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Slugs and Steins with Professor Eric Porter: What Can We Learn from the Airport?

August 14, 2023 @ 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm  |  Virtual Event


Book CoverFor many people, airports may seem like alienating “nonplaces”—as anthropologist Marc Augé put it—where we rush to make connections and spend long, monotonous hours waiting for delayed flights. But airports are fascinating sites that can tell us a lot about the places where they are situated. Among other things, they are complex infrastructures where people, the built and natural environments, and different kinds of networks come together. Airports are also sites of accumulated power in a given region. Looking at the history of an airport, then, can provide a airport useful lens for examining some of the complex, interconnected forces that have influenced the development of its region over time. Exploring that history can also help us understand how differently positioned people in that place have abided, resisted, and otherwise negotiated the powerful forces that have shaped their lives. In this talk, Eric Porter will discuss San Francisco International Airport (SFO) as a site whose history reveals important perspectives on a wide range of phenomena that have helped to make the Bay Area. Along the way he will read excerpts from his new book, A People’s History of SFO: The Making of the Bay Area and an Airport.


Order A People’s History of SFO: The Making of the Bay Area and an Airport online and save 30%. Use source code SAVE30 at checkout.

Eric Porter is Professor of History, History of Consciousness, and Critical Race and Ethnic Studies at UC Santa Cruz, where he is also affiliated with the Music and Latin American and Latina/o Studies departments. His research and teaching interests include Black cultural and intellectual history, US cultural and urban history, and jazz and improvisation studies.

Slugs and Steins are free informal lectures served up over Zoom. Brought to you by the UC Santa Cruz Alumni Association, each talk will engage one of our favorite professors in discussion with you, the local community of Silicon Valley, and beyond. We will cover everything from organic artichokes to endangered zebras, self-driving cars to Shakespeare. All are welcome. Audience participation is encouraged.

Questions? Contact the UC Santa Cruz University Events office at


August 14, 2023
6:30 pm - 8:00 pm