California Dreams: A Tribute to Kevin Starr

About the Panelists

Bill Deverell (moderator) is a historian focusing on the American West. A co-editor of the Blackwell Companion to California History, he is a professor of history at the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences.




Josh Kun is a professor in the USC Annenberg School for Communication and the Department of American Studies and Ethnicity. He is an author and editor of several books, including Songs in the Key of Los Angeles, To Live and Dine in L.A., and the forthcoming The Tide Was Always High: The Music of Latin America in Los Angeles and Double Vision: The Photography of George Rodriguez. In 2016, he was named a fellow of the MacArthur Foundation.


Tara McPherson is the director of the USC Sidney Harman Academy for Polymathic Study, which offers conversational encounters to intensify interdisciplinary awareness, and of which Kevin Starr was the inaugural director. McPherson is also an associate professor of critical studies and core faculty member of the Media Arts + Practice program at the USC School of Cinematic Arts.


Nayan Shah is a professor of history and chair of the Department of American Studies and Ethnicity at USC. His research examines historical struggles over bodies, space, and the exercise of state power from the mid-nineteenth to the twenty-first century. Shah is the author of the award-winning books Stranger Intimacy: Contesting Race, Sexuality and the Law in the North American West and Contagious Divides: Epidemics and Race in San Francisco’s Chinatown. Shah’s new project on the refusal to eat in indefinite detention explores the transnational history of mass hunger strikes.