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.
Jacob Gaboury argues for the fundamental role of computer graphics as the force that transformed the computer from a calculating machine into an interactive medium.
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.
Joyce Carol Oates’s latest novel is the dystopian story of a young woman living in a bleak future dictatorship, who is punished for her transgressions by being sent back in time.
Diego Pirillo offers a new history of early modern diplomacy, centered on Italian religious refugees who left Italy in order to forge ties with English and northern European Protestants in the hope of inspiring an Italian Reformation.
Michael Nylan explores the concept of “pleasure”—including both short-term delight and longer-term satisfaction—as understood by major thinkers of ancient China.
What terms do we use to describe and evaluate art? How do we judge if art is good, and if it is for the social good? DeSouza investigates the terminology through which art is discussed, valued, and taught.
Boyarin argues that the very concept of a religion of “Judaism” is an invention of the Christian church that was adopted by Jews only with the coming of modernity and the spread of Christian languages.
Nesbet’s historical novel for younger readers takes place during World War II in Springdale, Maine. It tells the story of 11-year-old Gusta, who is sent to live in an orphanage run by her grandmother after her labor-organizer father is forced to flee the country.
Wong explores the intersection of writing and visual art in the autobiographical work of Art Spiegelman, Faith Ringgold, Leslie Marmon Silko, and other American writers-artists who experiment with hybrid forms of self-narration.
Wagner offers a fresh analysis of this deceptively simple story of a fox, a rabbit, and a doll made of tar and turpentine, tracing its history and connections to slavery, colonialism, and global trade.
Inventing counterfactual histories — such as a Europe that never threw off Hitler, or a second term for JFK — is a common pastime of modern day historians. Gallagher probes how counterfactual history works and to what ends.