English Blog | EVENTS

Our Ranking

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

“Temporalities of Romantic Science“ A Symposium
Friday, April 18, 3 pm (315 Wheeler Hall)
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featuring:
Evolutionary Nostalgia
Noah Heringman (Missouri)
 
Hunger Artists
Noel Jackson (MIT)
 
Experiment, Nostalgia, Pedagogy
John Savarese (UC Berkeley)
 
Introduced by
Kevis Goodman (UC Berkeley)
 
Sponsored by the ACLS New Faculty Fellowship Program and the Florence Green Bixby Chair in English

 


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“SLAVERY, FREEDOM AND DECEPTION IN THE NEW WORLD”: A CONVERSATION BETWEEN GREG GRANDIN AND REBECCA SOLNIT

Monday, April 21 5:00-7:00 p.m., Geballe Room, Townsend Center

This conversation between Greg Grandin, Professor of History, New York University and Rebecca Solnit, cultural historian, activist, and award-winning essayist, will focus onGrandin’s recently published book, The Empire of Necessity: Slavery, Freedom and Deception in the New World. Drawing on research on four continents, The Empire of Necessity explores the multiple forces that culminated in an extraordinary event— a slave ship uprising and its concealment – that inspired Herman Melville’s Benito Cereno. Grandin uses the dramatic incident to peel back the layers of the paradox of freedom and slavery that ran through all the Americas, north to south, the Atlantic to the Pacific.

“SLAVERY IN FACT AND MELVILLE'S FICTION”: A COLLOQUIUM WITH GREG GRANDIN

Tuesday, April 22 4:00-5:30 p.m,. 330 Wheeler

Greg Grandin, Professor of History, New York University, will discuss a selection from The Empire of Necessity. For a copy of Grandin’s pre-circulated work, please contact Jesse Cordes Selbin at j.c.s@berkeley.edu.


“Spinoza, the Body, and the Art of Living“: A Lecture by Susan James
Thursday, April 24, 5 pm to 7 pm (220 Stephens Hall)
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Professor James's overlapping areas of philosophical research are the history of seventeenth and eighteenth century philosophy, political and social philosophy, and feminist philosophy. Within the history of early modern philosophy her work has focused on the passions and their ethical and political implications. Her most recent book was Spinoza on Philosophy, Religion and Politics: The Theologico-Political Treatis. Oxford University Press (2012).

Sponsored by the Katharine Bixby Hotchkis Chair in English and the Designated Emphasis in Renaissance and Early Modern Studies


“Physico-Theology and Taste, 1650-1720“: A Talk by Alexander Wragge-Morley, Postdoctoral Fellow, Caltech and Huntington Library
Friday, May 2, 5 pm (300 Wheeler Hall)
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This talk offers a reconsideration of the workings of one of the key claims made in the canonical physico-theological texts published in England between 1650 and 1720. These include works by Robert Boyle, William Derham, Nehemiah Grew and John Ray.  It is well known that the physico-theological authors, most of whom were also practising naturalists, urged that physico-theology was distinct from other varieties of natural theology because it depended upon the evidence of the senses to help lead people to a better knowledge of God, and an improved moral disposition. The aim here is to reconsider this fundamental claim in the light of a range of different types of evidence, internal and external to physico-theology, showing that this embodied theology was bound up with concerns about the affective mechanisms of sensation and cognition. Ray and his contemporaries urged that pleasure followed naturally from the apprehension of God's beautiful and purposeful designs. At the same time, however, they recognised that many people simply failed to experience the pleasures that they found so obvious.

Sponsored by the Department of English and the Center for the Study of Religion


Americanist Colloquium Schedule
Spring 2014 (Further details forthcoming)
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FROM COALITIONS TO COMPARITIVISM II: CHICANA/LATINA AND NATIVE AMERICAN STUDIES NOW

Friday, April 4, 12:30-6:00 p.m., 300 Wheeler

This half-day conference will bring together four scholars working at the cutting edge of their fields to talk about the transdisciplinary and transcultural possibilities for Chicana/Latina and Native American Studies. With Sheila Marie Contreras (Michigan State University), Birgit Brander Rasmussen (Yale), Elena Machado Saez (Florida Atlantic University), and Kiara M. Vigil (Amherst College).

“THE POETICS OF KINSHIP: PORNOGRAPHY, CENSUS, NOVEL”

Nancy Bentley, Professor of English, University of Pennsylvania

Friday, April 4, 5:00 p.m., 315 Wheeler (Maude Fife Room)

Bentley is the author of Frantic Panoramas: American Literature and Mass Culture 1870-1920 (U of Pennsylvania Press, 2009) and The Ethnography of Manners (Cambridge UP, 1995 and 2007).  She is currently completing a book New World Kinship and the American Novel, 1850-1920, a study of the way the novel has mediated the multiple forms of kinship coexisting in the Americas.

“EMPIRICISMS OF THE PRESENT: EMPATHY, COSMOPOLITICS, AND THPOET OF THE WORLD”

Steven Meyer, Associate Professor of English, Washington University

Tuesday, April 8, 5:00 p.m., 300 Wheeler

Meyer is the author of Irresistible Dictation: Gertrude Stein and the Correlations of Writing and Science (2001). His talk will be an extension of his current project, Robust Empiricisms: Jamesian Modernism between the Disciplines, 1878 to the Present, an account of investigations in philosophy, the sciences, and literature and literary criticism that involve the development of techniques for eliciting something where, from the perspective of what Whitehead termed “rigid empiricism,” there is nothing.

A GRADUATE COLLOQUIUM ON WHITMAN

Thursday, April 10, 2:00-3:00 p.m., 300 Wheeler

Gillian Osborne and Christopher Miller, both doctoral candidates in English at UC Berkeley, will present work on Walt Whitman. Gillian’s paper, “What is the grass to Walt Whitman?” will discuss loafing, the poetic line, nineteenth-century lawn species, and inhuman belonging in “Song of Myself.” Christopher’s paper “The Lyric as Vagrant Wager in Whitman” will discuss how Whitman adapts lyric address to a project of provisional sociality.            

“THE CARIBBEAN TURN IN C19 AMERICAN LITERARY STUDIES”: A COLLOQUIUM WITH SEAN GOUDIE

Friday, April 18, 4:00-5:30 p.m., 306 Wheeler

Sean Goudie is Associate Professor of English and Director for the Center for American Literary Studies at Penn State University.Goudie’s book, Creole America: the West Indies and the Formation of Literature and Culture in the New Republic (U Penn Press, 2006), was awarded the 2007 Modern Language Association Prize for a First Book. His research and teaching seek to devise new paradigms for understanding American literature and culture across the centuries, challenging bounded “national” estimations of the field in favor of “hemispheric” and “transnational” approaches. For a copy of Goudie’s pre-circulated essay, please contact Juliana Chow at julianachow@berkeley.edu.

“SLAVERY, FREEDOM AND DECEPTION IN THE NEW WORLD”: A CONVERSATION BETWEEN GREG GRANDIN AND REBECCA SOLNIT

Monday, April 21, 5:00-7:00 p.m., Geballe Room, Townsend Center

This conversation between Greg Grandin, Professor of History, New York University and Rebecca Solnit,cultural historian, activist, and award-winning essayist, will focus on Grandin’s recently published book, The Empire of Necessity: Slavery, Freedom and Deception in the New World. Drawing on research on four continents, The Empire of Necessity explores the multiple forces that culminated in an extraordinary event— a slave ship uprising and its concealment – that inspired Herman Melville’s Benito Cereno. Grandin uses the dramatic incident to peel back the layers of the paradox of freedom and slavery that ran through all the Americas, north to south, the Atlantic to the Pacific.

“SLAVERY IN FACT AND MELVILLE'S FICTION”: A COLLOQUIUM WITH GREG GRANDIN

Tuesday, April 22, 4:00-5:30 p.m,. 330 Wheeler

Greg Grandin, Professor of History, New York University, will discuss a selection from The Empire of Necessity. For a copy of Grandin’s pre-circulated work, please contact Jesse Cordes Selbin at j.c.s@berkeley.edu.

“MISSING BODIES IN THE AESTHETIC”: A COLLOQUIUM WITH MICHAEL DAVIDSON          

Thursday, April 24, 5:30-7:00 p.m., location TBD           

Michael Davidson is an award-winning poet and Professor of English at UCSD. The event will focus on two pre-circulated papers that reflect Professor Davidson's ongoing engagement with poetics and disability studies. For a copies of the pre-circulated papers, please contact Samia Rahimtoola at srahimtoola@berkeley.edu.

“ART AND THE ENVIRONMENT”: A CONVERSATION BETWEEN REBECCA SOLNIT AND ROBERT HASS

Wednesday, April 30, 5:00-7:00 p.m., 315 Wheeler (Maude Fife Room)

“ON LOCATION: D.W. GRIFFITH, EARLY FILM, AND THE LOWER EAST SIDE”

Sara Blair, Professor of English, University of Michigan

Thursday, May 1 5:00 p.m., 300 Wheeler

Blair is the author of Trauma and Documentary Photography of the FSA , co-authored with Eric Rosenberg (U of California Press, 2012), Harlem Crossroads: Black Writers and the Photograph in the Twentieth Century (Princeton UP, 2007), Jewish in America, co-edited with Jonathan Freedman (U of Michigan Press, 2004), and Henry James and the Writing of Race and Nation (Cambridge UP, 1996). She has also published numerous articles on twentieth-century literary and visual culture.

“CATASTROPHE AND COLONIAL SETTLEMENT IN EARLY AMERICA”: A DISCUSSION WITH KATHLEEN DONEGAN

Thursday, May 8, 5:00 p.m. 306 Wheeler

Kathleen Donegan, Associate Professor of English at UC Berkeley, will discuss a selection from her recent book, Seasons of Misery: Catastrophe and Colonial Settlement in Early America (U Penn Press 2014). Seasons of Misery investigates the relationship between suffering and violence in these outposts and contact zones, and the role of misery in constituting colonial subjectivity. For a copy of the pre-circulated selection, contact Sarah Johnson at sarahjessicajohnson@berkeley.edu.

These events have been organized by the Americanist Colloquium, the Transnational and Ethnic American Studies Working Group, the Americanist Working Group, the Nineteenth Century Colloquium, the Poetry Colloquium, and the Department of English.

Funding for these events has been provided by the Department of English, the Doreen B. Townsend Center for Humanities, the Americanist Working Group, the Transnational and Ethnic American Studies Working Group, Chicano/Latino Studies, Native American Studies, and the Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society. 


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