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.

Upcoming Events

Michael Lucey
Wednesday, Sep 25, 2019 | 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm
Geballe Room, 220 Stephens Hall
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United States

Imagine trying to tell someone something about yourself and your desires for which there are no words. Lucey examines characters from 20th-century French literary texts whose sexual forms prove difficult to conceptualize or represent.

Alva Noë
Wednesday, Oct 2, 2019 | 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm
Geballe Room, 220 Stephens Hall
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United States

Noë explores the many unexpected ways in which baseball is truly a philosophical kind of game — a window on language, culture, and the nature of human action, intertwined with deep and fundamental human truths.

Stephen Best
Wednesday, Oct 16, 2019 | 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm
Geballe Room, 220 Stephens Hall
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United States

Questioning the assumption that the slave past provides an explanatory prism for understanding the black political present, Best offers a new way of understanding the constitution of black subjectivity.

Mark Schapiro
Wednesday, Oct 23, 2019 | 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm
Geballe Room, 220 Stephens Hall
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United States

Three-quarters of the seed varieties on earth in 1900 are now extinct, and more than half of the remaining commercial seeds are owned by three large companies. Schapiro examines the fate of our food supply under the pressures of corporate consolidation.

Anne Walsh
Wednesday, Nov 13, 2019 | 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm
Geballe Room, 220 Stephens Hall
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United States

In her response to surrealist painter Leonora Carrington’s feminist novella, The Hearing Trumpet, Walsh uses a variety of media to cast herself as an “apprentice crone” who studies and rehearses the trauma of old age.

Sugata Ray
Wednesday, Nov 20, 2019 | 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm
Geballe Room, 220 Stephens Hall
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United States

In the north Indian pilgrimage region of Braj, the landscape is considered sacred. Ray shows how this place-centered theology and its art emerged in the wake of the climatic catastrophe of the Little Ice Age (ca. 1550–1850).

Grace Lavery
Wednesday, Dec 4, 2019 | 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm
Geballe Room, 220 Stephens Hall
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United States

Lavery examines the contradictory role — as both rival empire and cradle of exquisite beauty — played by Japan in the Victorian imagination.

Past Events

Timothy Hampton
Wednesday, Apr 17, 2019 | 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm
Geballe Room, 220 Stephens Hall
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United States

Hampton’s close examination of Bob Dylan's songs locates the artist’s transgressive style within a long history of modern (and modernist) art.

Marianne Constable, Leti Volpp, and Bryan Wagner, editors
Wednesday, Apr 10, 2019 | 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm
Geballe Room, 220 Stephens Hall
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United States

For many, the right place to look for law is in constitutions, statutes, and judicial opinions. This book looks for law in the “wrong places” — in the realms of language, text, image, culture, and other sites in which no formal law appears.

Mary Ann Smart
Wednesday, Mar 20, 2019 | 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm
Geballe Room, 220 Stephens Hall
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United States

Smart explores how nineteenth-century Italian opera sparked political change by turning the newly engaged spectator in the opera house into an actor on the political stage.