Berkeley Talks



A podcast that features lectures, conversations, discussions and presentations from UC Berkeley. It's managed by the Office of Communications and Public Affairs.


  • Inna Sovsun on what's next in Russia's war on Ukraine

    02/12/2022 Duration: 01h05min

    Ukrainian Member of Parliament Inna Sovsun joins Yuriy Gorodnichenko, a professor of economics at UC Berkeley, and Janet Napolitano, a professor at the Goldman School of Public Policy and former secretary of homeland security, to discuss the impact of the war and what comes next for the people of Ukraine. This Nov. 8 event was co-sponsored by UC Berkeley's Goldman School of Public Policy; the Center for Security in Politics; the Center for Studies in Higher Education; the Institute of Slavic, East European and Eurasian Studies; and the Institute of European Studies.Read a transcript and listen to the episode on Berkeley News.Music by Blue Dot Sessions. Hosted on Acast. See for more information.

  • Poet Alex Dimitrov reads from 'Love and Other Poems'

    18/11/2022 Duration: 32min

    Alex Dimitrov reads from his 2021 book of poems Love and Other Poems. The Sept. 8 reading was part of the UC Berkeley Library’s monthly event, Lunch Poems.Here’s “July,” one of the poems Dimitrov read during the event:At last it’s impossible to think of anythingas I swim through the heat on Broadway and disappear in the Strand. Nobodyon these shelves knows who I ambut I feel so seen, it’s easy to be aimlessnot having written a line for weeks.Outside New York continues to be New York.I was half expecting it to be LAbut no luck. No luck with the guyI’m seeing, no luck with money,no luck with becoming a saint.I do not want you, perfect life.I decided to stay a poet long ago,I know what I’m in for. And stillthe free space of the skylures me back out—not evencanonical beauty can keep me inside(and beauty, I’m done with you too).I guess, after all, I’ll take love—sweeping, all-consuming,grandiose love. Don’t just callor ask to go to a movie.That’s off my list too!I want absolutely everythingon this Friday

  • Judith Heumann on the long fight for inclusion

    04/11/2022 Duration: 01h29min

    In Berkeley Talks episode 154, leading disability rights activist and UC Berkeley alumna Judith Heumann discusses her lifelong fight for inclusion and equality. This Oct. 26 talk was part of the Jefferson Memorial Lectures, a series sponsored by Berkeley's Graduate Division.Read a transcript and listen to the episode on Berkeley News.Music by Blue Dot Sessions.Photo courtesy of Judith Heumann. Hosted on Acast. See for more information.

  • Indigenous access, political ecology in settler states

    22/10/2022 Duration: 59min

    Clint Carroll, an associate professor of ethnic studies at the University of Colorado Boulder, and a citizen of the Cherokee Nation, gives a talk called "Reuniting with Our Lands and Waters: Indigenous Access and Political Ecology in Settler States.""The early periods of what is known as the U.S. Federal Indian Policy are defined in terms of the specific type of dispossession they entailed," begins Carroll, author of the 2015 book Roots of Our Renewal: Ethnobotany and Cherokee Environmental Governance. "While the removal era of the 1830s forcibly relocated tribes hundreds and thousands of miles from their traditional homelands, the creation of reservations beginning in the mid-1800s also entailed numerous relocations via treaties and land cessions."The early U.S. conservation movement, coinciding roughly with the establishment of Indian reservations, excluded Native peoples from former hunting-and-gathering areas in the name of wilderness preservation," Carroll continues. "The allotment era, from about 1887 t

  • U.S. military bases in World War II Latin America

    10/10/2022 Duration: 01h11min

    UC Berkeley history professor Rebecca Herman discusses her new book, Cooperating with the Colossus: A Social and Political History of U.S. Military Bases in World War II Latin America. She’s joined by Margaret Chowning, professor and Sonne Chair in Latin American History at Berkeley, and Kyle Jackson, a transnational historian of the Americas and a Berkeley Ph.D. candidate in history."Typically, when the war comes up, the remarkable thing is that it was this moment where almost every country in the Americas banded together, united around the war effort," says Herman. "So, when I talk about cooperating with the colossus, I'm thinking in this sort of critical way about how people in the region during the Second World War tried to make the most of the United States' sudden attention to the region and willingness to share resources with the region and willingness to send weapons to the region, while also trying to mitigate U.S. overreach and to grapple with the real significant asymmetries of power that

  • Novelist Ilija Trojanow on the utopian prerogative

    23/09/2022 Duration: 47min

    Novelist Ilija Trojanow discusses why we need to embrace the idea of utopia in order to imagine a better future."It's important to not confuse what does exist with what is impossible, which is how most people use the word "utopian" in everyday parlance," Trojanow says. "Progress has, at times, been utopia come true. By envisaging differing realities, we are imagining alternatives into existence."Truly utopian narratives challenge existing preconceptions by opening windows of thought and fantasy that give life to a multitude of possibilities," Trojanow continues. "In order to survive, we will have to redefine our modes of planetary existence, and this will be impossible without powerful utopian imagination. Thus, utopia is not the art of the impossible, it is the rational of the necessary."Tojanow, author of more than 60 fiction and nonfiction books, delivered the 2022 Mosse Lecture at UC Berkeley on Sept. 1. The annual lecture was organized by Berkeley's Department of German and the Institute of European Stud

  • Activist Pua Case on the movement to protect Mauna Kea

    09/09/2022 Duration: 01h15min

    Pua Case, a Native Hawaiian activist and caretaker from the Flores-Case ʻOhana family, discusses the movement to protect Mauna Kea, a dormant volcano on the Big Island of Hawaii and the tallest mountain in the world."We have been standing successfully for 12 years against the building of a huge telescope," Case said at a Berkeley Center of New Media event on Aug. 29, 2022. "Not because it's a telescope, but because it's an 18-story building of any kind that would be built on the northern plateau in a pristine landscape on a sacred mountain, and for so many reasons."For 12 years, we have remained visible, we have remained committed, we have remained engaged and fully activated. But it is as if on a daily basis we have never stood because they are determined to build. And so, any of you who are facing what we're facing today, when a corporation, an institution, a developer, whatever the case may be — for us, five countries are determined to build no matter the consequence — it is almost as if you

  • How we learn language across communities and cultures

    27/08/2022 Duration: 01h35min

    In Berkeley Talks episode 149, Mahesh Srinivasan, an associate professor in UC Berkeley's Department of Psychology, discusses the importance of child-directed speech in language learning, how poverty may suppress parents' speech to their children and how children learn language from overheard speech, a main form of children’s early experience with language in many cultures around the world.This March 2022 lecture was sponsored by Science At Cal.Read a transcript and listen to the episode on Berkeley News.Music by Blue Dot Sessions.Photo by Esteban Benites via Unsplash. Our GDPR privacy policy was updated on August 8, 2022. Visit for more information.

  • Learning from nature to design better robots

    13/08/2022 Duration: 01h01min

    Robert Full, a professor of integrative biology and founder of the Center for Interdisciplinary Biological Inspiration in Education and Research at UC Berkeley, discusses how nature and its creatures — cockroaches, squirrels, centipedes, geckos — inspire innovative design in all sorts of useful things, from bomb-detecting, stair-climbing robots to prosthetics and other medical equipment.Read a transcript and listen to the episode on Berkeley News.Photo by Tate Lohmiller via Unsplash.Music by Blue Dot Sessions. Our GDPR privacy policy was updated on August 8, 2022. Visit for more information.

  • Scholars on using fantasy to reimagine Blackness

    29/07/2022 Duration: 01h31min

    A panel of scholars discusses UC Berkeley professor Darieck Scott's new book Keeping It Unreal: Black Queer Fantasy and Superhero Comics, which explores how fantasies of Black power and triumph in superhero comics and other genres create challenges to — and respite from — white supremacy and anti-Blackness.Listen to the discussion and read a transcript on Berkeley News.Graphic courtesy of the Othering and Belonging Institute. See for privacy and opt-out information.

  • America wants gun control. Why doesn't it have it? (revisiting)

    15/07/2022 Duration: 01h26min

    "If having a gun really made you safer, then America would be one of the safest countries in the world. It’s not," said Gary Younge, a professor of sociology at Manchester University and former editor-at-large at the Guardian, in a lecture at UC Berkeley on March 4, 2020."Yet while Americans consistently favor more gun control," Younge continued, "gun laws have generally become more lax. That is partly due to the material resources of the gun lobby. But it is also about the central role of the gun, what it represents in the American narrative, and the inability of gun control advocates to develop a counter-narrative. ... When the national narrative is a story of conquering, dominating, force and power, a broad atavistic attachment to the gun can have more pull than narrower rational arguments to contain it."Listen to the lecture and read a transcript on Berkeley News.Detail of a mural by Kyle Holbrook and local youth in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Terence Faircloth via Flickr) See for privacy

  • ACLU leader on how voter suppression works

    01/07/2022 Duration: 59min

    Abdi Soltani, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Northern California, discussed on Feb. 18, 2022, key moments for voting rights and elections throughout U.S. history, current threats to voting that are unfolding across the country and work the ACLU is doing in California.Listen to the episode and read a transcript on Berkeley News.Follow Berkeley Talks and review us on Apple Podcasts.Music by Blue Dot Sessions.AP photo by Morry Gash. See for privacy and opt-out information.

  • 'Mother Jones' editor on how the super-rich really live

    17/06/2022 Duration: 01h04min

    In Berkeley Talks episode 144, Mother Jones senior editor Michael Mechanic joins Berkeley Journalism professor David Barstow to discuss his new book, Jackpot: How the Super-Rich Really Live — and How Their Wealth Harms Us All.This conversation was streamed live on May 4, 2022.Listen to the episode and read a transcript on Berkeley News.Follow Berkeley Talks and review us on Apple Podcasts.Music by Blue Dot Sessions. See for privacy and opt-out information.

  • Climate displacement and remaking the built environment

    03/06/2022 Duration: 01h26min

    In Berkeley Talks episode 143, a panel of UC Berkeley experts discuss climate displacement — what it means to abandon places, the power dynamics between the Global South and the Global North, challenges for both the sending and receiving regions, and what needs to happen to address this fast-growing problem.Panelists include faculty members from Berkeley's new cluster in climate equity and environmental justice:Maya Carrasquillo, civil and environmental engineeringDaniel Aldana Cohen, sociologyZoe Hamstead, city and regional planningDanielle Rivera, landscape architecture and environmental planning Moderated by Karen Chapple, director of Berkeley’s Urban Displacement Project and the University of Toronto’s School of CitiesThis April 25 event is part of Cal Performances' Illuminations: Place and Displacement series.Listen to the episode and read a transcript on Berkeley News.Follow Berkeley Talks and review us on Apple Podcasts.Photo by Pablo Paredes.Music by Blue Dot Sessions.  See

  • Timnit Gebru on how change happens through collective action

    31/05/2022 Duration: 19min

    In a special episode, Timnit Gebru, founder and executive director of the Distributed Artificial Intelligence Research Institute and one of the most prominent researchers working in the field of ethics in artificial intelligence, gives the keynote address to the UC Berkeley School of Information graduating class on May 16. In the speech, Gebru touches on collective action, interconnectedness and the loneliness that may accompany standing on “the right side of history.”Listen to the episode and read a transcript on Berkeley News.Follow Berkeley Talks and review us on Apple Podcasts.Photo by Noah Berger.Music by Blue Dot Sessions. See for privacy and opt-out information.

  • Scholars on Roman Vishniac's photos of Jewish life before the Holocaust

    20/05/2022 Duration: 01h36min

    In Berkeley Talks episode 141, a panel of scholars discuss the work of Roman Vishniac, a renowned Russian American photographer who took thousands of photos over seven decades and across three continents. Although Vishniac’s genres were diverse, he’s best known for images that he took of Jewish life in Central and Eastern Europe before the Holocaust.“These photographs are distinguished by their epiphenomena, the life circumstances of their subjects and the narratives that have surrounded these images,” said Jeffrey Shandler, professor of Jewish studies at Rutgers University, at a two-day event in May presented by The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life in collaboration with Berkeley’s Center for Jewish Studies. “Shortly after these photographs were taken, most of the Jews they depict met a terrible fate during World War II. Those few who survived the Holocaust had to start their lives over in radically different circumstances."Listen to the episode and read a transcript on Berkeley News.Follow Berke

  • An update on Public Service Loan Forgiveness

    06/05/2022 Duration: 01h01s

    In episode 140 of Berkeley Talks, a panel of student loan experts discuss the Public Service Loan Forgiveness waiver, the recently extended COVID payment pause and student debt cancellation.Panelists of this April 2022 talk included:Kat Welbeck, Student Borrower Protection CenterSuzanne Martindale, California Department of Financial Protection and InnovationKyra Taylor, National Consumer Law CenterModerated by Amanda Prasuhn, Berkeley Law Financial Aid OfficeListen to the episode and read a transcript on Berkeley News.Follow Berkeley Talks and review us on Apple Podcasts.Music by Blue Dot Sessions.Photo by Elena Zhukova. See for privacy and opt-out information.

  • Damilola Ogunbiyi on driving an equitable energy transition

    22/04/2022 Duration: 01h23min

    In episode 139 of Berkeley Talks, Damilola Ogunbiyi, CEO and Special Representative of the U.N. Secretary General for Sustainable Energy for All, gives the UC Berkeley Energy and Resources Group's 28th Annual Lecture on Energy and Environment. In the March 31, 2022 talk, Ogunbiyi discusses how to drive a just, inclusive and equitable transition to affordable and sustainable energy for all, and how the Russia-Ukraine war is affecting energy markets around the world.Listen to the episode and read a transcript on Berkeley News.Follow Berkeley Talks and review us on Apple Podcasts.(Photo by Bamas100 via Wikimedia Commons)  See for privacy and opt-out information.

  • Sociologist Harry Edwards on sport in society

    08/04/2022 Duration: 01h13min

    In Berkeley Talks episode 138, Harry Edwards, a renowned sports activist and UC Berkeley professor emeritus of sociology, discusses the intersections of race and sport, athletes' struggle for definitional authority and the power of sport to change society."You can change society by changing people's perceptions and understandings of the games they play," said Edwards in March at a campus event sponsored by the Institute for the Study of Societal Issues and Cal Athletics. "I'm saying whether it's race relations in America, whether it's relations between the United States and the Soviet Union and China, whether it's what's going on in South Africa with apartheid, you can leverage sport to change people's perceptions and understandings of those relationships. Change society by changing people's perceptions and understandings of the games they play."Listen to the episode and read a transcript on Berkeley News.Follow Berkeley Talks and review us on Apple Podcasts.(Photo courtesy of Harry Edwards) See

  • A Poetry for the People conversation

    25/03/2022 Duration: 01h23min

    The Department of African American Studies at UC Berkeley’s 2021-22 Critical Conversations speaker series is a celebration of the life and legacy of June Jordan, an award-winning poet, activist and longtime professor in the department.At Berkeley, Jordan founded the Poetry for the People program, where writers of all levels wrote and showcased their own poems, and taught poetry to other university students, high school students and community members.In this episode of Berkeley Talks, two Berkeley alumni and former students of Poetry for the People — Samiya Bashir, an associate professor of creative writing at Reed College, and Solmaz Sharif, an assistant professor of English at Arizona State University — read their work, share some of their favorite poems by Jordan, and discuss the Poetry for the People program and the impact it continues to have on their lives.The Feb. 28 conversation was moderated by Chiyuma Elliot, a poet and associate professor in the Department of African American Studies at Berkeley.Lis

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