Hi, I’m Matthew Lasar. This is my general all purpose website for teaching and research and rambling on about whatever.
I was born in Fort Lee, New Jersey in 1954. Fort Lee used to be a relatively obscure place until New Jersey’s governor made it famous several years ago. When I turned nine my parents decided that they wanted to be beatniks or hipsters or something like that and we all moved Greenwich Village in Manhattan and then to the East Village.
I attended the High School of Music and Art in the early 1970s and then earned a degree in history at the City College of New York. In 1981 I decided that I’d had enough of the Big Apple, hitch hiked around the United States, and finally decided to take up residence in the San Francisco Bay Area. I worked as a digital typographer for a while, and volunteered at listener supported radio station KPFA-FM in Berkeley, California.
In 1989 I resolved to earn advanced degrees in history. I earned an MA in history at the University of California at Davis, then a Ph.D. in history at what was then called the Claremont Graduate School. In 1999 Temple University Press published my doctoral dissertation about the history of KPFA: Pacifica Radio: The Rise of An Alternative Network. The book focuses on the travails of listener supported radio during the McCarthy Era. I then wrote a history about the turbulent later years of the Pacifica Foundation, which owns KPFA and four other listener supported stations. It is titled Uneasy Listening: Pacifica Radio’s Civil War.
I have been teaching history as a lecturer at the University of California at Santa Cruz since 2002. I mostly teach courses on late-nineteenth and early-twentieth century United States history, the global Cold War, and the history of recorded sound. You can follow me on Twitter (if you do such things) or you can follow my cat Dora.
I live in San Francisco. My likes and loves include my wonderful wife, filmmaker Sharon Wood, my step-son Jake, and my close friends, among them the noted ex-Buddhist ex-Marxist Bob Mason, attorney and socialite Sherry Gendelman, and film technologist Gary Coates.
Dislikes? Oh, let’s keep it positive for now. Thanks for checking me out!