Tony Platt - October 12, 2011

October 12, 2011 | 4:00pm-6:00pm | Engineering 189

Tony Platt, Visiting Professor

San José State University

Download a copy of the event flyer (PDF)

Grave Matters: Excavating California’s Buried Past

Whether by curious Boy Scouts and “backyard archaeologists” or competitive collectors and knowledge-hungry anthropologists, the excavation of native remains is a time-honored practice fraught with injustice and simmering resentments.

Grave Matters is the history of the treatment of native remains in California and the story of the complicated relationship between researcher and researched. Tony Platt begins his journey with his son’s funeral at Big Lagoon, a seaside village in pastoral Humboldt County in Northern California, once O-pyúweg, a bustling center for the Yurok and the site of a plundered native cemetery. Platt travels the globe in search of the answer to the question: How do we reconcile a place of extraordinary beauty with its horrific past?

Grave Matters centers around the Yurok people and the eventual movement to repatriate remains and reclaim ancient rights, but it is also a universal story of coming to terms with the painful legacy of a sorrowful past.


About the Author

Anthony M. Platt is Emeritus Professor of Social Work at California State University, Sacramento, where he has taught since 1977. Previously, he taught at the University of California (Berkeley) and the University of Chicago. His first book, The Child Savers: The Invention of Delinquency (1969) has been translated into Italian, Spanish, and Japanese. His last book (with Cecilia O’Leary, 2006) is Bloodlines: Recovering Hitler’s Nuremberg Laws, From Patton’s Trophy to Public Memorial. He is currently a regular reviewer for the Los Angeles Times Book Review. Anthony Platt has received awards for teaching and research at California State University, Sacramento. He was also the first recipient of the President’s Award for Research and Creative Activity (1990). In spring 1995, he was a visiting Research Associate at the National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. In summer 1995, he was a visiting professor at the Institute of Comparative Law, Chuo University, Tokyo. In 1995-96, he was the recipient of the annual Scholarly Achievement Award at California State University, Sacramento. He was appointed a Mayers Fellow of The Huntington in 1999-2000.


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