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Explore Bay Area Social Movement History

January-May 2015

Free Public Talks

Wednesday evenings unless otherwise noted. At Eric Quezada Center for Culture and Politics, 518 Valencia, near 16th Street, San Francisco

A place to meet and talk unmediated by corporations, official spokespeople, religion, political parties, or dogma.

Download a pdf of our Spring 2015 calendar here.

Incite.../Insight! Free Film Events

Thursday evenings. At New Nothing Cinema, 16 Sherman Alley (near Folsom and 7th).

Shaping San Francisco, The New Nothing Cinema, and the Anthropology and Social Change Department at C.I.I.S. have been collaborating since fall 2012 to screen a film once a month focusing on local activism and political history.

Archive of past talks

Online audio archive of past talks, listed by type:

Thurs. Dec. 18, 2014 • 8 pm
"A Question Of Power" (1986, dir. David L. Brown), plus films from the 1980's German Anti-Nuclear Movement

"A Question Of Power" is a moving and informative documentary history of the U.S. antinuclear power movement. Narrated by Peter Coyote, the film focuses on 35 years of grassroots opposition to the “peaceful atom” in California, where the antinuclear power movement was born (in 1959-64 over the proposed Bodega Bay Atomic Park), and reached its peak in 1981 with the protests over the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant.
ALSO: During the 1980's, Germany experienced its own extremely militant and confrontational anti-nuclear movement, and we will present a selection of films from this era of German activism.
This will screen at 16 Sherman Alley, near 7th and Folsom, at 8 pm, part of our ongoing collaborative film series at New Nothing Cinema. It's a bring-something-to-share free event.

January 14, 2015 • 7:30 pm
Home on the Grange

“Grange Future” celebrates the history and contemporary expression of ‘the grange idea.’ From the 19th century populist movement that backed the early campaign for an “information commons” in the form of Rural Free Mail delivery, to public banking and Farmers co-op banks, this vital movement is re-emerging to confront information and agricultural monopolists of our own era. Severine von Tscharner Fleming leads a panel discussion.

January 21 • 7:30 pm
Washed Away—Newfound Extreme Weather History

What actually happened to Darling Clementine? Historian Joel Pomerantz explores the California floods of 1862. Learn how this historic storm, which killed thousands and caused a number of San Francisco houses to collapse, can be an example for what a really extreme weather event could be like in our future.

Thurs. January 22 • 8 pm
Wisconsin Rising

Wisconsin Rising documents the largest sustained workers' resistance movement in American history. Wisconsin was a testing ground for the nation in 2011 as big money attempted to undo basic workers' rights when newly-elected Republican Governor Scott Walker suddenly stripped collective bargaining power from the state's public employees. Wisconsin Rising catapults the viewer into the days, weeks, and months when Wisconsinites fought back against power, authority, and injustice. Happening months before the Occupy movement, Wisconsinites spontaneously occupied their state Capitol for weeks as never before seen in American History.
This will screen at 16 Sherman Alley, near 7th and Folsom, at 8 pm, part of our ongoing collaborative film series at New Nothing Cinema. It's a bring-something-to-share free event.

February 4 • 7:30 pm
San Francisco’s Wild Menu:
Flora, Fauna, Feast

In 1849 San Francisco was surrounded by wild animals and a flourishing sea and bay, from which most early food was taken. But what is our “wild menu” now? How do foraging, fishing, hunting, and gathering fit into modern life? What role does conservation and ecology play in a contemporary and future wild menu? With Mark Heath, Kirk Lombard, and Chris Carlsson. Co-hosted by Wild Equity Institute and Nature in the City.

February 11 • 7:30 pm
Art & Politics: Rene Yañez

Rene Yañez has been at the epicenter of the Mission’s multiple art movements going back to the 1970s. Our Art & Politics series puts him in the spotlight for a retrospective of his life’s work, a free-ranging discussion of the politics that informed his work, and how his work has shaped the neighborhood and the City to which he has contributed so much.

February 25 • 7:30 pm
Promises of Progress: Panama-Pacific International Exposition

On the 100th anniversary of the Panama-Pacific International Exposition (PPIE), Gray Brechin and others discuss the relationship of world’s fairs to the idea of progress over time. How did the presentations at PPIE in their early 20th century context boost now long-held assumptions about progress and development through technological innovation and economic growth?

March 4 • 7:30 pm
Art & Politics: Sirron Norris

Sirron Norris has been splashing his satirical cartoon characters around the Mission and San Francisco for years. From biting social commentary to whimsical commercial art, his work spans a range that challenges the boundaries of art and politics.

March 25 • 7:30 pm
#Black Lives Matter

Following the recent exoneration of police murders of Michael Brown and Eric Garner (and a long and recent local history of police killings from Oscar Grant to Alex Nieto) local activists have blockaded freeways, the BART system, the Oakland Police Dept., and the campaign continues. Join us for a public event with Black Lives Matter organizers and activists.

April 1 • 7:30 pm
Vietnam War, Dissent, and the U.S. Military

A half-century after the Vietnam War officially began, we’ll look back at military mutinies, the rise of the volunteer army in response to the “Vietnam Syndrome,” and situate the Vietnam War in the long history of U.S. military aggression, even pre-dating the founding of the United States. Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz and others TBA.

April 8 • 7:30 pm
The Tenderloin: SF’s Most Fraught Neighborhood

Money! Crime! Vice! Politics! Moral Panic! Gender bending! The history of the Tenderloin, one of the least heralded and worst understood neighborhoods in town, has it all. Peter Field, who gives astounding walking tours there, will cover the early days to WWI while Chris Carlsson will take it from the 1910s to the beginning of the 21st century.

April 22 • 7:30 pm
Telling Stories with Bricks

Bricks give literal structure to a history of place. Bricks were a fire proof building material in early years of a city often engulfed by fire. Archeology work at the Presidio reveals plant time capsules embedded in recovered bricks that help us understand pre-settler ecology. And brick throwing increasingly confronts our current landscape of evictions and displacement. Featuring Ruth Askevold, Leslie Dreyer, and Lew Stringer. Co-hosted by Wild Equity Institute.

April 29 • 7:30 pm
Union Demise and New Workers’ Movements

Bureaucratic labor unions, long besieged, seem incapable of defending, let alone advancing, workers’ interests. In Africa, Asia, the Americas, and Europe, workers are rejecting leaders and forming authentic class-struggle unions rooted in sabotage, direct action, and striking to achieve concrete gains. Manny Ness, editor of New Forms Of Worker Organization, co-hosted by PM Press.

May 6 • 7:30 pm
Rewilding and the Anthropocene

In a world where every inch has been impacted—directly or indirectly—by industrial society, what does it mean to “preserve nature”? How does the idea of adaptation shape our responses to extinction, climate chaos, and nature? How does our sense of “history” shape our ideas about nature, evolution, and conservation? How should we understand and value natural processes, wildness, and human technologies? With Peter S. Alagona, Annalee Newitz, and Noah Greenwald. Co-hosted by Wild Equity Institute.

May 13 • 7:30 pm
Plumbing California: Past, Present, and Future

Governor Jerry Brown is determined to build the Delta Tunnels through the Sacramento/San Joaquin River Delta. The once-and-future Peripheral Canal is the latest plumbing scheme to follow the damming and diking of rivers and swamps which began with intensive Chinese manual labor in the 19th century. California has already radically altered its plumbing, but we’ll also look to future efforts at riparian restoration, dam deconstruction, and maintaining or altering our massive hydrological infrastructure. Tim Stroshane, Jason Rainey, and Scott Kildall
(w/ 3-D maps of SF’s water infrastructure).