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.
Poulomi Saha offers an innovative account of women’s political labor in East Bengal over more than a century, one that suggests new ways of thinking about textiles and the gendered labors of their making.
Approaching the seven-day week as an artificial construction of modern society, David Henkin explores its role as a dominant organizational principle that shapes our understanding and experience of time.
Edward Tyerman explores the role of China in the 1920s as the key site for Soviet debates over how the political project of socialist internationalism should be expressed through literature, film, and theater.
SanSan Kwan explores how dance — based in body-to-body interaction on the stage — serves as a revelatory site, and ultimately carries the potential to model everyday encounters across difference in the world.
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.
What might behaviorism, that debunked school of psychology, tell us about literature? Joshua Gang argues for its enormous critical value for thinking about why language is so good at creating illusions of mental life.
Exploring cheerfulness as a theme and structuring element in the work of major artists, Timothy Hampton (Comparative Literature and French) casts new light on literary history, the intersections of culture and psychology, and the history of emotions.
This collected volume offers a critical interdisciplinary view on how and why social media is at the heart of contemporary political discourse.
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.