Townsend Center for the Humanities

Stephens Hall in Spring by E. Kotila

Since its establishment in 1987, the Doreen B. Townsend Center for the Humanities at UC Berkeley has encouraged an interdisciplinary approach to scholarship, fostered innovative research, and promoted intellectual conversation across academic fields.

The Center offers an array of fellowship and grant opportunities for Berkeley’s academic community, develops new academic initiatives, and offers numerous public events, including the Avenali and Una’s endowed lectures in the humanities.

Richelle Gribble, WONDER-4 (Detail), 2015

The Intersectional Ecologies working group investigates the intersections between race, gender, and alternative ecological futures.

Townsend Center Working Groups, which bring together faculty and graduate students with shared research interests, are a cornerstone of Berkeley’s rich interdisciplinary culture. There are currently nearly 70 active groups, exploring topics ranging from tourism studies to ancient philosophy.


Townsend Center live events, including Berkeley Book Chats and the series (Re)making Sense: The Humanities and Pandemic Culture, are available for viewing.

Watch recent guests Jeannie Suk Gersen, Joyce Carol Oates, Anthony Cascardi, and Stephen Best in conversation on their work and thought.



The free and safe pursuit of teaching and research are essential to the advancement of knowledge and the practice of democracy. The Townsend Center is pleased to collaborate with the Scholars at Risk network, which works to protect scholars in situations of difficulty around the world.

For information on Scholars at Risk activities at Berkeley, contact Timothy Hampton, Townsend Center director.