About Peter Richardson






Humanities DepartmentCollege of Liberal and Creative Arts


At SF State Since:



Peter Richardson coordinates the American Studies and California Studies programs at San Francisco State Univerity.

Dr. Richardson has written critically acclaimed books about the Grateful Dead, Ramparts magazine, and Carey McWilliams, the prolific Los Angeles author who also edited The Nation magazine from 1955 to 1975. His work has appeared in the print or online editions of the New York Times, Mother Jones, the Los Angeles Times Book Review, San Francisco Chronicle, and other outlets. A frequent book reviewer, he received the National Entertainment Journalism Award for Online Criticism in 2013. 

After receiving his Ph.D. in English from the University of California, Berkeley, Dr. Richardson became an assistant professor at the University of North Texas, where he received tenure in 1997. Two years later, he returned to the Bay Area to join the Public Policy Institute of California. For five years, he edited policy reports on the state’s governance, economy, and population. In 2005, he became the founding editorial director at PoliPoint Press, which published trade books on progressive politics and current affairs. After it closed, he served as the economics editor at the University of California Press.

In 2015, Dr. Richardson returned to full-time teaching in the School of Humanities and Liberal Studies. Most of his classes focus on California culture, and he has appeared in several documentary films and podcasts on related topics. Heavily involved with the Bay Area Book Festival since its inception, he also chaired the California Studies Association and continues to serve on its steering committee.