Avenali Lectures

The Avenali Chair in the Humanities, established in 1987, allows a distinguished figure in arts and humanities to come to Berkeley annually for a major lecture, panel discussions and meetings with students and faculty. Since 2005 the endowment has also supported two department resident fellows. The Avenali Chair in the Humanities is made possible through the generous gift of Peter and Joan Avenali.

2018-19 Avenali Chair in the Humanities

The Other 1968s: Counterrevolution, Communism and Desublimation
Monday, Nov 5, 2018 | 6:30 pm
BAMPFA, 2155 Center Street
Berkeley  California  94704
United States

In his exploration of a watershed political year, Todd Gitlin unearths a "thrust toward retrogression" that stands in stark contrast to the popular image of 1968 as a politically progressive moment. Professor of journalism and sociology at Columbia University, and former president of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), he is the author of 16 books, including The Sixties: Years of Hope, Days of Rage.

Past Lectures

Art in a State of Siege: Bosch in Retrospect
Thursday, Mar 15, 2018 | 5:00 pm
Morrison Reading Room, 101 Doe Library
United States

Koerner examines Hieronymus Bosch’s Garden of Delights — approaching the painting as a representation of a world without history and without law. The discussion emerges from a larger project in which Koerner explores the relationship between art and freedom under a range of emergency “states of siege,” including apartheid South Africa and Nazi Germany.

Christopher Bollas Image
Mental Pain
Tuesday, Nov 1, 2016 | 5:00 pm
Morrison Reading Room, 101 Doe Library
United States

Christopher Bollas is the most influential psychoanalyst writing in English today. In his Avenali Lecture, he argues that mental pain should not be ignored, minimized, or suppressed through medication, but understood and embraced as a constitutive element of human psychic development.

David Shulman Portrait
The Inner Life of Dust: A Bottom-Up View of South Asia
Thursday, Feb 18, 2016 | 4:00 pm
Maude Fife Room, 315 Wheeler Hall
United States

David Shulman, one of the world’s foremost Indologists, is this year’s Avenali lecturer-in-residence. Shulman has written capaciously on Indian thought and religion, language, poetics, theater, and aesthetics.

Photo of Eelco Runia
The Theory of the Accomplished Fact
Monday, Nov 17, 2014 | 5:30 pm
Banatao Auditorium, Sutardja Dai Hall
United States

Avenali Chair in the Humanities Eelco H. Runia is a historian, theorist, psychologist, and novelist. He is the author of the 2014 book Moved by the Past: Discontinuity and Historical Mutation. Runia is currently in the Department of History at the University of Groningen and chair of the Centre for Metahistory.