SOURCE: City of San Jose, California

July 31, 2008 14:48 ET

Great Cities Speaker Series Presents Dr. Glenna Matthews Discussing "The New Majority-Minority City"

Talk to Examine How the City's Past Can Help Us Understand the Exciting Possibilities Presented by Its Future; Presentation to Be Followed by Q&A With Dr. Terry Christensen

SAN JOSE, CA--(Marketwire - July 31, 2008) - Dr. Glenna Matthews, historian, will be featured at the "2008 Great Cities Speakers Series," 6-7 p.m., Monday, August 18, at the San Jose Repertory Theatre, 101 Paseo De San Antonio. A reception will follow at 7 p.m. to encourage further discussion. This presentation and reception are free to the public. However due to capacity limitations, reservations are strongly recommended and can be made by email to or at

The evening presentation will look at how understanding a city's past is key to predicting its future. Matthews, a historian who has been studying San Jose for nearly 35 years, will trace the city's roots to show us how post-war public policy decisions have helped to make San Jose the model of a truly multicultural city. She will pay particular attention to the rebirth of downtown San Jose, the new vitality of East San Jose, and the exciting possibilities that lay ahead.

"The history of the region has set the tone for today's multi-cultural landscape. In the 19th Century, immigrants were often able to find opportunities denied to them elsewhere. Thus the city's first rise to regional prominence as a fruit-industry capital was built on the contributions of many immigrants -- as is the high-tech industry of today," said Matthews. "Public policy decisions of the postwar period have helped position San Jose to be the physical embodiment of what a truly multi-cultural city will look like."

A graduate of San Jose State University (SJSU), Matthews holds a doctorate in American History from Stanford University. Dr. Matthews is the author of "Silicon Valley Women and the California Dream" and several other books and articles, many about our region.

Dr. Terry Christensen, professor of political science at SJSU, will facilitate questions and answers following Dr. Matthews's talk. Christensen, who is a specialist on state and local politics, has written nine books, the latest of which are "Local Politics: Governing at the Grassroots" and "Recall! California's Political Earthquake and California Government and Politics." At SJSU, he teaches courses on local politics, urban and regional planning, public administration and power and politics in Silicon Valley.

"As we look to San Jose and Silicon Valley's future, it's crucial to have a comprehensive understanding of the journey that has taken us from the 'Valley of Heart's Delight' to the 'Capital of Silicon Valley.' It is of particular importance to understand how shifting demographics and the public sector response have been a key part of this history and how they may hinder or enhance San Jose's progress in the 21st Century," said Christensen.

Produced by the San Jose's Office of Cultural Affairs, 1stACT Silicon Valley and the Commonwealth Club of California, the "Great Cities Speakers Series" engages residents, and business and civic leaders as well as those who will be directly impacted by the evolution of the "Envision San Jose General Plan 2040" -- the key planning document that will guide San Jose's growth, character, and service ambitions over the next 10-30 years. This series of monthly public lectures is designed to provoke thought, discussion and imagination about the city of the future and to bring important outside perspectives to local and regional efforts on civic planning, culture, art and design. The lectures are free.

The "Great Cities Speaker Series" is also supported by the American Institute of Architects-Santa Clara Valley Chapter, the American Planning Association (APA) California Chapter -- Northern Section, the Fairmont Hotel San Jose, the San Jose Repertory Theater and the San Jose State University Department of Urban and Regional Planning.


The Office of Cultural Affairs is part of the City's Office of Economic Development. Together, they foster cultural and economic development as related strategies for building San Jose as the creative center of Silicon Valley. The Office of Cultural Affairs coordinates services for outdoor events and festivals, offers financial support for arts and culture providers, supports arts education, and leads the development of public art works throughout the city. For more information, please visit


From its founding in 1777 as California's first city, San Jose has been a leader, driven by its spirit of innovation. Today, San Jose stands as the largest city in Northern California and the Capital of Silicon Valley -- the world's leading center of innovation. The city, the 10th largest in the U.S., is committed to remaining a top-ranked place to do business, work, live, play and learn. For more information, visit


1stACT Silicon Valley is a broad network of regional civic, cultural, and business leaders working to catalyze participation and investment at the intersection of art, creativity, and technology. 1stACT strives to create an authentic sense of place in Silicon Valley that fuels community pride, broad participation, and philanthropic investment. Please visit


The Commonwealth Club of California is the nation's oldest and largest public affairs forum, bringing together its more than 18,000 members for over 400 annual events on topics ranging across politics, culture, society and the economy. The Club has offices in San Francisco and San Jose, with regular events in both cities, as well as programs in the East and North Bay. Please visit

Contact Information

  • Contact
    Steven Brewster
    (415) 577-8851
    San Jose Office of Economic Development
    Email Contact

    Brendan Rawson
    1stACT Silicon Valley
    (408) 200-2020 ext. 105
    Email Contact