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.

Proust, Photography, and the Time of Life

Suzanne Guerlac
Berkeley Book Chats
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| Online

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.

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| Online

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.

Past Events

Under the Dome: Walks with Paul Celan by Jean Daive

Introduction by Robert Kaufman and Philip Gerard
Berkeley Book Chats
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| Online

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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| Online

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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| Online

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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| Online

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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| Online

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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| Online

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

Human Forms: The Novel in the Age of Evolution

Ian Duncan
Berkeley Book Chats
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| Online

Ian Duncan offers a major rethinking of the European novel and its relationship to early evolutionary science.

Loving Writing / Ovid’s Amores

Ellen Oliensis
Berkeley Book Chats
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| Online

Ellen Oliensis offers a fresh approach to the Amores emphasizing the masochistic pleasures of the elegiac writing project.

James Joyce and the Matter of Paris

Catherine Flynn
Berkeley Book Chats
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| Geballe Room, 220 Stephens Hall

Catherine Flynn explores the ways in which James Joyce's imaginative consciousness was shaped by the paradigmatic city of European urban modernity.

The Beadworkers: Stories

Beth Piatote
Berkeley Book Chats
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| Geballe Room, 220 Stephens Hall

Beth Piatote’s debut short story collection is a reflection on modern Native American life.