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The science of the story

Jeremy Adam Smith, Editor, Greater Good Magazine | August 25, 2016

This essay is based on a talk for the Berkeley Communications Conference, delivered on June 1, 2016. It was originally published in Greater Good Magazine. Stories are told in the body. It doesn’t seem that way. We tend to think of stories as emerging from consciousness — from dreams or fantasies — and traveling through … Continue reading »

Periscope, Congress and the aliveness of video

Nancy Van House, professor emerita in the School of Information | June 29, 2016

A group of people sitting on the floor, many holding signs. One after another making speeches. People milling about. Some looking at their phones. On and off, chanting, call and response. But this time the men are in suits the women mostly in skirts and heels. (No doubt some wishing they had worn pants that … Continue reading »

Radical evil: A reflection on the Orlando massacre

Nancy Scheper-Hughes, anthropology professor | June 19, 2016

It’s Saturday night a week after a non-entity coolly took the lives of 49 carefree revelers — having a good time, hanging loose, drinking, singing, dancing to the pulse, flirting, romancing, teasing, playing. To have the weekend fiesta cut short by the rat-a-tat-tat of an assault rifle meant for mud-splattered soldiers in foxholes (bad enough … Continue reading »

Can anthropology save the world?

Nancy Scheper-Hughes, anthropology professor | May 24, 2016

Professor Nancy Scheper-Hughes gave the commencement address at the Department of Anthropology graduation ceremony, May 19. Here are excerpts from her speech:  … We are living in difficult times facing an out of control, escalating wars in the Middle East for which we are partially to blame, and destructive political wars at home.  We are a … Continue reading »

Another side to the Tubman twenty

Stephanie Jones-Rogers, assistant professor of history | April 26, 2016

A slave-owning man on one side, a formerly enslaved woman on the other, and in between them lies the very thing that he could have used to buy her. This is how I think about the new $20 bill, which will soon feature Harriet Tubman and Andrew Jackson. This happenstance is the fruit born largely of … Continue reading »

25 years later and the Rodney King video is still on repeat

Sandra Bass, Asst Dean of Students, Director UC Berkeley Public Service Center | March 7, 2016

Twenty five years ago this month, the video of Rodney King being beaten, clubbed, kicked, and stomped by a gang of police went viral before going viral was a thing. Eighty-nine seconds of unmistakable brutality repeatedly looped, dissected, and discussed. A year later, the defense attorney’s frame-by-frame deconstruction of King’s beating successfully convinced an all … Continue reading »

Harper Lee to Ta-Nehisi Coates: Race in literature in 2015

Stephen Menendian, assistant director, Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society | February 21, 2016

Two of the most important books on race released in 2015, the exhumed novel, Go Set A Watchman, Harper Lee’s sequel to the award-winning classic, To Kill a Mockingbird, and journalist Ta-Nehisi Coates’ long-form letter to his teenage son, Between the World and Me, were published the same day. This fortuitous historical footnote is all … Continue reading »

Five ways to build caring community on social media

Jeremy Adam Smith, Editor, Greater Good Magazine | November 30, 2015

As news of the terrorist attacks in Paris spread through social media, responses followed a pattern I’ve come to know well. First, shock and grief. Friends and followers share video and pictures that are almost pornographic in their deracinated intensity. The images appear with no context, and we see only running, screaming, guns, and blood. … Continue reading »

Healing Cuba

Anthony Cascardi, dean, Arts & Humanities | November 23, 2015

One can scarcely open a travel magazine or newspaper in these months in the thawing of U.S.-Cuba relations without finding something about the vibrant art scene in Havana — about the jazz clubs like La Zorra y el Cuervo and Jazz Café; about dancing to the rhythms of son; about alleyways turned into improvisational public … Continue reading »

Performing destruction: cultural heritage, looting and ISIS

Katherine Kinkopf, Ph.D. student, anthropology | November 9, 2015

If you use Twitter or Facebook, you’ve likely seen hundreds of news articles, reports, videos, and blog posts on the violent destruction of cultural heritage that has intensified in Syria during the past few months. As an archaeologist, my news-feeds are always a-buzz with the latest updates on all things archaeology — but it’s not what … Continue reading »

Amid growing inequality, Chekhov’s message resonates

Lura Dolas, senior lecturer, acting | October 19, 2015

Our work together as cast, crew and designers — developing our upcoming Theater, Dance and Performance Studies production — has led us all to a deeper understanding of why The Cherry Orchard, written and set in Russia in 1904, has so often been called “timeless” and “universal.” One need only scratch the surface of the play … Continue reading »

Fencing University House: the symbolism, economics, and practicality

Sam Davis, professor emeritus, architecture | October 11, 2015

There is a plan to build a fence around University House, the chancellor’s residence on the northern portion of the campus, to increase the security of the occupants. Now on its third design iteration and already through the campus review process, the construction is poised to move forward. The safety of the chancellor is essential, … Continue reading »

Cell phone etiquette

Claude Fischer, professor of sociology | September 9, 2015

People have been complaining about bad cell phone behavior for years. What are the 21st century’s Emily Post rules for cell phones and texting? (For the millennials: Emily Post was the great doyenne of etiquette and manners advice in the 20th century. Her descendants still produce advice books under her name. And there actually are new-era Emily … Continue reading »

Uganda workshop to strengthen response to wartime sexual violence

Andrea Lampros, communications manager, Human Rights Center | September 1, 2015

The Missing Peace Practitioners’ Workshop—co-hosted by the Human Rights Center at Berkeley Law—brought together more than 100 people from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda, Kenya, Sierra Leone, South Sudan, and Liberia, in Kampala, Uganda, last week to talk about sexual violence during and after armed conflict. Contributing to recent global efforts to highlight and … Continue reading »

Black by choice?

Claude Fischer, professor of sociology | July 14, 2015

A couple of weeks back, we witnessed two quite different but intriguing cases of people laying claim to an African-American identity without having the lineage that we generally assume provides that identity – biological descent from African slaves in the United States. These two people were, in effect, asserting that they could choose to be … Continue reading »

Chez Chimp: Why our primate cousins don’t cook

Rosemary Joyce, professor of anthropology | June 16, 2015

Once upon a time, the list of behaviors that absolutely distinguished humans and non-human primates was clear and well defined. Tool use, language, organized group violence, some more debatable than others, but research on each of these has established that it no longer clearly defines a human leap forward. Can we can add another activity to … Continue reading »

Attaining adulthood

Claude Fischer, professor of sociology | June 10, 2015

One of the deep, long-term changes in American lives has been what social historians call the “standardization” of the life course. From the 19th into the 20th century, increasingly more young Americans were able to follow a common sequence: get educated, get a job, leave parents’ home, get married, have children, and become financially secure … Continue reading »