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San Francisco Stories: Rebecca Solnit

After World War II, San Francisco gave rise to countercultural movements such as the Beats, the hippies, the Diggers, and the highly visible LGBT communities. These movements helped to secure the city’s postwar reputation for left-leaning politics and values. Yet subsequent developments tested San Francisco’s status as a beacon for progressivism, including the Zebra murders, the kidnapping of Patty Hearst, the Jonestown massacre, evictions at the International Hotel, and the assassinations of Supervisor Harvey Milk and Mayor George Moscone. More recently, the booming tech industry has sent housing costs soaring, with the result that many of the artists, musicians, community organizers, and working-class residents responsible for San Francisco’s bohemian character are facing widespread evictions from the city. How can we look to the past to help understand the future of San Francisco’s progressive legacy?Bay Area native and award-winning author Rebecca Solnit has addressed a broad array of topics in her work, including environmentalism, feminism, technology, and the arts. Her writing about the Bay Area has been both insightful and incisive, ranging from the highly imaginative Infinite City: A San Francisco Atlas to her trenchant critiques of the gentrification wrought by the dot-com boom of the late 1990s (Hollow City: The Siege of San Francisco and the Crisis of American Urbanism) and the more recent social media tech boom (“Diary,” published in the London Review of Books). In this presentation, Solnit will elaborate on the themes that appear in her Bay Area writing, drawing together the area’s history, the emergence of its unique political and artistic countercultures, and the threat that those countercultures currently face as affordable housing disappears.



Wednesday, May 20, 2015. 07:30 PM


Annenberg Auditorium


Continuing Studies




Free; no registration required