'Writers at Work' Series Premieres

Professor of Ethnic Studies Ron Takaki Will Speak March 13

Ronald Takaki, one of the foremost nationally recognized scholars of multicultural studies, will be the first writer featured in the Berkeley Writers at Work series on Thursday, March 13, from noon to 1 p.m. in Doe's Morrison Library.

Takaki will read from his works, be interviewed about his writing process and answer questions from the audience.

Takaki, the grandson of Japanese immigrant plantation laborers, is professor of ethnic studies, where he has taught for two decades.

He has lectured in many countries, including Japan, the former Soviet Union and South Africa, and is a recipient of a Distinguished Teaching Award.

Takaki's 1989 book, "Strangers From a Different Shore: A History of Asian Americans," received several awards, including the Gold Medal for non-fiction by the Commonwealth Club of California, and was selected by the New York Times Book Review as one of the notable books of 1989.

Writing in the New York Times Book Review, Jon Foreman says it "is one of the finest products of (the outpouring of scholarship on Asian immigrants)."

"Drawn from a wondrous variety of sources, the book is among the first to examine the composite Asian-American experience in its 150-year entirety."

Foreman goes on to say, "The moods of Mr. Takaki's stories almost match the variety of his subjects. His voices are by turns bitter, inspiring and funny."

In 1993, Publishers Weekly hailed his book, "A Different Mirror: A History of Multicultural America," as "a vibrantly rich, moving multicultural tapestry" and "a brilliant revisionist history of America that is likely to become a classic of multicultural studies." A comparative study of America from the founding of Jamestown in 1607 to the end of the Cold War in the 1990s, the book analyzes the experiences of African-Americans, Asian-Americans, Chicanos and Native Americans, as well as English, Irish and Jewish-Americans.

Takaki has written widely, from "Violence in the Black Imagination" (1971), a study of 19th century black novelists, to his most recent book, "Hiroshima: Why America Dropped the Bomb" (1995).

He is also the co-author of a series of children's books on the immigrant experience adapted from "Strangers From a Different Shore."


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