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UC Berkeley Professor Ronald Takaki wins Fred Cody Award for lifetime literary achievement, service to community
18 November 2002

By Carol Hyman, Media Relations

Berkeley - Ronald Takaki, professor of Asian American Studies at the University of California Berkeley, will receive the 2002 Fred Cody Award for lifetime literary achievement and service to the community. The award is given annually by the Bay Area Book Reviewers Association.

Ronald Takaki
Ronald Takaki

This association of book reviewers was established in 1981 to honor the work of local writers and to recognize exceptional service in the field of literature among northern California writers and publishers. Each year, the association also gives awards to newly published books in fiction, nonfiction, children's literature and poetry.

The Fred Cody Award is named after the founder and proprietor of Cody's Books in Berkeley and one of the association's founders. When Fred Cody died in 1983, the association created the award to honor literary figures with an important body of work who have given a great deal to northern California. Past Cody Award winners include UC Berkeley lecturers Ishmael Reed and Maxine Hong Kingston, as well as Gary Snyder, M.F.K. Fisher, Wallace Stegner, Robert Hass, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Alice Walker and Adrienne Rich.

The award will be presented to Takaki on April 3, 2003, in the Koret Auditorium of the San Francisco Main Library.

Takaki has taught in the Ethnic Studies Department at UC Berkeley for 30 years, the same campus from which he earned his Ph.D. in American History.

"This award has special meaning for me and also for the Bay Area," Takaki said of the Fred Cody Award. "I was born, politically and intellectually, at UC Berkeley. After I entered the history Ph.D. program at Berkeley in 1961, I was stirred by the moral vision of Martin Luther King and, like many students, joined the civil rights movement." Takaki wrote his dissertation on slavery.

Takaki helped found UC Berkeley's Ph.D. program in ethnic studies, which was established in 1984 and was the first of its kind in the country. He was also instrumental in establishing the campus's American Cultures requirement, which requires all undergraduates to complete a course designed to broaden their understanding of racial and ethnic diversity.

He is the author of 11 books, including "Strangers from a Different Shore: a History of Asian Americans" (Little, Brown), which was selected by The New York Times as a "Notable Book of the Year," and by the San Francisco Chronicle as one of the best 100 nonfiction books of the 20th century.

Takaki is currently working on a television miniseries based on his book, "A Different Mirror: A History of Multicultural America" (Little, Brown), which was hailed by Publishers Weekly as "a brilliant revisionist history of America that is likely to become a classic of multicultural studies."