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Nature Meets Culture in California's Central Valley

Nature Meets Culture in California's Central Valley Nature Meets Culture in California’s Central Valley Jan Goggans In the spring of 2011 the University of California Humanities Research Institute (UCHRI) put out a call for proposals on “chang- ing conceptions of work.” Several colleagues and I crafted a propos- al to display examples of expressive culture by the Central Valley’s working class. We created exhibits on music and poetry, two of the most recognizable forms of aesthetic production, both of which have a fascinating history in the Central Valley and which encour- aged us to see working class culture as a whole. Photographs of highways and trucks led our exhibit up and down the Central Valley and helped us explore the ways those who live and work in that lo- cation make sense of their lives. Workers in California’s Central Valley create and sustain an identity that is simultaneously individual and, in its ability to reach across boundaries of race and gender, communal. Th e Central Val- ley’s working class is, by its very defi nition, rooted in place. Th e Mc- Donald’s worker in San Diego experiences her or his social position in very diff erent ways than the worker in Modesto and Fresno, and even http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Western American Literature The Western Literature Association

Nature Meets Culture in California's Central Valley

Western American Literature , Volume 52 (3) – Nov 30, 2017

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Publisher
The Western Literature Association
ISSN
1948-7142

Abstract

Nature Meets Culture in California’s Central Valley Jan Goggans In the spring of 2011 the University of California Humanities Research Institute (UCHRI) put out a call for proposals on “chang- ing conceptions of work.” Several colleagues and I crafted a propos- al to display examples of expressive culture by the Central Valley’s working class. We created exhibits on music and poetry, two of the most recognizable forms of aesthetic production, both of which have a fascinating history in the Central Valley and which encour- aged us to see working class culture as a whole. Photographs of highways and trucks led our exhibit up and down the Central Valley and helped us explore the ways those who live and work in that lo- cation make sense of their lives. Workers in California’s Central Valley create and sustain an identity that is simultaneously individual and, in its ability to reach across boundaries of race and gender, communal. Th e Central Val- ley’s working class is, by its very defi nition, rooted in place. Th e Mc- Donald’s worker in San Diego experiences her or his social position in very diff erent ways than the worker in Modesto and Fresno, and even

Journal

Western American LiteratureThe Western Literature Association

Published: Nov 30, 2017

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