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.

Francisco de Goya and the Art of Critique

Anthony Cascardi
Berkeley Book Chats
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| Online

In his innovative study of Goya's body of work, Anthony Cascardi argues that the artist is engaged in a thoroughgoing critique of the modern social and historical worlds.

The Everyday Life of Memorials

Andrew Shanken
Berkeley Book Chats
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| Online

In his study of the ordinary — and oftentimes unseen — lives of memorials, Andrew Shanken explores the relationship of commemorative monuments to the pulses of daily life.

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| Geballe Room, 220 Stephens Hall

In this collection of essays spanning her career, Shannon Jackson explores a range of disciplinary, institutional, and political puzzles that engage the social and aesthetic practice of performance.

Taking Stakes in the Unknown: Tracing Post-Black Art

Nana Adusei-Poku
Berkeley Book Chats
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| Geballe Room, 220 Stephens Hall

Nana Adusei-Poku examines the socio-historical and cultural context of the term “post-black” and its use in defining the work of artists who resisted being labeled as “black artists.”

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| Geballe Room, 220 Stephens Hall

Estelle Tarica examines how community leaders, writers, and political activists facing state repression in Latin America have used Holocaust terms to describe human rights atrocities in their own countries.

Giotto's Arena Chapel and the Triumph of Humility

Henrike Lange
Berkeley Book Chats
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| Geballe Room, 220 Stephens Hall

Henrike Lange examines one of the most celebrated monuments in the world, offering new readings of the work and asking fundamental questions about its place in Western art history.

My Pinup

Hilton Als
Berkeley Book Chats
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| Geballe Room, 220 Stephens Hall

Hilton Als presents a tale of his brief encounter and long obsession with the late musical icon Prince.

Past Events

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| Online

In her history of the idea of "relevance" since the 19th century, Elisa Tamarkin explores the term as a means to grasp how something once disregarded, unvalued, or lost becomes interesting and important.

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| Online

Sophie Volpp considers fictional objects of the late Ming and Qing that defy being read as illustrative of historical things, and are instead often signs of fictionality itself.

Homer: The Very Idea

James Porter
Berkeley Book Chats
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| Online

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.

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| Online

Kate Heslop approaches Viking Age poetry through an innovative interpretive framework that considers the texts as pieces in a premodern multimedia landscape. 

Cheerfulness: A Literary and Cultural History

Timothy Hampton
Berkeley Book Chats
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| Online

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.

Behaviorism, Consciousness, and the Literary Mind

Joshua Gang
Berkeley Book Chats
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| Online

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.