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History forum at CSUB
 
September 19, 2005
CONTACT: CONTACT: Mike Stepanovich, 661/654-2456, mstepanovich@csub.edu,
or Jaclyn Loveless, 661/654-2138,
jloveless@csub.edu

California State University, Bakersfield’s History Department will host its first History Forum of the academic year on Friday, Oct. 7, at 3:30 p.m. in the Albertson Room at the Doré Theater. This marks the fifth year of the department’s quarterly series of history forums.

“It’s all part of the department’s effort to reach out to the community,” said Mark Baker, CSUB history professor. The forum will feature Daniel Lewis, chair of the history department at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona and chautauquan, as military commander Gen. Mariano Vallejo.

“Chautauquans are scholars who use the written material to create a living book that answers your questions,” Lewis said. Scholars take on the roles of historical figures and present a living interpretation of their figure’s ideas. Participants will also be able to ask Lewis, while he is portraying Vallejo, questions. “We get people to step out of their everyday reality. It’s public humanities at its highest,” he said.

Vallejo was an early advocate of California’s statehood. “He was once the most powerful man in California. He suffered for trying to remain central,” Lewis said. Vallejo was a military commander when California was under Mexican rule and was taken prisoner during the Bear Flag Revolt in 1846. He participated in the 1849 state Constitutional Convention and even offered part of his rancho for a new state capital, now known as the city of Vallejo. “He wanted to be the father of California,” Lewis said.

Lewis is a native Californian. He has performed widely as a chautauquan, including a national tour with the “Democracy in America” Chautauqua, which was funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities. His research focuses on economic and political issues in Argentina, and on liberal ideologies and their impact on Latin American societies during the 19th and 20th centuries.

The History Forum started in March 2000 and presents one speaker per academic quarter. Past topics have included the history of the Basque settlement in Bakersfield presented by Jeri Echeverria, Fresno State University provost and historian; the history of the California wine industry by historian Victor Geraci, oral history and the Chicano experience given by Mario Garcia, from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and an analysis of the recent “Orange Revolution” in Ukraine presented by Baker.

The History Forum is free and the public is invited. The department plans to hold a welcome barbecue following the presentation and is asking for a $2 donation for food and drinks. Parking will be free in lots B and C near the Doré Theater.

For more information please contact Baker at (661) 654-6833 or at mbaker2@csub.edu.

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