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.
Holocaust Consciousness and Cold War Violence in Latin America
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 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.
Hilton Als presents a tale of his brief encounter and long obsession with the late musical icon Prince.
Taking Stakes in the Unknown: Tracing Post-Black Art
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.”
Back Stages: Essays across Art, Performance, and Public Life
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.
The Everyday Life of Memorials
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.
The Haydn Economy: Music, Aesthetics, and Commerce in the Late Eighteenth Century
Analyzing the final three decades of Haydn’s career, Nicholas Mathew uses the composer as a prism through which to examine urgent questions across the humanities.
Francisco de Goya and the Art of Critique
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.
Palimpsests of Themselves: Logic and Commentary in Postclassical Muslim South Asia
Asad Ahmed offers an intervention in current discussions about the fate of philosophy in postclassical Islamic intellectual history.
Apropos of Something: A History of Irrelevance and Relevance
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.
The Substance of Fiction: Literary Objects in China, 1550-1775
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
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.
Viking Mediologies: A New History of Skaldic Poetics
Kate Heslop approaches Viking Age poetry through an innovative interpretive framework that considers the texts as pieces in a premodern multimedia landscape.