Past Events: 2018

20202019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013

Social Housing and Urban Planning in Brazil: The Case of Sao Paulo

THURSDAY, 12/06/2018 12:00-2:00PM

Fulbright Visiting Scholar from the University of São Paulo (Brazil), Professor Nabil Bonduki shares his experiences with housing policy and urban planning, both in academia and the government of São Paulo. He will present on affordable housing policies and the City of São Paulo’s Master Plans (2002 and 2014). View event page.



Chris Herring: Neutralizing Poverty: Governing Homelessness in San Francisco

TUESDAY 11/13/2018 12:00-1:30PM

Since the 1980s anti-homeless laws criminalizing sleeping, sitting, and panhandling in public spaces have increased across the US and abroad, with the most rapid rise occurring in the past decade.  While legal studies have tracked the spread of these laws, we know very little about their on-the-ground implementation, impact on the unhoused, or role in the broader reproduction of poverty and inequality. Drawing on a multi-sided ethnography in the city of San Francisco, living alongside unhoused campers and shelter inmates on the one hand, and working alongside city managers, social workers, police officers, sanitation teams, and advocates on the other, this presentation addresses each of these questions.  In contrast to scholarly portrayals of quality of life policing as top-down command and control campaigns by city officials or being largely guided through individual officer discretion, I explain how a penal populism of complaint-oriented policing driven by citizen calls on city services also directs the policing of poverty. Rather than seeing the police as merely agents of punishment, aggressively locking up low-level offenders, my research illustrates how police work with and against various agencies and politicians to neutralize homelessness by leveraging discourses and resources of sanitation and medicalization to invisibilize and depoliticize poverty. For the unhoused this results in a pervasive penalty - consistent punitive interactions with state officials that most often do not result in arrest, but nonetheless exact material and psychological harm. A process that not only reproduces homelessness, but also deepens racial, gender, and health inequalities among the urban poor. 

Chris Herring is a PhD candidate in Sociology at UC Berkeley and Fellow at the Center for Engaged Scholarship. His work has appeared in Social Problems, City and Community, CITY, ACME, Teaching Sociology, and edited volumes of Urban Studies, Social Movements, and Community Based Research.


Ivonne del Valle: What does Infrastructure do? Water in Mexico City

TUESDAY 11/6/2018 12:00-1:30PM

This talk will explore the paradoxical history of water in Mexico City--the constant flooding, the lack of water for daily consumption--and the conditions of possibility that allowed for 22 million inhabitants to reside in a place not suitable for such large numbers.

Ivonne del Valle is an Associate Professor of Colonial Studies. She received her Ph.D. from U.C. Berkeley in 2004, and before returning to the Bay Area in 2009, she taught at the University of Michigan. Her research and teaching make connections between the past and the present which try to show the relevance of the colonial period for an understanding of contemporary times. She was co-director of the Berkeley research group “Mexico and the Rule of Law.” She has written a book and a series of articles on the Jesuits (José de Acosta and Loyola, and Jesuits in the northern borderlands of New Spain) as a particularly influential politico-religious order that served modernization and the expansion of the Spanish empire.

She is currently working on two projects: one on the drainage of the lakes of Mexico City, and the other on the role of the colonization of Spanish America from the 15th century onward in the development of new epistemologies and political theories. In the latter she is exploring the ways in which both the unprecedented violence of conquest and colonization, and the need for effective administration of the colonies, brought about important theoretical, technological, and epistemological changes which may have been conceived to be put in place in the colonies, but which in the long run transformed the way Europe understood and fashioned itself.


Richard Prum: The Evolution of Beauty

MONDAY 11/5/2018 6:30-8:00PM

“Beauty happens.” So writes eminent ornithologist and MacArthur Fellow Richard O. Prum in his bestselling The Evolution of Beauty (2017), a New York Times Ten Best Books of the Year. Prum argues that the spectacular physical and behavioral variety of avian beauty represents not just genetic fitness but also the evolution of form through the purely aesthetic choices of female birds. He argues that Darwin’s forgotten theory of sexual selection is just as important as his theory of natural selection.

Rarely does a book on biology have such widespread influence: Prum’s work is taught in art history courses as well as in science departments, his investigations of the relationships of form and function are relevant to the practice of architecture, and his examinations of sexual preferences among birds has implications for human gender relations and queer theory. View event page




Stefan-Ludwig Hoffmann: Metropolis in Ruins. Berlin's Interval of Time, 1943-1947

TUESDAY 10/30/2018 12:00-1:30PM

With the modern metropolis emerges also the anticipation of urban ruination. However, what if the unimaginable (yet incessantly imagined) occurs and a metropolis falls apart? What happens after the deportations of Jews, delusions of imperial domination, and ravages of urban warfare create, in a shockingly short time, a deserted ruin landscape where there was once a world city?

Stefan-Ludwig Hoffmann is Associate Professor of Late Modern European History at the University of California, Berkeley. In 2017-2018 he was a Fellow at the Wissenschaftskolleg/Institute for Advanced Studies Berlin and a Guggenheim Fellow. His most recent publications include (as co-editor) Seeking Peace in the Wake of War. Europe 1943-1947 (2015), The Ethics of Seeing. Photography and Twentieth Century German History (2017), and Sediments of Time. On Possible Histories (2018), a new translation of Reinhart Koselleck’s essays on historical theory. Currently, he is completing a conceptual history of human rights as well as Metropolis in Ruins, a history of everyday life in Berlin in the 1940s. 




Chiyuma Elliott: "My Bad Attitude Toward the Pastoral": The Country and the City in the Poetry of C.S. Giscombe

TUESDAY 10/23/2018 12:00-1:30PM

In C. S. Giscombe’s 1994 book-length poem Here, the speaker struggles with pervasive fear about the connections of racial violence and location—particularly in peripheral spaces in which the urban and rural blur together. In a subsection of the poem, titled “(1962 at the edge of town),” the speaker is riding from his grandfather’s church funeral in Birmingham, Alabama, to the burial at the edge of the city. He describes the shifting vantage as one in which “the city got lush in places then gave way,” and where “the pastoral” is also ominously “looming up close as well.” In another segment of the poem, titled “(the future),” the speaker confronts his self-described “bad attitude to the pastoral,” and immediately pictures himself as endangered on a rural Southern road: “myself on one of those red dirt roads/I’d seen from the air, caught unlucky//w/ night more palpable every minute, that/for future.”

In the mid-1980s, literary scholars started actively debating whether the extensive real-life blurring urban and rural geographies made the contemporary pastoral mode a literary impossibility. Terry Gifford also noted a simultaneous burgeoning of literary critical work that identified new types of pastorals (Freudian, queer-ecofeminist, urban, etc.), in which the meaning of the term ranged “from anything rural, to any form of retreat, to any form of simplification or idealisation.” Depending on one’s perspective, the pastoral might be a long-established literary mode or tradition, or it might instead be a content area that positively or negatively “describes the country with an implicit or explicit contrast to the urban.” Elliott argues that, instead of offering a fixed definition of the pastoral, Giscombe’s poem works by implication and accretion; Here blurs temporal and geographic boundaries in order to highlight the ways in which America’s rural traditions of anti-black violence blur into, and shape, contemporary African American urban life.

Chiyuma Elliott is an Assistant Professor of African American Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. A former Stegner Fellow, Chiyuma's poems have appeared in the African American Review, Callaloo, the Notre Dame Review, the PN Review, and other journals. She has received fellowships from the American Philosophical Society, Cave Canem, and the Vermont Studio Center. She is the author of two books: California Winter League (2015) and Vigil (2017).


Creative Placemaking and the Public Commons: Community Building through Art in Yogyakarta, Indonesia and San Francisco

WEDNESDAY, 10/17/2018 1:00-3:00PM

This presentation will feature a discussion between artists from the San Francisco/Bay Area and Yogyakarta, Indonesia, part of “Bangkit/Arise”, an international arts exchange and residency.  View event page.


Ahmad Diab: Impossible Exiles: Palestinians in Arab Cities

TUESDAY 10/16/2018 12:00-1:30PM

This talk will analyze representations of Cairo, Beirut and Baghdad in the second half of the 20th Century as they appear in fictional and non-fictional texts written by Palestinian authors. The lecture is based, in part, on Professor Ahmad Diab’s book manuscript tentatively entitled Intimate Others: The Arabs in the Palestinian Imaginary. The project offers an account of the politics and poetics of being Palestinian in the Arab world after the Nakba in 1948. 

Ahmad Diab is Assistant Professor of modern Arabic literature in the Near Eastern Studies Department at UC Berkeley.  Diab completed his undergraduate studies in English literature at Damascus University, and his doctoral degree in Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies at New York University. He joined the U.C. Berkeley faculty in 2016. His interests include Arabic literature, Middle Eastern cinema, modernism, translation studies, Arabic philology, postcolonial studies, and the modern cultural and political history of the eastern Mediterranean.



TUESDAY 10/09/2018 12:00-1:30PM

Charisma Acey is an assistant professor in the Department of City and Regional Planning. Her background includes work, research and travel to countries in West Africa, southern Africa and Central America. Her work focuses on local and regional environmental sustainability, with a focus on poverty reduction, urban governance and access to basic services. Her work relies on both quantitative and participatory, qualitative research approaches to understanding individual and household demand for improved infrastructure and environmental amenities. Current and past research projects, teaching and service learning courses have focused on addressing barriers to sustainable development such as human-environment interactions at multiple scales in urban areas around the world, poverty and participatory approaches to governance and development, the financing and sustainability of publicly provided services and utilities, local and regional food systems, environmental justice, and urbanization domestically and globally.

Ivy Mills is a lecturer in the Visual and Literary Cultures of Africa and the African Diaspora in the History of Art Department at the University of California, Berkeley. She conducted Fulbright-funded research on Senegalese cultural production and taught university courses during a four-year residency in Dakar, Senegal; she then completed her PhD in UCB's African Diaspora Studies program in 2011. Her first book project, provisionally titled Iconographies of Exclusion: Gender, Animality, and the Limits of Community in Senegalese Visual Culture, argues that contemporary figurations of abjection and violability cohere through a referencing of the logics and symbols of older Wolof hierarchies of caste and slavery. In this tradition, the limits of humanness – and therefore of communal protection – are imagined through queer, socially dead figures like the hyena and donkey. Other research interests include comedic whiteface performance; the visualization of gendered piety and virtue in Wolof melodrama and contemporary Senegalese art; ecology and sacred architecture in urban visual culture; and popular cultural flows between Senegal and India. She co-curated the Bernice L. Brown Gallery exhibition Love across the Global South: Popular Cinema Cultures of India and Senegal, and has moderated conversations with artists and curators for the Museum of the African Diaspora in San Francisco and the Berkeley Art Museum. 


Border Crossings: Interdisciplinary Experiments in the Global Urban Humanities

MONDAY 10/08/2018 8:30AM-12PM

Join us for lively discussions about what works--and what doesn’t--in combining methods from different disciplines in order to investigate cities and urban life. What makes for an effective team-taught, cross-disciplinary course? Does creative practice constitute rigorous research?  This symposium will dig into five years of work in the GUH Initiative and will be of interest to anyone engaged in interdisciplinary teaching and research. It will be a great chance for folks who have been involved in one part of the Global Urban Humanities Initiative to learn about the rest of the program. View event page.



TUESDAY 10/02/2018 12:00-1:30PM

Designers, policymakers, and social scientists ubiquitously define the global city as a network of spaces at the forefront of contemporary economic globalization. This pervasive way of thinking about the inter-relations between urbanity and economy emphasizes the technological and institutional devices by which national markets become globally integrated, while relegating urban design to a peripheral role as either witting accomplice or quixotic opponent of dominant interests. In contrast, this paper recovers a notion of urban design as a mode of training the imagination to use the globalizability of capital to dream, feel, sense, and think democratically. Drawing on the example of designs for a Cité Mondiale by the Swiss-French architect Le Corbusier and the Belgian pacifist Paul Otlet in 1920s Switzerland and its afterlife in 1950s India, this paper notates how the interwar discourse of the global city clarifies the conceptual boundaries of the contemporary discourse by the same name.

Shiben Banerji is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Art History, Theory, and Criticism at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and author of the forthcoming book Lineages of the Global City. Research towards this book was generously supported by a Mellon Junior Fellowship in the Humanities, Urbanism, and Design from the University of Pennsylvania, a research fellowship from the Earl and Brenda Shapiro Center for Research and Collaboration, and a William Bronson Mitchell and Grayce Slovet Mitchell Award. Banerji received a PhD in the History and Theory of Architecture, and a Master in City Planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and a BA from Columbia University.


Tuesday 09/25/2018 5:00-6:00 PM
305 Wurster Hall

Overview of Spring 2019 Undergraduate Research Studio "New Orleans: Historical Memory and Urban Design." View event page.




TUESDAY 09/25/2018 12:00-1:30PM

While it is a truism that South Africa's apartheid past has not been entirely transcended, we know less about how inhabitants of today's racial capitalism encounter remains of the past as limits to actual social and spatial change. Sharad Chari's talk draws on about 15 years of historical and ethnographic research on southern reaches of the Indian Ocean city of Durban, and particularly on two neighborhoods, 'Indian' Merebank and 'Coloured' Wentworth, both nestled in a patchwork of industry and residence in a valley that traps industrial pollution and foists its burdens on racialized populations. After outlining the layers of the racial palimpsest that is South Durban, Chari turns to the ways in which its denizens have tried in very different ways to contest this unjust urban geography, and what these struggles tell us about ongoing struggles for a city beyond racial capitalism.

Sharad Chari is Associate Professor in the Department of Geography at UC Berkeley, and Research Associate at the Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research (WiSER) at the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa. Sharad is a scholar of class/caste/gender, agrarian transition and industrialization in South India (Fraternal Capital, 2004) and has been working on South Africa since 2002. This talk is from his current book manuscript, Apartheid Remains. His new work is on an oceanic conception of racial/sexual capitalism, in relation to the fetishism of 'the Ocean Economy' in the Southern African Indian Ocean region. At Berkeley Geography, he is also part of Berkeley Black Geographies and the Submergent Archive, and at WiSER, he is part of the project on the Oceanic Humanities in the Global South.


Friday 09/21/2018 10:00-11:00 AM
305 Wurster Hall

Overview of Spring 2019 Undergraduate Research Studio "New Orleans: Historical Memory and Urban Design." View event page.




TUESDAY 09/18/2018 12:00-1:30PM

Sound reproduction technology—the phonograph, the gramophone—was multiplicitous at the turn of the twentieth century: a rapidly globalizing cultural technique, it had many imagined uses, including transcribing speech, ethnology, phonological study, and musical entertainment. Within this tangle, this colloquium sets out examining the becoming-musical of machinery, homing in on a productive connection between Naples and New York. 

Delia Casadei and Gavin Williams chase after two musicalized voices: one swelling, impressive, and prestigious; the other cut, intermittent, and contagious. On the one hand, they track Neapolitan tenor Enrico Caruso in his movements through New York, focusing on his arrest at Central Park Zoo. Now widely hailed as the singer who first made the gramophone a medium viable for music, the reproduction of Caruso’s voice relied on techniques of distributed personhood, given impetus by an early 20th-century sex scandal. On the other hand, Casadei and Williams follow the Neapolitan fortunes of George W. Johnson’s Laughing Song. In Italy as elsewhere (though with distinctive regional meanings), recorded music’s early markets thrived on the commodification of vocal techniques—especially laughter, which theatrically and purposefully shattered individuality and personhood by mimicking the workings of the phonograph itself.


Tuesday, 09/18/2018
10:00-11:00am 314B Wurster Hall
Overview of Student Publication Grant. View event page




Curated by Annie Malcolm and Rachelle Reichert
Exhibition September 8th – 29th
Opening event + Panel: September 11, 2018
Minnesota Street Project, San Francisco

View event page.



Friday, 09/11/2018 6:00 PM - 7:00 PM
305 Wurster Hall
Overview of Undergraduate Certificate program and application process. View event page.






Tuesday, 09/11/2018 5:00 - 6:00 PM
305 Wurster Hall
Overview of Graduate Certificate program and application process. View event page.






TUESDAY, 09/11/2018 12:00 - 1:30PM

This presentation examines the working-class, punk-aesthetic choreographies created by Asaltodiario, a Mexico City troupe formed in 1987. The company organized street performances inspired by Agosto Boal’s Theatre of the Oppressed to orchestrate impromptu scenes called asaltos (assaults). In this analysis, Munoz evaluates the politics of the “assault,” the materiality of hope, and the choreographies of displacement that develop in the nation’s capital during rapid urbanization and in response to a major natural disaster. Herein, he develops the concept he provisionally call choreotopias to describe the process that Asaltodiario used in their public interventions, shedding insight into how marginalized residents choreograph and claim a right to public place when their lives are threatened in the name of progress. 

Juan Manuel is a working-class, formerly-undocumented immigrant from Mexico. He is concerned about choreographic processes, contemporary dance, latinidad, and sweat citizenship. He is a Ph.D. candidate in performance studies at UC Berkeley. His dissertation “Choreotopias: Contemporary Dance and Disappeared Belongings in and out of Mexico,” examines how artists create a sense of belonging using the waste left over from displacement, forensic anthropology evidence from forced disappearances, and the residue of state violence. He holds a joint-MA in International Performance Research from the University of Warwick (UK) and the University of Arts in Belgrade (Serbia). Juan Manuel is the co-director of the Festival of Latin American Contemporary Choreographers, now in its fifth edition in San Francisco, California.  He is the co-founder of A PerFarmance Project. PerFarmances are site-specific collaborations between farmers and performers researching the concept of food security and labor from rural and urban perspectives. 



Friday, 09/07/2018 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM
305 Wurster Hall
Overview of Undergraduate Certificate program and application process. View event page.





Friday, 09/07/2018 10:00 - 11:00 AM
305 Wurster Hall
Overview of Graduate Certificate program and application process. View event page






TUESDAY, 09/04/2018 12:00 - 1:30PM

Dr. Anna Livia Brand joins the College of Environmental Design this fall as an Assistant Professor of Landscape Architecture & Environmental Planning. Her research focuses on the intersection of race and space, specifically looking at historic black mecca neighborhoods and how they change through processes of gentrification and resistance. Her comparative research focuses on cities in the American North and South, including New Orleans, Houston, Atlanta, Chicago and New York. This work highlights the ongoing spatial impacts of racial processes and resistance to these processes over time and evaluates the role that urban planning and design plays. Within her work, Dr. Brand focuses on interpretations of everyday landscapes and the built environment and she is interested in the ways that people shape and create a place for themselves in urban environments and the ways that they imagine more just places and communities. Dr. Brand’s background is in urban planning and design. She has worked professionally as both a planner and designer. She received her Bachelor and Master of Architecture from Tulane University, her master’s in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of New Orleans, and her Ph.D. from MIT’s Department of Urban Studies and Planning.

Bryan Wagner is Associate Professor in the English Department at the University of California, Berkeley. He received a PhD in English from the University of Virginia before coming to Berkeley in 2002. His research focuses on African American expression in the context of slavery and its aftermath, and he has secondary interests in legal history and popular music. He has published Disturbing the Peace: Black Culture and the Police Power after Slavery (Harvard University Press, 2009) and The Tar Baby: A Global History (Princeton University Press, 2017). A book on The Wild Tchoupitoulas—a landmark album of processional call-and-response music arranged as electric funk—is forthcoming in the 33 1/3 Series from Bloomsbury. A critical edition, The Life and Legend of Bras-Coupé: The Fugitive Slave Who Fought the Law, Ruled the Swamp, Danced at Congo Square, Invented Jazz, and Died for Love, is forthcoming from LSU Press. Current research includes a collaborative cartographic digital archive, Louisiana Slave Conspiracies, and a multimedia project on the political culture of Reconstruction.



TUESDAY, 08/28/18 12:00PM – 1:30PM 

In the wake of Fidel Castro’s death, the ascension of a non-Castro to the Cuban presidency, and the ongoing reorganization of Cuba’s economic and cultural life, this talk examines the struggle over the infrastructure, experience, and symbolic meaning of Havana’s common spaces. Whereas the Cuban Revolution reimagined the Havana Hilton as a governmental office they renamed the Habana Libre, and redubbed the Plaza of the Republic the Plaza of the Revolution, more than fifty years later the physical commons are being redefined once again: as spaces for an online commons. This talk will explore how the uniquely material and virtual hybrid forms of internet access in Cuba are changing the lived experience and collective imagination of Havana’s urban public spaces. As the city places wifi hotspots in public parks and boulevards, these areas are becoming new zones of congregation that draw on their past functions as public meeting points to serve their new purpose as areas to connect with social media. In dialogue with a robust history of Cuban architectural theory (Segre, Coyula), literary theory about Cuban architecture (Carpentier, Sarduy), infrastructure theory (Holbraad, Starosielski), contemporary fiction (Ponte, Mota), and media theory (Venegas, Price), the talk will investigate the latest material and symbolic revolution in Cuba.

Tom McEnaney is Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature and Spanish & Portuguese. Before coming to Berkeley, he taught for six years in the Department of Comparative Literature at Cornell University, where he also co-taught a Mellon Collaborative Studies graduate seminar in Architecture, Urbanism, and the Humanities with Architecture Professor Tao DuFour, dedicated to studying the intersection of public housing, art, literature, ecology and urban design in Havana, Cuba. His work combines media theory, sound studies, literary theory, and linguistic anthropology in research that ranges from the political uses of digital photography in Cuba, to the relation between realism and real estate, and the sonic politics of voice on This American Life. He is the author of numerous articles, as well as the book Acoustic Properties: Radio, Narrative, and the New Neighborhood of the Americas. 



Monday, 08/27/2018
5:00-7:00pm Wurster Gallery
Showcase and introduction to the Global Urban Humanities Initiative. View event page




ARCH 209/ART 209 Final Review 5/8
2:30pm-6:00pm Wurster Courtyard
Graduates students will be displaying and presenting their studio projects from the Borderwall Urbanism studio






CY PLAN 291/TDPS 266 Final Presentations 5/8
12:00pm-1:30pm Wurster 106
Short presentations by graduate students on their thesis and dissertation research




Final Peformance 4/18
Albany Bulb, Albany, CA
Undergraduate students will be performing a site-specific choreography at the Albany Bulb as their final project in Sitework (Undergraduate Interdisciplinary Research Studio)





Border Projects 4/17
1:30pm-3:00pm Wurster 178
Short talks by graduate students on their recent research+artmaking trips to San Diego/Tijuana and El Paso/Juarez.

Other Borders Roundtable 4/17
3:00pm-5:00pm Wurster 170
Invited guests speak on borders between Ecuador/Peru, Hong Kong/Shenzhen, and refugee camps and host countries.



Film Screening: La Mar El Mar 4/17 
5:30pm-7:30pm Wurster Auditorium

El Mar La Mar (2017, 94 min.) weaves together harrowing oral histories of the Sonoran Desert border region with hand-processed, 16mm images of the flora, fauna, and items left behind by those who’ve made the hazardous trek. Sniadecki and Bonnetta create a mystical, folktale-like atmosphere dense with memories, ghosts and the remains of desire.




Attention students in all departments interested in cities and urban life: the Certificate in Urban Humanities is a way to structure your study of the urban through a 3- course path of study. We offer both Graduate and Undergraduate Certificates. Join the community and gain access to unique travel and fellowship opportunities. Come to an info session to learn more.
Tuesday, April 10 - Undergraduate at 10am and Graduate at 11am
Wednesday, April 11 - Undergraduate and Graduate at 6pm 





The Global Urban Humanities Initiative is pleased to co-sponsor these talks organized by the Urban Design students to encourage dialogues on contemporary topics of social and political relevance in the College of Environmental Design at UC Berkeley. This platform will provide a space for conversations about inequity, violence, alternative methods of design and organization, and the future of our cities by directly engaging with local and global practitioners, advocates, contexts and projects.  The themes for each of the days are - Hostile Urbanism, Community Urbanism, Informal Urbanism, Edible Urbanism and Next Urbanism. All events took place between - 

April 9th to 13th
6:00pm to 8:00pm
4th Floor Studio



MONDAY, 04/09/18 4:00PM – 6:00PM 

Martin Zebracki is a Lecturer/Assistant Professor at the School of Geography, University Leeds, United Kingdom. He has published widely about the intersecting geographies of public art practice, social engagement, (sexual) citizenship, and digital culture. His recent volumes include The Everyday Practice of Public Art: Art, Space, and Social Inclusion (with Cameron Cartiere; Routledge, 2016) and Public Art Encounters: Art, Space and Identity (with Joni M. Palmer; Routledge, 2017).

This invited address will critically attend to some high-profile, contentious cases to tackle the intricate relationships between the digital human, public art, and the city. He will ask the following central, inter-related questions: 

How do people engage with real-life public artworks and what are their re-uses and misuses on the Internet? How do everyday people, media agents and arts professionals co-create public artworks through digital technologies and online spaces and how are conventional producer-user roles reconfigured in so doing? How does user-created content by ‘produsers’ renegotiate the uses and meanings of public artwork beyond the original intents of the artist? What kind of new digital places, urbanities and conditions of ‘objecthood’ and involvement are created for public art beyond traditional urban public spaces, hegemonic historical contexts, and established policy agendas and blueprints? What are the impacts of the digital tweaking of public art for intended publics but also for audiences that are often unintended?

Martin will discuss these questions to advance both theoretical and empirical understandings of the digital politics and geographies of public-art practice along with intersectional identity concerns with class, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, race, age, religion, (dis)ability, and citizenship status. Accordingly, he will revisit cultural place-makings and social claim-makings within the informal peer-to-peer spaces of digital society today. He will close the talk with an ethical note on the real-world consequences of actions and reactions that are indicative of what Olga Goriunova has termed a ‘new media idiocy’. He will thereby ask how the digital mediation and the geometry of digitally networked space can be the giver, or taker, of the social and spatial meaningfulness and inclusiveness of public art practices: Are we facing a new world of (false) digital connectedness and immediacies? More


Monday, March 19 at 2:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Hearst d23

This workshop is presented as part of the Global Urban Humanities course Populism, Art and the City.
No prior Theater experience necessary.
Please dress to move.

Theater of the Oppressed (TO)  is a form of popular education that uses theater as a vehicle for fundamental social transformation. Forged in the crucible of Latin American revolutionary movements, it uses the dynamized human body and the charged theatrical space as laboratories for exploring power, transforming oppression, and finding collective solutions to the fundamental problems of conflict, exploitation, violence, and human suffering. Harnessing the reflexivity of theatrical performance as generative critical methodology, TO charges there are no neutral observers, ideologies, or systems of practice: every spectator is a potential actor, every system potentially oppressive or liberatory; and that collective artistic liberation of our human capacity, dignity, creativity is an imperative for transformation and survival. Presented as part of the GUH course Populism, Art and the City, this course will introduce the techniques of Theatre of the Oppressed, exploring TO-specific approaches to performance and performative ethnography in the contestation of social space and power. These techniques will be shared as practical and essential tools for artistic development, creative expression, and in their application to collective problem-solving, community-building, resistance, resilience, and transformation of structural and systemic violence at this historic moment of backlash and racism.  

Jiwon Chung began social justice work doing popular education with workers under the military dictatorship in South Korea in the 1980's.   Since then, he has worked as a professional performer & director, and is one of the key theorists of Theatre of the Oppressed in North America, Europe, and Asia, integrating somatics, performance, and social action. He is currently the Artistic Director of Kairos Theater Ensemble, Visiting Professor of Art, Media, and Social Justice at Starr King School at the Graduate Theological Union, and past President of the national organization for Theatre of the Oppressed. The focus of his work is in the application of theatre as a tool for social and political change, using Theatre of the Oppressed to challenge, resist, and transform systemic oppression and structural violence and to redress large-scale historical atrocity and injustice. His approach to performance and social change is informed by his background as veteran, martial artist, and four decades of vipassana meditation. Most recently, he has worked with North American health care unions in resisting an assembly-line driven approach to health care delivery; with slum, caste, and indigenous rights activists in India; and with Bay Area organizations on immigrant rights.  More


Saturday , March 17 2:00PM – 4:00PM

Albany Bulb. Free. Register on Eventbrite so we can send you an email about the exact location at the Bulb, which is still being chosen.

Inhibited Bites is an improvisatory, revelatory, darkly-comedic performance work by Goldberg built from a collection of more than a thousand index cards containing notes he has jotted down over many years. Topics range from language idiosyncrasies to social dynamics to cultural conventions. Inhibited Bites is daringly improvisational, as Goldberg draws different cards every time and crafts a narrative linking the notes. Putting his private observations on display, Goldberg invites those who attend the performance to consider their own thoughts in relation to those under discussion. The effect is a work that turns introspection and interiority into tools of connection and communication. The piece is modular and adaptable in its form, context, and duration; at the Albany Bulb the artist will take a two hour excursion through the cards in which visitors invited to drop in and participate in the conversation if they like. More about Inhibited Bites. More

About the Artist - Neil Goldberg makes video, photo, mixed media, and performance work about embodiment, sensing, mortality, and the everyday. His work has been exhibited at venues including The Museum of Modern Art (permanent collection), The New Museum of Contemporary Art, The Museum of the City of New York, The Kitchen, The Hammer Museum, The Pacific Film Archive, NGBK Kunsthalle Berlin, and El Centro de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona, among others. His work has been produced with fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, the New York State Council on the Arts, the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, the Experimental Television Center, Harpo Foundation, CEC ArtsLink, Stillpoint Fund, Yaddo, and the MacDowell Colony. In Summer 2018 I will be in residency at the Siena Art Institute in Siena, Italy. He teaches at the Yale School of Art and Parsons, and I am currently a mentor with Queer  | Art  | Mentorship. Previously he has served as resident faculty at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture and as a visiting artist at Cooper Union, The School of Visual Arts, New York University, the Rhode Island School of Design, the MIT Media Lab, and the UCLA Urban Humanities Institute, among others. 


Friday, March 16, 1:00pm -5:00pm
Wurster 172 

Free.  Eventbrite registration required.  Seats are limited and the workshop is expected to fill up quickly. Signup deadline March 13.
Open to UC Berkeley students and faculty from all departments.

Video technology has become ubiquitous, but it can seem as if the more time we spend looking through the lens of the camera the less, in a certain way, we actually see. This workshop draws on artistic traditions of street photography and walking the city and seeks to unleash video's potential to heighten our experience of our immediate surroundings. Through a series of writing, photographic, and video exercises, participants learn to identify and engage with aspects of everyday experience that might otherwise go overlooked or unnoticed.The class also will also focus attention on the formal properties of video; composition, framing, camera movement; so that participants might harness these more thoughtfully and effectively in their video work. Participants will use their own camera phones, though the principles learned will apply just as well to high-end professional equipment. This workshop is designed for anyone who wants to improve their ability to perceive the everyday life of cities, including artists, performers, architects, city planners, anthropologists, geographers, and others. More

ABOUT THE INSTRUCTOR: Neil Goldberg makes visual art and performance work that focuses on embodiment, sensing, mortality and the everyday. He has shown this work at MoMA (where it's part of the permanent collection), The New Museum, The Museum of the City of New York, The Kitchen, and elsewhere. He is a Guggenheim Fellow and teaches at the Yale School of Art. The NY Times described his work as “tender, moving and sad but also deeply funny," and Time Out New York wrote “Goldberg has produced some of the most quietly intense and affecting art of his generation.”


Tuesday, MARCH 13 5:00pM-7:00pM

Audio recording of Prof. Sassen's talk is available here.

Among the strong patterns of the post-1980s period in “Western” societies is a mix of economic and political vectors marked by extractive logics. We can find such extractive logics in entities as diverse as mining and Facebook. The rise of such extractive logics is partial, but sufficiently powerful to have altered key features of our economies and societies. For instance, when mass consumption is the shaping sector of our economies (until about the 1980s) even the nastiest corporation wanted the sons and daughters to do better than their parents so they would consume more – and supported government initiatives that transferred money to households directly and indirectly. This began to change with the privatizations, deregulations, and the rise of finance/financialization in the 1980s. One way of putting it is to emphasize the extractive character of leading economic sectors. How did Google make its first billion so fast and so unencumbered by all kinds of traditional constraints? It got information about all of us for free and then sold it to businesses.

I want to argue that these are all instances of the rise of extractive logic. I will focus especially on finance and its sharp differences from traditional banking (which was/is basically commerce: it sells something (money) for a price. A second aspect I want to emphasize is the extent to which our major categories of analysis do not help us track the trajectories of that which is expelled. To a large extent these categories were developed at a time when mass consumption was dominant and more and more people and households became part of that mass consumption logic. But since the 1980s this dominance of mass consumption has been weakening and other logics have become dominant. One instance of the latter is the financializing of a rapidly growing range of material and immaterial elements in our political economies. Elsewhere I have developed the notion of expulsions into a category for analysis (Expulsions, Harvard University Press/Belknap).

Saskia Sassen is Robert S. Lynd Professor of Sociology at Columbia University, where she is also a Member of the Committee on Global Thought. Her new book is Expulsions: Brutality and Complexity in the Global Economy (Harvard University Press 2014). Recent books are Territory, Authority, Rights: From Medieval to Global Assemblages ( Princeton University Press 2008), A Sociology of Globalization (W.W.Norton 2007), and the 4th fully updated edition of Cities in a World Economy (Sage 2012). Among older books are The Global City (Princeton University Press 1991/2001), and Guests and Aliens (New Press 1999). Her books are translated into over 20 languages. She is the recipient of diverse awards and mentions, including multiple doctor honoris causa, named lectures, and being selected as one of the top global thinkers on diverse lists. Most recently she was awarded the Principe de Asturias 2013 Prize in the Social Sciences and made a member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Organized by the Program in Critical Theory and co-sponsored by the UC Berkeley Global Urban Humanities Initiative and the International Consortium of Critical Theory Programs. More



Participants in the Amateurism Across the Arts conference are warmly invited to a 2-mile walking tour of the Albany Bulb, a San Francisco Bay former landfill known as a hotbed of amateur art. The tour will run from 9:30 to 11:30. Separate registration is required on Eventbrite. Attendance is limited to 25 people. 

The walk/hike will cover about 2 miles. The Bulb proper is 31 acres, about the size of Alcatraz Island, and the route includes some short, steep slopes and uneven footing over dirt and gravel paths.
Meet at the bulletin board at the parking lot for the Albany Waterfront Trail, near the large bird sculpture at the parking lot turnaround. Use the address of 1 Buchanan Street, Albany, CA for navigation.
We have timed the tour to allow people who want to attend the Kenneth Rainin Foundation Public Art Practices symposium at 1 pm the same day to have time to get lunch and attend that event.

By Car: The site is a 15-20-minute drive from downtown Berkeley. Take the Buchanan Street exit from I-80/580 or turn west on Buchanan Street from San Pablo Ave. Continue west on Buchanan Street under the freeway to the terminus of Buchanan Street. Allow time to park--if the parking lot is full you can parallel park on Buchanan Street, but only on the north side of the street at spots that are a 7-minute walk from the bulletin board meeting point.

By Bicycle: There are bicycle racks available just west of the parking lot, along the paved path near the beach. The Bulb is accessible by the Bay Trail but north of Gilman Street there is no formal Bay Trail connection to the Bulb. However, you can ride up over Fleming Point through the parking lot for Golden Gate Fields to the Bulb. To avoid sand, you may veer east through the bollards north of Fleming Point and then make a left turn onto Buchanan Street. Alternatively, you can take the Ohlone Greenway to Marin Ave., which turns into Buchanan Street. Along Buchanan Street there is an off-street bike path that continues under the freeway to the Bulb.

Public transit: The site is not readily accessible by public transit. More 

amateurism across the arts conference

Friday March 9, 9:30am-6:15 pm

Saturday March 10, 9:30am-11:00am - Optional tour of informal art at the Albany Bulb landfill 
Note: Separate registration on Eventbrite was required for the tour. Attendance was limited to 25 people

This was an exploration of vernacular, popular, fannish, kitsch, informal, self-taught, user-generated, and DIY productionin music, architecture, literature, the visual arts, dance,  and new media– especially in relation to raced, classed, and gendered notions of value.  How do the implicitly skilled “arts” rupture and reorganize themselves around hierarchies of taste?  And how can critical race and feminist/queer scholarship account for “hobbyist” — that is, extra-institutional, self-organized, or improvised — modes of cultural production and circulation?  If amateurism has been traditionally disavowed in modernist and avant-garde historiographies, it is at the same time persistently—even obsessively—invoked, and is hence inextricably woven into those discourses.

The symposium asks how the “high” and the “low” are porous constructions by looking at the ways that these charged terms have been deployed and dismantled across several artistic disciplines, particularly as we examine the alternative economies and systems of distribution that attend such forms of making. While it has become commonplace for “fine” artists to recruit untrained participants into their practices, it is vital to acknowledge that many non-professional forms of making grow out of necessity and survival. In addition, though “amateur” is frequently used as a shorthand for the unpracticed and/or uninteresting, this conference seeks to understand its connections to its root word amare: a complex outgrowth of critical investment, pleasure, and love.

Amateurism Across the Arts was an event hosted by the Arts Research Center at UC Berkeley, and co-sponsored in part by UC Berkeley’s Division of Arts & Humanities, the Townsend Center for the Humanities, University of California’s Humanities Research Institute, Judith Butler’s Maxine Elliot Endowed Chair Funds, the Global Urban Humanities Initiative, and the Berkeley Center for New Media. Additional support is provided by Departments of History of Art, Spanish and Portuguese, Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies, Critical Theory, and the Center for Race & Gender. More 

Borderwall Urbanism Graduate Research Studio talk by artist Guillermo Galindo

Tuesday, February 27 2:00pm-3:30pm
Kroeber 235

Experimental composer, sonic architect, performance artist and visual media artist Guillermo Galindo redefines the conventional limits between music, the art of music composition and the intersections between all art disciplines, politics, humanitarian issues, spirituality and social awareness. Galindo’s artistic practice emerges from the crossroads between sound, sight and performance and includes everything from orchestral compositions, instrumental works and opera, to sculpture, visual arts, computer interaction, electro-acoustic music, film making, instrument building, three dimensional installation and live improvisation. Galindo’s graphic scores and three dimensional sculptural cybertotemic sonic objects have been shown at major museums and art biennials in America, Europe, Asia and around the world including documenta14 (2017), Pacific Standard Time (2017) and CTM Festival (2017). HIs work has been featured on: BBC Outlook (London), Vice Magazine, (London), RTS Switzerland, National Public Radio (U.S.), CBC (Canada), California Sunday Magazine (U.S), Reforma Newspaper (Mexico) , CNN and the New York Times.

Open to the public. Presented as part of the Global Urban Humanities graduate research studio, Borderwall Urbanism, taught by Assistant Professor Stephanie Syjuco (Art Practice) and Associate Professor Ronald Rael (Architecture). The Global Urban Humanities Initiative studies global cities through the lenses of the arts and humanities and the environmental design disciplines and offers graduate and undergraduate certificates.

Borderwall Urbanism Graduate Research Studio talk by artist Ana Teresa Fernandez

tueSDAY, february 6: 2:00pm-3:30PM
Kroeber Hall, Room 235

For Mexican-born, Bay-area based artist Ana Teresa Fernández, performance is a primary research tool in her complex multimedia practice. Her work often begins as a time-based action or social gesture that explores the politics of intersectionality. Her oeuvre includes community-based projects, public art, sculpture, performance, video, and larger-than-lifeoil paintings that critique cultural assumptions and stereotypes about Latina women and illuminate the psychological and physical barriers that define gender, race, and class in Western society and the global south. Fernández has exhibited at the Denver Art Museum; the Nevada Museum of Art; Humboldt State University, Eureka, California; theTijuana Biennial in Mexico; Snite Museum at Notre Dame University, Indiana; Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco, and The Oakland Museum of California
Open to the public. Presented as part of the Global Urban Humanities graduate research studio, Borderwall Urbanism, taught by Assistant Professor Stephanie Syjuco (Art Practice) and Associate Professor Ronald Rael (Architecture). The Global Urban Humanities Initiative studies global cities through the lenses of the arts and humanities and the environmental design disciplines and offers graduate and undergraduate certificates.


Wednesday, January 31: 12-1pm
Geballe Room, 220 Stephens Hall

Light refreshments provided. Feel free to bring your own lunch.
Professor Emeritus of History Richard Cándida Smith illuminates the story of how cultural exchange programs brought many of the 20th century's most important Latin American artists and writers to the US to live and work. The list includes such figures as painter Diego Rivera, filmmaker Alejandro G. Iñárritu, poet Gabriela Mistral, photographer Genevieve Naylor, and novelist Carlos Fuentes. More