English Blog | EVENTS

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The Berkeley English Ph.D. program has been ranked the top graduate English program in the country, according to the most recent guide to "America's Best Colleges" published by the U.S. News and World Report.  Faculty in the English Department have received more university Distinguished Teaching Awards—26—than any other department.

Featured Events

"Biocapitalism and Culture"
A Talk by Ashley Dawson
picture of "Biocapitalism and Culture"

Tuesday, December 2, 2014
Wheeler 300

Light reception to follow.
Ashley Dawson is currently Professor of English at the Graduate Center, City University of New York (CUNY), and Chairperson of the English Department at the College of Staten Island/CUNY. He is the author of The Routledge Concise History of Twentieth-Century British Literature (Routledge, 2013) and Mongrel Nation: Diasporic Culture and the Making of Postcolonial Britain (University of Michigan Press, 2007).
This presentation examines recent literary and artistic works that engage with Synthetic Biology in order to gain critical perspective on – and a ground for activist intervention in - biocapitalism’s brave new world. Synthetic Biology (SynBio) is an emerging technology that allows scientists to engage in extreme forms of genetic engineering. Rather than swapping existing genes from one species to another as in “traditional” genetic engineering, scientists can now write entirely new genetic code on a computer, “print” it out, and insert it into living organisms – or even create brand new forms of life. The SynBio industry is booming, with a projected market value of $11 billion by 2016, yet there has been virtually no regulation of the industry and little assessment by organizations such as the WHO of the potential risks associated with synthetic organisms. Artists and writers have filled this void by broaching key questions about the SynBio revolution: what ethical obligations does the creation of synthetic organisms entail? Will SynBio foster human liberation, as its boosters proclaim, or entrench existing forms of inequality and imperialism? Are there processes or institutions through which a global citizenry can challenge novel forms of biopower?

“'Have-his-carcase': Habeas Writs, (Human) Rights, and Pickwick
A Talk by Sarah Winter
picture of “'Have-his-carcase': Habeas Writs, (Human) Rights, and <i>Pickwick</i>“

Monday, December 8, 2014
5 pm to 7 pm
306 Wheeler Hall

Sarah Winter is Professor of English and Comparative Literary and Cultural Studies at the University of Connecticut. She is the author of The Pleasures of Memory: Learning to Read with Charles Dickens (Fordham University Press, 2011) and Freud and the Institution of Psychoanalytic Knowledge (Stanford University Press, 1999).

***This talk will focus on a pre-circulated paper. For a copy, please email Wendy Xin at wendy.xin@berkeley.edu. (Papers should be distributed by Monday, December 1st.)


Robert Hass Receives $100,000 Wallace Stevens Award

Notes on Recent Accomplishments of our Graduate Students

Read the department's most recent newsletter to find our publications and accomplishments for the past year.

Visit the English Department blog! You'll find updates on faculty, alumni, and friends; selections from our poets and fiction writers; and other exciting news. If you would like to contribute or suggest topics, contact the editor.