l Capital University Journal
Recently published works by CSUS faculty
Selling the City
Gender, Class, and the California Growth Machine, 1880-1940
(Stanford University Press, 2004, $49.50)
Lee Simpson, professor of history
California women inherited the right to own land from the area’s former
Spanish rulers. And although they were mostly shut out of official public
offi ce through the mid 20th century, they apparently weren’t willing
to trust men to improve their land’s value. Instead, Simpson writes,
landowning women of the late 1800s and early 1900s worked behind the scenes
trying to ensure the state’s fast-growing cities were well-planned
and attractive. It was self-interest, she writes. Better cities, the women
felt, would mean higher property values. Historians call it “propertied
self-interest.” The result was that early on California cities embraced
the cutting-edge ideas of creating comprehensive city plans and adopting
zoning ordinances—strategies that became standard for American cities.
“Women were central to this, to Western cities experimenting with
the idea of city planning on a large scale well before other cities in the
United States,” Simpson says. Simpson disagrees with historians who
argue men were fully in charge, saying they’ve depended too much on
formal titles. While women were rarely in official positions, she says,
they were often heading up citizen’s groups and insisting city leaders
consider their ideas. For instance, Simpson says that for more than half
a century community leader Pearl Chase was largely responsible for developing
Santa Barbara’s famous Spanish-style architecture—even though
she didn’t hold a formal
An Introduction to the Hebrew Bible
(McGraw-Hill, 2002, $50.80)
Stephen Harris and Robert Platzner, professors of humanities and religious
For those who don’t know the difference between Sodom and Gomorrah,
help has arrived. Two Sac State professors have co-authored a beginner’s
guide to the origins, themes and controversies of the Hebrew Bible and
the later Biblical writings known as the Apocrypha.
“It’s not written for the specialist, it’s not written
for the academic, it’s for those who want to know more about the
Old Testament,” says Platzner. “It’s designed to be
the average student and the non-academic reading public.” He and
Harris put the book together with the novice in mind.
The book strives to get to the meanings of the works as they were originally
intended by the authors, subsequent editors and first readers. It also
tries to give today’s reader a sense of the “life setting”
the first biblical works were created in.
“The life setting is the historical context out of which the various
books of the Hebrew Bible emerged,” Platzner explains. Much of that
comes from biblical archaeology, a field that provides a changing, fragmentary—and
often controversial—view of biblical times.
“So much of this consists of conjecture that at every point of the
argument you must caution students to be wary,” Platzner says. “But
those controversies make their way into this book.”
Although Platzner says he and Harris did their best to remain as neutral
and as objective as possible, he suspects that some will take issue with
“Some religious communities will find it controversial because it
doesn’t mesh with their dogmatic views or their chronology of events,”
Regardless of how each reader may react, Platzner says all should find
it easy to use: It’s logically organized and each chapter includes
topics, key terms and review questions along with selections that explore
issues in more depth. In addition the book offers up a variety of maps,
illustrations and chronologies.
is No Accident
Making the Most of Happenstance in Your Life and Career
(Impact Publishers, 2004, $15.95)
Al Levin, professor of counselor education, with John Krumboltz
Here’s a book that challenges the stressful idea that we have to
know what we’re going to be when we grow up.
When it comes to careers, it advises, follow your interests and seize
the opportunities that luck and chance throw your way. A plan is okay,
but most people don’t follow a single, well-planned career path.
So why try?
The book is packed with practical ideas, as well as numerous stories of
how people arrived in their current careers. It’s the product of
years of workshops Levin and Krumboltz have put on.
The authors bill their work as the first career book that admits life
doesn’t go according to plan. They say only about 2 percent of people
they’ve surveyed are in the occupation they had planned when they
were 18 years old.
“The central message is that most people’s careers are infl
uenced by unplanned, unpredictable events,” Levin says. “How
you react to positive and negative experiences are powerful factors in
determining the directions your life takes.”
Levin, for instance, had planned to be a lawyer. He suggests people follow
a fl exible career plan while also pursuing hobbies, joining associations,
doing volunteer work—anything that helps them meet new people and
come across new opportunities. He says that’s good for careers and
a fulfilling life.
Crime, Conflict and Interest Groups
(Pearson, Allyn and Bacon, 2003, $53.60)
Timothy Capron, professor of criminal justice, with Charles Magahy and
Changing times and changing values have kept Capron busy revising and
re-revising his tome on deviant behavior. He’s just fi nished work
on the sixth edition.
“Crime changes all the time. Behaviors that were considered deviant
50 years ago might not be today,” Capron says. “For example,
before we weren’t worried about the Internet. There weren’t
any laws so the court would be hard pressed to prosecute.”
In fact, Capron and colleagues devote a section of the book defining deviant
how it changes. Emerging issues include hate crimes, social and legal
responses to homosexuality, cyber-deviance, date rape and domestic violence.
"But probably the biggest changes have been in the area of drug use,”
Capron says. “Perceptions about it seem to swing back and forth.
First you have these horrific sentences where all these people get locked
up, then the jails get overcrowded and people want to look at treatment.”
The book also looks at how “special interests”—groups
with diverse notions of what should be viewed as normal or legal—drive
policy in crime legislation and sentencing.
Capron cites the example of California’s three strikes law. “Special
interests were involved in getting it passed,” he says. “And
the corrections union is very defensive when discussions for eliminating
it arise. It’s not the academics who are arguing for it.”
a Convict’s Eyes
Doing Time in a Modern Prison
(Wadsworth Publishing Company, 2004, $35.95)
Bruce Bikle, professor of criminal justice, with K.C. Carceral, Thomas
J. Bernard, Leanne Fiftal Alarid and Alene S. Bikle
While there’s a great deal criminal justice students can learn about
corrections and the prison system in the classroom, most can’t grasp
what life is like behind bars.
That, Bikle says, has inspired a new approach in the field: convict corrections.
Using the words and experiences of a convict—in this case K.C. Carceral
is a pseudonym for a man currently doing time for murder—books like
Behind a Convict’s Eyes provide an insider perspective.
“It fits into the new model of humanizing prisoners in the system,”
Bikle says. “Carceral spends his whole day there. It’s a lens
we’ll never have.
“It fits into the type of corrections being taught, de-demonizing
the offender. It’s important for students to see this is a guy who
made mistakes that put him in prison, and he has something to tell us.”
Bikle adds that Carceral provides a particularly useful viewpoint because
he did part of his time in a private prison, an option that is being considered
throughout the country.
Carceral’s original writing was pretty rough, Bikle says. Bikle,
along with colleagues Alarid, Bernard and Alene Bikle, helped turn the
work into a textbook, adding a philosophical and academic background piece
to each chapter.
in Higher Education
(Elsevier Science, 2003, $86)
Edited by David León, professor of ethnic studies
“We’re seeing a huge demographic change,” says León,
director of the Chicano studies program and the Serna Center at Sac State.
“One out of three Californians are of Latino descent today, and
by 2040, it will be one out of every two.” Nationally Latinos make
up 12 percent of the population, the country’s largest minority.
León says the time is now for universities and colleges to prepare
for a wave of Latino students. “We have to align our institutions
to ensure Latinos receive a quality education,” he says. Pointing
higher education in the right direction is the goal of his book.
León collected and edited contributions from 16 colleagues into
the book’s three sections: “Demographics and Demand,”
“The Crossover to College” and “Rising in Academia.”
The work is part of the three-book series, Diversity in Higher Education.
León, who also wrote a piece for the book, says what sets his book
apart from others on the subject is its focus on Latinos moving beyond
undergraduate programs. “We have to encourage Latinos to go to grad
school,” says León. ”We need mentoring programs for
Latino faculty and we need Latino administrators.”
Financial assistance and other support programs will be key, he says.
“Higher education is a requirement for success. Without that, Latino
contributions will be marginal.”