Townsend Center for the Humanities

Stephens Hall Night Photo

Since its establishment in 1987, the Doreen B. Townsend Center for the Humanities at UC Berkeley has encouraged an interdisciplinary approach to scholarship, fostered innovative research, and promoted intellectual conversation across academic fields.

The Center offers an array of fellowship and grant opportunities for Berkeley’s academic community, develops new academic initiatives, and offers numerous public events, including the Avenali and Una’s endowed lectures in the humanities.

Terra Infirma Working Group Artwork

Terra Infirma speaks to the fractured and unstable nature of the human relationship with land in urban contexts. 

Townsend Center Working Groups, which bring together faculty and graduate students with shared research interests, are a cornerstone of Berkeley’s rich interdisciplinary culture. There are currently more than 80 active groups, exploring topics ranging from tourism studies to ancient philosophy.


The Townsend Center hosts a lunchtime series celebrating the books of UC Berkeley faculty. 

You can listen to all the podcast episodes, which include conversations with authors Catherine Gallagher, Beth Piatote, and Daniel Boyarin.


Writer Joyce Carol Oates, professor emerita of the humanities at Princeton and a visiting professor of English at Berkeley, engaged in a recent conversation with poet John Shoptaw (English) hosted by the Townsend Center.

Oates also discusses her novel Hazards of Time Travel in a recently published feature article and podcast on the Berkeley News website.