Publication – Daniel O’Connell et Scott Peters, “In the Struggle. A History of Politically Engaged Scholarship in California’s San Joaquin Valley”, New-York UP, 2020

In the Struggle tells the story of the persistent engagement of eight public scholars spanning generations of sustained endeavor, a dogged war in which workers and scholars together repeatedly took on the powerful agricultural industry, the political machines, and even the universities.

The stories begin in the 1930s with Paul Taylor, a professor of economics at University of California, Berkeley, who pioneered field research and activism as he travelled through the areas marked by the Great Depression, together with his wife, photographer Dorothea Lange. Working in the heart of California’s agricultural Central Valley, Taylor was the first of a succession of scholars who shared the dual commitment to research and engagement, to making problems visible and to effecting change through strategic action. Taylor and Lange intentionally wove their political engagement into their identities and work as researchers, as they conducted studies, led strikes, organized underserved communities, founded community development programs, created nonprofit institutions, and more.

This book documents a tradition of politically engaged scholarship in one of the world’s most dramatic contexts, full of disparities and contradictions, but also ripe with opportunities to make a difference. It covers a struggle that continues undiminished in the present.

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