160 episodes

A Berkeley News podcast that features lectures and conversations at UC Berkeley
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Berkeley Talks UC Berkeley

    • Education
    • 4.8 • 18 Ratings

A Berkeley News podcast that features lectures and conversations at UC Berkeley
Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

    Artist William Kentridge on staying open to the 'less good' ideas

    Artist William Kentridge on staying open to the 'less good' ideas

    World-renowned South African artist William Kentridge discusses the process of making the 2019 chamber opera Waiting for the Sibyl. He also touches on why artists should stay open to new ideas, the complex relationship between humans and algorithms — "one has to make space for that which does not compute," he says — and the "unavoidable optimism" in the activity of making.
    During the 2022-23 academic year, Cal Performances, the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA) and the Townsend Center for the Humanities at UC Berkeley are participating in a campuswide residency with Kentridge.
    Cal Performances will present the U.S. premiere of SIBYL on March 17-19. SIBYL is comprised of two parts: The first part of the program, The Moment Has Gone, is a film by Kentridge with live music featuring a piano score by Kyle Shepherd and an all-male vocal chorus led by Nhlanhla Mahlangu; the second part is the chamber opera Waiting for the Sibyl. Learn more about the residency and upcoming events.
    Read a transcript and listen to the episode on Berkeley News.
    Music by Blue Dot Sessions.
    Photo by Marc Shoul.

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    • 1 hr 27 min
    Adriana Green and Nadia Ellis discuss 'The Yellow House'

    Adriana Green and Nadia Ellis discuss 'The Yellow House'

    Adriana Green, a Ph.D. student in the Department of African American Studies and African Diaspora Studies at UC Berkeley, and Nadia Ellis, an associate professor in the Department of English, discuss Sarah Broom's The Yellow House, winner of the 2019 National Book Award for Nonfiction. The memoir, set in a shotgun house in New Orleans East, tells a hundred years of her family and their relationship to home.
    "I am a diaspora scholar and I've had to explain what my field is to many people," says Ellis, who specializes in Black diasporic, Caribbean and postcolonial literatures and cultures. "Sometimes people seem to not understand what the word 'diaspora' means. And I think this is such a wonderful book that one can offer as an example of what it means to feel as if one is both from one place and also displaced from that place — to feel as if the place that claims you maybe most closely is also the place where you can't live, which is an extraordinary and painful and very, very idiosyncratic feeling to have. That's very characteristic actually of Black life and Black life in America."
    Read a transcript and listen to the episode on Berkeley News.
    Music by Blue Dot Sessions.

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    • 43 min
    Emiliana Simon-Thomas on where happiness comes from (revisiting)

    Emiliana Simon-Thomas on where happiness comes from (revisiting)

    In episode #158 of Berkeley Talks, we revisit a lecture by Emiliana Simon-Thomas, science director of UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center, in which she discusses happiness — what it means, where it comes from and how we can enhance it in our lives.
    “Where does happiness come from?” asks Simon-Thomas, who co-teaches the Science of Happiness, an online course that explores the roots of a happy and meaningful life. “Humans have been wondering this for centuries. Early thought and philosophy on happiness was that it was just luck. It was divine favor. It was in the stars whether or not you ended up a happy person or not.”
    The Greeks and Romans, she says, had the idea that happiness was tied to how virtuous a person was. In another stretch of history, people believed that happiness was about maximizing pleasure and avoiding pain. And then, finally, and perhaps the most recent thinking, she says, is that happiness comes from social connection, from feeling a sense of belonging and community.
    “There’s some really compelling neuroscience studies that show that if we are isolated, this actually engages pathways and structures in our brain that signal vigilance to threat. So, being alone, being isolated, is actually not a safe state for the average human.”
    This lecture, given on July 28, 2021, was sponsored by Science at Cal.
    Read a transcript and listen to the episode on Berkeley News.
    Music by Blue Dot Sessions.

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    • 1 hr 25 min
    The social safety net as an investment in children

    The social safety net as an investment in children

    Hilary Hoynes, a UC Berkeley professor of economics and of public policy, and Haas Distinguished Chair in Economic Disparities, discusses the emerging research that examines how the social safety net in the United States — a collection of public programs that delivers aid to low-income populations — affects children's life trajectories.
    Read a transcript and listen to the episode on Berkeley News.
    Photo by Kamaji Ogino via Pexels.
    Music by Blue Dot Sessions.


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    • 1 hr 20 min
    Inna Sovsun on what's next in Russia's war on Ukraine

    Inna Sovsun on what's next in Russia's war on Ukraine

    Ukrainian Member of Parliament Inna Sovsun joins Yuriy Gorodnichenko, a professor of economics at UC Berkeley, and Janet Napolitano, a professor at the Goldman School of Public Policy and former secretary of homeland security, to discuss the impact of the war and what comes next for the people of Ukraine. This Nov. 8 event was co-sponsored by UC Berkeley's Goldman School of Public Policy; the Center for Security in Politics; the Center for Studies in Higher Education; the Institute of Slavic, East European and Eurasian Studies; and the Institute of European Studies.
    Read a transcript and listen to the episode on Berkeley News.
    Music by Blue Dot Sessions.

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    • 1 hr 5 min
    Poet Alex Dimitrov reads from 'Love and Other Poems'

    Poet Alex Dimitrov reads from 'Love and Other Poems'

    Alex Dimitrov reads from his 2021 book of poems Love and Other Poems. The Sept. 8 reading was part of the UC Berkeley Library’s monthly event, Lunch Poems.
    Here’s “July,” one of the poems Dimitrov read during the event:
    At last it’s impossible to think of anything
    as I swim through the heat on Broadway and disappear in the Strand. Nobody
    on these shelves knows who I am
    but I feel so seen, it’s easy to be aimless
    not having written a line for weeks.
    Outside New York continues to be New York.
    I was half expecting it to be LA
    but no luck. No luck with the guy
    I’m seeing, no luck with money,
    no luck with becoming a saint.
    I do not want you, perfect life.
    I decided to stay a poet long ago,
    I know what I’m in for. And still
    the free space of the sky
    lures me back out—not even
    canonical beauty can keep me inside
    (and beauty, I’m done with you too).
    I guess, after all, I’ll take love—
    sweeping, all-consuming,
    grandiose love. Don’t just call
    or ask to go to a movie.
    That’s off my list too!
    I want absolutely everything
    on this Friday afternoon
    when not one person is looking for me.
    I’m crazy and lonely.
    I’ve never been boring.
    And believe it or not, I’m all I want.
    Alex Dimitrov is the author of three books of poetry — Love and Other Poems, Together and by Ourselves and Begging for It — and the chapbook American Boys. His poems have been published in the New Yorker, the New York Times, the Paris Review and Poetry. He has taught writing at Princeton University, Columbia University and New York University, among other institutions. Previously, he was the senior content editor at the Academy of American Poets, where he edited the popular series Poem-a-Day and American Poets magazine.
    Lunch Poems is an ongoing poetry reading series at Berkeley that began in 2014. All readings happen from 12:10 p.m. to 12:50 p.m. on the first Thursday of the month. Find upcoming talks on the Lunch Poems website and watch videos of past readings on the Lunch Poems YouTube channel.
    Read a transcript and listen to the episode on Berkeley News.
    Music by Blue Dot Sessions.
    Photo by Sylvie Rosokoff. 

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    • 32 min

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18 Ratings

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The best of the best at Berkeley

The University of California at Berkeley was recently named, by Forbes, the best university in the United States. It stands to reason that it would be the stage for amazing talks by some of the world’s great thinkers. Berkeley Talks allows listeners to hear the best of them, a diverse mix of events with excellent production quality. Check it out.

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