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Panel on the New Translation of Anton Wagner's Los Angeles (1935)

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Edward Dimendberg
, Editor of Anton Wagner's Los Angeles, Professor, School of the Humanities, University of California, Irvine
Vanessa Schwartz, Professor of Art History and History, Director of the Visual Studies Research Institute, University of Southern California
Alex Ross, Music critic and writer, The New Yorker
Meredith Drake Reitan, Associate Dean, Graduate School; Adjunct Associate Professor, Price School of Public Policy and the School of Architecture, University of Southern California

In 1935, the German geographer Anton Wagner published Los Angeles: The Development, Life, and Structure of the City of Two Million in Southern California. This extensively illustrated book was among the first systematic explorations of L.A.’s rapid growth into a dominant urban region, bolstered by agriculture, real estate, adept marketing campaigns, tourism, the oil and automobile industries, and film production. Although widely reviewed upon its initial publication, Wagner’s study was largely forgotten until reintroduced by architectural historian Reyner Banham in his 1971 classic Los Angeles: The Architecture of Four Ecologies. The work remained untranslated for another fifty years. In 2022, the first English translation of Wagner’s book was published by the Getty Research Institute. This panel discussion will consider its contemporary legacy, its place in the intellectual histories of geography and urban social science, its complex accounting of race and ethnicity, its use of mapping and photography (and arguments about the role of images in city-making), and its pioneering analyses of urban form as glimpsed from the window of a moving automobile. 


This event is co-sponsored by the USC Center on Science, Technology, and Public Life and the Visual Studies Research Institute.

Event Details

  • Francois Bar
  • Cyrum Aytana Ramirez
  • Guanyizhuo Yao

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