The Charlene Conrad Liebau Library Prize for Undergraduate Research display case on the second floor of the Doe Library now features an exhibit on 2014 prize winner Matthew William Enger’s Order from Chaos: Ethnogenesis, Direct Democracy and Statecraft in California,1948-1958.
Enger’s prize-winning project explores Californian politics in the 1950s, particularly the relationship between the state’s robust system of direct democracy, exemplified by the initiative process, and the transformative demographic and economic changes that were then remaking the state. Enger refutes the idea that California politics were stable during this period by analysing eleven initiatives appearing on the statewide ballots between 1948 and 1958. These initiatives, he posits, “either represented or catalyzed a modern statecraft and the social trends which transformed California and its self-identity.”
The exhibit was curated by Jeffery Loo and designed by Aisha Hamilton.