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Summer of Love language: Still compelling after all these years

Geoffrey Nunberg, professor in the School of Information | October 11, 2017

If you’re into counterculture kitsch, you might want to check out the nostalgia-themed resort hotel at Walt Disney World in Florida. It features a “Hippy Dippy” swimming pool, surrounded by flower-shaped water jets, peace signs and giant letters that spell out “Peace, Man,” “Out of Sight” and “Can You Dig It?” Fifty years after the … Continue reading »

Coevolution of human and artificial intelligences

Edward Lee, professor of electrical engineering and computer science | September 18, 2017

Vladimir Putin, president of Russia, in an open lesson to more than a million schoolchildren on Sept. 1, said that “Whoever becomes the leader in [artificial intelligence] will become the ruler of the world.” Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla, states that AI represents an existential threat to humanity and urges government regulation before it’s too late. Clearly, AI … Continue reading »

The false media focus on violence: If it bleeds it still leads

Jen Schradie, research fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study in Toulouse | September 7, 2017

On Sunday, August 27, in downtown Berkeley, I witnessed thousands of protesters raising their voices against a planned white supremacist “Patriot Prayer” rally. In my decades as a documentary filmmaker of activism and now an academic studying movements and media, it was one of the most positive, diverse and unifying gatherings I ever experienced. While … Continue reading »

Houston, we all have a problem

Kristina Hill, associate professor of landscape architecture and environmental planning | August 29, 2017

The problem Houston represents for all of us this week is that we don’t know enough about the impacts that localized, intense rainfall will have on cities.

How far we’ve come, yet still how far to go

Camille Crittenden, Deputy Director, CITRIS | August 26, 2017

A joint resolution of Congress in 1973 declared August 26 “Women’s Equality Day,” an annual commemoration of the passage of the 19th amendment granting women the right to vote. In retrospect, the official recognition seems remarkably progressive, considering only 3 percent of congressional seats were held by women at the time. The president gave his … Continue reading »

On statues, and what can and cannot be said

Andrew Shanken, professor of architecture | August 18, 2017

I’ve been loath to write about what’s happening with Confederate statues, but a few sleepless nights cured my diffidence. As an architectural historian who works on memorials and has dabbled in the history of historic preservation, I’ve vacillated over the years between a Ruskinian position (“let it moulder”) and a Rieglian position, trying to establish … Continue reading »

Losing the past or changing the future? Archaeologists and modern monuments

Rosemary Joyce, professor of anthropology | August 16, 2017

As images of white supremacists rallying to protest the planned removal of monuments to the confederate past filled the news, some people on social media began to argue that archaeology– my discipline, my profession— should oppose the destruction of these things. The argument goes that archaeologists have a responsibility to oppose any destruction of potential … Continue reading »

Sincerely, Niccolo Machiavelli: an open letter to Donald Trump

Peter Sahlins, professor of history | February 26, 2017

“I must commend you on your masterful victory over your opponents. But some of my lessons you’ve failed to learn.” So wrote Liam Frölund, a freshman at Berkeley, using Machiavelli’s voice and texts, in a masterly fulfillment of his class assignment, published last week in Salon Magazine. I’ve been teaching History 5, “Western Civilization Since … Continue reading »

‘I have nothing to hide. Why should I care about privacy?’

Lisa Ho, campus privacy officer | January 25, 2017

(with co-contributor Professor Ken Goldberg) In celebration of Data Privacy Day (Jan. 28), we offer three reasons for the university community to care about privacy. 1. Learning is personal As much as we grow through our community, learning is essentially an internal transformation. Keeping grades, letters of recommendation, and evaluations private is not about hiding. It’s … Continue reading »

Mistaken for Muslim, Indian American man beaten in Pittsburg bar

Purushottama Bilimoria, visiting scholar, Institute for South Asia Studies; doctoral faculty, Graduate Theological Union | November 26, 2016

The incident reported in Indian-American media reminds me of this story I penned sometime back, from which I excerpted this blog. http://www.indiawest.com/news/global_indian/mistaken-for-muslim-indian-american-man-beaten-in-pittsburg-bar/article_602c19ee-b35c-11e6-b5e9-ff7a1c0c208c.html An itinerant Indian nationalist activist, Pandit Totaram Sanadhya, found himself in the impoverished islands of British-colonized Fiji quite by accident, being deceptively recruited in 1893 as a girmitiya, a Hindiised term for indentured “coloured” … Continue reading »

Why has America elected a president adapted to a Stone Age way of life?

Malcolm Potts, professor of population and family planning | November 9, 2016

There are a lot of unhappy, surprised people in Berkeley today. I am in the minority who are deeply unhappy but in no way surprised. The interpretation we make of yesterday’s events depends upon the paradigm we adopt for understanding human nature. The majority of my colleagues are still influence by the 19th century standard social-science … Continue reading »

The impact of advisers of color in the UC

Tara Young, College Adviser, College of Letters & Science | October 28, 2016

At UC Berkeley, the overall population of staff of color has remained flat over the past 10 years. The more senior the position, the less likely a person of color will occupy it. In Sid Reel’s Wisdom Cafe article (http://wisdomcafe.berkeley.edu/2015/11/how-campus-staff-play-a-role-in-advancing-equity-diversity-and-inclusion/), “The 2013 campus climate survey identified that staff members experience a higher level of exclusionary … Continue reading »

Emma Goldman Papers sounds the alarm for Nasty Women – past and present – to unite

Candace Falk, Candace Falk | October 24, 2016

Among the most frightening aspects of the specter of a Trump presidency would be the arbitrary use of power, including his threat to “lock up” his “nasty woman” opponent, enact racist policies of massive deportations from, and restricted entry into, the United States, all while bypassing any semblance of the democratic process. This scenario was … Continue reading »

Dylan in Stockholm; Dylan in Berkeley

Timothy Hampton, professor of French and comparative literature | October 17, 2016

The recent decision by the Swedish Nobel Committee to award the 2016 prize for literature to Bob Dylan has not been uncontroversial. Cries of anguish have come from all sides, lamenting generally that this decision is one more nail in the coffin of a literary culture that demands quiet, thoughtful attention but is now mortally … Continue reading »

Michelle Obama: ‘It’s about basic human decency’

Rosemary Joyce, professor of anthropology | October 13, 2016

“It has shaken me to my core….” Yes. This resonates. Michelle Obama has just delivered the speech of her life — of the lives of many women who watched events in the presidential election since Friday with an increasing sense of disbelief. How could we possibly, in 2016, have a major party candidate for president who spoke … Continue reading »

On National Coming Out Day, I celebrate my birthday

Darren Arquero, Ethnic Studies Doctoral Candidate & Haas Institute Research Fellow | October 11, 2016

I was born 28 years ago today in Houston, Texas. I am the youngest of three siblings born to parents of Filipino descent. Also 28 years ago today, National Coming Out Day (NCOD) was established by Robert Eichsberg and Jean O’Leary to mark the anniversary of the 1987 March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay … Continue reading »

Insights from Standing Rock: as school begins

Tasha Hauff, doctoral student and teacher at Sitting Bull College | September 5, 2016

In January this year I moved to Standing Rock Sioux Reservation to take a position at Sitting Bull College teaching Native American Studies, including the Očhéthi Šakówiŋ language. Standing Rock is where I wanted to be because of its incredible work with indigenous language revitalization, particularly its growing PK-2nd grade immersion school. The Sacred Stone … Continue reading »