Rumblings Underfoot: Cultures of Resistance and the Crisis Development in 1930s California

Elizabeth Sine
UC San Diego

This dissertation explores the upsurge of labor and Left social movements in 1930s California from the vantage point of the region’s racial and cultural margins. As the Great Depression deepened within one of the most rapidly modernizing regions among industrialized nations, the research traces the political visions and practices of African American, Mexicana/o, Filipina/o, and Native American working communities, in and beyond the era’s mass coalitions and industrial conflicts. This project moves from Imperial and San Joaquin Valley agricultural strikes and the San Francisco waterfront strike to the cultural terrain of federally funded theater in East Los Angeles and jazz music in Mendocino’s Round Valley Reservation. Exploring varied experiences of displacement, exclusion, and exploitation, the project links communities in a broader, shared struggle, enabling the formation of new collectivities and modes of political resistance.