Berkeley Book Chats

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 Value of Poetry

Eric Falci
Berkeley Book Chats
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Exploring the literary, cultural, and political value of poetry in the twenty-first century, Eric Falci shows how poems matter, and what they offer to readers in the contemporary world.

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Critics have largely neglected description as a feature of novelistic innovation during the twentieth century. Dora Zhang argues that descriptive practices were in fact a crucial site of attention and experimentation for a number of modernist writers.

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In the first major study of the language of historical French newspapers and periodicals, Mairi McLaughlin sheds light on our understanding of the history of French and of language variation and change. Conversation conducted in English.

Arts of Connection: Poetry, History, Epochality

Karen Feldman
Berkeley Book Chats
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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.

Image Objects: An Archaeology of Computer Graphics

Jacob Gaboury
Berkeley Book Chats
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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.

Past Events

Ark of Martyrs: An Autobiography of V

Allan deSouza
Berkeley Book Chats
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Allan deSouza’s rewriting of Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness substitutes Conrad’s words with ones that loosely rhyme, creating a linguistically and psychologically complex portrait of dystopian contemporary life.

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Anneka Lenssen explores how artists developed new kinds of painting as a means to agitate against the imposed identities and intersubjective relations that accompanied the making of modern Syria.

Proust, Photography, and the Time of Life

Suzanne Guerlac
Berkeley Book Chats
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Placing Remembrance of Things Past within a complex philosophical and aesthetic context, Suzanne Guerlac approaches Proust’s novel as a text whose true subject is the adventure of living in time.

Under the Dome: Walks with Paul Celan by Jean Daive

Introduction by Robert Kaufman and Philip Gerard
Berkeley Book Chats
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In their introduction to the English translation of Jean Daive’s memoir, Robert Kaufman and Philip Gerard provide critical, historical, and cultural context for Daive's account of his friendship with the German-language poet Paul Celan.

The Novel and the New Ethics

Dorothy Hale
Berkeley Book Chats
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A generation of contemporary Anglo-American novelists has championed the ethical value of literature. Dorothy Hale explores the modernist roots of this “new” emphasis on the novel’s ethical significance.

Archive Feelings: A Theory of Greek Tragedy

Mario Telò
Berkeley Book Chats
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Bringing an innovative synthesis of postmodern theories to bear on his reading of ancient Greek tragedy, Mario Telò offers a new way of understanding tragic aesthetics.

Midnight la Frontera

Ken Light
Berkeley Book Chats
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Documentary photographer Ken Light and author José Ángel Navejas discuss their book, which features photographs of US border patrol agents on their nighttime shifts on the Mexican border in the 1980s.

The Trouble with Literature

Victoria Kahn
Berkeley Book Chats
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Victoria Kahn argues that the literature of the English Reformation (written during the fraught years of the late 16th and 17th centuries) marks a turning point in Western thinking about literature and literariness.

In the Matter of Nat Turner: A Speculative History

Christopher Tomlins
Berkeley Book Chats
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Christopher Tomlins offers a new interpretation of Nat Turner and the slave rebellion that stunned the American South.