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.

Past Lectures

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

Photo of Marilynne Robinson's book, Gilead
Panel Discussion with Marilynne Robinson
Monday, Nov 3, 2014 | 6:00 pm
Sibley Auditorium, Bechtel Engineering Center
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United States

Author Marilynne Robinson is joined in discussion by UC Berkeley faculty panelists Dorothy Hale (English), Jonathan Sheehan (History), and Robert Hass (English) on the topic of Religion and the Art of the Novel.