John Steinbeck: Social Critic and Ecologist


Pacific Grove, CA



July 5 - July 25, 2020 Length: 3 Weeks


Summer Program

Summer Program Type

Summer Program Audience


Susan Shillinglaw



Brett Navin


This Summer Institute, designed primarily for 4-12 Humanities and Science teachers, will be held at Stanford's Hopkins Marine Station in Pacific Grove, CA. We will explore Steinbeck’s intersecting social/ecological visions and consider why his work deserves complex consideration in the 21st century. We will discuss the continuing relevance of his sense of place, his great labor trilogy, his ecological and scientific perspectives, his treatment of race and ethnicity, and his probing commentaries on Cold War America. This holistic approach to Steinbeck’s work will help bridge divides between humanities and sciences, between literary analysis and historical contexts, between historical and contemporary perspectives, and between his fiction and nonfiction.

Project Director(s)

Susan Shillinglaw, William Gilly

Lecturers and Visiting Faculty

Mary Adler, Pete Barraza, Robert DeMott, Chris Fink, Gavin Jones, Persis Karim, Anthony Newfield, William Souder, Matthew Spangler, Craig Strang

Grantee Institution

San Jose State University