Prominent Western Historian David Wrobel to Give Inaugural Envisioning Modern California Lecture

Guest Post by Shea McCollum, Library Marketing Assistant.

Please join us on Monday, March 18th from 6 to 7 PM in the Surfboard Room as Western Historian Dr. David Wrobel talks about the incredibly influential role that California played in major historical movements of the 20th century. This is the inaugural lecture for the annual Envisioning Modern California Lecture Series.

A photograph of Hollywood Boulevard in the 1950s vs. 2011
Los Angeles’ Hollywood Boulevard, shown circa 1950 and in 2011

The Envisioning Modern California Lecture Series is centered around the making, re-making, and mythologizing of California, with a focus on the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. This series will explore topics such as land development, architecture, political movements and ideologies, surfing, car culture, travel and tourism, postwar economics, migration and immigration, literary representation, Hollywood and celebrity culture, and the connections between regional and global history.

Each year’s visit by a prominent guest scholar will be accompanied by additional programming targeted at undergraduates, faculty, and local K-12 schools. Through these events, the series will strengthen Humanities education and research on campus, deepen ties to the local community, and build Pepperdine’s reputation as an institution dedicated to understanding the history and future of the American West.  

Still of migrant workers being deported in California in the early 20th century.
Migrant workers being deported in California in the early 20th century.

Dr. Wrobel’s lecture will focus on California’s role as the leading edge of the American West from 1900 to 1950. Over the course of those fifty years, California broke away from its “Wild West” roots and underwent some major economic, political, and cultural changes that transformed it into one of the most influential states in the nation. Dr. Wrobel will talk about California’s role in some some of the nation’s most enlightened and regrettable movements of that era, from Hiram Johnson’s Progressive Era reforms and John Steinbeck’s migrant labor advocacy to the resurgence of the Klu Klux Klan and the carceral landscape of the Cold War.

Still of Dr. Wrobel and his book Global West, American Frontier
Dr. David Wrobel, author of Global West, American Frontier

Dr. Wrobel serves as the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences a Professor of History at the University of Oklahoma, where he holds the Merrick Chair of Western History. He has authored several books on California’s History, including Global West, American Frontier: Travel, Empire, and Exceptionalism, from Manifest Destiny to the Great Depression and Promised Lands: Promotion, Memory and the Creation of the American West. He is co-editor of the Modern American West book series and former president of Phi Alpha Theta: The National History Honor Society.

Join us to learn more about what Dr. Wrobel has to say about California and its incredibly influential history.


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Prominent Western Historian David Wrobel to Give Inaugural Envisioning Modern California Lecture
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