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Digital Archive of San Francisco History at Foundsf.org

September-December 2018

Free Public Talks

Wednesday evenings 7:30-9:30 unless otherwise noted.

At Eric Quezada Center for Culture and Politics
518 Valencia Street (near 16th), in San Francisco

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


Our Public Talks are partly underwritten by City Lights Foundation, The Seed Fund and Rainbow Grocery.



Download the Fall 2018 calendar as a pdf

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Archive of past talks

Online audio archive of past talks, listed by type:

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October 24

Rethinking 1968: What Happened, How Has It Shaped Us?

Rarely has the entire globe seen such a far-reaching revolt as the revolutionary upheavals of the 1968-70 era, whose effects continue to reverberate for better and worse through to our time. Join critical analysts and participants Judy Gumbo, George Katsiaficas, Mat Callahan, and Carlos Muñoz for a provocative historical inquiry. Co-hosted by PM Press.

Photo: Marchers in 1970.

October 31

The Jazz of Modern Basketball:
From the 1950s USF Dons to the Golden State Warriors

Shaping San Francisco’s Chris Carlsson digs into the long history of basketball as another season begins. The first African-American players entered the NBA in 1950, while black college stars led the USF Dons to consecutive national championships in 1955 and 1956, inventing a new style of aggressive defensive basketball. Today’s outspoken Warriors embody the decades-long Heritage in which earlier basketball stars pioneered today’s wild improvisational style while resisting the Jim Crow U.S. in which it began.

Photo: USF's Bill Russell is lifted up in celebration after 1956 National Championship.

November 7

The War to End All Wars?

If there were a single event of the 20th century that we could magically undo, would it not be the war of 1914-1918? It led to some 20 million military and civilian deaths, the rise of Nazism, the Russian Revolution, and another even more destructive world war. On the centennial of WWI, the “War to End All Wars,” eminent historian Adam Hochschild revisits that pivotal epoch. His 2011 book To End All Wars: A Story of Loyalty and Rebellion, 1914-1918 reminds us of the shock provoked by the mass slaughter of the First World War and stands as a rebuke to the callous acceptance of mass violence and war perpetuated up to the present moment by the U.S. government.

Photo: Troops slog through the mud in northern France during WWI.

November 28

Public Art and Murals: Controversy, Neglect, Restoration

Not always seen by all as a public benefit, public art faces sometimes quiet neglect, sometimes outrage and controversy. Earlier this year, San Francisco Poet Laureate Kim Shuck brought attention to the appeal to remove the Pioneer Monument’s “Early Days” statue of a subjugated and emaciated indigenous figure in Civic Center. Calling for a rehearing, she wrote a poem each day—55 in all—until the Board of Appeals granted one in June. For years Richard Rothman has told the stories of deteriorating and abandoned New Deal murals around the City, including murals in public high schools. He offers rare looks at underseen masterpieces and shares what it will take to restore the Mothers Building murals. Barbara Mumby-Huerta also joins the discussion of what and how we value works of art in the public realm.

Photo: "Early Days" part of Pioneer Monument in Civic Center. Photo by Chris Carlsson

December 5

Movements of Movements

Editor Jai Sen of Movements of Movements joins Shaping San Francisco and YOU for an open discussion. Breaking with our usual format, this entire evening is a discussion open to all participants. Here are articles from the two-volume Movements of Movements to help shape the discussion. Co-hosted by PM Press.

Photo: Demonstration during U.S. Social Forum in Detroit, MI June, 2010. Photo: Chris Carlsson