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Mike Davis
Mike Davis, Photo by Robin Holland
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March 20, 2009

Mike Davis not shy about his political allegiance — he calls himself "an old-school socialist." Known to many for his best-selling histories of Los Angeles and Southern California, CITY OF QUARTZ and ECOLOGY OF FEAR, Davis is a former meat cutter and long haul truck driver who now teaches creative writing at the University of California, Riverside. With the media buzzing over socialism within the Beltway, Bill Moyers talked with Davis about the government's response to the economic crisis and the role of radicalism in American history.

We need more protests. We need more noise in the street. At the end of the day, political parties tend to legislate what social movements and social voices have already achieved in the factories or the streets or in the civil rights demonstration.

Biography

Named a MacArthur Fellow in 1998, he was also honored for distinguished achievement in nonfiction writing this past fall by the Lannan Literary Foundation. Professor Davis is the author of more than 20 books and more than 100 book chapters and essays in the scholarly and elite popular press. His scholarly interest span urban studies, the built environment, economic history and social movements. Perhaps his best know book, CITY OF QUARTZ: EXCAVATING THE FUTURE IN LOS ANGELES (1990) was named a best book in urban politics by the American Political Science Association and won the Isaac Deutscher Award from the London School of Economics and has been translated into eight languages.

Other books include: THE MONSTER AT OUR DOOR: THE GLOBAL THREAT OF AVIAN FLU (2005); UNDER THE PERFECT SUN: THE SAN DIEGO TOURISTS NEVER SEE, with Jim Miller and Kelly Mayhew (2003); DEAD CITIES AND OTHER TALES (2002); THE GRIT BENEATH THE GLITTER: STORIES FROM THE REAL LAS VEGAS (2001); LATE VICTORIAN HOLOCAUSTS: EL NINO FAMINES AND THE MAKING OF THE THIRD WORLD (2000); MAGICAL URBANISM: LATINOS REINVENT THE U.S. BIG CITY (2000); THE ECOLOGY OF FEAR: LOS ANGELES AND THE IMAGINATION OF DISASTER (1998); and PRISONERS OF THE AMERICAN DREAM (1986).

Published March 20, 2009.

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References and Reading:
Mike Davis

Mike Davis' official bio page at UC Riverside

"Can Obama See the Grand Canyon?"
By Mike Davis, TOMGRAM, October 15, 2008.

"Obama at Manassas"
By Mike Davis, NEW LEFT REVIEW, March-April 2009.

"The New Vigilantiasm"
By Mike Davis, TOMGRAM, May 06, 2005.

"Sinister Paradise"
By Mike Davis, TOMGRAM, July 14, 2005.

"Has Time Run Out?"
By Mike Davis, TOMGRAM, August 16, 2005.

Guest photos by Robin Holland

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