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.
Denise Herd and Waldo Martin on Berkeley's '400 Years' initiative
In this episode of Who Belongs?, a podcast by UC Berkeley's Othering and Belonging Institute, Berkeley professors Denise Herd and Waldo Martin discuss 400 Years of Resistance to Slavery and Injustice, a yearlong initiative that marks the 400th anniversary of the forced arrival of enslaved Africans in the English colonies."The commemoration of the 400th anniversary of slavery — it's part of a national initiative to recognize this long and really, really important time in our history," says Herd, a professor in the School of Public Health and associate director of the Othering and Belonging Institute who is leading the campus initiative. "... I think a strong impetus for bringing it here was that it resonates with the goals of really understanding social inequality and addressing social inequality."Listen to the talk and read the transcript on Berkeley News.
Film historian Harry Chotiner on the state of American cinema
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
"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.
Paul Butler on how prison abolition would make us all safer
The United States now locks up more people than almost any country in the history of the world, and by virtually any measure, prisons have not worked, said Paul Butler, a law professor at Georgetown University, during a UC Berkeley lecture in October. Instead, Butler advocates abolishing prisons and finding alternative ways to deal with those who cause harm — something that he says would create a safer, more just society."Prison has been a miserable failure," said Butler, also a legal analyst on MSNBC. "It doesn't work. Most young people who come home from prison wind up right back there within two years. Prisons themselves are horrible places. They're violent, they stink, they're dangerous, they're noisy. It's really hard to leave a space like that better than when you came in."Butler, author of the 2017 book Chokehold: Policing Black Men,gave a talk called "Prison Abolition, and a Mule" on Oct. 16, 2019, as part of UC Berkeley's Jefferson Memorial Lectures, sponsored by the Graduate Division. It was also part of the campus's yearlong initiative, 400 Years of Resistance to Slavery and Injustice, commemorating the 400th anniversary of the forced arrival of enslaved Africans in the English colonies.Listen and read a transcript on Berkeley News.
Consciousness guide on using psychedelics as medicine
"The purpose of medicine is to create a bigger, deeper, more thorough experience of our inner functioning, our physical functioning, our emotional functioning, our energetic functioning, our spiritual functioning, our relational functioning, how we are with the land," said author and consciousness guide Françoise Bourzat. "... Mushrooms bring it to your face, like, 'This is your illness.' Byknowing your illness, you resolve your illness, you deal with it, you treat it from within yourself. The mushroom helps you see the truth."Bourzat, author of Consciousness Medicine, gave a talk on Nov. 14 at UC Berkeley's Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology, alongside anexhibit, Pleasure, Poison, Prescription and Prayer: The Worlds of Mind-Altering Substances,which ran from March 15 to Dec. 15. Bourzat, a counselor who is trained in somatic psychology, has been mentored in the Mexican Mazatec tradition of the sacred mushrooms, and has been sharing her approach internationally for 30 years.Read the transcript on Berkeley News.
Artist Paul Chan on the 'Bather's Dilemma'
On Oct. 29, artist Paul Chan delivered the 2019-20 Una's Lecture, a series sponsored by the Townsend Center for the Humanities since 1987. In his talk, called the "Bather's Dilemma," Chan explores the figure of the bather — a visual trope with a rich history, and a prominent theme in his own work — as an embodiment of pleasure that is linked to the act of renewal."The bather in art history has a long and storied pedigree," says Chan. "What I was interested in was how this motif inspired a few artists to experiment with new ways to depict a human form that took into account movement in different ways."Thinking about bathers touched a nerve that was sensitive to a need I didn't realize was in me," he continues. "I needed some way to think about whether pleasure has a place in these punishing times and whether our capacity for pleasing and being pleased has any bearing on how we renew ourselves to better meet what genuine appeals of progress asks of us."Chan is the winner of the 2014 Hugo Boss Prize, awardedby the Guggenheim Foundation to an artist who has made a visionary contribution to contemporary art. His art is held in numerous permanent collections, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Art Institute of Chicago.Listen and read the transcript on Berkeley News.