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The Grapes of Wrath Symposium at UC Davis explores social, cultural and historical issues, then and now

Contact: Janice Bisgaard 530.752.5863 or jbisgaard@ucdavis.edu

University of California, Davis

February 24, 2014

The UC Davis Department of Theatre and Dance will host The Grapes of Wrath Symposium on Friday, March 7, to explore John Steinbeck’s work directly as well as the larger social, cultural and historical issues it raises, while celebrating this 75th anniversary year since the publication of the epic novel. The symposium, open to the public and free-of-charge, will be held in Lab A at Wright Hall from 10:30 a.m. to 5:45 p.m.

Participating UC Davis scholars include Sasha Abramsky, author of “The American Way of Poverty: How the Other Half Still Lives” (one of the New York Times 100 Most Notable Books of 2013), who is a freelance journalist and part-time lecturer in the University Writing Program and research affiliate with the Center for Poverty Research.

Abramsky discusses contemporary poverty and the new Dust Bowl of Texas and New Mexico, the dislocation that water shortage causes, and how policies post-1930s have limited agricultural calamity. Ann Stevens, Department of Economics chair and director, Center for Poverty Research, joins Abramsky to discuss how poverty policies deal (or don’t) with issues specific to rural areas.

Professor Eric Rauchway, history department, is discussing the Great Depression as a background context. Matthew Stratton, assistant professor of English, will be talking about changes between the play and the novel, and W. Scott McLean, lecturer in comparative literature, examines how some of Steinbeck’s issues influenced later song writers.

Professors Philip Martin, chair, UC Comparative Immigration and Integration Program, and Lisa Pruitt (law) will discuss rural poverty in Oklahoma/Dust Bowl and in the Central Valley, then and now, including efforts to prevent indigents from entering the state in the 1930s. They will also touch on the similar (and different) stresses of rural poverty in the 21st century. Kathy Olmsted, professor of history, talks about labor politics in the 1930s in relation to Steinbeck.

The symposium, open to the public and free-of-charge, will be held in Lab A at Wright Hall from 10:30 a.m. to 5:45 p.m. A complete agenda is available at theatredance.ucdavis.edu.

What: The Grapes of Wrath Symposium featuring UC Davis scholars explores Steinbeck’s work directly as well as the larger social, cultural and historical issues it raises.

Where: Lab A, Wright Hall, UC Davis

When: Friday, March 7, 10:30 a.m.-12 noon.; 1:30 p.m.–5:45 p.m.

Unticketed, free-of-charge

Agenda: http://arts.ucdavis.edu/pod/grapes-wrath-symposium

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