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.
Territories of the Soul draws upon queer and affect theory to explore structures of belonging experienced by the black diasporic subject.
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.
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.
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.
Hannah Ginsborg presents fourteen essays which establish Kant's Critique of Judgment as a central contribution to the understanding of human cognition.
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.
Weihong Bao’s book traces the permutations of cinema as an affective medium in China, exploring its role in aesthetics, politics, and social institutions.
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."
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.
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?