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.
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.
Masiello explores the textual and visual representation of the senses during moments of crisis in Latin America from the early nineteenth century to the present.
Exploring the idea of "intimations" - social interactions that approach outright communication but do not quite reach it - G. R. F. (John) Ferrari offers a new framework for understanding different ways in which we communicate with each other.
In his study of the coevolution of radio and the novel in Argentina, Cuba, and the United States, McEnaney explores how novelists in the radio age transformed realism as they struggled to channel and shape popular power.
Today we do not expect poems to carry scientifically valid information — but this was not always the case. Sweet Science explores how Romantic poetry served as an important tool for scientific inquiry.
In the first book-length study of Jan Brueghel, Pieter’s son, Professor of History of Art Elizabeth Honig reveals how the artist’s tiny detail-filled paintings questioned conceptions of distance, dimension, and style.
Robert Hass reveals the role of instinct and imagination within poetic form, demonstrating his formidable gifts as both a poet and a critic.
George W. Bush's War on Terror has led to seventeen years of armed conflict, making it the longest war in US history. Professor Mark Danner examines this state of perpetual struggle and its widespread acceptance in the name of American security.
Professor of History Peter Sahlins explores the “animal moment” in and around 1668, in which French authors, anatomists, painters, sculptors, and especially the young Louis XIV turned their attention to nonhuman beings.
In his study of High Renaissance art, Professor of English James Turner demonstrates the surprisingly close connection between explicitly pornographic art and the canonical works of masters such as Leonardo, Raphael, and Michelangelo.