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.
Waiting for Verdi: Opera and Political Opinion in Nineteenth-Century Italy, 1815-1848
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.
How to Be Free: An Ancient Guide to the Stoic Life
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.
Hazards of Time Travel
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.
The Refugee-Diplomat: Venice, England, and the Reformation
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.
The Chinese Pleasure Book
Michael Nylan explores the concept of “pleasure”—including both short-term delight and longer-term satisfaction—as understood by major thinkers of ancient China.
How Art Can Be Thought: A Handbook for Change
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.
Judaism: The Genealogy of a Modern Notion
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.
The Orphan Band of Springdale
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.
Picturing Identity: Contemporary American Autobiography in Image and Text
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.
The Tar Baby: A Global History
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.