• Roberto Alvarez Temple University Press


I utilize my situated position as anthropologist, academician, and citizen to argue not only that we should “think” California, but also that we should “rethink” our state—both its condition and its social cartography. To be clear, I see all my research and endeavors—my research on the US/Mexico border; my time among the markets and entrepreneurs I have worked and lived with; my focus on those places in which I was raised: Lemon Grove, Logan Heights; the family network and my community ethnographic work—as personal. I am in this academic game and the telling of our story because it is personal. When Lemon Grove was segregated, it was about my family; when Logan Heights was split by the construction of Interstate 5 and threatened by police surveillance, it was about our community; when the border was sanctioned and militarized it again was about the communities of which I am a part. A rethinking California is rooted in the experience of living California, of knowing and feeling the condition and the struggles we are experiencing and the crises we have gone through. We need to rethink California, especially the current failure of the state. This too is ultimately personal, because it affects each and every one of us, especially those historically unrepresented folks who have endured over the decades.