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.

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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

Polartide

Greg Niemeyer, Chris Chafe, Perrin Meyer and Rama Gottfried
Berkeley Book Chats
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| Sather Tower and Geballe Room, 220 Stephens Hall

Created for the Maldives Pavilion at the 2013 Venice Biennale, “Polartide” turns the fluctuating data sets of sea levels and oil company stock valuations into digitized tones, inviting participants to reflect on the growing threat of global climate change in a new way. Join us for an interactive performance of “Polartide” at the Sather Tower carillon, followed by discussion in the Geballe Room.

Political Beethoven

Nicholas Mathew
Berkeley Book Chats
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| Geballe Room, 220 Stephens Hall

Professor of Music Nicholas Mathew’s recent book explores Beethoven's music as an active participant in political life from the Napoleonic Wars to the present day.

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| Geballe Room, 220 Stephens Hall

Professor of Slavic Language and Literatures David Frick’s recent book details how Poles, Lithuanians, Germans, Ruthenians, Jews, and Tatars navigated and negotiated cultural and religious differences in mid-seventeenth century Wilno.