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.
Poet and novelist Ocean Vuong is the 2023-24 Avenali Chair in the Humanities.
Cultural theorist and literary critic Sianne Ngai is the Andrew W. Mellon Professor of English at the University of Chicago.
Joy Harjo is the 23rd US Poet Laureate, and the first Native American to hold the position. She is joined in conversation by poet Craig Santos Perez to discuss her literary antecedents and pathbreaking editorial work.
Jill Lepore is the David Woods Kemper '41 Professor of American History at Harvard University and a staff writer at the New Yorker.
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.