Past Avenali 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.

Photo of Marilynne Robinson
Shakespeare: The Question of Audience
Monday, Nov 3, 2014 | 1:00 pm
Sibley Auditorium, Bechtel Engineering Center
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United States

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Marilynne Robinson is a professor of English and Creative Writing at the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Her Avenali lecture considers the question of audience in the work of Shakespeare.

Photo of fabric
With Avenali Chair Eelco Runia
Thursday, Oct 30, 2014 | 4:00 pm
Maude Fife Room, 315 Wheeler
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United States

Avenali Chair in the Humanities Eelco Runia in discussion with Hayden White (UC Santa Cruz, emeritus), Martin Jay (UC Berkeley), Carol Gluck (Columbia), Harry Harootunian (Columbia), and Ethan Kleinberg (Wesleyan).

Book cover for Everything That Rises
With Avenali Lecturer Lawrence Weschler
Monday, Feb 3, 2014 | 4:00 pm
Banatao Auditorium, Sutardja Dai Hall
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United States

In his second Avenali lecture, Lawrence Weschler will consider a spectrum of convergent effects, including apophenia (the tendency of humans to see patterns where none exist), homage, quotation, cryptomnesia (verbatim appropriation without realizing you’re doing so), and even outright plagiarism.

Image of the writer Lawrence Weschler
Art and Science as Parallel and Divergent Ways of Knowing
Monday, Jan 27, 2014 | 4:00 pm
Maude Fife Room, 315 Wheeler Hall
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United States

In the first of two Avenali lectures, Weschler will explore the connection between art and science, focusing on the thinking of artists Robert Irwin and David Hockney, and offering a fresh consideration of Rembrandt's Anatomy Lesson.

Image of Ursula K Le Guin
What Can Novels Do? A Conversation with Ursula K. Le Guin
Tuesday, Feb 26, 2013 | 7:00 pm
Sibley Auditorium, Bechtel Engineering Center
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United States

Avenali Chair in the Humanities Ursula K. Le Guin has published twenty-one novels, eleven volumes of short stories, four collections of essays, twelve books for children, seven volumes of poetry and four of translation, and has received many awards. Her best-known fantasy works, the Earthsea books, have sold millions of copies and have been translated into sixteen languages.

Photo of Wendell Berry
Avenali Chair in the Humanities, 2012-2013
Wednesday, Oct 31, 2012 | 4:00 pm
Zellerbach Hall
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United States

Avenali Chair in the Humanities Wendell Berry in discussion with UC Berkeley faculty panelists Michael Pollan (Graduate School of Journalism), Robert Hass (English), Miguel Altieri (Environmental Science, Policy and Management), and Anne-Lise Francois (English and Comparative Literature).

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