Berkeley Book Chats

The Townsend Center presents a lunchtime series celebrating the intellectual and artistic endeavors of the UC Berkeley faculty. Each Berkeley Book Chat features a faculty member engaged in conversation about a recently completed publication, performance, or recording. The series highlights the extraordinary breadth and depth of Berkeley’s academic community.

Upcoming Events

Francine Masiello
Wednesday, Sep 26, 2018 | 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm
Geballe Room, 220 Stephens Hall
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United States

Masiello explores the textual and visual representation of the senses during moments of crisis in Latin America from the early nineteenth century to the present.

Catherine Gallagher
Wednesday, Oct 3, 2018 | 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm
Geballe Room, 220 Stephens Hall
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United States

Inventing counterfactual histories — such as a Europe that never threw off Hitler, or a second term for JFK — is a common pastime of modern day historians. Gallagher probes how counterfactual history works and to what ends.

Bryan Wagner
Wednesday, Oct 17, 2018 | 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm
Geballe Room, 220 Stephens Hall
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United States

Wagner offers a fresh analysis of this deceptively simple story of a fox, a rabbit, and a doll made of tar and turpentine, tracing its history and connections to slavery, colonialism, and global trade.

Hertha Sweet Wong
Wednesday, Oct 24, 2018 | 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm
Geballe Room, 220 Stephens Hall
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United States

Wong explores the intersection of writing and visual art in the autobiographical work of Art Spiegelman, Faith Ringgold, Leslie Marmon Silko, and other American writers-artists who experiment with hybrid forms of self-narration.

Anne Nesbet
Wednesday, Nov 7, 2018 | 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm
Geballe Room, 220 Stephens Hall
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United States

Nesbet’s historical novel for younger readers takes place during World War II in Springdale, Maine. It tells the story of eleven-year-old Gusta, who is sent to live in an orphanage run by her grandmother after her labor-organizer father is forced to flee the country.

Daniel Boyarin
Wednesday, Nov 14, 2018 | 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm
Geballe Room, 220 Stephens Hall
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United States

Boyarin argues that the very concept of a religion of “Judaism” is an invention of the Christian church that was adopted by Jews only with the coming of modernity and the spread of Christian languages.

Barbara Spackman
Wednesday, Dec 5, 2018 | 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm
Geballe Room, 220 Stephens Hall
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United States

Spackman’s account, which won the 2017 American Association for Italian Studies Best Book Prize, examines narratives by Italians who, through historical accident, found themselves in Ottoman Egypt and Anatolia in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

Past Events

John Ferrari
Wednesday, Apr 25, 2018 | 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm
Geballe Room, 220 Stephens Hall
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United States

Exploring the idea of "intimations" - social interactions that approach outright communication but do not quite reach it - G. R. F. (John) Ferrari offers a new framework for understanding different ways in which we communicate with each other.

Tom McEnaney
Wednesday, Apr 18, 2018 | 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm
Geballe Room, 220 Stephens Hall
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United States

In his study of the coevolution of radio and the novel in Argentina, Cuba, and the United States, McEnaney explores how novelists in the radio age transformed realism as they struggled to channel and shape popular power.

Amanda Jo Goldstein
Wednesday, Apr 11, 2018 | 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm
Geballe Room, 220 Stephens Hall
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United States

Today we do not expect poems to carry scientifically valid information — but this was not always the case. Sweet Science explores how Romantic poetry served as an important tool for scientific inquiry.