholarly publications openly available. Follow the full blog series here#OAWeek #OpenInOrderTo


The United States has witnessed an onslaught of catastrophic upheavals of both nature and culture in the second half of 2017—from the deadly Charlottesville, VA attack on protesters at a “Unite the Right” rally to the series of torrential hurricanes sweeping through the Gulf Coast and Caribbean to the mass shooting that killed 58 people at a concert in Las Vegas, CA. And now, as I write this, Northern California still smolders from deadly wildfires that have reduced whole neighborhoods to piles of ash and claimed more than forty lives.

How can we make sense of this level of loss and tragedy? Where can we find the imagination, strength, and beauty to transform these shattered grounds into new beginnings?

Folks in Southern California—an area that is no stranger to these kinds of disastrous environmental and social eruptions—were faced with these same questions in the 1990s after four major earthquakes rattled through the Southland. The Joshua Tree earthquake (M6.1), Landers earthquake (M7.3), and Big Bear (M6.5) earthquake, which all struck in 1992, and the Northridge earthquake of 1994 (M6.7), in addition to the mass flooding and firestorms that followed, caused over $43 billion of damage. 1992 also witnessed the rioting, looting, and arson that exploded in the wake of the Rodney King beating by five LAPD officers and their subsequent acquittal by a mainly white jury. Out of the ashes of these costly and calamitous events, Angelenos forged new modes of creativity and connection: the Bloods and the Crips brokered a historic gang truce in south L.A., community churches were erected in place of Western Surplus gun stores, and a subset of brown and black youth decided to share their struggles and aspirations through holy hip hop—sacred rhymes over hip hop beats that delivered wholeness, holiness, and hope.

These are the L.A. stories and soundings that permeate my book, Holy Hip Hop in the City in the Angels. They have a lot to teach us about the far-reaching effects of disaster as well as the power of creative practices of renewal. Sometimes music and art are the only way to make sense of such chaotic and widespread trauma. While the losses are real and must be meaningfully grieved, destruction also creates the conditions of possibility for transformations of all kinds. New ideas, expressions, and structures must emerge, even as they are necessarily grounded in the broken earth from which they spring forth. What artful spark will ignite the efforts to reimagine and rebuild in such turbulent times?


Christina Zanfagna is Associate Professor of Ethnomusicology and Ethnic Studies at Santa Clara University.

Holy Hip Hop in the City in the Angels is published in University of California Press’s Luminos open access book program. Click here to download a free digital copy of the book.

Sign up for the Luminos eNewsletter to learn more about future Luminos publications and other Luminos news.


World Architecture Day 2017: Climate Change Action

 

The theme for this year’s World Day of Architecture, which is is celebrated annually on the first Monday of October, is “Climate Change Action!” Noting that rapid urbanization and building developments are increasing our fuel energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, the International Union of Architects (UIA) calls upon architects and architecture organizations to mobilize efforts to respond to the Paris Climate Change Agreement initiatives and has set aside today to celebrate achievements and visions of architecture that is responsible, innovative, and enriching for communities. An early example of these efforts is Sacramento’s Bateson Building, considered the first large-scale building to embody what we now call sustainable architecture. The Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians recently took a look at the history of the building:

 

In Sacramento, the capital of California, a new midtown government administration building, designated “Site 1-A” during design and construction from 1977 to 1981, was named at its opening ceremony for anthropologist and cyberneticist Gregory Bateson. It was commissioned following the narrow 1975 electoral victory of the thirty-six-year-old Governor Jerry Brown, and the building is acknowledged as “the first large-scale building to embody what we now call sustainable architecture.” It was referred to as “climate modulating” at the time, and the very word sustainable acquired early currency among its designers during construction. It was intended as a showcase for ecological design, integrated into what we might now describe as policies of “resilience,” demonstrating national leadership in an America newly attentive, since President Richard Nixon’s 1970 signing of the National Environmental Policy Act, to the nation-building potential of the environment. Yet the building’s place in history remains unclear. Why? Continue reading.

 

 


A Look at California Mexicana—An Upcoming Exhibition & Catalogue

Part of the Getty Foundation’s Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA initiative, the California Mexicana: Missions to Murals, 1820–1930 exhibition opens on October 15th at the Laguna Art Museum.

Artistic and cultural exchange between California and Mexico has flourished since the time when California was part of the United States of Mexico. The exhibition highlights this vital aspect of the state’s history through a panorama of works by artists on both sides of the border, from scenes of mission and rancho life through images of romantic Old California, to the emergence of a cross-border modern art scene.

Cover image is a detail of La Plaza de Toros: Sunday Morning in Monterey, 1874, by Charles Christian Nahl.

Edited by curator Katherine Manthore, the beautifully illustrated catalogue addresses two key areas of inquiry: how Mexico became California, and how the visual arts reflected the shifting identity that grew out of that transformation.

Grizzly Bear of California, c. 1854, Charles Christian Nahl, Watercolor over graphite sketch, 7 ½ x 11 inches, City of Monterey Art Collection, gift from Mrs. Augusta Nahl Allen
Translation from the Maya, 1940, Dorr Bothwell, Oil on Celotex, 23 x 19 inches, Laguna Art Museum Collection Museum purchase with funds provided through prior gift of Lois Outerbridge
Fruit of the Vine, 1926, Norman Rockwell, Oil on canvas, 31 x 27 inches, Collection of the Sun-Maid Growers of California; on long-term loan to Norman Rockwell Museum, Stockbridge, Massachusetts
San Gabriel Mission, Ferdinand Deppe, Oil on canvas, c. 1832, 27 x 37 inches, Laguna Art Museum Collection, Gift of Nancy Dustin Wall Moure

As evidenced by the selected images above, the catalogue includes diverse works by a wide array of artists including Frida Kahlo, Juan Correa, David Alfaro Siqueiros, José María Velasco, Tina Modotti, Edward Weston, Maxine Albro, Thomas Moran, unknown artists, and many others, making it both a pleasure and an adventure to read.


Variants and Errors in Old Editions of Island of the Blue Dolphins

By Sara L. Schwebel, editor of Island of the Blue Dolphins: The Complete Reader’s Edition

Island of the Blue Dolphins: The Complete Reader’s Edition

While preparing Island of the Blue Dolphins: The Complete Reader’s Edition, I was shocked to learn how significantly the text of individual copies of Scott O’Dell’s Newbery-winning novel differed. Island of the Blue Dolphins is not Sister Carrie, with its complicated publication history, or Walden, famous for its textual variants. It is a twentieth-century Newbery winner published with numerous printing but just three editions: the first (1960), a thirtieth anniversary edition (1990), and a fiftieth anniversary edition (2010). Given the availability of late twentieth-century computer software, I had thought the editions would be identical.

How wrong I was.

Houghton Mifflin first sold the paperback rights to Island of the Blue Dolphins in 1971, and this opened the floodgates to variants in U.S. editions. Dell retyped the first edition, and in doing so inserted a series of variants. The first printing of the first Dell paperback, for example, introduced 6 variants in punctuation, omitted one word (the pronoun “I,” in chapter 8), and made seven printing errors, ranging from a lower case “i” that is missing its dot to a lower case “m” that is only half printed.

In some but not all reprintings of this Dell paperback, errors were corrected. For example, the Laurel-Leaf Historical Fiction imprint published in 1978 corrects two missing periods and a missing comma, as well as the missing pronoun “I;” however, it inserts a different error (“though” for “thought,” in chapter 8). The 1987 Yearling paperback is identical to the 1971 Dell first printing with one exception: it corrects a missing open quotation mark in chapter 8. But bafflingly, the 1999 Newbery-Yearling imprint reverts to the original 1971 Dell paperback: no corrections are made at all. These variants, while slightly annoying, are largely insignificant. And this is where things stood until 1990.

Houghton Mifflin celebrated Island of the Blue Dolphins’ thirtieth birthday by issuing a gift edition of the book illustrated by Ted Lewin. This cloth edition made a series of welcome corrections to Houghton Mifflin’s first edition; most of these corrects are inconsequential (commas, subjunctive verbs, etc.), but three are interesting and substantive.

Continue reading “Variants and Errors in Old Editions of Island of the Blue Dolphins


For the Rights of Laborers Worldwide: Recommended May Day & International Workers’ Day Reading

Though many in the Northern Hemisphere are more familiar with the traditional celebrations of the springtime season, people around the world also gather today to recognize the working class. May Day, sharing a date with International Workers’ Day and chosen to commemorate the 1886 Chicago Haymarket affair, serves to commemorate the fight for representation and rights for laborers worldwide — as well as the continuing efforts and struggle of the labor movement, shown by organized demonstrators and marchers every May 1st.

We invite you to peruse our recommended reading list that appears below in honor of May Day and the international labor movement.

Precarious Creativity: Global Media, Local Labor and Voices of Labor: Creativity, Craft, and Conflict in Global Hollywood
Edited by Michael Curtin and Kevin Sanson

Free ebook versions of these titles are available through Luminos, University of California Press’s open access publishing program. Visit www.luminosoa.org to learn more.

Precarious Creativity examines the seismic changes confronting media workers in an age of globalization and corporate conglomeration. This pathbreaking anthology peeks behind the hype and supposed glamor of screen media industries to reveal the intensifying pressures and challenges confronting actors, editors, electricians, and others. With contributions from such leading scholars as John Caldwell, Vicki Mayer, Herman Gray, and Tejaswini Ganti, Precarious Creativity offers timely critiques of media globalization while also intervening in broader debates about labor, creativity, and precarity.

“Wide-ranging, diverse, and authoritative. . . this book succeeds in building a balanced and comprehensive portrayal of the reshaping of the contours of work and industry organization under the twin circumstances of digital disruption and a globalizing media system.” —Tom O’Regan, Professor of Media and Cultural Studies, The University of Queensland

Rather than offer publicity-friendly anecdotes by marquee celebrities, Voices of Labor presents off-screen observations about the everyday realities of Global Hollywood. Ranging across job categories—from showrunner to make-up artist to location manager—this collection features voices of labor from Los Angeles, Atlanta, Prague, and Vancouver. Together they show how seemingly abstract concepts like conglomeration, financialization, and globalization are crucial tools for understanding contemporary Hollywood and for reflecting more generally on changes and challenges in the screen media workplace and our culture at large.

“By listening carefully to their interlocutors, Michael Curtin and Kevin Sanson craft a powerful elegy for organized labor, demonstrating how critical theory is sung to the everyday rhythms of the workplace.” —Vicki Mayer, author of Almost Hollywood, Nearly New Orleans: The Lure of the Local Film Economy


Almost Hollywood, Nearly New Orleans: The Lure of the Local Film Economy

By Vicki Mayer

A free ebook version of this title is available through Luminos, University of California Press’s open access publishing program. 

Early in the twenty-first century, Louisiana, one of the poorest states in the United States, redirected millions in tax dollars from the public coffers in an effort to become the top location site globally for the production of Hollywood films and television series. Why would lawmakers support such a policy? Why would citizens accept the policy’s uncomfortable effects on their economy and culture? Almost Hollywood, Nearly New Orleans addresses these questions through a study of the local and everyday experiences of the film economy in New Orleans, Louisiana—a city that has twice pursued the goal of becoming a movie production capital. From the silent era to today’s Hollywood South, Vicki Mayer explains that the aura of a film economy is inseparable from a prevailing sense of home, even as it changes that place irrevocably.

“A visionary in the study of cultural labor, economy, and geography, Mayer is that rare writer who combines exquisite storytelling with rigorous scholarship. This is an essential contribution to film and media studies, and an urgent history lesson for policy makers.”—Melissa Gregg, author of Work’s Intimacy

The New Food Activism: Opposition, Cooperation, and Collective Action
Edited by Alison Alkon and Julie Guthman

The New Food Activism explores how food activism can be pushed toward deeper and more complex engagement with social, racial, and economic justice and toward advocating for broader and more transformational shifts in the food system. Topics examined include struggles against pesticides and GMOs, efforts to improve workers’ pay and conditions throughout the food system, and ways to push food activism beyond its typical reliance on individualism, consumerism, and private property. The authors challenge and advance existing discourse on consumer trends, food movements, and the intersection of food with racial and economic inequalities.

The New Food Activism is one of the most important books on food this century. It is required, inspiring, and challenging reading for every student of food, every ‘foodie,’ as well as every grower, worker, and eater in today’s food system. . . groundbreaking.” —Seth Holmes, author of Fresh Fruit, Broken Bodies: Migrant Farmworkers in the United States

Precarious Claims: The Promise and Failure of Workplace Protections in the United States
By Shannon Gleeson

A free ebook version of this title is available through Luminos, University of California Press’s open access publishing program.

Precarious Claims tells the human story behind the bureaucratic process of fighting for justice in the U.S. workplace. How and why do vulnerable workers in low-wage industries, despite enormous barriers, come forward to seek justice, and what happens once they do? Based on extensive fieldwork in Northern California, Gleeson investigates the array of gatekeepers with whom workers must negotiate in the labor standards enforcement bureaucracy and, ultimately, the limited reach of formal legal protections. The author also tracks how workplace injustices—and the arduous process of contesting them—carry long-term effects on their everyday lives. Workers sometimes win, but their chances are precarious at best.

“Exceptional . . . Gleeson masterfully demonstrates how institutional inequality weakens employment rights through workplace power imbalances, bureaucratic procedures for claiming rights, and broader shifts toward precarious work in the global economy. A must read.” —Catherine Albiston, Professor of Law and Sociology, University of California Berkeley

 
Invisible Labor: Hidden Work in the Contemporary World
Edited by Marion Crain, Winifred Poster, and Miriam Cherry

Across the world, workers labor without pay for the benefit of profitable businesses—and it’s legal. Labor trends like outsourcing and technology hide some workers, and branding and employer mandates erase others. Invisible workers who remain under-protected by wage laws include retail workers who function as walking billboards and take payment in clothing discounts or prestige; waitstaff at “breastaurants” who conform their bodies to a business model; and inventory stockers at grocery stores who go hungry to complete their shifts. Invisible Labor gathers essays by prominent sociologists and legal scholars to illuminate how and why such labor has been hidden from view.

“A terrific collection . . . Resonating with our everyday experiences of life, this is a lively and thought-provoking volume.” —Miriam Glucksmann, Emeritus Professor of Sociology, University of Essex 

The Last Great Strike: Little Steel, the CIO, and the Struggle for Labor Rights in New Deal America
By Ahmed White

In May 1937, seventy thousand workers walked off their jobs at four large steel companies known collectively as “Little Steel.” At least sixteen died and hundreds more were injured before the strike ended in failure. The violence and brutality of the Little Steel Strike became legendary. In many ways it was the last great strike in modern America. Traditionally the Little Steel Strike has been understood as a modest setback for steel workers, one that actually confirmed the potency of New Deal reforms and did little to impede the progress of the labor movement. However, The Last Great Strike tells a different story about the conflict and its significance for unions and labor rights. More than any other strike, it laid bare the contradictions of the industrial labor movement, the resilience of corporate power, and the limits of New Deal liberalism at a crucial time in American history.

The Last Great Strike is a strong piece of scholarship, rich with archival discoveries. Compelling and accessible . . . an important contribution to our understanding of U.S. labor history, union organizing, and class conflict.”—Monthly Review

The Filth of Progress: Immigrants, Americans, and the Building of Canals and Railroads in the West
By Ryan Dearinger

In the summer of 1968 Peter Matthiessen met Cesar Chavez for the first time. They were the same age: forty-one. Matthiessen lived in New York City, while Chavez lived in the Central Valley farm town of Delano, where the grape strike was unfolding. This book is Matthiessen’s panoramic yet finely detailed account of the three years he spent working and traveling with Chavez, including to Sal Si Puedes, the San Jose barrio where Chavez began his organizing.

“The Filth of Progress persuasively outlines the dark underbelly of the much-celebrated ‘progress’ that transportation improvements . . . compact, vividly written.” —Thomas G. Andrews, Associate Professor of History at the University of Colorado and author of Killing for Coal: America’s Deadliest Labor War and Coyote Valley: Deep History in the High Rockies

Labor and the Locavore: The Making of a Comprehensive Food Ethic
by Margaret Gray

Labor and the Locavore focuses on one of the most vibrant local food economies in the country, the Hudson Valley that supplies New York restaurants and farmers markets. Based on more than a decade’s in-depth interviews with workers, farmers, and others, Gray’s examination clearly shows how the currency of agrarian values serves to mask the labor concerns of an already hidden workforce. She also explores the historical roots of farmworkers’ predicaments and examines the ethnic shift from Black to Latino workers. With an analysis that can be applied to local food concerns around the country, this book challenges the reader to consider how the mentality of the alternative food movements implies a comprehensive food ethic that addresses workers’ concerns.

Labor and the Locavore is a timely and important antidote to much of today’s popular food writing on eating local. . . Margaret Gray shows that labor abuses are not unique to industrial scale agriculture—or to California.” —Julie Guthman, author of Weighing In: Obesity, Food Justice, and the Limits of Capitalism

Agrarian Dreams: The Paradox of Organic Farming in California
by Julie Guthman

In this groundbreaking study of organic farming, Julie Guthman challenges accepted wisdom about organic food and agriculture in the Golden State. Many continue to believe that small-scale organic farming is the answer to our environmental and health problems, but Guthman refutes popular portrayals that pit “small organic” against “big organic” and offers an alternative analysis that underscores the limits of an organic label as a pathway to transforming agriculture.

“A meticulous academic study of the institutional dynamics of [California’s] organic agriculture.”—Steven Shapin, New Yorker

 

Fresh Fruit, Broken Bodies: Migrant Farmworkers in the United States, With a Foreword by Philippe Bourgois
By Seth Holmes

Fresh Fruit, Broken Bodies provides an intimate examination of the everyday lives and suffering of Mexican migrants in our contemporary food system. An anthropologist and MD in the mold of Paul Farmer and Didier Fassin, Holmes shows how market forces, anti-immigrant sentiment, and racism undermine health and health care. Holmes’s material is visceral and powerful. He trekked with his companions illegally through the desert into Arizona and was jailed with them before they were deported. He lived with indigenous families in the mountains of Oaxaca and in farm labor camps in the U.S., planted and harvested corn, picked strawberries, and accompanied sick workers to clinics and hospitals. This “embodied anthropology” deepens our theoretical understanding of the ways in which social inequalities and suffering come to be perceived as normal and natural in society and in health care.

All of the book award money and royalties from the sales of this book have been donated to farm worker unions, farm worker organizations and farm worker projects in consultation with farm workers who appear in the book.

“By giving voice to silenced Mexican migrant laborers, Dr. Holmes exposes the links among suffering, the inequalities related to the structural violence of global trade which compel migration, and the symbolic violence of stereotypes and prejudices that normalize racism.” —Marilyn Gates New York Journal of Books


For more UC Press publishing relating to farmworkers, labor activism, and California history, click through to our recently posted Cesar Chavez Reading List.


Berkeley Has NOT Violated Ann Coulter’s Free Speech Rights

.

by Robert Cohen, 

Mario Savio leading a rally on the steps of Sproul Hall in 1966 (Photo by Mjolvas/Creative Commons)

Anyone familiar with Berkeley’s Free Speech Movement of 1964 knows what a real free speech movement looks like. And the current Ann Coulter/College Republican free speech charade at Berkeley bears no resemblance to such a movement.

In the free speech controversy of 1964 the UC Berkeley administration closed down the traditional free speech area just outside the campus’s south entrance. This suppression generated mass protest by a wide spectrum of student groups from the Young Socialist alliance to Goldwater Republicans. It took months of negotiations, sit-ins, a semester full of non-violent demonstrations, the largest mass arrests in California history, and the most intensive organizing by thousands of students to win over the faculty to the Free Speech Movement’s central demand – affirmed in a landslide vote by the Berkeley Academic Senate – in its December 8, 1964 resolutions “that the content of speech or advocacy should not be restricted by the University.” In other words, the Berkeley administration, headed by Chancellor Edward W. Strong, had to be forced by a broad student movement and a majority of its voting faculty to open the campus to free speech and political advocacy.

The contrast between the Strong administration of 1964 and today’s UC Berkeley administration, headed by Chancellor Nicholas B. Dirks, could not be starker. When a small group of students back in 2014 demanded that UC disinvite comedian Bill Maher from speaking at its graduation ceremony on the grounds that Maher’s humor was Islamophobic, Dirks invoked Berkeley’s free speech tradition and insisted that Maher be allowed to speak – which he was. When earlier this semester student activists and an open letter from some 100 faculty urged him to ban the bigoted alt right speaker Milo Yiannopoulos, Dirks refused to do so, again standing up for free speech. It was only after an ugly riot and arson by non-student anarchists on the night of the Yiannopoulos talk (leaving more than $100,000 in property damage on the Berkeley campus) that the chancellor reluctantly canceled the talk in the interests of public safety.

Fearing a recurrence of the Yiannopoulos violence, the Berkeley administration sought to postpone Coulter’s speech, and in the end asked that in the interest of security it be delayed a week. The administration cited threats it had received against Coulter, which is not surprising given that she is an intemperate nativist. Coulter and her College Republican and Young American Foundation sponsors responded with claims that the administration was trying to stifle conservative speech and that it had caved in to Berkeley’s “rabid off-campus mob” in doing so.

There are very few students on the Berkeley campus who see this week’s delay of the Coulter speech on public safety grounds as a free speech violation. That’s why the lawsuit the College Republicans filed this week against the UC administration had no Berkeley student sponsors other than the College Republicans. Think of the contrast with 1964, when there was a genuine free speech violation and a mass free speech movement; it mobilized virtually every Berkeley student group from left to right and even created a new organization of students, the independents, so that those who had been unaffiliated with any political group could be a part of the Free Speech Movement. In 1964 thousands of Berkeley students marched and hundreds engaged in civil disobedience when free speech was genuinely under threat. Not so today.

No, this is not a real free speech movement at Berkeley today, and that is because there has been no free speech violation by the UC administration. What the Coulter affair really amounts to is a “time, place, and manner” quibble. The settlement of the 1964 Free Speech Movement, as embodied in the December 8 resolutions, included a provision authorizing the university to impose reasonable regulations on the “time, place, and manner of political activity” on campus so that such activity does not interfere with “the normal functions of the university.” The administration has used this “time place and manner” authority in the face of the threats it received, acting on the belief that the time and place for the Coulter talk that would not end in violence and disrupt the normal functions of the university was in early May at a more secure location.

Whether out of a desire for free publicity, concern about her $20,00 speakers fee, or a desire to bash UC’s liberal administration and the Berkeley left, Coulter presented herself as a free speech martyr, and in this she has been joined by her College Republican sponsors. But there has never been a mass “time, place, and manner” movement at Berkeley. And judging by the collective yawn with which the campus has reacted to Coulter’s posturing and the College Republicans’ lawsuit, there is not about to be one.

________________________________________________________________________________________________

Robert Cohen is a professor of history and social studies in NYU’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development. He is an affiliated member of NYU’s History Department. His historical scholarship focuses on politics, higher education, and social protest in twentieth-century America. His social studies work links middle and high school teachers with the recent advances in historical scholarship, and develops curriculum aimed at teaching their students to explore history as a critical discipline – and one that is characterized by intense and exciting debate.


Who Was the Lone Woman of San Nicolas Island?

by Sara L. Schwebel, editor of Island of the Blue Dolphins: The Complete Reader’s Edition

This guest post is published in conjunction with the airing of the documentary series West of the West: Tales from California’s Channel Islands, directed by Peter S. Seaman and Brent Sumner and produced by Sam Tyler; check here for your local listings.


When the producer, directors, and film crew pulled into the winding driveway of Stoneapple Farm in Julian, California, their first remark was, “Well, this is different.” For three years, the team had been filming West of the West, a sweeping documentary about the eight islands situated just beyond the California coastline—and the continental United States’ border. As you might expect when you’re producing a film set on the “Galapagos Islands of North America,” you have some pretty spectacular backdrops. And here they were, inland, in a tiny Gold Rush town.

It was Island of the Blue Dolphins, a children’s book, that brought them here.

The California Channel Islands are known for their spectacular vistas, pristine shorelines, and startling biodiversity. Located close to the mainland, they nonetheless feel a world apart. Intense conservation efforts help to keep it that way: five of the islands are protected as part of the Channel Islands National Park and a fifth is managed by the Nature Conservancy.

But West of the West isn’t telling a story of the islands’ flora and fauna. Instead, it is interested in the human history of the Channel Islands. And there is a lot of it. The island chain is the site of the first human habitation in North America, as many as thirteen thousand years ago.

Amidst this long history, one story has fascinated the public for centuries. It unfolds on the most remote of the islands, San Nicolas. About two hundred years ago, the Channel Islands attracted the attention of maritime fur hunters enraptured by the silky sheen of otter fur. Their drive for profit profoundly disrupted indigenous life on San Nicolas Island, and after a violent clash between hunters and Natives in 1814, the surviving Nicoleños were taken to the mainland by a Mexican ship, in 1835. But one woman was left behind.

For eighteen years.

René L. Vellanoweth at the mouth of the cave the Lone Woman is thought to have lived in, 2012. (Photograph by Steven J. Schwartz)

This Nicoleña became a news sensation, with journalists calling her a “female Crusoe” in newspapers printed across the nation and throughout the English-speaking world. Later, anthropologists would refer to her as the Lone Woman of San Nicolas Island. Today, this Lone Woman is best known as Karana, the protagonist of Scott O’Dell’s Island of the Blue Dolphins.

Karana’s story was composed in Julian, a 7.8 square-mile Census Designated Place in San Diego County. Population: 1,500. In a quirky stone cottage equipped with a wood-burning stove and shelves upon shelves of California and western history books, the struggling writer Scott O’Dell (1898-1989) thought back to his childhood days in San Pedro, when he could look across the water and spy the Channel Islands. He had undoubtedly heard the tale of the Lone Woman as a boy growing up in and around Los Angeles: everyone had. Moreover, a famous account of the Lone Woman’s life—written by journalist Emma Hardacre, for Scribner’s Monthly—was republished in 1950, just a few years before O’Dell began to put pen to paper, producing one of the bestselling children’s books of our time.

West of the West’s film crew set up cameras in Stoneapple’s Great Room to capture the story of O’Dell and his wife Dorsa retreating to Julian in a desperate attempt to overcome Scott’s writer’s block. It was a last-ditch effort that worked spectacularly well when O’Dell chose the Lone Woman and San Nicolas Island as his subjects.

As I discovered in researching and writing Island of the Blue Dolphins: The Complete Reader’s Edition, the story of Scott O’Dell’s years at Stoneapple Farm have long been lost to researchers because soon after his book was published, Scott and his wife separated. Dorsa remained in the house—which contains an assortment of Scott’s books, literary awards, manuscript drafts, and ephemera—until she died in 2008. Today, Stoneapple Farm operates as a VRBO writers’ cottage, and anyone who stays there is treated to Julian, a town where everyone has a story to tell about Scott, Dorsa, and Island of the Blue Dolphins.


Scott O’Dell was the author of numerous books for children and adults. He received the Hans Christian Andersen Award in 1972.

Sara L. Schwebel is Associate Professor of English at the University of South Carolina, author of Child-Sized History: Fictions of the Past in U.S. Classrooms, and editor of the Lone Woman and Last Indians digital archive.