Berkeley Talks

A UC Berkeley podcast

Berkeley Talks is a Berkeley News podcast that features full-length lectures and conversations at UC Berkeley. It's managed by UC Berkeley's Office of Communications and Public Affairs.
Latest Episode2/15/2020

Journalist Jemele Hill on the intersection of sports and race

Ep. 74
On Jan. 23, 2020, Jemele Hill, a staff writer for the Atlantic and host of the podcast Jemele Hill is Unbothered, spoke at UC Berkeley's Cal Performances about her career at the intersection of sports, race and culture in the U.S. In conversation with with KALW's radio host and reporter, Hana Baba, Hill touched on the NFL and Colin Kaepernick, what it's like reporting on sports as a black woman and how her life changed after President Trump tweeted about her."I mean, the NFL owners are spineless," Hill told Baba. "And I knew Colin Kaepernick would never play in the NFL the moment Donald Trump said his name...One of the few things that a lot of people unfortunately agree with the president about is that Colin Kaepernick should not be taking a knee. So, he [Trump] knows every time he says his [Kaepernick's] name, that it is giving him a level of universal support ... that he's doesn't experience usually."And so, what does that say about people in this country? I'm also old enough to remember that we just celebrated Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday, commemorated him. And the same people I saw talking about how great Dr. King was for his nonviolent protest, are also the same people who think Colin Kaepernick doesn't deserve to play in the NFL? ... But the NFL, as we have seen in the case with Muhammad Ali, as we have seen the case in a lot of history, 20 years from now, they'll be telling a different story. They'll act like all of this never happened."Read the transcript and listen to the conversation on Berkeley News.

Film historian Harry Chotiner on the state of American cinema

Ep. 72
Harry Chotiner, a film historian and an adjunct assistant professor at New York University, gave a lecture on Jan. 22, 2019, about film in the past year, from Hollywood blockbusters and indie favorites to the impact of the #MeToo movement, changes in the film academy and the Oscars. The lecture was part of a series of talks sponsored by UC Berkeley's Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI)."The two things that I think are most importantly new are streaming and the #MeToo movement, and that's what I want to focus on," says Chotiner. "In terms of streaming, I would say we're sort of in the middle of the beginning of the streaming revolution. ... Streaming is the biggest threat to movie theaters since television came in in the 1950s. Last year, Netflix spent more money making movies than all the studios combined. That's stunning. That's shocking."As for the #MeToo movement, he says it has created more gender and racial equality and inclusion, as well as safer working environments, in the film industry. But, he adds, there is still work to be done."By any measurable standard, sexual harassment has dropped drastically, and it's not just measurable standards, but impressionistic accounts," he says. "The experience of women working is drastically better. Doesn't mean it's all done and it's all great. It does mean #MeToo has rocked the entire studio system."See Chotiner's list of the best films of 2019.Listen to the talk and read the transcript on Berkeley News.

Chilean novelist Isabel Allende on war, loss and healing

Ep. 71
"People say, 'Oh no, the institutions in the United States can support anything. We are safe.' No, beware. Nothing is safe. Nothing is forever. Everything can change. We have to be aware of that and be therefore very alert. I wouldn't say vigilant because the word vigilant has a double meaning, but alert."That's Chilean author Isabel Allende in conversation with playwright Caridad Svich, who won a 2011 American Theatre Critics Association Primus Prize for her adaptation of Allende's 1982 novel, The House of the Spirits.The play, presented by UC Berkeley's Department of Theater, Dance and Performance Studies in spring 2019, tells the story of a family that spans three generations and a century of violent change in an unnamed Latin American country.The conversation,part of Berkeley Arts and Design's public lecture series, was held on April 25, 2019, at the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA). It was moderated by Michael Moran, who directed the Berkeley production.During the talk, Allende discussed how she grew up in Chile, where she and her family lived through the 1973 military coup, then fled to Venezuela as refugees. While living in Venezuela, Allende felt sick with nostalgia for her country and the family she left behind. And she was also in pain knowing that people — her friends and family — were dying in Chile. Writing, she says, helped her process her grief and begin to heal.Read the transcript and listen on Berkeley News.