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.

Ocean Vuong, Writer

In Conversation with Cathy Park Hong
Avenali Lecture
Thursday, Apr 4, 2024 5:00 pm
| BAMPFA, 2155 Center Street

Poet and novelist Ocean Vuong is the 2023-24 Avenali Chair in the Humanities.

Past Lectures

Sianne Ngai

Inhabiting Error: From "Last Christmas" to "Senior’s Last Hour"
Avenali Lecture
Wednesday, Mar 1, 2023 5:00 pm
| Maude Fife Room, 315 Wheeler Hall

Cultural theorist and literary critic Sianne Ngai is the Andrew W. Mellon Professor of English at the University of Chicago.

Joy Harjo, Writer

When the Light of the World Was Subdued, Our Songs Came Through
Avenali Lecture
Wednesday, Feb 24, 2021 4:00 pm
| Online

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, Historian

The End of Knowledge: From Facts to Data
Avenali Lecture
Wednesday, Feb 19, 2020 5:00 pm
| Maude Fife Room, 315 Wheeler Hall

Jill Lepore is the David Woods Kemper '41 Professor of American History at Harvard University and a staff writer at the New Yorker.

Todd Gitlin

The Other 1968s: Counterrevolution, Communism and Desublimation
Avenali Lecture
Monday, Nov 5, 2018 6:30 pm
| 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.