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.

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| Online

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.

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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.

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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.

Homer: The Very Idea

James Porter
Berkeley Book Chats
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| Online

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.

Behaviorism, Consciousness, and the Literary Mind

Joshua Gang
Berkeley Book Chats
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| Online

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.

Cheerfulness: A Literary and Cultural History

Timothy Hampton
Berkeley Book Chats
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| Online

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.

Past Events

Hidden Hitchcock

D.A. Miller
Berkeley Book Chats
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| Geballe Room, 220 Stephens Hall

In Hidden Hitchcock, D.A. Miller does what seems impossible: he discovers what has remained unseen in the movies of this best-known of filmmakers.

Seven Modes of Uncertainty

Namwali Serpell
Berkeley Book Chats
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| Geballe Room, 220 Stephens Hall

Namwali Serpell’s book Seven Modes of Uncertainty contends that literary uncertainty is crucial to ethics because it pushes us beyond the limits of our experience.

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| Geballe Room, 220 Stephens Hall

Shannon Jackson discusses her recent co-authored book on the Builders Association, a New York-based multimedia theater company that creates original productions based on stories drawn from contemporary life.

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| Geballe Room, 220 Stephens Hall

Hannah Ginsborg presents fourteen essays which establish Kant's Critique of Judgment as a central contribution to the understanding of human cognition.

Hiding in Plain Sight: The Pursuit of War Criminals from Nuremberg to the War on Terror

Eric Stover, Victor Peskin, and Alexa Koenig
Berkeley Book Chats
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| Geballe Room, 220 Stephens Hall

Authors Stover, Peskin, and Koenig tell the story of the global effort to apprehend the world's most wanted war criminals, and attempt to understand why so many states ignore their legal obligations to arrest and try war crimes suspects.

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| Geballe Room, 220 Stephens Hall

Professor of English Steven Lee’s book makes a unique contribution to interwar literary, political, and art history, drawing extensively on Russian archives, travel narratives, and artistic exchanges to establish the parameters of an undervalued "ethnic avant-garde."

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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?