Past Avenali 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.

Eelco Runia, Historian & Psychologist

The Theory of the Accomplished Fact
Avenali Lecture
| Banatao Auditorium, Sutardja Dai Hall

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.

Religion and the Art of the Novel

Panel Discussion with Marilynne Robinson
Avenali Lecture
| Sibley Auditorium, Bechtel Engineering Center

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.

Marilynne Robinson, Novelist

Shakespeare: The Question of Audience
Avenali Lecture
| Sibley Auditorium, Bechtel Engineering Center

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.

Tears in the Fabric of the Past: New Theories of Narrative and History

With Avenali Chair Eelco Runia
Avenali Lecture
| Maude Fife Room, 315 Wheeler

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).

A Typology of Convergences: Towards a Unified Field Theory of Cultural Transmission

With Avenali Lecturer Lawrence Weschler
Avenali Lecture
| Banatao Auditorium, Sutardja Dai Hall

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.

Lawrence Weschler, Writer

Art and Science as Parallel and Divergent Ways of Knowing
Avenali Lecture
| Maude Fife Room, 315 Wheeler Hall

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.