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.
The Atlantic Realists: Empire and International Political Thought between Germany and the United States
Matthew Specter offers a revisionist interpretation of the "realist" worldview, which shaped US foreign policy, public discourse, and international relations theory after World War II and throughout the Cold War.
Figures of Possibility: Aesthetic Experience, Mysticism, and the Play of the Senses
Niklaus Largier explores the ways in which devotional practices have informed experimental engagements in literature and art from the 17th to the 20th centuries.
Cheerfulness: A Literary and Cultural History
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
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.
What Proust Heard: Novels and the Ethnography of Talk
What happens when we talk? Michael Lucey offers a linguistic anthropological analysis of Proust’s In Search of Lost Time.
Permanent Crisis: The Humanities in a Disenchanted Age
The humanities, underfunded and popularly devalued, seem to be in a perpetual state of crisis. Paul Reitter and Chad Wellmon show how the modern humanistic disciplines made crisis a core part of their project.
Love Dances: Loss and Mourning in Intercultural Collaboration
SanSan Kwan explores how dance — based in body-to-body interaction on the stage — serves as a revelatory site, and ultimately carries the potential to model everyday encounters across difference in the world.
Internationalist Aesthetics: China and Early Soviet Culture
Edward Tyerman explores the role of China in the 1920s as the key site for Soviet debates over how the political project of socialist internationalism should be expressed through literature, film, and theater.
The Week: A History of the Unnatural Rhythms That Made Us Who We Are
Approaching the seven-day week as an artificial construction of modern society, David Henkin explores its role as a dominant organizational principle that shapes our understanding and experience of time.
An Empire of Touch: Women's Political Labor and the Fabrication of East Bengal
Poulomi Saha offers an innovative account of women’s political labor in East Bengal over more than a century, one that suggests new ways of thinking about textiles and the gendered labors of their making.