Image - Kevin Starr, speaker, book cover, state of California
San Francisco

Redemptive Dreams: Engaging Kevin Starr's California Past, Present, and Future

In-person TicketsOnline-only Tickets

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When historian and California state librarian Kevin Starr passed away in 2017, he left behind a legacy of historiography and storytelling that was unrivaled, including his mammoth California Dream series. Former Governor Jerry Brown said that Starr "chronicled the history of California as no one else. He captured the spirit of our state and brought to life the characters and personalities that made the California story. His vision, like California itself, was bigger than life."

Now a group of academics is taking a new look at Starr and his works, including the largely unexplored role of his Catholic faith on how he interpreted California and its history, as well as reinterpreting his works in light of new trends in academia. Jason Sexton, the editor and Russell Jeung and Peter Richardson, two contributors to the new book Redemptive Dreams: Engaging Kevin Starr's California will take Club audiences through some of the challenges involved in interpreting Starr's work and his impact on our understanding of California's past, present and future, and what they mean for Starr's view of the California dream.

MLF Organizer
George Hammond

This program has 2 types of tickets available: In-person and online-only. Please pre-register to receive a link to the live-stream event.

If you have symptoms of illness (coughing, fever, etc.), we ask that you either stay home or wear a mask. Our front desk has complimentary masks for members and guests who would like one.

Commonwealth Club World Affairs of California is a nonprofit public forum; we welcome donations made during registration to support the production of our programming.

Copies of Redemptive Dreams: Engaging Kevin Starr's California, Family Sacrifices The Worldview and Ethics of Chinese Americans, and Savage Journey: Hunter S. Thompson and the Weird Road to Gonzo will be available for purchase at the program.

A Humanities Member-led Forum program. Forums at the Club are organized and run by volunteer programmers who are members of The Commonwealth Club, and they cover a diverse range of topics. Learn more about our Forums.

Speaker photos courtesy the speakers; young Starr photo by Allston Burr Senior Tutor Eliot House Harvard University 1972.

Elder Kevin Starr photo by Harry Chandler.

All ticket sales are final and nonrefundable.

Mon, Dec 11 / 5:30 PM PST

The Commonwealth Club of California
110 The Embarcadero
Toni Rembe Rock Auditorium
San Francisco, CA 94105
United States

Image - Russell Jeung

Russell Jeung

Professor of Asian American Studies, San Francisco State University; Contributor, Redemptive Dreams: Engaging Kevin Starr’s California

Image - Peter Richardson

Peter Richardson

Author; Contributor, Redemptive Dreams: Engaging Kevin Starr’s California

Image - Jason Sexton

Jason Sexton

Lecturer, UCLA’s Sociology Department; Visiting Research Scholar, UCLA’s Institute of the Environment and Sustainability; Editor, Redemptive Dreams: Engaging Kevin Starr’s California

Image - Julia Flynn Siler

In Conversation with Julia Flynn Siler

Author; Journalist; California Book Award Juror; Twitter @jsilerauthor


5 p.m. doors open & check-in
5:30–6:30 p.m program
6:30 p.m. book signing
(all times PDT)


$10 members
$20 nonmembers
Free for members
$5 nonmembers