Roundtable: Popular science at Berkeley and the long history of American Studies

May 20th, Faculty Club

Led by Alex Olson, Gunther Barth Fellowship recipient, Ph.D. candidate in the Program in American Culture at the University of Michigan

The final Bancroft Round Table of the Spring Semester will take place at noon on Thursday, May 20, in the Lewis-Latimer Room of the Faculty Club.  Alex Olson, Gunther Barth Fellowship recipient and Ph.D. candidate in the Program in American Culture at the University of Michigan will give a talk entitled:  Popular Science at Berkeley and the Long History of American Studies.

Although the emergence of the field of American Studies is commonly traced to a cohort of 1940s historians and literary scholars, it cannot be fully understood without also acknowledging some lesser-known antecedents in public scholarship, popular science, and various other educational reform schemes.  Using Berkeley as a case study, this talk reconsiders American Studies as part of a longer critical tradition that accompanied the rise of modern academic disciplines.  The Bancroft Library’s extensive holdings on early-twentieth-century California intellectual history, including the papers of Joseph LeConte, Charles Keeler, and William Ritter, are rich sources for studying these developments.

As spring’s Final Examinations reach their end, the entire campus community is welcome to join us to learn more about the University of California’s 19th-century efforts to make scholarship relevant to everyday life.  Bancroft Round Tables aim to acquaint the community with the varied resources of The Bancroft Library.