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February 1, 2023

Berkeley News

In Berkeley Talks episode 160, 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.

UC Berkeley professor and Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Hilton Als has worked with UC Berkeley alumna and pioneer of New Journalism Joan Didion (Sacramento, California, 1934 - Manhattan, New York, 2021) throughout his career, even writing the foreword to her final book of essays, Let Me Tell You What I Mean. Now, he has curated Joan Didion: What She Means, which opened less than a year after Didion’s death at age 87 and will remain on view at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles through Feb. 19, 2023. 

January 31, 2023

Meg Parker graduated from UC Berkeley in 2010 with a double major in French and Rhetoric, then went on to earn her JD from Georgetown University Law Center.

January 26, 2023

PEN Literary Awards

UC Berkeley English professors Hilton Als (for My Pinup) and Solmaz Sharif (for Customs) have both been longlisted for the 2023 PEN/Jean Stein Book Award, which is awarded to a book-length work of any genre for its originality, merit, and impact, which has broken new ground by reshaping the boundaries of its form and signaling strong potential for lasting

January 23, 2023

The Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship (MMUF) program at UC Berkeley fosters the academic development of undergraduate students with exceptional promise in the humanities or social sciences and potential for careers that will contribute to diversity and equal opportunity in the academy. MMUF supports Fellows by providing mentorship and the environment and resources to pursue their research and prepare for graduate school and faculty careers. Since the program’s inception in 2008, Berkeley MMUF Fellows have been accepted into graduate programs at Cambridge University (UK), University of Chicago, New York University, Purdue University, Stanford University, UC Berkeley, UC Los Angeles, University of Michigan, and the University of Southern California. As the application cycle for the 2023-24 cohort opens, we spoke with two current Fellows and A&H majors about their experiences in MMUF.

January 18, 2023

Francesca Rochberg, Catherine and William L. Magistretti Distinguished Professor Emerita of Near Eastern Studies in the Department of Middle Eastern Languages and Cultures, has been named as one of the 2023 Martin Meyerson Faculty Research Lecturers at UC Berkeley. For more than a century, UC Berkeley’s academic senate has selected distinguished faculty members whose research has changed the trajectory of their disciplines and expanded the global understanding of a subject.

January 11, 2023

Next Avenue

"It's hard to look at Egyptian art and not want to know more, and as I got older, I had this curiosity about how did we get to where we are today?" says Renée Dreyfus. "I always wanted to know that history of ideas."

Dreyfus, who completed a Ph.D. in Near Eastern Studies in 2001, is Curator of Antiquities at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, which includes the de Young and the Legion of Honor.

January 10, 2023

The Davis Vanguard

LOS ANGELES — After decades of decline in humanities divisions across college campuses, the University of California, Berkeley has reported a resurgence of students declaring majors in the Division of Arts and Humanities — an increase of 73 percent compared to ten years ago.

For years, nearly every humanities field has seen sharp drops in enrollment. For the first time in two decades, U.S. degrees in the four major humanities fields—English, history, philosophy and languages—risk dipping below 100,000.

December 20, 2022


IN AN ESSAY on the uncompromising brilliance of Toni Morrison’s oeuvre, published just months before the passing of this inimitable writer, Namwali Serpell observes: “There are many ways to be ‘difficult’ in this world: stubborn, demanding, inconvenient, complex, troublesome, baffling, illegible. Black womanhood is where they overlap.” Black women have always been difficult for the world, which relentlessly demands their labors, but disdains the exorbitance their labors bring forth.

December 16, 2022

New York Times

Originally published June 22, 2011

A few years ago, when I was composing a concerto for myself as vocalist, I rediscovered some tapes I had made when I was 6 years old. Back then one of my favorite things was a portable Aiwa cassette recorder and I used it to make non-linear musique concrète — that is a fancy way of saying I recorded weird sounds around the house, rubbing my toy cars against the microphone, alternately growling and counting off numbers in Japanese like some spastic MC.

December 14, 2022

This Fall, the Division of Arts & Humanities hosted the 2022 Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship, or MMUF, Western Regional Conference in partnership with the University of New Mexico. This was UC Berkeley’s first time hosting the regional conference in 10 years and the second time hosting overall. 

December 1, 2022

A surprising number of acclaimed women artists have come out of Berkeley, working in a wide array of mediums and styles and hailing from different backgrounds. Here are a few we’d like to draw your attention to because their work was/is startlingly original and their messages carry a lasting urgency. And of course, they have a good story to tell.

November 28, 2022

The Berkeley Public Library Foundation

The Berkeley Public Library Foundation is pleased to announce that it has selected The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life as its 2023 Fred & Pat Cody Award recipient.

Founded in Berkeley in 1962, The Magnes was one of the first Jewish museums in the US. Today, it is widely acknowledged as one of the world’s most preeminent collections of Jewish art, objects, texts, music, and historical documents about Jews in the Diaspora.

November 23, 2022

Berkeley News

Eniola Fakile’s creations live in another world.

Fakile is a photographer. A performance artist. A filmmaker. A sculptor. A costume designer. She works in textiles, ready-made objects and assemblage. She’s not constrained by what has been or should be. Instead, she expands outward to see how far she can go. When an idea flashes in her mind, she imagines a new universe in which that idea, that creation, lives.

November 18, 2022

Berkeley, CA—The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life (The Magnes) and the Division of the Arts & Humanities at UC Berkeley are pleased to announce the appointment of Hannah Weisman as its first Executive Director. 

Weisman’s appointment is the result of a landmark partnership between Taube Philanthropies, the Magnes Museum Foundation, and UC Berkeley. The first four years of the position are generously funded by a pledge from the Magnes Museum Foundation and Taube Philanthropies.

November 9, 2022

Berkeley News

On Nov. 20, 1969, a group of Indigenous Americans that called itself Indians of All Tribes, many of whom were UC Berkeley students, took boats in the early morning hours to Alcatraz Island in San Francisco Bay. They bypassed a Coast Guard blockade and took control of the island. The 19-month occupation that followed would be regarded as one of the greatest acts of political resistance in American Indian history.

The Wheeler Column, English Department

The English Department is thrilled to host Harmony Holiday as the visiting Holloway Lecturer in the Practice of Poetry for the 2022-23 academic year. As Holloway Lecturer, Holiday is teaching a semester-long creative writing workshop this fall and will be offering a featured reading in the Holloway Series.


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When I tell people I’m studying a subject within the humanities, they usually jump to an eyebrow raise coupled with some iteration of the following: 
What are you going to use that degree for? How are you going to make any money? Wow, I wish I had an easy major too…

By now, I’ve grown accustomed to the rude comments, the derisive laughter. But the question that never fails to amuse me is this:
What will your parents think?

November 8, 2022

New York Times

In the final few days of February, as the Russian Army advanced toward Kyiv, Ukrainian forces blew up the Irpin bridge, ripping open its latticed metal insides so that their edges buckled and curled. A suburb of Kyiv, Irpin was the last city that the Russian Army would have had to conquer to reach the capital; the bridge provided the fastest route from the city center to the Kyiv ring road. “It was the main bridge that stopped the invasion of Kyiv,” says Slava Balbek, a Ukrainian architect who is volunteering as a drone operator with territorial defense forces.

New York Times

The pianist’s latest group fills its recent album “For the Love of Fire and Water” with idiosyncratic life.