Luncheon and Lunch-Time Forum

This year will feature one formal luncheon, on Saturday. On Friday, you are invited to gather informally with colleagues for lunch on your own at the  on-site restaurant and local eateries. The OAC Contributors Meeting will take place during the Friday lunch period, but there will be no lunch offered. 

FRIDAY FORUM: Online Archive of California Contributors Meeting (Friday, May 9, 1pm-2pm)

Moderators: Sherri Berger, California Digital Library; Adrian Turner, California Digital Library

Are you a current contributor to the Online Archive of California (OAC)? Are you thinking about becoming a new member? Join us to meet fellow contributors, ask questions of OAC staff, and learn more about new tools and developments. 

Coffee/tea and light snacks will be provided.


The Saturday luncheon will feature California cuisine catered by the Renaissance Palm Springs Hotel. The luncheon provides an excellent time to converse with fellow archivists over a tasty meal, honor colleagues at the annual Awards Ceremony, and enjoy this year's featured speaker, Sara Seekatz.

 SCA members
 Non-members  $40
 Students  $25


Arabian Nights in the American Desert: The Cultivation of Middle Eastern Fantasies in California's Coachella Valley

Coachella Valley native Sarah Seekatz (UC Riverside) will bring to light the surprising--and intriguing--Middle Eastern flavor of her home region, so clearly visible around Palm Springs. In the valley deserts, visitors will see stately date palms sway near a high school with an “Arab” mascot. Residents drive on streets named Cairo, Bagdad, and Medina and even through the city of Mecca. Every year in February visitors to the National Date Festival cheer on racing camels, hobnob with the beauty pageant winners dressed in harem pants, and walk around a fairgrounds decorated with “Arabian” architecture.

These now fading references to the Middle East offer just a glimpse of the Arabian fantasies once promoted by the region beginning at the turn of the 20th century. Linking their warm climate, desert landscape, and burgeoning date industry to the romance of Arabia, local boosters harnessed a national love affair with the “Orient.” As oil embargos, a hostage crisis, international conflict, and changing pop cultural views shifted the way America viewed the Middle East, the Coachella Valley remained steadfast in its adherence to fantastic ideas of Arabia.

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