Cal Humanities

"The understanding of a culture comes from hearing the language, tasting the food, seeing personal interactions, experiencing the traditions, and so much more in context."

— Elizabeth Laval & Candice Pendergrass, Sikh Youth Public History Project

"The understanding of a culture comes from hearing the language, tasting the food, seeing personal interactions, experiencing the traditions, and so much more when it is in context."

— Elizabeth Laval & Candice Pendergrass, Sikh Youth Public History Project

California on the Ballot: Highlights from Season One      

Our theme for California on the Ballot: Season One (October 2020-April 2021) is barriers to voting – what obstacles have defined the voter experience in California history? How has California worked to increase voter access? What work is left to do? We’ll talk with groups whose relationship to the ballot has a complicated history, including DACA recipients, incarcerated citizens, and Indigenous communities across California.  

Programs 

What’s the Deal With Direct Democracy? | Wednesday, October 28, 202, 4 pm   

From the legality of prize fighting (1914) to the definition of marriage (2000), Californians have approved 132 ballot measures, with profound and long-lasting consequences for the state. 

The Electoral College – What Were The Founders Thinking? | Tuesday, January 19, 2021, 4 pm  

The Electoral College is an original American model, never duplicated outside of the country. Created after lively debate in the last days of the five-month long Constitutional Convention of 1787, it set forth that presidents would be selected — not by popular vote — but by electors in each state. What is its legacy today, in a more populous and mature America? 

Show & Tell: What Can We Learn from Artifacts of California Elections? | Thursday, February 25, 2021, 4 pm

Take a trip back through California’s voting history in this show-and-tell led by historian Susan D. Anderson and archivists from across the state. Hear seldom-told stories of struggles for voting rights and representation, from Suffrage to Civil Rights and more. 

The 70.8%: What Explains California’s Voter Turnout? – Ten Years In | Wednesday, March 10, 2021 4 pm

In 2020, California had its highest voter turnout since 1952; but why? What factors into high and low voter turnout? How have watershed moments in California history affected turnout? We’ll explore what voting’s past means for California’s future. 

California Dreamin’: How Do Social Movements Reimagine California? | Thursday, March 25, 2021, 4 pm

Explore the Red Power movement, the occupation of Alcatraz Island, and its lasting influence on Native American legislation, California, and subsequent social movements. 

The Fourth Branch: Media and Democracy | Thursday, April 8, 2021, 4 pm

What is non-profit news? Does journalism have a civic mission? In a landscape of social media and citizen journalism, who decides who gets to be a journalist, and what defines journalism? 

California Youth and the Ballot: What Will 2040 Look Like? | Thursday, April 29, 2021, 4 pm

What are young people doing now to address the issues they care about? What future do they want to build when they come of voting age? Recorded April 2021.

California Humanities is committed to making these programs accessible. For accommodation or assistance, please write to Program Associate Kirsten Vega at kvega@calhum.org in advance.   

More about California on the Ballot:

California on the Ballot is made possible by funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities as part of their A More Perfect Union initiative and was launched with funding from the Why it Matters: Civic and Electoral Participation initiative, administered by the Federation of State Humanities Councils and funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. 

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