On the Importance of Historical Literacy: What Good is History?
Huntington Library, Los Angeles
Alan Taylor, Pulitzer Prize winner
Elizabeth Fenn, Pulitzer Prize winner
Moderated by Bill Deverell, California Humanities’ Board Vice-Chair, USC History Department Chair, and Director, Huntington-USC Institute on California and the West
The first stop of the “On the Road” series was at The Huntington in the greater Los Angeles area, where we stretched our legs in the beautiful gardens and enjoyed the Library and Art collections. That evening, to a sold-out audience, the historians examined history’s long stretch into our present and future through an engaging discussion on the relevance of history and the humanities in today’s times. Fenn passionately defended history and humanities curriculum on the basis that it’s, ‘more than jobs skills, it’s about the human spirit… we come away stronger, better able to inhabit the presence; it’s a life skill’. Taylor goes on to say that ‘history helps people situate themselves in the world; it provides a depth perception of where we come from’. Both Pulitzer-winning historians talked about their desire to translate history into stories that matter in an accessible way, stories that more fully illustrate our rich and diverse American history.
Food Futures @ Los Angeles Times Festival of Books
USC Campus, Los Angeles
Jonathan Gold, LA Times Pulitzer Prize-winning food critic
Alice Waters, renowned chef and food champion
Sarah Smith, Food Futures Lab Researcher, Institute for the Future
Moderated by former CH board member and Central Valley peach grower, Mas Masumoto.
Our second stop was a two-day layover at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books on the USC campus. With a corner booth on the quad, we had prime real estate to showcase what California Humanities is all about. Again, to a sold-out crowd, our moderator led the panel in a lively discussion about the future of food in California, what it means in the current climate and what it’ll mean in the very near future. As a renowned chef, proponent of locally-sourced food and food activist, it’s no surprise that Waters wants us to all “…get your fingers in the dirt, find out where your food comes from.” Gold, a Pulitzer Prize-winning food critic wants to breakdown complex recipes for everyone to have on hand and believes that “…recipes should be simple …not technical manuals …more of a narrative.” Smith, a researcher and writer concluded that, while we need to eat every day, we also need to be aware of the implication of where and how the food comes to our table, how sustainable it is to keep consuming the way we do and to not forget that food is also meant to be a pleasurable experience.
For more information on our next destination and topic click HERE.
Photos Top to bottom: History panel with CH President & CEO, Julie Fry, photo credit Martha Benedict, food futures panel pre-discussion.