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UCLA goes Boom

Imagine being a guest at a dinner party where some of the most brilliant and creative people in California are discussing the social, political and cultural issues impacting the state. That’s the kind of lively intellectual conversation Jon Christensen, UCLA adjunct assistant professor of history and a Pritzker Fellow in the Institute of the Environment and Sustainability, is striving to create in the quarterly magazine, Boom: A Journal of California.

Boom was started in 2011 by the University of California Press (UC Press) to share the fruits of its intellectual study of California and to inspire discussion about the state where one out of eight U.S. residents lives. Boom began at UC Davis but, starting with the fall 2013 issue, has moved to UCLA, where Christensen has taken the helm.

Each issue of Boom, which received initial funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, features provocative articles by researchers and scholars, policymakers, photographers and artists. The content ranges from scholarly articles to journalism, personal essays and interviews.

The fall 2013 issue is all about water. It covers the 100th anniversary of the Los Angeles Aqueduct; the past, present and future of California’s water supply; and the ways in which water connects L.A. to the state and to the West. [UCLA Magazine offers its take on L.A.’s water future here]

It’s important, Christensen says, for the voice of the community to be part of Boom’s conversation, too, and he is working to build that exchange through social media and then incorporate it into the magazine. For the winter 2013 issue, which will focus on California’s future in the world, he has put out a call on Facebook for a Californian under 30 to talk with state historian Kevin Starr about the current status of the California dream. “We want to present a variety of visions of California’s future,” he concludes.