California Studies Association
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About the California Studies Association

Mission Statement

The California Studies Association (CSA) is an independent organization, dedicated to the exchange of ideas about California, the promotion of an integrated understanding of California as a region, and to creating a public discourse on the future of this richly textured state.


CSA embraces the broadest spectrum of concerns about California, its people, politics, economy, environment, science, arts, history, and literature. Through an annual California Studies Conference and other programs, the Association creates a public forum for the discussion of California, past, present and future. It promotes public education about California and serves as an umbrella group for California Studies programs at all educational levels.

The Association includes people from every walk of life: faculty and teachers, students, policy makers, labor organizers, business people, local historians, writers and artists. It features the contributions of everyone who studies California, makes practical contributions to the State, or seeks to express the fabric of this multiethnic society. It values the cross-fertilization of ideas between fields of expertise and around the state and emphatically maintains a balance of academics and non-academics in its leadership, membership and activities.

CSA seeks deeper bonds among all Californians and a stronger sense of the common weal, through networks of small and large institutions, across diverse communities, and among activists, experts, civil servants, writers, artists and performers. It hails the discovery of better ways to live and work in California and more enlightened public policies that serve the broadest definition of the people of this state.


CSA activities include:

Steering Committee

2015-17 Term
Susan D. Anderson,
Ildi Carlilse-Cummins,

2014-16 Term
Chuck Wollenberg,
Alex Tarr,
Lindsey Dillon,
Martha Bridegam,

2013-2015 Term
Javier Arbona,
Lincoln Cushing,
Miriam Greenberg,
Darin Jensen,
David Kipen,
Patricia Wakida,

Lindsey Dillon (Chair),
Tomas Summers Sandoval (Treasurer),
Rachel Brahinsky (Secretary),
Dick Walker (ex officio),


Past Terms

By Laws

Article I - Name and Purpose

The name of this organization is the California Studies Association. The purpose of this organization is to encourage the study of California, in all its varied and unique aspects. The Association shall act as a resource center for scholars, policy-makers, artists, and the public, so as to foster meaningful and open discussion of issues that focus upon California. The Association will also provide a forum for those engaging in the study and interpretation of California through its annual conference, and shall serve as a means of communication among those of all disciplines interested in California.

Article II - Membership

Any person who shares the purpose of the Association may become a member upon payment of annual dues. Membership is not restricted to California. Membership dues are annual and payable by March 30th each year. The dues schedule shall be determined by the association officers and made freely known to all.

Article III - Officers

The officers of the Association shall consist of a Chair and a Steering Committee composed of sixteen members. The Steering Committee shall reflect the diversity of the membership . The Chair shall serve for two years. The Steering Committee members shall have staggered terms, with all serving two-year terms. Two members of the Steering Committee shall be designated by the Steering Committee as Secretary and Treasurer of the Association, subject to the approval by the membership.

The Chair and Steering Committee are elected posts. The Steering Committee shall constitute the annual Nominating Committee and submit a slate of potential candidates to the conference every year. Candidates may also be nominated from the floor by the membership and be requested by mail. Elections will subsequently be held by mail to the whole membership within sixty days of the Annual Meeting. The Steering Committee may be enlarged to meet the responsibilities of the Association

Article IV - Powers of the Officers

The Steering Committee shall carry on all business of the Association, consistent with its goals, purposes and programs. Steering Committee powers include the authority to fill vacancies, to enter into contracts on behalf of the Association, and to expend funds. All actions of the Steering Committee may be challenged by the membership at the business meeting of the annual conference. A simple majority of the members present may change any action of the Steering Committee.

The Chair is the chief administrative officer of the Association and shall report to the Steering Committee and membership. Among the Chair's powers are to make appointments to committees, and, when authorized by the Steering Committee, to fill vacancies on the Steering Committee, to enter into contracts on behalf of the Association, and to expend funds.

The Secretary shall keep the minutes of Steering Committee and Membership meetings, and will serve as Editor of the Association Newsletter. The Treasurer will keep the accounts and prepare any needed annual reports on association finances.

Article V - Amendments

Amendments to the By-Laws may be submitted to the Steering Committee by the membership. Amendments to the By-Laws shall be adopted by majority vote of the membership present at the annual meeting or by those members responding to a mailed ballot.

These By-Laws were adopted by unanimous vote at the annual business meeting, February 10, 1990. (There was an additional Article VI pertaining to the immediate tasks of forming the Association by 1991, since deleted). Amended February 12, 1994 and February 2001 (sic).


The CSA was founded in 1989 by Jeff Lustig, then Director of the Center for California Studies at California State University-Sacramento. Lustig brought together a group of like-minded California scholars, writers and leaders across the state and began the first of many annual conferences.

To view the programs of past conferences, go to the Past Conferences page.

Prior to launching the CSA, Lustig did a survey of California studies courses and programs across the CSU system. In it, he discusses the rationale for California Studies -- a justification still well worth reading for anyone working in the field.

That report is available here: California Studies and the California State University

Lustig was Chair of the CSA from its inception to 1999 (he stepped down as Director of the CSU-Sacramento Center in 1994).

Subsequent chairs have been Michael Black (1999), Glenna Matthews (2000), Dick Walker (2001-05, 07), Lee Davis (2005-06), Louise Dyble (2007-08), and Peter Richardson (2008-present).


Contact: Lindsey Dillon-