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.
Niklaus Largier explores the ways in which devotional practices have informed experimental engagements in literature and art from the 17th to the 20th centuries.
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.
Kate Heslop approaches Viking Age poetry through an innovative interpretive framework that considers the texts as pieces in a premodern multimedia landscape.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Asad Ahmed offers an intervention in current discussions about the fate of philosophy in postclassical Islamic intellectual history.
Grace Lavery examines the contradictory role — as both rival empire and cradle of exquisite beauty — played by Japan in the Victorian imagination.
In the north Indian pilgrimage region of Braj, the landscape is considered sacred. Sugata 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).
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. Mark Schapiro examines the fate of our food supply under the pressures of corporate consolidation.
Questioning the assumption that the slave past provides an explanatory prism for understanding the black political present, Stephen Best offers a new way of understanding the constitution of black subjectivity.
Alva 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.
Imagine trying to tell someone something about yourself and your desires for which there are no words. Michael Lucey examines characters from 20th-century French literary texts whose sexual forms prove difficult to conceptualize or represent.
Timothy Hampton’s close examination of Bob Dylan's songs locates the artist’s transgressive style within a long history of modern (and modernist) art.
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 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.
Born a slave, the ancient Roman Stoic philosopher Epictetus taught that mental freedom is supreme, since it can liberate one anywhere, even in a prison. Anthony Long presents a new edition of Epictetus’s famed handbook on Stoicism.