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MLK: an enduring and great teacher

john a. powell, director, Othering & Belonging Institute | April 4, 2018

This is cross-posted from the Haas Institute Blog of the Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society. This week people all across the world are pausing to acknowledge the incredible life and the tragic death of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. I always deliberately include the “Reverend” in his title as we … Continue reading »

Focus on the source of most satisfaction, not consumption

Clair Brown, Professor emerita of economics | March 27, 2018

Buying stuff can make you happy for a short time. But you will revert to needing another happiness boost by buying even more stuff. We can, however, replace the boom and bust of a consumption-driven search for satisfaction with lives that are more fulfilling and economically sustainable.

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.

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 »

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 »

The impact of advisers of color in the UC

Tara Young, Director, Fall Program for Freshmen | 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, director of the Doreen B. Townsend Center for the Humanities | 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 »

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 »

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 »

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

Sandra Bass, Associate Dean and 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 »