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

Todd Gitlin

The Other 1968s: Counterrevolution, Communism and Desublimation
Avenali Lecture
| BAMPFA, 2155 Center Street

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.

Joseph Leo Koerner, Art Historian

Art in a State of Siege: Bosch in Retrospect
Avenali Lecture
| Morrison Reading Room, 101 Doe Library

Joseph Koerner examines Hieronymus Bosch’s Garden of Delights — approaching the painting as a representation of a world without history and without law.

Christopher Bollas, Psychoanalyst and Writer

Mental Pain
Avenali Lecture
| Morrison Reading Room, 101 Doe Library

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, Indologist

The Inner Life of Dust: A Bottom-Up View of South Asia
Avenali Lecture
| Maude Fife Room, 315 Wheeler Hall

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.