Prof. Shannon Jackson (Rhetoric and TDPS) appointed Associate Vice Chancellor of Arts and Design

Longtime professor Shannon Jackson has been named UC Berkeley’s first associate vice chancellor of arts and design, a role that will be pivotal in revitalizing the campus’s commitment to the arts.   Chancellor Nicholas Dirks and Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Claude Steele, in an April 16 email message announcing the new faculty leadership position, said a “creative ethos” accessible to all students is essential to a thriving campus culture. In her new …    read more


Philosophy and the Web

 Prof. David Bates helped organize, with Harry Halpin (MIT) and Peter Norvig (Google), a day-long seminar on "Philosophy of the Web," hosted at Google on their campus. Invited participants included philosophers, psychologists, computer scientists, lawyers, and engineers. A talk by the philosopher Andy Clark (Edinburgh) on the "predictive brain" and its technological extension ended the gathering. The Rhetoric department helped support the event.


March 23-Apr 1 Daniel Boyarin to give the Bampton Lectures in America at Columbia University

The 2015 Bampton Lectures in America will be given by Talmudic scholar Daniel Boyarin, speaking on: A Genealogy for Judaism. In this series of lectures, Daniel Boyarin proposes that scholarship ought to resist using the term “Judaism” with reference to the pre-modern period. As has been argued by several scholars already, there is no “native” term with this meaning in antiquity or the Middle Ages. There is, moreover, no evidence that Jews divided off one …    read more


Van Gogh On Demand by Winnie Wong awarded the 2015 Joseph Levenson Book Prize

Winnie Wong's recently published book, Van Gogh on Demand: China and the Readymade (U Chicago Press, 2014), has been awarded the 2015 Joseph Levenson Prize (post-1900 China) by the Association of Asian Studies. Van Gogh on Demand was also named one of the Top 10 Art Books of 2014 by Hyperallergic. Join Winnie Wong at a Townsend Center book chat to discuss the work on April 22, 2015, 12-1pm at 220 Stephens Hall.


March 4 Trinh T. Minh-ha to give keynote at Celebration of Women Filmmakers: International Perspectives, Gendered Lenses

Trinh T. Minh-ha will be giving the keynote address, "The Politics of Form and Forces," at an international film series event,  "A Celebration of Women Filmmakers: International Perspectives, Gendered Lenses," hosted by the Department of Languages and Literatures at Mills College in Oakland. The lecture will be followed by the screening of her digital film,  NIGHT PASSAGE (108 mins) with Q&A afterwards. Wednesday, March 4 at 6 pm Department of Languages …    read more


Ramona Naddaff named Director of The Art of Writing program at the Doreen B. Townsend Center for the Humanities

The Art of Writing program will prepare students to think clearly and to express themselves—particularly through their writing—lucidly, directly, and elegantly, in a variety of writing modes representing various disciplinary approaches. At the same time, the program is designed to broaden the professional development of doctoral candidates by providing them the opportunity to be mentored in the art and skill of teaching writing, which also involves learning how to be excellent …    read more


Judith Butler awarded French Chevalier in the Order of Arts and Letters

 From the UC Berkeley News Center: BERKELEY — UC Berkeley’s Judith Butler was awarded the insignia of the French Chevalier in the Order of Arts and Letters this week for her contributions in philosophy, ethics and political and literary theories. Butler, Maxine Elliot Professor in the Department of Comparative Literature and Berkeley’s Program of Critical Theory, where she served as founding director, received the formal honor from Consul General Pauline Carmona at …    read more

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The Cambridge Introduction to Literature and Philosophy, by Anthony J. Cascardi

Literature and philosophy have long shared an interest in questions of truth, value, and form. And yet, from ancient times to the present, they have often sharply diverged, both in their approach to these questions and in their relationship to one another. Moreover, the vast differences among individual writers, historical periods, and languages pose challenges for anyone wishing to understand the relationship between them. This Introduction provides a synthetic and original guide to this …    read more

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James I. Porter joins the Rhetoric department

James I. Porter has been appointed Professor in History and Theory of Rhetoric and will join the department in July of 2015. Prof. Porter has published widely on classical literature and aesthetics, and on Nietzsche. His new book on the Sublime in the Ancient world will be published by Cambridge University Press. Prof. Porter has held appointments at the University of Michigan and University of California, Irvine, as well as visiting positions at Stanford and Princeton. 


On The Wire, by Linda Williams

Many television critics, legions of fans, even the president of the United States, have cited The Wire as the best television series ever. In this sophisticated examination of the HBO serial drama that aired from 2002 until 2008, Linda Williams, a leading film scholar and authority on the interplay between film, melodrama, and issues of race, suggests what exactly it is that makes The Wire so good. She argues that while the series is a powerful exploration of urban dysfunction and …    read more