Image - Kevin Starr, speaker, book cover, state of California
Past Event

Redemptive Dreams: Engaging Kevin Starr's California Past, Present, and Future

When historian and California state librarian Kevin Starr passed away in 2017, he left behind a legacy of historiography and storytelling that was unrivaled, including his mammoth California Dream series. Former Governor Jerry Brown said that Starr "chronicled the history of California as no one else. He captured the spirit of our state and brought to life the characters and personalities that made the California story. His vision, like California itself, was bigger than life."

Now a group of academics is taking a new look at Starr and his works, including the largely unexplored role of his Catholic faith on how he interpreted California and its history, as well as reinterpreting his works in light of new trends in academia. Jason Sexton, the editor and Russell Jeung and Peter Richardson, two contributors to the new book Redemptive Dreams: Engaging Kevin Starr's California will take Club audiences through some of the challenges involved in interpreting Starr's work and his impact on our understanding of California's past, present and future, and what they mean for Starr's view of the California dream.

MLF Organizer
George Hammond

A Humanities Member-led Forum program. Forums at the Club are organized and run by volunteer programmers who are members of The Commonwealth Club, and they cover a diverse range of topics. Learn more about our Forums.

Speaker photos courtesy the speakers; young Starr photo by Allston Burr Senior Tutor Eliot House Harvard University 1972.

Elder Kevin Starr photo by Harry Chandler.

December 11, 2023

The Commonwealth Club of California
110 The Embarcadero
Toni Rembe Rock Auditorium
San Francisco, CA 94105
United States

Image - Russell Jeung

Russell Jeung

Professor of Asian American Studies, San Francisco State University; Contributor, Redemptive Dreams: Engaging Kevin Starr’s California

Image - Peter Richardson

Peter Richardson

Author; Contributor, Redemptive Dreams: Engaging Kevin Starr’s California

Image - Jason Sexton

Jason Sexton

Lecturer, UCLA’s Sociology Department; Visiting Research Scholar, UCLA’s Institute of the Environment and Sustainability; Editor, Redemptive Dreams: Engaging Kevin Starr’s California

Image - Julia Flynn Siler

In Conversation with Julia Flynn Siler

Author; Journalist; California Book Award Juror; Twitter @jsilerauthor