California has had its share of booms, from the Gold Rush to the Silicon Valley technology revolution.
A new one hits newsstands this week: Boom: A Journal of California, edited by UC Davis professors Carolyn de la Peña and Louis Warren.
Published by the University of California Press and supported with a $722,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the general-interest magazine aims to create a dialogue about the most vital issues of our time, in California and beyond.
Its launch will be celebrated Thursday at UCD and Friday at the Oakland Museum of California.
“People often ask what ‘Boom’ means,” said de la Peña, professor of American studies and director of the UCD Humanities Institute. “Not only does it evoke the sound of quick prosperity and quicker decline — something we know all too well in this state. It’s also, to me, a reminder of what we’re after: getting important ideas in motion from scholars and journalists, while they can still make a difference.”
Boom will provide a critical forum for exploring California’s many challenges and the remarkable achievements of its people, said Warren, the W. Turrentine Jackson professor of Western U.S. history at UC Davis.
“California has become an unprecedented cultural, economic and political force both throughout the United States and abroad,” Warren said. “And yet, no journal has explored how California became what it is and where we might be going. We’re bringing together scholars, writers, artists, photographers, and activists to fill that gap.”
The magazine is already generating a buzz.
“Somebody say amen! Or maybe Eureka!” Los Angeles Times columnist Patt Morrison wrote in a promotional blurb. “California, our fabulous, frustrating and endlessly fascinating boom-and-bust state, is way overdue for a journal like Boom, explaining ourselves to ourselves.”
Said Leif Wellington Haase, a senior fellow at the New America Foundation: “Boom is an elixir for all of those who think that California’s best days are yet to come.”
In addition to co-editors de la Peña and Warren, three of the magazine’s editorial board members hail from UCD: Miroslava Chávez-Garcia, an associate professor of Chicana/o studies; Julie Sze, an associate professor of American studies; and Michael Ziser, an associate professor of English.
And five of the 11 articles in the premier issue are written or co-written by UCD faculty members, and one former graduate student:
* Sasha Abramsky, a lecturer in the University Writing Program, interviews an organizer with Tenants Together, a San Francisco-based advocacy group, about the impact of the foreclosure crisis on rental tenants.
* Jesse Drew, an associate professor of technocultural studies, explores country music’s California heart.
* Sze writes with former graduate student Tracy Perkins about a multimedia project on environmental activists from the Central Valley.
* Ziser reviews three books that explore the state’s relationship with water.
* And de la Peña interviews Randall Grahm, the proprietor of Bonny Doon Vineyard, about biodynamic winemaking.
Other contributors to the first issue include New American Foundation fellow Joe Mathews and UC Berkeley visiting scholar Mark Paul, authors of the 2010 book, “California Crackup: How Reform Broke the Golden State and How We Can Fix It,” along with faculty members from the University of Southern California, UCLA and UC Riverside.
“With its strength in California studies, UC Davis is the ideal base for a scholarly and spirited publication about this state,” said Jessie Ann Owens, dean of the UCD Division of Humanities, Arts and Cultural Studies. “Carolyn and Louis have assembled a provocative lineup of contributors, and I know that under their leadership, this journal will reverberate throughout California and beyond.”
On Thursday, Boom’s launch will be celebrated with a symposium, “Beyond Borders: Migration and the Next California,” and reception at the Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts. The symposium will begin at 4:10 p.m. in the Mondavi Center’s Vanderhoef Studio Theatre.
The keynote speaker will be Kelly Lytle Hernandez, an associate professor of history at UCLA, in conversation with the following panelists: Kevin Johnson, dean of the UC Davis School of Law; Ruben Martinez, the Fletcher Jones Chair in Literature & Writing at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles; and Jose Padilla, executive director of California Rural Legal Assistance.
The reception will follow from 6 to 7 p.m. The events are free and open to the public, but pre-registration is required. To register online, visit http://dhi.ucdavis.edu/beyondborders.
From 6 to 8 p.m. on Friday, Boom will be celebrated with a lecture at the Oakland Museum of California. Joe Mathews and Mark Paul, contributors to the premier issue, will explore how California government can be remade, while John Douglass, a senior research fellow at the UC Berkeley Center for Studies in Higher Education, will talk about the future of higher education in the state.
The lecture is free and open to the public, but space is limited and an RSVP is required. To RSVP, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Where to find Boom
Subscriptions to Boom are available through http://www.boomcalifornia.com. Beginning Thursday, the magazine will go on sale at select newsstands, including Sacramento area Barnes & Noble and Borders stores, and The Avid Reader bookstores in Davis and Sacramento. The UCD Bookstore will have copies on sale beginning Friday.
The newsstand price is $7.99.
— UC Davis News Service