Summer Session Spotlights

For a full list of summer course selections, click here English R1B: Thinking through Memory in Poetry and Fiction with Dana Swensen Summer Session A: May 23 – July 1 How and why do we remember? What does ‘memory’ mean to both an individual and a culture? How do fictional narrators construct their memorial landscapes? In this class we will...

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Edwidge Danticat | Once Upon an Endless Night: Storytelling and the legends that made me a writer

For information on the Bedri Distinguished Writer Series, including past and forthcoming events, please visit the Series’ website. Join us for a public lecture with Edwidge Danticat, the Spring 2022 Bedri Distinguished Writer, on Thursday, April 28th at 8:00 PM in 315 Wheeler Hall (the Maude Fife Room). A smaller, department-only Q&A will take place earlier in the day at...

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2022 Gayley Lecture | “First Thing Smokin’ “: A Trajectory Concerning Railroad Sense | C.S. Giscombe

April 19 at 8pm in the Maude Fife Room (315 Wheeler Hall) The 2022 Gayley Lecture will be given by Cecil S. Giscombe, Professor and Robert Hass Chair in English. The talk’s an inquiry into the status of the railroad as a complicated series of facts in Black life and art and will be drawn, in large part, from materials...

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April 30 | The Ones Who Leave by Nagahara Hideaki

A Stage Reading of Nagahara Hideaki’s –The Ones Who Leave– translated by Andrew Way Leong with Q & A moderated by Philip Kan Gotanda. About this event The Ones Who Leave (Sariyukumono, 去り行く者, 1927) is the only surviving play of Nagahara Hideaki, a Los Angeles-based author who wrote for a Japanese-language audience in the mid-1920s. The Ones Who Leave depicts the struggles of the...

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Read Along with Berkeley English

There is still time to join our Spring 2022 seminars! If you are like many graduates, your seminars count among your most vivid college memories. We’d like to share that experience with you again by inviting you to read along with the two current seminars highlighted below. For each seminar, we provide selected readings and discussion questions, along with an invitation...

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Hannah Zeavin’s The Distance Cure: A History of Teletherapy

In The Distance Cure: A History of Teletherapy (MIT Press, 2021), English Department Lecturer Hannah Zeavin offers a history of psychotherapy across distance and time, from Freud’s treatments by mail to crisis hotlines, radio call-ins, chatbots, and Zoom sessions. While therapy has long understood itself as taking place in a room, with two (or more) people engaged in person-to-person conversation, psychotherapy has...

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Danielle Evans, Author of The Office of Historical Corrections in conversation with Beth Piatote, Author of The Beadworkers

The Department of English and the New Literary Project present the winner of the 2021 New Literary Project Joyce Carol Oates Prize, Danielle Evans. Danielle Evans is the author of the story collections The Office of Historical Corrections (Riverhead, 2020) and Before You Suffocate Your Own Fool Self (Riverhead, 2010), which won the PEN American Robert W. Bingham Prize, the...

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Bad Seed: Monstrosity, Horror, and the Inhuman in Children’s Literature

Prof: Poulomi Saha Course Description: From cannibalistic witches to sadistic parents to dystopian hellscapes, children’s literature is rife with terrifying figures and dark themes. This class will look at forms of monstrosity, deviance, and horror within a variety of texts that are so often figured as cute, sweet, or safe, and explore why it is that there is such pleasure...

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Harlem Renaissance

Professors: Bryan Wagner and Christine Palmer This course will explore the social, cultural, political, and personal awakenings in the culture of the Harlem Renaissance. Roughly between 1918-1930, in the midst of racial segregation and increasing anti-Black violence, Black American writers reclaimed the right to represent themselves in a wide range of artistic forms and activist movements. We’ll consider how artists...

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D.A. Miller’s Second Time Around: From Art House to DVD

In Second Time Around: From Art House to DVD (Columbia University Press, 2021), Professor D.A. Miller watches digitally restored films by directors from Mizoguchi to Pasolini and from Hitchcock to Honda, looking to find not only what he saw in them as a young man, but also what he was then kept from seeing by quick camerawork, normal projection speed, missing...

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Cecil Giscombe and Judith Margolis: Train Music

A poet and a book artist take a train across the United States, creating and conversing along the way.  Cecil Giscombe and Judith Margolis recently published Train Music, a collaborative travelogue that explores race and gender with a mix of poetry, prose, and visual art.   In Train Music, Giscombe’s narrative disjunctions and Margolis’ figurative abstractions crisscross at a roundhouse (‘I’m not...

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The Week: A History of the Unnatural Rhythms That Made Us Who We Are

On Wednesday, February 2nd at 12pm, Elisa Tamarkin (English) will be talking with David Henkin (History) about his new book, The Week: A History of the Unnatural Rhythms That Made Us Who We Are. Click here for the livestream. We take the seven-day week for granted, rarely asking what anchors it or what it does to us. Yet weeks are...

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Dorothy Hale’s The Novel and the New Ethics

In the age of visual culture, why write fiction? For a wide array of contemporary writers from Toni Morrison to J.M. Coetzee, Professor Dorothy Hale suggests, the answer lies in the novel’s ethical power.  For these writers, novels not only illuminate ethical action in complex social worlds, but also task writers and readers, through the narrative problem of character representation,...

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Cindy Weinstein’s Finding the Right Words

In Finding the Right Words: A Story of Literature, Grief, and the Brain, Cindy Weinstein (PhD ’89) reflects on her time as a PhD student in the Berkeley English department, which coincided with her father’s struggle with dementia. Her father was only 58; the first symptom was his difficulty to find words —an especially charged issue for Weinstein because of...

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Thomas Farber’s Acting My Age

In Acting My Age, Thomas Farber reflects, with wit and insight, on his own mortality as well as on the impending extinction of vital presences in the natural world, from coral reefs to snow leopards. The author of over two dozen wide-ranging books of fiction, nonfiction, and epigrams, Farber teaches creative writing in the English department. The following excerpt from...

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