Perspectives

Chancellor’s Letter: Summer 2021

As life begins its return to something resembling normal, I want to share some of what I have learned about leadership during these unprecedented times, for it speaks directly to what makes our university a special place.

From the Summer 2021 issue of California.

The Myth of the Asian Woman

“Why and how is it,” writes Laura Hyun Yi Kang in her 2020 book Traffic in Asian Women, “so many Asian women continue to suffer in the same coeval space of so much publicity, knowledge production, and activism?”

The Editorial That Split the Daily Cal (And May Have Provoked a Riot)

Editor’s note: The Daily Californian, Berkeley’s student newspaper, marks two momentous anniversaries this year. The first is its founding, 150 years ago. Since 1871, the paper—originally called the College Echo—has been published continuously, reporting on the campus and community through world wars and loyalty oaths, depression and recessions, student rebellions and global pandemics.

From the Spring 2021 issue of California.

Editor’s Note: Nothing Writes Itself, Yet

“This practically writes itself,” is something writers often say but don’t really believe. No story worth telling comes without toil. That could change, however, with an assist from artificial intelligence. Already, AI programs are being used to help craft poetry, stories, and essays.

From the Spring 2021 issue of California.

Chancellor’s Letter: COVID and the Arts

Since the pandemic began, Jeremy Geffen, director of Cal Performances, has been sending a weekly email to patrons, a play­list of half a dozen or so performing arts videos, entitled “Now, More Than Ever.” The title resonates. At a time of great crisis, like the one we are experiencing, we need the arts, to bring us moments of beauty, of profound reflection on the human condition, of heightened emotion captured in the symmetries of form.

From the Spring 2021 issue of California.

In the Wake of the Capitol Riot, A Conversation on Right-Wing Ideology

On January 6, 2021, a violent mob of Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol in an attempt to block the peaceful transfer of power from former President Donald Trump to his successor, President Joe Biden. The insuing riot led to five deaths, hundreds of arrests, and renewed concern over the impacts of right-wing rhetoric.

From the Spring 2021 issue of California.

You Should Know About Ida Jackson

“Since I’ve gotten old, I have wondered how I did all the things that I did then,” Ida Louise Jackson reflected in 1984 at the age of 82. Jackson participated in some of the major movements of the 20th century: the Great Migration, school desegregation, the battles for equitable education and health, and the Civil Rights Movement. Some of her earliest activism began at Berkeley when she organized the second Black sorority on the campus (shortly after the founding of AKA’s rival Delta Sigma Theta).

From the Fall 2020 issue of California.

“Equal Parts Pain and Joy:” Fred Moten’s Life in Verse

When Fred Moten reflects on his childhood, he thinks of music. His mother once slipped a coat over his pajamas, so he could accompany her to a late-night concert by the jazz singer Joe Williams on the Las Vegas Strip. She also played the piano, collected jazz and blues recordings, and baked pies for legendary bluesman B.B. King.

From the Winter 2020 issue of California.

A Social Media Celebrity Talks Leaving Twitter, Finding Joy

Friends have called me “Twitter famous,” but you’ve probably never heard of me. One night in 2015 I fell down an internet rabbit hole. It started with a list of violent acts against women and stopped  when I read a graphic description of violence against a woman who said the wrong name during sex. I sort of lost it. My thumbs couldn’t keep up with my brain as I tweeted on my phone.

From the Winter 2020 issue of California.

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