Rebel Imaginaries: Labor, Culture, and Politics in Depression-Era California by Elizabeth E. Sine
During the Great Depression, California became a wellspring for some of the era's most inventive and imaginative political movements. In response to the global catastrophe, the multiracial laboring populations who formed the basis of California's economy gave rise to an oppositional culture that challenged the modes of racialism, nationalism, and rationalism that had guided modernization during preceding decades. In Rebel Imaginaries Elizabeth E. Sine tells the story of that oppositional culture's emergence, revealing how aggrieved Californians asserted political visions that embraced difference, fostered a sense of shared vulnerability, and underscored the interconnectedness and interdependence of global struggles for human dignity. From the Imperial Valley's agricultural fields to Hollywood, seemingly disparate communities of African American, Native American, Mexican, Filipinx, Asian, and White working-class people were linked by their myriad struggles against Depression-era capitalism and patterns of inequality and marginalization. In tracing the diverse coalition of those involved in labor strikes, citizenship and immigration reform, and articulating and imagining freedom through artistic practice, Sine demonstrates that the era's social movements were far more heterogeneous, multivalent, and contested than previously understood.