Richard Cándida Smith

Professor Emeritus


BA, Theater Arts at UCLA
PhD, History at UCLA, 1992

Research Interests

19th and 20th century US and European intellectual history, aesthetic theory; oral history theory and methodology

Positions Held

Professor of History, University of California, Berkeley, 2001-2015; Director, Regional Oral History Office, Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley, 2001-2012

Professor of History, University of Michigan, 2001, Associate Professor, 1997-2001; Assistant Professor, 1993-1997; Director, Program in American Culture, University of Michigan, 1997-2000

Associate Director/Principal Editor, Oral History Program, University of California, Los Angeles, 1984-1993

External Service

Beveridge Prize Committee, American Historical Association, 2018-

Chair, Publications Committee, Society for U.S. Intellectual History, 2017-

Editorial Advisors Council, Cuadernos de Historia Contemporánea (Madrid), 2016-

Editorial Board, Handbook of Transatlantic Cultural History since 1750, 2015-

Editorial Council, Cadernos do CEOM, Centro de Memória do Oeste de Santa Catarina, 2014-

Editorial Board, Tarih Okulu ("History Workshop," Istanbul, Turkey), 2010-

Editorial Board, Letra e Voz Editorial (São Paulo, Brazil), 2010-

Co-organizer with Nancy Raquel Mirabal of conference, "Diversity in an International Context," University of California, Berkeley, and San Francisco State University, November 1-3, 2006.

Advisory Board, "The Arts and Intellectual Life in Modern America," University of Pennsylvania Press, 2006-

Editorial Board, The Public Historian, 2005-2009

Themes Planning Advisory Group, Rosie the Riveter/World War II Homefront Experience National Historic Park, 2003-2005.

Advisory Panel, Embedded Writing Assessment California History/Social Science Project, 2003-2005

Co-organizer with Ellen DuBois of conference, "Thinking Women and Critical Community: An Interdisciplinary Conference on Elizabeth Cady Stanton," the Huntington Library, San Marino, May 10-12, 2002

Consultant and contributor, Mixed Feelings: Art and Culture in the Postborder Metropolis, art and multimedia exhibition prepared by the Southern California Studies Center, University of Southern California, for the Fisher Gallery (USC), fall 2002

Principal Editor, Studies in Memory and Narrative working group, 1998-2007; editorial advisory board, 1995-1998

Board of Trustees, Noah Purifoy Foundation, Los Angeles, 1998-2004; president, 1998-2001

Consultant, Made in California, exhibition at Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1998

Consultant, Office of Human Subject Protection, National Institutes of Health, revising regulations relating to oral history interviews, 1997-1998; revisions published in Federal Register in 1999

Advisory group, The Role of Cultural Institutions in Community Regeneration, Southern California Studies Center, University of Southern California, 1998

Oral History Association: President, 1996-1997; Vice President/President Elect, 1995-1996; Finance Committee, 1997-1998; Nominating Committee, 1994-1995; Chair, International Committee, 1993-1995; Program Committee, 1994 Annual Meeting; Executive Secretary, 1988-1993; Program and Local Arrangement Committees, 1986 Annual Meeting

Editorial board, Oral History Review, 1993-1997

Western U.S. Advisory Committee, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, 1989-2001

Dance Legacy Oral History Project, advisory committee, 1992-1999

Editorial board, International Yearbook of Oral History and Life Stories, 1991-1994

Editor, Southwest Oral History Association Newsletter, 1984-1988

Fellowships & Residencies

Visiting Professor, Chelsea College of Art and Design, University of London; Visiting Professor and External Fellow, Victoria and Albert Museum, October 24-November 3, 2011

Fulbright Distinguished Professor of American Studies, Pontifícia Universidade Católica-Rio de Janeiro, 2010

Visiting Professor, History and Theory Program, Department of History, University of São Paulo, June 2010, August 2011

CIC Academic Leadership Program Fellow, 1999-2000

École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, Paris, 1999

Center for Advanced Study in the Behavior Sciences, Palo Alto, California, 1995-1996


"Improvised Continent" by Richard Cándida Smith Improvised Continent: Pan-Americanism and Cultural Exchange (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2017)

Circuitos de Subjetividade: História Oral, O Acervo e as Artes (São Paulo: Letra e Voz, 2012)

The Modern Moves West: California Artists and Democratic Culture in the Twentieth Century (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2009)

Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Feminist as Thinker: A Reader in Documents and Essays, eds. Ellen DuBois and Richard Cándida Smith (New York: New York University Press, 2007)

Art and the Performance of Memory: Sounds and Gestures of Recollection (editor). London: Routledge, 2002; paperback edition released as Text and Image: Art and the Performance of Memory (New Brunswick: Transaction, 2005)

Mallarmé’s Children: Symbolism and the Renewal of Experience (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1999)

Utopia and Dissent: Art, Poetry, and Politics in California (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1995

Selected Articles

New Book Networks, Lilian Calles Barger interviews Richard Cándida Smith on Improvised Continent: Pan-Americanism and Cultural Exchange (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2017) 

"Entrevista com Richard Cándida Smith: Por uma História Intelectual entre as Américas," Revista Poder & Cultura Vol. 4, no. 8 (2017), 174-213

Érico Veríssimo, a Brazilian Cultural Ambassador in the United States,” Tempo 19, no. 34 (2013), 147-173

“On Quality: Curators at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art on What Makes a ‘Great Collection,’ 1950-2010,” in Showing and Telling: Oral History in Art, Craft and Design, eds. Matthew Partington and Linda Sandino(London: Berg, forthcoming 2013)

 “An Era of Grand Ambitions: Sam Rodia and California Modernism,” in Sabato Rodia’s Towers in Watts: Art, Migrations, Development, ed. Luisa Del Giudice (New York: Fordham University Press, forthcoming 2013)

 “A Throw of the Dice”: Between Structure and Indeterminacy,” in Pairing of Polarities: The Life and Art of Sonya Rapoport, eds. Terri Cohn and Anu Vikram (Berkeley: Heyday Press, 2012), 24-36

 “História oral na historiografia: Autoria na História,” in Memória e Diálogo: Escutas da Zona Leste, Visões sobre a História Oral, eds., Ricardo Santhiago and Valéria Barbosa de Magalhães (São Paulo: Letra e Voz, 2011), 161-172

Oral History at the University of California, Berkeley” in The Oxford Handbook to Oral History, ed. Donald Ritchie (New York: Oxford University Press, 2010), 417-428

 “'Romper lo que está resquebrajado’: 1968 in the United States of America,” Cuadernos de Historia Contemporánea (Madrid), 31 (2009), 135-148

Learning from Watts Towers: Assemblage and Community-Based Art in California,” in Oral History (UK), 37 no. 2 (2009), 51-58

“1955: Allen Ginsberg Performs ‘Howl’ at the Six Gallery in San Francisco,” in The New Literary History of America, eds., Greil Marcus and Werner Sollors (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2009)

“Elizabeth Cady Stanton on Self and Community,” in Elizabeth Cady StantonFeminist as Thinker: A Reader in Documents and Essays, eds. Ellen DuBois and Richard Cándida Smith (New York: New York University Press, 2007), 66-81

Postwar Modern Art and California’s Progressive Legacies,” Rethinking History 11 (2007), 103-124, theme issue on California

 “Publishing Oral History: Oral Exchange and Print Culture,” in The Research Handbook for Oral History, eds. Thomas L. Charlton, Lois E. Myers, and Rebecca Sharpless (Walnut Creek: AltaMira Press, 2006), 411-424

“Reverencing the Mortal: Assemblage Art as Prophetic Protest in Post-World War II California,” inBetye Saar: Extending the Frozen Moment, ed. Sean Ulmer (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2005), 38-51

“Vectors of Emergence, Lines of Descent,” in Jay DeFeo and ‘The Rose’, ed. Jane Green and Leah Levy (Berkeley:  University of California Press, 2003), 127-148

Where Am I at Home?: The Interplay of National, Local, and Aesthetic Space,” in Postborder City: Cultural Spaces of Bajalta California, eds. Michael Dear and Gustavo LeClerc (New York: Routledge, 2003), 217-248

The Light Foot Hears You and the Brightness Begins: Encountering Mortality in Jay Defeo’s Last Paintings,” Transit Circle: Revista Brasileira de Estudos Amercanos 2, Nov Série (2003), 70-95

“Circuitos de subjetividade: História oral e o objeto de arte,” Estudos Históricos no. 30 (2003), 76-90

“Oral History Research at University of California, Berkeley,” História Oral 6 (2003), 45-54

“Les Gammes: Making Visible the Representative Modern Man,” in Art and the Performance of Memory: Sounds and Gestures of Recollection, ed. Richard Cándida Smith (London: Routledge, 2002), 202-214

“The Other Side of Meaning: George Kubler on the Object as Historical Source,” Intellectual History Newsletter, 23 (2001), 85-95

 “Analytic Strategies for Oral History Interviews,” in Handbook of Interview Research, eds. Jaber F. Gubrium and James A. Holstein (Beverly Hills: Sage Publications, 2001), 711-732

 “L’Antiaméricanisme en Amérique,” Le Monde des débats, no. 9 (December 1999), expanded version in Les Antiaméricanismes, ed. Tom Bishop (New York: Center for French Civilization and Culture, New York University, 2001), 129-142

“Southern California,” in Encyclopedia of American Cultural and Intellectual History, eds. Mary Kupiec Cayton and Peter W. Williams (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 2001), 2:641-653

“Junk into Art: Noah Purifoy’s Assemblage of Experience,” in Noah Purifoy: Outside and in the Open, ed. Lizzetta Le-Falle-Collins (Los Angeles: California African-American Museum, 1997), 63-86

“The Elusive Quest of the Moderns,” in On the Edge of America: Modernist Art in California, ed. Paul J. Karlstrom (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1996), 21-40

“Frank Lloyd Wright as Educator: The Taliesin Fellowship Program, 1932-1959,” in Architecture and the Sites of History, ed. David Dunster and Iain Borden (London:  Butterworths, 1995), 227-242

“Simon Rodia,” inAmerican National Biography, ed. John A. Garraty and Mark C. Carnes (Cary, North Carolina: Oxford University Press), 1999

“Modern Art and Oral History in the United States: A Revolution Remembered,” Journal of American History 78 (September 1991), 598-606

“Imitation and Invention: Tradition and the Avant-Garde in the Work of Two Jewish Émigré American Artists,” International Journal of Oral History 10 (November 1989)

Exquisite Corpse: The Sense of the Past in Oral History Interviews with California Artists,”Oral History Review 17 (Spring 1989), 1-38