California State University Emeritus & Retired Faculty & Staff Association


CSU-ERFSA Awards Three Grants In 2021 Grant Cycle

We have received the following report from our CSU-ERFSA Grant Committee regarding awards for the 2021 grant cycle:

CSU-ERFSA Grants Committee Report

Marshelle Thobaben, CSU-ERFSA Grants Committee Chair

The CSU-ERFSA grant committee, composed of Professors George Diehr (SM) and Marshelle Thobaben, Chair (Humboldt) and Don Wort (East Bay) recommended that the three proposals received in the 2021 grant cycle be funded. The CSU-ERFSA executive committee concurred with the recommendation, as per the bylaws. The CSU-ERFA Charitable Foundation has awarded 82 grants for a total of $77, 371 since 1997.

The following CSU-ERFSA members were awarded grants for the 2021 cycle.

Dr. Robert W. Cherny, San Francisco State University, was awarded a grant to help with the costs of permissions and photos for his forthcoming book, Harry Bridges: Labor Radical, Labor Legend, a project he began in 1985. His book is an extensively researched biography of Harry Bridges (1901-1990), including work in libraries, and archives throughout the US and Australia and at the Russian State Archive for Social and Political History in Moscow. Professor Cherny also draws upon Bridges's voluminous FBI file and upon some 75 interviews he conducted, including interviews with Bridges and his family.  

Bridges served as president of the Pacific Coast union for longshore and warehouse workers (now the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, ILWU) for 41 years. In addition to leading several major strikes, he also led negotiations that expedited the containerization of maritime commerce. From 1934 to the 1960s, his Left politics made him controversial. On four occasions, federal authorities tried unsuccessfully to prove he was a member of the Communist Party so he could be deported. Dr. Cherny’s book also discusses the significance of the three decisions by the US Supreme Court that involved Bridges.

Dr. Merry M. Pawlowski, CSU Bakersfield, was awarded a grant for travel related expenses to continue her research of Joseph Conrad at the New York City Public Library’s Berg Collection. She is completing her research on Joseph Conrad, so she will be able to complete her book, Mapping, Space, and the Rise of Commodity Culture in Joseph Conrad’s Congo.

Professor Pawlowski’s book situates the work of Joseph Conrad within the context of its historical moment, but her research extends beyond that of previous scholars by focusing attention on commerce, trade, and mapmaking as these appear in the details of Conrad’s eyewitness and fictional accounts. The overall purpose of her project is to introduce to the crowded field of Conrad studies a view of the African world as Conrad saw it and lived it, through a window no one has fully opened heretofore.  To accomplish this she has found, in part, that viewing Conradian manuscripts and archives in-person or digitally is essential for formulating her theoretical assumptions about the works, critical for correcting interpretive errors made by previous scholars, and integral to the examination of maps drawn in manuscripts to which scant scholarly notice has been paid. Her book is the culmination of ten years’ research, shorter publications, and conference presentations on Conrad.

Dr. Art Shulman, CSU Northridge, was awarded a grant to help pay for technical support and actors to produce his play, Bias, via Zoom.

Professor Shulman’s play is about a Jewish professor accused of discrimination against a protected group. The play utilizes seven characters of various religions and ethnicities including White, Middle-Eastern, Black, and Hispanic. Bias investigates the nature of bias and discrimination, a subject more and more relevant in today’s society, including college campuses. It also covers the nature of college administrative politics. Dr. Shulman has produced over twenty full-length live plays, scores of one-act plays, and is a member of several playwriting groups.

Small grants proposals for the 2022 grant cycle are due on Monday, October 31, 2022. CSU-ERFSA encourages members involved in research and creative projects to apply for a grant. The small grant program is competitive, with past awards ranging from $100-$2,000, depending upon the number of proposals and the amount of money made available by the CSU-ERFA Foundation. Preference is given to first time grant applicants when grant proposals are of equal merit.

Grant applications and guidelines can be downloaded from the CSU-ERFSA Grant Awards Program web page,, by calling the CSU-ERFSA office at (818) 677-6522, or, by emailing your request to [Webmaster's note: Updated application forms and guidelines for the 2022 grant cycle will be posted shortly.]

The CSU-ERFA Foundation welcomes tax-deductible contributions. See for more information. The CSU-ERFA Foundation is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization.

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