The Townsend Center presents a lunchtime series celebrating the intellectual and artistic endeavors of the UC Berkeley faculty. Each Berkeley Book Chat features a faculty member engaged in conversation about a recently completed publication, performance, or recording. The series highlights the extraordinary breadth and depth of Berkeley’s academic community.
The identity of Homer is shrouded in mystery, including doubts that he was an actual person. James Porter explores Homer’s mystique, approaching the poet not as a man, but as a cultural invention.
Exploring cheerfulness as a theme and structuring element in the work of major artists, Timothy Hampton (Comparative Literature and French) casts new light on literary history, the intersections of culture and psychology, and the history of emotions.
What might behaviorism, that debunked school of psychology, tell us about literature? Joshua Gang argues for its enormous critical value for thinking about why language is so good at creating illusions of mental life.
What happens when we talk? Michael Lucey offers a linguistic anthropological analysis of Proust’s In Search of Lost Time.
The humanities, underfunded and popularly devalued, seem to be in a perpetual state of crisis. Paul Reitter and Chad Wellmon show how the modern humanistic disciplines made crisis a core part of their project.
SanSan Kwan explores how dance — based in body-to-body interaction on the stage — serves as a revelatory site, and ultimately carries the potential to model everyday encounters across difference in the world.
Edward Tyerman explores the role of China in the 1920s as the key site for Soviet debates over how the political project of socialist internationalism should be expressed through literature, film, and theater.
Approaching the seven-day week as an artificial construction of modern society, David Henkin explores its role as a dominant organizational principle that shapes our understanding and experience of time.
Poulomi Saha offers an innovative account of women’s political labor in East Bengal over more than a century, one that suggests new ways of thinking about textiles and the gendered labors of their making.
Jacob Gaboury argues for the fundamental role of computer graphics as the force that transformed the computer from a calculating machine into an interactive medium.
Working at the intersection of literary theory, philosophy of history, and phenomenology, Karen Feldman explores the representation of connections between events in literary, historical, and philosophical narratives.