Getting ready to teach at CSUMB (California State Univ. Monterey Bay) tomorrow. Yesterday, I stopped by the office, learned how to use their copier, picked up the student roster, met some faculty, and checked out the classroom. The last time I taught at a college, they were still using VHS players–and that wasn’t so long ago, either. This place seems fairly state-of-the-art, with built-in hookups for my laptop and whiteboards. 8 a.m. tomorrow: “Reading, Writing, and Critical Thinking.” But first — a hair trim, lunch, and a new pair of earrings.

On another front, I’m getting more deeply involved in planning for the Filipino American exposition at the Steinbeck Center in Salinas, to take place in April 2012. We’re getting 8,000 square feet–quite a large area– to use, and it will be happening more or less simultaneously with the international Steinbeck Festival to be held in the same building. This has me thinking about the intersections of U.S. Filipinos in the Depression Era with two of John Steinbeck’s books, The Grapes of Wrath, and In Dubious Battle, and his essays in The Harvest Gypsies. I suspect that the “vigilante raid” Steinbeck mentions on page 56 refers to the burning of Canete’s labor camp in Spreckels, something that I’ve written about in The Commonwealth Cafe.

Things have to get done way ahead of time for exhibits like these, so we are hustling to put it together now. I’m especially looking forward to working on the music/soundtrack and literary exhibits.

By the way, the irony of the term, “Exposition,” in relation to Filipinos is not lost on me, given that back in the early 20th century Filipinos were put on exhibit along with American Indian and other “savage tribes” in the outer ring of “reservation” areas of International Expositons, such as the St. Louis “White City” Exposition and the Panama Pacific Exposition in San Francisco. But I’m thinking that this is our turn to re-tool the term for our own purposes.


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