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.

The Beadworkers: Stories

Beth Piatote
Berkeley Book Chats
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| Geballe Room, 220 Stephens Hall

Beth Piatote’s debut short story collection is a reflection on modern Native American life.

James Joyce and the Matter of Paris

Catherine Flynn
Berkeley Book Chats
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| Geballe Room, 220 Stephens Hall

Catherine Flynn explores the ways in which James Joyce's imaginative consciousness was shaped by the paradigmatic city of European urban modernity.

Human Forms: The Novel in the Age of Evolution

Ian Duncan
Berkeley Book Chats
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| Geballe Room, 220 Stephens Hall

Ian Duncan offers a major rethinking of the European novel and its relationship to early evolutionary science.

Loving Writing/Ovid’s Amores

Ellen Oliensis
Berkeley Book Chats
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| Geballe Room, 220 Stephens Hall

Ellen Oliensis offers a fresh approach to the Amores emphasizing the masochistic pleasures of the elegiac writing project.

Midnight la Frontera

Ken Light
Berkeley Book Chats
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| Geballe Room, 220 Stephens Hall

Documentary photographer Ken Light and author José Ángel Navejas discuss their book, which features photographs of U.S. border patrol agents on their nighttime shifts on the Mexican border in the 1980s.

Past Events

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| Geballe Room, 220 Stephens Hall

Graduate School of Journalism lecturer Adam Hochschild explores the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) through the lives of idealistic international young volunteers as well as American journalists, scholars, citizens, and a right-wing oil company executive who supplied Franco’s army.

Reason after Its Eclipse: On Late Critical Theory

Martin Jay
Berkeley Book Chats
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| Geballe Room, 220 Stephens Hall

Professor of History Martin Jay’s book tackles a question as old as Plato and still pressing today: what is reason, and what roles does and should it have in human endeavor?

The Work of the Dead

Thomas Laqueur
Berkeley Book Chats
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| Geballe Room, 220 Stephens Hall

Professor of History Thomas Laqueur's book, The Work of the Dead, offers a richly detailed account of how and why the living have cared for the dead, from antiquity to the twentieth century.

Greek Models of Mind and Self

Anthony Long
Berkeley Book Chats
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| Geballe Room, 220 Stephens Hall

Professor Emeritus of Classics Anthony Long’s book offers a wide-ranging study of Greek notions of mind and human selfhood from Homer through Plotinus.

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| Geballe Room, 220 Stephens Hall

Professor of Philosophy John MacFarlane’s book gives a clear account of what it is to be a relativist about truth and uses this view to provide a fresh perspective of parts of our thought and speech that have resisted traditional methods of analysis.

A Play, An Opera, The Tango

Philip Kan Gotanda
Berkeley Book Chats
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| Geballe Room, 220 Stephens Hall

Professor of Theater, Dance, & Performance Studies Philip Kan Gotanda will read and discuss excerpts from three current projects Remember the I-Hotel (play), Both Eyes Open (opera), and Chelsea & Rodney’s Tango (video).

On The Wire

Linda Williams
Berkeley Book Chats
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| Geballe Room, 220 Stephens Hall

Professor Emerita of Film & Media and Rhetoric Linda Williams’ book examines the HBO television series The Wire (2002-2008). She argues that the series transforms close observation into an unparalleled melodrama by juxtaposing the good and evil of individuals and institutions. Introduction by Professor Alan Tansman.

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| Geballe Room, 220 Stephens Hall

Professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures Luba Golburt's book examines the complex place of the eighteenth century in the subsequent Russian literary tradition, tracing how later Russian writers paradoxically view the epoch as both formative and obsolete. Introduction by Professor Harsha Ram.

Enduring Truths: Sojourner's Shadows and Substance

Darcy Grimaldo Grigsby
Berkeley Book Chats
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| Geballe Room, 220 Stephens Hall

Professor of Art History Darcy Grimaldo Grigsby’s book illustrates how a runaway slave, Sojourner Truth, gained fame in the nineteenth century as an abolitionist, feminist, and orator and earned a living partly by selling photographic images of herself at lectures and by mail.

Romantic Anatomies of Performance

James Davies
Berkeley Book Chats
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| Geballe Room, 220 Stephens Hall

Professor of Music James Davies’ book explores the very matter of musical experience; the hands and voices of virtuosic musicians and singers who plied their trade between London and Paris in the nineteenth century.