Bear's-Eye View

Bear's-Eye View is a chronicle of students' engagement with the vibrant humanities culture at the Townsend Center and across the Berkeley campus. Each semester our undergraduate humanities writers soak up the wealth of humanities programs and events, and write about what they've learned.

I cannot remember precisely when I first encountered James Baldwin’s writing — sometime in early high school, perhaps — but I remember that it was not a quote, or even one of his novels, that ushered him into my life.

It was actually a brief poem:

 

 

 

Of all things, images of couches flash behind poet, playwright, and New York University Professor Claudia Rankine as she opens the morning program of “Imagining Beyond Authoritarianism: Race and Gender in Our Times” with a reading from a recent poem.

In March 2023, the Department of Theater, Dance & Performance Studies presented Sarah Ruhl’s play Eurydice, which retells the classic myth of Orpheus and Eurydice, set in a world which feels distinctly, nostalgically, 20th century.

Alter Theater presented Dillon Chitto’s two-man play Pueblo Revolt at Hearst Annex, which explores the Pueblo Uprising through the eyes of a gay Pueblo teen, Feem, and his older brother, Ba’homa.

In 2005, women in a Mennonite colony in Bolivia began to notice evidence that they had been drugged and raped in the night. They were waking up bruised, bloodied, and in pain, but with no memory of what had happened to them.

The Late Wedding — written by UC Berkeley alumnus Christopher Chen — is a play about marriages, all of the different reasons people have for entering them, and all of the ways that they conduct themselves once within them.