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.


  • Author Ashton Applewhite on counteracting ageism

    25/03/2019 Duration: 01h15min

    Ashton Applewhite, named one of PBS Next Avenue’s Influencers in Aging and author of the breakaway new book, This Chair Rocks: A Manifesto Against Ageism, share her own personal experiences with ageism — defined as “treating a person differently on the basis of age" and discusses her work, which explores ageism’s destructive impact on individuals, our communities and our policies.Chronological age is often a key factor in decision-making about treatment for physical and mental health; or selection for housing, employment, or access to other opportunities, says Applewhite. Yet, she argues, age alone is a poor predictor and she pushes back on ageist assumptions that people within any given age group are all the same. They vary substantially in their capacities−and census data show growing diversity in every age group.Nevertheless, unfounded ageist stereotypes result in marginalization and discrimination against older people.This Chair Rocks does not simply identify the problem. It offers a wealth of ideas about

  • Jimmy López on composing 'Dreamers' oratorio inspired by Berkeley undocumented students

    20/03/2019 Duration: 01h19min

    Composer Jimmy López, who earned his Ph.D. in music from UC Berkeley in 2012, speaks about Dreamers, an oratorio he was commissioned by Cal Performances to write that is informed by interviews held with undocumented students at UC Berkeley. The piece was written in collaboration with Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Nilo Cruz, who created the libretto. Esa-Pekka Salonen, the music director designate of the San Francisco Symphony, conducted the world premiere performance of Dreamers in Zellerbach Hall on Sunday, March 17 at 3 p.m. with the Philharmonia Orchestra of London, soprano Ana María Martínez, and a chorus of nearly 80 voices, including those from the UC Berkeley Chamber Choir.López's talk was held in an open session of the academic course Thinking Through Art and Design @ Berkeley: Creativity, Migration, Transformation taught by Peter Glazer and Stan Lai held in Osher Auditorium, UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA) on Thursday, March 14

  • Michael Pollan with Dacher Keltner on the new science of psychedelics

    17/03/2019 Duration: 01h02min

    In his latest book, How to Change Your Mind, Michael Pollan turns his focus to psychedelics — LSD, psilocybin mushrooms and the like — exploring their history, use, and potential to help people not only transcend, but also treat conditions from addiction to anxiety. On March 5, 2019, Pollan joined Dacher Keltner, a professor of psychology at UC Berkeley and founder of the Greater Good Science Center, for a conversation about the book.This talk was recorded by Educational Technology Services. Watch the video and read "A trip of his own: Michael Pollan on writing and the power of psychedelics" on Berkeley Library News. (Photo by Alia Malley) See for privacy and opt-out information.

  • Talk Policy to Me: The California housing crisis

    16/03/2019 Duration: 21min

    NIMBYism, geographical limitation and weaponized policies have led California to the biggest housing crisis in state history. Can state-level policies fix a very local problem?  California housing is an undeniable problem. Rents are too high and there is not enough housing for those who need it in the places they want it. But how did we get here? Why has the development of solutions shifted from a city level to a state level?UC Berkeley MPP student Spencer Bowen speaks with Ophelia Basgal and Elizabeth Kneebone from the Terner Center and California Assembly member, David Chiu. Here are five intersecting causes of California’s housing crisis that they help identify:  Limited land and diverse geography  Production not keeping pace with booming job market Housing is expensive to build and new methods are limited Cities wield their power to slow down or vote down&nb

  • Professor Michael Omi on racial classification in the census

    13/03/2019 Duration: 01h24s

    How are individuals and groups racially classified? What are the meanings attached to different racial categories? And what impact do these categories have on a range of policies and practices? Taking the U.S. Census as a site of racial classification, Michael Omi, a professor of ethnic studies at UC Berkeley, examines the shifting state definitions of race and how individuals and groups assert, embrace, reject and negotiate different racial categories and identities.Michael Omi is co-author, along with Howard Winant, of Racial Formation in the United States (3rd edition, 2015), a groundbreaking work that transformed how we understand the social and historical forces that give race its changing meaning over time and place. At UC Berkeley, Omi serves as the associate director of the Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society, is a core faculty member in the Department of Ethnic Studies and is an affiliated faculty member of sociology and gender and women’s studies. Omi is also a recipi

  • Year of the woman: Panel on the recent rise of women in politics

    07/03/2019 Duration: 01h24min

    National analysts have noted the sharply increased number of women running for elective office in 2018, especially among Democrats. In a panel discussion, “Year of the Woman?," Nicole Boucher, co-executive director of the California Donor Table; Mary Hughes, a democratic strategist and founder of Close the Gap California; and Amanda Renteria, chair of Emerge America examines the phenomenon in the California context and whether it's likely to continue in future election cycles. The discussion was moderated by Laurel Rosenhall, a political reporter for Calmatters.This discussion was part of a Feb. 1, 2019 conference, “California Votes: A Post-Mortem on the 2018 Election,” hosted by UC Berkeley’s Institute of Governmental Studies.Listen and read the transcript on Berkeley News. See for privacy and opt-out information.

  • Dancer Akram Khan on performing the unimaginable, theater of war

    05/03/2019 Duration: 01h19min

    Dancer/choreographer Akram Khan appeared in the West Coast premiere of XENOS, a Cal Performances co-commission, in Zellerbach Hall on March 2-3, 2019. Khan, who is of British and Bangladeshi descent, is celebrated for physically demanding, visually arresting solo productions that combine Indian kathak with contemporary dance to tell stories through movement. Khan’s full length solo performances of XENOS conjure the despair and alienation suffered by an Indian soldier recruited to fight for the British Crown in the trenches of World War I.As an instinctive and natural collaborator, Khan has been a magnet for world-class artists from other cultures and disciplines. His previous collaborators include the National Ballet of China, actress Juliette Binoche, ballerina Sylvie Guillem, singer Kylie Minogue, writer Hanif Kureishi and composer Steve Reich.In this talk, Akram Khan speaks with Cal Performances’ interim artistic director Rob Bailis in the weekly open session of

  • Berkeley Law Professor Catherine Fisk on reimagining labor law

    02/03/2019 Duration: 01h39s

    Berkeley Law Professor Catherine Fisk, author of Writing for Hire: Unions, Hollywood, and Madison Avenue (2016), gave a lecture on Feb. 13, 2019, that examines some of the recent radical changes in the law of the workplace in California and nationwide. She discusses how the transformation of work through the gig economy and through the decline of union presents unprecedented challenges for regulating work for the common good, but how it also presents opportunities for a fresh start.This lecture was part of a series of talks sponsored by UC Berkeley’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI).Catherine Fisk is the Barbara Nachtrieb Armstrong Professor of Law at Berkeley. She teaches and writes on the law of the workplace, on the legal profession, and on free speech and freedom of association. Her most recent book is Writing for Hire: Unions, Hollywood, and Madison Avenue (2016) and her next book will be on labor protest and labor lawyers in the mid-20th century.Listen and read the transcript

  • East Bay poet Ari Banias reads new work at Lunch Poems

    26/02/2019 Duration: 29min

    Ari Banias is the author of Anybody (2016), which was named a finalist for the Kate Tufts Discovery Award and the PEN Center USA Literary Award. His poems have appeared in various journals, in Troubling The Line: Trans and Genderqueer Poetry and Poetics and as part of the MOTHA exhibition, Trans Hirstory in 99 Objects. Banias is the recipient of fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts, the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing, and Stanford University's Wallace Stegner program. He lives in Berkeley, teaches poetry and works with small press books.On Feb. 7, 2019, Banias read his poetry — from Anybody and some new work — at Lunch Poems, an ongoing poetry reading series at UC Berkeley that began in 2014. All readings happen from 12:10 to 12:50 p.m. on the first Thursday of the month in Morrison Library in Doe Library. Admission is free.Listen and read the transcript on Berkeley News.See all Berkeley Talks. See for

  • Richard Rothstein on how our government segregated America

    21/02/2019 Duration: 53min

    Richard Rothstein, a fellow of the Haas Institute at UC Berkeley and author of The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How our Government Segregated America, gave a lecture on Feb. 6, 2019, about the forgotten history of how federal, state and local policy segregated metropolitan areas nationwide, creating racially homogenous neighborhoods in patterns that violate the Constitution and require remediation. This lecture was part of a series of talks sponsored by UC Berkeley’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI).Rothstein is a distinguished fellow of the Economic Policy Institute and a senior fellow, emeritus, at the Thurgood Marshall Institute of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and of the Haas Institute at UC Berkeley. He is also the author of Grading Education: Getting Accountability Right (2008) and Class and Schools: Using Social, Economic and Educational Reform to Close the Black-White Achievement Gap (2004).Listen on Berkeley News.See all Berkeley Talks.(Phot

  • Panel discussion: The Changing California Electorate

    13/02/2019 Duration: 01h26min

    In a panel discussion, "The Changing California Electorate," Lisa García Bedolla, the director of Berkeley's Institute of Governmental Studies; Kristin Olsen, a Republican who served on the California State Assembly from 2010-2016; Mindy Romero, director of the California Civic Engagement Project at USC; and Dan Schnur, director of the Sacramento Bee California Influencer series examine the changing demographics of California's population and electorate, the impact of the changes in 2018 and the implications for future election cycles. The discussion was moderated by Marisa Lagos, a political reporter for KQED.This discussion was part of a Feb. 1, 2019 conference, "California Votes: A Post-Mortem on the 2018 Election," hosted by UC Berkeley's Institute of Governmental Studies.Listen and read the transcript on Berkeley News. See for privacy and opt-out information.

  • Professor Tina Sacks on maintaining social welfare programs in the Trump era

    01/02/2019 Duration: 54min

    What are some of the current challenges to maintaining social welfare programs for the nation's most vulnerable people in the Trump era?Tina Sacks, an assistant professor at UC Berkeley's School of Social Welfare, gave a lecture on this topic on Jan. 30, 2019, as part of a series of talks sponsored by UC Berkeley's Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI).Sacks's fields of interest include racial disparities in health, social determinants of health, race, class and gender and poverty and inequality. Prior to joining Berkeley Social Welfare, Sacks spent nearly a decade in federal service at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and has also served as legislative director at the Baltimore City Health Department as well as executive director of the Illinois Association of Free and Charitable Clinics. See for privacy and opt-out information.

  • Design anthropologist Dori Tunstall on decolonizing design

    30/01/2019 Duration: 51min

    Elizabeth (Dori) Tunstall is a design anthropologist, public intellectual and design advocate who works at the intersections of critical theory, culture and design. As dean of design at Ontario College of Art and Design University in Canada, she is the first black female dean of a faculty of design. She leads the Cultures-Based Innovation Initiative, focused on using old ways of knowing to drive innovation processes that directly benefit communities.Tunstall's talk, given on Jan. 25, 2019, is part of the Jacobs Institute for Design Innovation's design conversations.Each semester, the institute invites a distinguished group of designers and thinkers to speak as part of Jacobs Design Conversations, Design Field Notes and its other public programs. This semester, these programs engage questions of inclusion, accessibility and justice under the title, For Whom? By Whom?: Designs for Belonging.Read a Q&A with Tunstall and the Jacobs Institute for Design Innovation's Robert Kett.To learn more about upcomin

  • Ph.D. candidate Rosalie Lawrence on how our cells make decisions

    29/01/2019 Duration: 28min

    On Nov. 6, 2018, Ph.D. candidate in molecular and cell biology Rosalie Lawrence gave an interview on KALX's program, "The Graduates," about her research on how cells in our bodies make decisions. She studies mTORC1, a protein complex that interacts with cellular organelles called lysosomes and tells the cell when it has enough nutrients to grow. She is interested in the role mTORC1 plays in the development of cancer. "The Graduates," broadcast on the campus's community and student radio station KALX, features graduate student research at UC Berkeley. Listen or download past episodes on iTunes. This episode was hosted by Andrew Saintsing, a Ph.D. student in the Department of Integrative Biology. See for privacy and opt-out information.

  • New York Times reporter Jodi Kantor on breaking the story that ignited #MeToo

    15/01/2019 Duration: 40min

    Jodi Kantor is a New York Times investigative reporter and a recipient of the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service for her reporting on the #MeToo movement. Her work has exposed abuses of power, from Harvey Weinstein to Amazon. Kantor joined UC Berkeley's 2018 graduation celebrations as the commencement speaker for journalism students. Afterwards, she sat down with former Mother Jones editor Deirdre English to discuss the reporting process and holding established systems accountable.This interview was recorded on May 24, 2018, for On Mic, a podcast by the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. It was produced by Lee Mengistu and Cat Schuknecht. For more conversations with some of the world's best writers, journalists and documentarians, check out other On Mic episodes. Technical facilities for On Mic are underwritten by the Jonathan Logan Family Foundation.Listen and read the transcript on Berkeley News. See for privacy and opt-out information.

  • Berkeley Law Professor Daniel Farber on presidential power and individual rights

    07/01/2019 Duration: 01h15min

    Presidential power is always a hot topic, but never more so than today. This lecture, given by Berkeley Law Professor Daniel Farber on Sept. 25, 2018, explains the constitutional limits on the president and how individual rights are affected. Dan Farber is the Sho Sato Professor of Law at UC Berkeley and the faculty director of the Center for Law, Energy and the Environment. Professor Farber serves on the editorial board of Foundation Press. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a Life Member of the American Law Institute. He is the editor of Issues in Legal Scholarship. He is the author of 18 books including, Research Handbook on Public Choice and Public Law, Judgment Calls: Politics and Principle in Constitutional Law, and Retained by the People: The Silent 'Ninth' Amendment and the Rights Americans Don’t Know They Have. He is also the author of Presidential Administration Under Trump.Listen and read the transcript on Berkeley News. See for privacy and opt-out inf

  • Astronomer Bob Kirshner on the accelerating universe to accelerating science

    25/12/2018 Duration: 01h26min

    Twenty years ago, astronomers were astonished to learn from observations of exploding stars that cosmic expansion is speeding up. We attribute this to a mysterious “dark energy” that pervades the universe and makes up 70 percent of it. Scientists are working in many ways to learn more about the nature of dark energy, but our reservoir of ignorance is deep.On Oct. 24, astronomer Bob Kirshner gave the 2018 Distinguished Lecture in Astronomy, “From the Accelerating Universe to Accelerating Science,” for which he summarizes the present state of knowledge and looks ahead to new ways to use infrared observations of supernovae to improve our grip on dark energy.Kirshner leads the science program at the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, which makes over $100 million in grants for basic science each year, and served on the astronomy faculty at Harvard for 30 years.The Distinguished Lecture in Astronomy is an annual public lecture sponsored by the Department of Astronomy at UC Berkeley.Listen and read the tr

  • Clinicians discuss where health and human rights meet

    24/12/2018 Duration: 01h04min

    There are a greater number of forcibly displaced people in the world today than at any time since the end of World War II, and the Bay Area has welcomed many of these individuals. Hear from clinicians, including Sita Patel, who received her master’s degree and Ph.D. in clinical psychology from UC Berkeley and is an associate professor in clinical psychology at Palo Alto University, who are working directly with Bay Area refugees and asylum seekers about how they are restoring health and awakening hope in response to human rights abuses.This Commonwealth Club of California program, called “A Global Perspective on Healing After Trauma: Where Health and Human Rights Meet,” took place on Nov. 15, 2018 and was supported by the Northern California Grantmakers Funder Network on Trauma and Resilience.Listen and read the transcript on Berkeley News. See for privacy and opt-out information.

  • Michael Pollan on science, psychedelics and the human mind

    22/12/2018 Duration: 50min

    In May 2018, Michael Pollan, the Knight Professor of Science and Environmental Journalism at UC Berkeley and author of a multitude of best-sellers, including The Omnivore’s Dilemma, sat down with former Mother Jones editor Deirdre English to discuss his new book, How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression and Transcendence.This interview was recorded for On Mic, a podcast by the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. It was produced by Lee Mengistu and Cat Schuknecht. For more fascinating conversations with some of the world's best writers, journalists and documentarians, check out other On Mic episodes. Technical facilities for On Mic are underwritten by the Jonathan Logan Family Foundation.Listen and read the transcript on Berkeley News. See for privacy and opt-out information.

  • Jennifer Doudna on gene editing and the unthinkable power to control evolution

    01/12/2018 Duration: 01h24min

    Berkeley biochemist Jennifer Doudna joins oncologist Siddartha Mukherjee to discuss unprecedented advancements in gene editing and the effect new technologies will have on the future of humanity.Dr. Doudna’s research has led to what is being called the biggest scientific discovery of our era: the development of the genetic editing tool, CRISPR-Cas9. This revolutionary technology has quickly transformed the landscape of genome engineering, creating limitless possibilities for impact within biomedicine, agriculture, climate and energy, and more, including treating — and possibly curing — genetic diseases.Dr. Mukherjee is a celebrated physician and researcher. His book, The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer, won the Pulitzer Prize for nonfiction in 2011, was named one of the 100 most influential books written in English since 1923 by TIME magazine, and was listed as one of the 100 notable books of 2010 by the New York Times magazine.This conversation, which took place o

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