Global Economic Developments: A View from the IMF

Gita Gopinath

UC Berkeley students, faculty, and staff are invited to join us on May 8, 2024 from 2:00pm-3:00pm for a town hall meeting with Gita Gopinath, the First Deputy Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund. The event will feature an interview of Dr Gopinath conducted by current UC Berkeley students on topics ranging from debt sustainability to economic fragmentation and the role of the dollar in the global economy, followed by an open question period.

Presented by Social Science Matrix and the Clausen Center for International Business and Policy.

Please note that this event is limited to UC Berkeley students, faculty, and staff. Attendees will be asked to present Cal ID upon arrival.

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Children of the Plantationocene

Alisha Gaines

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Join the Department of African American Studies for a talk from our first scholar in residence of the Banned Scholars Program: Dr. Alisha Gaines.

In “Children of the Plantationocene,” Alisha Gaines considers two interrelated questions: MacArthur Genius Tiya Miles’s 2020 query in The Boston Globe, “What should we do with plantations?;” and Christina Sharpe’s question in In the Wake: On Blackness and Being, “how do we defend the dead?” In a sociopolitical moment mired by miseducation, Gaines seeks refuge in Saint Toni Morrison’s novel, A Mercy, to reconcile the place and value of the plantation to and for Black Americans. In so doing, she insists we can begin to understand how slavery’s afterlives shape the ecological presents we all inherit.

Alisha Gaines is the Timothy Gannon Associate Professor of Arts and Sciences in the Department of English and affiliate faculty of African American Studies at Florida State University. She is also the Co-Humanities Director of the Evergreen Plantation Archaeological Field School in Edgard, LA. She earned a PhD in English and a certificate in African and African American Studies from Duke University in 2009. From 2009-2011 she held a Carter G. Woodson postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Virginia.

Her first manuscript, Black for a Day: White Fantasies of Race and Empathy, was published with UNC Press (Spring 2017). The project rethinks the political consequences of empathy by examining mid-to-late twentieth and twenty-first century narratives of racial impersonation enabled by the spurious alibi of racial reconciliation. Black for a Day constructs a genealogy of mostly white liberals who temporarily “become” Black under the alibi of racial empathy. Its genealogy includes: the magical racial change of a white Senator in the 1947 musical, Finian’s Rainbow; journalist Ray Sprigle’s four weeks as a Black man in the South in 1948; journalist and memoirist, John Howard Griffin’s, five weeks as a Black man in 1959; Grace Halsell’s stunt as a Black woman in Harlem and Mississippi for six months in 1969; and the families of the Sparks and the Wurgels switching races for reality television in 2006. The project’s epilogue then turns to the cultural nerve struck by the viral media story of Rachel Dolezal, a former NAACP chapter president who was “outed” for claiming she was Black.

An award-winning educator, her interdisciplinary teaching interests include African American literature and culture, Black queer theory, media and performance studies, narratives of passing, and Black Southern studies.

For more information about the event, please contact: Barbara Montano at bmontano14@berkeley.edu or 510-664-4324.

If you require an accommodation for effective communication (ASL interpreting/CART captioning, alternative media formats, etc.) or information about campus mobility access features in order to fully participate in this event, please contact Barbara Montano at bmontano14@berkeley.edu or 510-664-4324 with as much advance notice as possible and at least 7-10 days in advance of the event.

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Alisha Gaines and Robin D. G. Kelley in Conversation

Alisha Gaines and Robin D. G. Kelley

Join us on April 19 at 12:00pm as the Department of African American Studies Banned Scholars Program presents a conversation between Alisha Gaines and Robin D. G. Kelley. The scholars will discuss the defense of academic freedom and public higher education and the importance of Black study in the face of the current racist backlash. 

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Presented by the UC Berkeley Department of African American Studies, and co-sponsored by Social Science Matrix, the Department of English, and the Department of Geography.

If you require an accommodation for effective communication (ASL interpreting/CART captioning, alternative media formats, etc.) or information about campus mobility access features in order to fully participate in this event, please contact Barbara Montano at bmontano14@berkeley.edu or 510-664-4324 with as much advance notice as possible and at least 7-10 days in advance of the event.

Speakers

Alisha Gaines is the Timothy Gannon Associate Professor of Arts and Sciences in the Department of English and affiliate faculty of African American Studies at Florida State University. She is also the Co-Humanities Director of the Evergreen Plantation Archaeological Field School in Edgard, LA. She earned a PhD in English and a certificate in African and African American Studies from Duke University in 2009. From 2009-2011 she held a Carter G. Woodson postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Virginia. Her first manuscript, Black for a Day: Fantasies of Race and Empathy, was published with UNC Press (Spring 2017). An award-winning educator, her interdisciplinary teaching interests include African American literature and culture, Black queer theory, media and performance studies, narratives of passing, and Black Southern studies.

Robin D. G. Kelley is Distinguished Professor and Gary B. Nash Endowed Chair in U.S. History at the University of California, Los Angeles. His research has explored the history of social movements in the U.S., the African Diaspora, and Africa; black intellectuals; music and visual culture; Surrealism, Marxism, among other things. His essays have appeared in a wide variety of professional journals as well as general publications, including the Journal of American History, American Historical Review, The Nation, Monthly Review, New York Times, Color Lines, Counterpunch, Souls,Black Renaissance/Renaissance Noir, Social Text ,The Black Scholar, Journal of Palestine Studies, and Boston Review, for which he also serves as Contributing Editor. His books include, Africa Speaks, America Answers: Modern Jazz in Revolutionary Times (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2012); The lonious Monk: The Life and Times of an American Original (The Free Press, 2009); Freedom Dreams: The Black Radical Imagination (Beacon Press, 2002); with Howard Zinn and Dana Frank, Three Strikes: The Fighting Spirit of Labor’s Last Century (Beacon Press, 2001); Yo’ Mama’s Disfunktional!: Fighting the Culture Wars in Urban America (Boston: Beacon Press, 1997); Race Rebels: Culture, Politics, and the Black Working Class (New York: The Free Press, 1994); Into the Fire: African Americans Since 1970 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1996) [Vol. 10 of the Young Oxford History of African Americans series]; Hammer and Hoe: Alabama Communists During the Great Depression (Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 1990).

For more information, contact: Barbara Montano, bmontano14@berkeley.edu or 510-664-4324.

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Caste, Education, and Social Struggle in India and the United States

event speakers

Please register to join us on Monday, April 22 at 3:30pm for a panel on “Caste, Education, and Social Struggle in Modern India,” featuring Ajantha Subramanian, Professor of Anthropology at the CUNY Graduate Center, and Shailaja Paik, the Charles P. Taft Distinguished Professor of History and Affiliate in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and Asian Studies at the University of Cincinnati. Moderated by Aarti Sethi, Assistant Professor at the Department of Anthropology at UC Berkeley, and 2023-2024 Matrix Faculty Fellow.

Co-sponsored by the Institute for South Asia Studies.

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Abstract

Perhaps no other arena in modern India is the site of such charged political and social contest as education. India is the most unequal society in the world wherein the hegemonic capture of socio-economic power by an oppressor savarna/“upper caste” minority has operated through violent control over knowledge, and the exclusion of the vast majority of oppressed Dalit-Bahujan/“lower-caste” communities from basic access to education. The power of education as a route out of intergenerational oppression was recognized by Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, the architect of the Indian constitution, in his exhortation, “Educate! Organize! Agitate!”, and operationalized through affirmative action policies by reserving seats in educational institutions, that sought to democratize access to educational institutions of historically marginalized communities. Savarna/ “upper-castes” have responded by mobilizing a poisonous discourse of “merit” against affirmative action. Dalit and oppressed caste students are routinely subjected to humiliation and aggression, marked out as “undeserving” students, by their “upper-caste”/savarna classmates. This routinized humiliation is most tragically exemplified in the spate of suicides by Dalit and oppressed caste students in elite institutions of higher learning such as the IITs.

However caste discrimination is not sequestered in India. Fifty years of Indian immigration to the United States has operationalized caste as a virulent transnational structure of oppression. While Indian Americans represent themselves as “caste-less”, and caste as a quaint phenomenon of the past that has been left behind in India, caste is alive, well, and thriving in the United States. The CISCO case brought by a Dalit employee against his upper-caste employers, forcefully exploded the myth of castelessness in Silicon Valley, making caste a question of public discussion.

In the past three years anti-caste activists and scholars, and their allies, have succeeded in drawing attention to caste discrimination on US campuses. This struggle has succeeded in many universities, such as Brandies University, Brown University, and the University of California State University system, adding caste as a protected category in anti-discrimination codes. This panel reflects on, and draws linkages between, struggles over education in India and the transitional histories of caste struggle in the United States, with the hope that, through rigorous critical engagement with structures of oppression and the discourses they engender, it may be possible to build a more just and egalitarian future.

Panelists

Ajantha Subramanian is Professor of Anthropology at the CUNY Graduate Center. She is a historical anthropologist whose work addresses the historicity and political economy of caste. She is particularly interested in the incorporation of caste into projects of governance and capitalist transformation, and how these projects in turn have shaped the social relations of caste. Her work also considers caste as an instrument of classification and management that has been imagined and deployed in relation to other categories of class, religion, and race. Her first book, Shorelines: Space and Rights in South India (Stanford University Press, 2009; Yoda Press, 2013), chronicles the struggles for resource rights by Catholic fishers on India’s southwestern coast, with a focus on how they have used spatial imaginaries and practices to constitute themselves as political subjects. Her second book, The Caste of Merit: Engineering Education in India (Harvard University Press, 2019), analyzes meritocracy as a terrain of caste struggle in India and its implications for democratic transformation. She is currently working on two projects, the first on Dalit politics in a gold mining company town in South India and the second on the transnationalization of caste in the United States.

Shailaja Paik is the Charles P. Taft Distinguished Professor of History and Affiliate in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and Asian Studies. She specializes in the social, intellectual, and cultural history of Modern India. Her first book Dalit Women’s Education in Modern India: Double Discrimination (Routledge, 2014 ) examines the nexus between caste, class, gender, and state pedagogical practices among Dalit (“Untouchable”) women in urban India. My second book The Vulgarity of Caste: Dalits, Sexuality, and Humanity in Modern India (Stanford University Press, 2022) analyzes the politics of caste, class, gender, sexuality, and popular culture in modern Maharashtra.

Aarti Sethi (moderator) is Assistant Professor at the Department of Anthropology at UC Berkeley, and 2023-2024 Matrix Faculty Fellow. She is a socio-cultural anthropologist with primary interests in agrarian anthropology, political-economy, and the study of South Asia. Her research interests broadly focus on the transformation of rural life-worlds and agrarian capitalism. She is currently working on two projects. The first is a book that examines cash-crop agricultural economies to understand how monetary debt undertaken for transgenic cotton-cultivation transforms intimate, social, and productive relations in rural society. Her second project called Republic of Readers explores the relationship between reading literacy and libraries as sites of postcolonial democracy and citizenship.

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Shifting the Frame: The Labors of ImageNet and AI Data

Alex Hanna

Please join us on Wednesday, April 17 at 12:00pm for a lecture by Dr. Alex Hanna, Director of Research at the Distributed AI Research Institute (DAIR). This talk is part of a symposium series presented by the UC Berkeley Computational Research for Equity in the Legal System Training Program (CRELS), which trains doctoral students representing a variety of degree programs and expertise areas in the social sciences, computer science and statistics.

This event will be presented in-person and will not be livestreamed.

Co-sponsored by the UC Berkeley Department of Sociology, the Criminal Law & Justice Center, and the Berkeley Institute of Data Sciences (BIDS).

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Abstract

Artificial intelligence (AI) technologies like ChatGPT, Stable Diffusion, and LaMDA have led a multi-billion dollar industry in generative AI, and a potentially much larger industry in AI more generally. However, these technologies would not exist were it not for the immense amount of data mined to make them run, low-paid and exploited annotation labor required for labeling and content moderation, and questionable arrangements around consent to use these data. Although datasets used to train and evaluate commercial models are often obscured from view under the shroud of trade secrecy, we can learn a great deal about these systems by interrogating certain publicly available datasets which are considered foundational in academic AI research.

In this talk, I investigate a single dataset, ImageNet. It is not an understatement to say that without ImageNet, we may not have the current wave of deep learning techniques which power nearly all modern AI technologies. I begin from three vantage points: the histories of ImageNet from the perspective of its curators and its linguistic predecessor WordNet, the testimony of the data annotators which labeled millions of ImageNet images, and the data subjects and the creators of the images within ImageNet. Academically, I situate this analysis within a larger theory and practice of infrastructure studies. Practically, I point to a vision for technology which is not based on practices of unrestricted data mining, exploited labor, and the use of images without meaningful consent.

About the Speaker

Dr. Alex Hanna is Director of Research at the Distributed AI Research Institute (DAIR). A sociologist by training, her work centers on the data used in new computational technologies, and the ways in which these data exacerbate racial, gender, and class inequality. She also works in the area of social movements, focusing on the dynamics of anti-racist campus protest in the US and Canada. She holds a BS in Computer Science and Mathematics and a BA in Sociology from Purdue University, and an MS and a PhD in Sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Dr. Hanna has published widely in top-tier venues across the social sciences, including the journals Mobilization, American Behavioral Scientist, and Big Data & Society, and top-tier computer science conferences such as CSCW, FAccT, and NeurIPS. Dr. Hanna serves as a Senior Fellow at the Center for Applied Transgender Studies, and sits on the advisory board for the Human Rights Data Analysis Group and the Scholars Council for the UCLA Center for Critical Internet Inquiry.

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Nature-Made Economy: Cod, Capital and the Great Economization of the Ocean

Please register to join us for a lecture by Tone Huse, Associate Professor of Science and Technology Studies at UiT The Arctic University of Norway, who will discuss her book, which presents an analysis of how the ocean has been harnessed to become a space of capital investment and innovation. She discusses how living nature is wrested into the economy, but also shows how nature, in turn, resists, adapts to, or changes the economy.

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Abstract

We are constantly presented for visions of a new and expansive ocean economy. At a time when the ocean is challenged by climate change, pollution and over-exploitation it is to be drilled, mined, surveyed, grown and harvested to an unprecedented extent and magnitude. Associate Professor Tone Huse presents an analysis of how the ocean has been harnessed to become a space of capital investment and innovation. She discusses how living nature is wrested into the economy, but also shows how nature, in turn, resists, adapts to, or changes the economy.  The talk is based her recently published book Nature-Made Economy: Cod, Capital, and the Great Economization of the Ocean (MIT Press, 2023), co-authored with Kristin Asdal. The book engages with how the ocean and its beings are drawn into increasingly more and tighter economic relations – but also how nature acts in and co-modifies both state and capital. What is a good nature economy? How should we go about in studying the economic relations that are being spun around the ocean? And how are we to meet the great economization of the ocean?

Speakers

Tone Huse
Tone Huse

Tone Huse is an Associate Professor of Science and Technology Studies at UiT The Arctic University of Norway. Her current research focuses on the geographies and materialities of urban politics, economies, and planning in Nuuk, Kalaallit Nunaat (a.k.a. Greenland). Her work spans historical as well as contemporary research, is radically interdisciplinary, and committed to experimenting with new means for interacting with broad publics. Huse is the author of three books, including Displacement, Ethnic Privileging and the Right to Stay Put (Ashgate 2014), and the most recent co-authored Nature Made Economy: Cod, Capital and the Great Economization of the Ocean.

Discussant: Sharad Chari, Associate Professor in the UC Berkeley Department of Geography.

Moderator: Berit Kristoffersen, The Arctic University of Norway

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Paul Seabright: “The Divine Economy”

Divine Economy book cover

Please register to join us on May 1 at 3:30pm for a lecture by Paul Seabright, based on his book The Divine Economy: How Religions Compete for Wealth, Power and People, a novel economic interpretation of how religions have become so powerful in the modern world. Seabright is a British economist working at the Toulouse School of Economics and the Institute for Advanced Study in Toulouse, France.

The talk will be moderated by Duncan MacRae, Associate Professor in the Department of Ancient Greek and Roman Studies at UC Berkeley, where he is also on the faculty of the Graduate Group in Ancient History and Mediterranean Archaeology.

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About the Book

Religion in the twenty-first century is alive and well across the world, despite its apparent decline in North America and parts of Europe. Vigorous competition between and within religious movements has led to their accumulating great power and wealth. Religions in many traditions have honed their competitive strategies over thousands of years. Today, they are big business; like businesses, they must recruit, raise funds, disburse budgets, manage facilities, organize transportation, motivate employees, and get their message out. In The Divine Economy, economist Paul Seabright argues that religious movements are a special kind of business: they are platforms, bringing together communities of members who seek many different things from one another—spiritual fulfilment, friendship and marriage networks, even business opportunities. Their function as platforms, he contends, is what has allowed religions to consolidate and wield power.

This power can be used for good, especially when religious movements provide their members with insurance against the shocks of modern life, and a sense of worth in their communities. It can also be used for harm: political leaders often instrumentalize religious movements for authoritarian ends, and religious leaders can exploit the trust of members to inflict sexual, emotional, financial or physical abuse, or to provoke violence against outsiders. Writing in a nonpartisan spirit, Seabright uses insights from economics to show how religion and secular society can work together in a world where some people feel no need for religion, but many continue to respond with enthusiasm to its call.

About the Speakers

Paul SeabrightPaul Seabright teaches economics at the Toulouse School of Economics, and until 2021 was director of the multidisciplinary Institute for Advanced Study in Toulouse. From 2021 to 2023, he was a Fellow of All Souls College at the University of Oxford. His books include The War of the Sexes: How Conflict and Cooperation Have Shaped Men and Women from Prehistory to the Present, and The Company of Strangers: A Natural History of Economic Life (both Princeton).

 

Duncan MacraeDuncan MacRae is an associate professor in the Department of Ancient Greek and Roman Studies at Berkeley, where he is also on the faculty of the Graduate Group in Ancient History and Mediterranean Archaeology. His work examines religion and cultural life in the Roman empire from from the period of the late Republic to Late Antiquity. He is the co-director of the Berkeley Center for the Study of Religion.

 

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New Directions in Greening Infrastructure

As the effects of climate change become more obvious, moving away from fossil fuels has only become more urgent. But to do so, new energy sources – and new infrastructure – are desperately needed. 

Please join us on Wednesday, March 20 from 12:00pm-1:30pm for a panel discussion, “New Directions in Greening Infrastructure,” featuring three early-career scholars from UC Berkeley presenting their research on the greening infrastructure and the green energy transition. The panel will feature Johnathan Guy, PhD Candidate in Political Science; Caylee Hong, a PhD candidate in Anthropology, and Andrew Jaeger, PhD Candidate in Sociology. The panel will be moderated by Daniel Aldana Cohen, Assistant Professor of Sociology at UC Berkeley.

Co-Sponsored by the Socio-Spatial Climate Collaborative, the Berkeley Climate Change Network, and the Berkeley Economy and Society Initiative.

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Panelists

Johnathon GuyJohnathan Guy is a PhD candidate at UC Berkeley. He studies the political economy of development in South and Southeast Asia, focusing on the politics of climate change and the energy transition. His ongoing dissertation project, “Selecting for Solar: The Political Incentives Behind Power Generation Project Section,” attempts to understand the diverging trajectories of power sector buildouts in India and Indonesia.

Caylee HongCaylee Hong is an attorney, interdisciplinary researcher, and educator. She is currently a Ph.D. candidate in Anthropology at UC Berkeley, where she researches urban oil production in the Los Angeles Basin. Her dissertation examines the ways that diverse stakeholders navigate the decommissioning and redevelopment of century-old oil fields in the heart of cities, including Los Angeles and Long Beach. She has published research on infrastructure finance, the environment, law, and citizenship in Antipode, Anthropological Theory, and Fieldsights.

Andrew JaegerAndrew Jaeger is a PhD Candidate in Sociology at UC Berkeley. His dissertation analyzes the political economy of climate change in California.

 

Daniel Aldana CohenDaniel Aldana Cohen is Assistant Professor of Sociology at UC Berkeley, where he is Director of the Socio-Spatial Climate Collaborative, or (SC)2, and serves as a faculty affiliate in the graduate program on Political Economy. Cohen works on the intersections of the climate emergency, housing, political economy, social movements, and inequalities of race and class in the United States and Brazil. As Director of (SC)2, he is leading qualitative and quantitative research projects on Whole Community Climate Mapping, green political economy, and eco-apartheid. He is the co-author of A Planet to Win: Why We Need a Green Deal (Verso 2019), and is currently completing a book project called Street Fight: Climate Change and Inequality in the 21st Century City, under contract with Princeton University Press.

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Steven J. Davis: “The Big Shift to Work from Home”

Steven Davis

Please join us on Friday, April 26 from 1-2pm for a lecture by Steven J. Davis entitled “The Big Shift to Work from Home.” This talk, which will be presented in-person, is co-sponsored by the Macro Labor Center and coordinated by Benjamin Schoefer, a 2023-2024 Matrix Faculty Fellow.

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Abstract

Full days worked at home account for 28 percent of paid workdays among Americans 20-64 years old as of 2023. That’s about four times the 2019 rate and ten times the rate in the mid-1990s. I will explain why the shift to work from home has endured rather than reverting to pre-pandemic levels. I will then consider how work-from-home rates vary by worker age, sex, education, parental status, industry and local population density, and why it is higher in the United States than other countries. I will also discuss some implications for pay, productivity, and the pace of innovation. U.S. business executives anticipate modest further increases in work-from-home intensity over the next five years. Other factors that portend an enduring shift to work from home include rising distances between employee residences and employer locations, the ongoing adaptation of managerial practices, and further advances in technologies, products, and tools that support remote work.

About the Speaker

Steven J. Davis is the Thomas W. and Susan B. Ford Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution and Senior Fellow at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research (SIEPR). Previously, he was on the faculty at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, including service as a chaired professor and deputy dean of the faculty. Davis is an applied economist who studies working arrangements, business dynamics, economic fluctuations, policy uncertainty, and other topics. He is a co-founder of the Economic Policy Uncertainty project, the U.S. Survey of Working Arrangements and Attitudes, the Global Survey of Working Arrangements, the Survey of Business Uncertainty, and the Stock Market Jumps project. He co-organizes the Asian Monetary Policy Forum, held annually in Singapore.

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Understanding AI: Humanities x Social Sciences x Technology 

(A recursive figure created by GPT-4 from Dąbkowski & Beguš 2023)

Understanding and interpreting AI is the new frontier in AI research. While advances in the performance of AI models have seen enormous successes, a profound understanding of how learning happens inside the models remains to be thoroughly explored.

Understanding how AI learns has the potential to help us gain novel insights in science, technology, and other fields, as well as to observe novel causal relationships in various types of data. Interpreting the internal workings of AI models can also shed light on how the human mind works and how we are similar to and different from machines. 

The answers to these questions have highly consequential implications across disciplines, which is why it is imperative for scholars from a variety of fields to come together and collaborate. Our symposium represents a step towards fostering these interdisciplinary discussions. We will identify immediate challenges in AI interpretability and explore how the humanities, social sciences, and the tech world can join forces in this highly consequential research.

This event will be simultaneously broadcast on Zoom.

Co-sponsored by the UC Berkeley School of Information.

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Participants

 

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Céline Bessière: “The Gender of Capital”

Presented by the James M. and Cathleen D. Stone Center on Wealth and Income Inequality

a man and woman pushing a crib in a suburban neighborhood

Join us on April 4, 2024 at 12pm for “The Gender of Capital,” a lecture by Céline Bessière, professor of sociology at Paris Dauphine University and a senior member at the Institut Universitaire de France. The lecture is presented by the James M. and Cathleen D. Stone Center on Wealth and Income Inequality. A reception will follow.

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About the Book

the gender of capital book coverWhy do women in different social classes accumulate less wealth than men? Why do marital separations impoverish women while they do not prevent men from maintaining or increasing their wealth? In this lecture, Céline Bessière will discuss her new co-authored book, The Gender of Capital, which reconsiders the effectiveness of legal reforms that legislate formal equality between men and women, while permitting inequality to persist in practice.

— “A fantastic, must-read book… this work should be at the top of your reading list. Bessière and Gollac deftly disentangle the complex processes of estate planning, divorce proceedings, and marital arrangements that have brought us to this point.”—Thomas Piketty

— “The Gender of Capital is a rare gem. Illuminating entrenched social and legal practices, Bessière and Gollac expertly demonstrate the grip of gender inequality in shaping the transmission of wealth.”—Viviana A. Zelizer

— “Richly documented and incisively argued […] this book offers welcome confirmation that gender is an important determinant of inequality, both within and across divisions of class.”—Joan Wallach Scott

About the Speaker

Céline BessièreCéline Bessière is Professor of sociology at Paris Dauphine University (PSL University) and a senior member at the Institut Universitaire de France. She is currently a visiting professor at the Institute of French Studies at New York University. She studies the material, economic and legal dimensions of family, in particular through the analysis of inheritance and marital breakdown. Her new project is about gender and wealth accumulation in Europe. Her research is at the crossroads of several fields: economic sociology, sociology of law and justice, sociology of gender, class and family. Her most recent book, The Gender of Capital, was recently adapted into a graphic novel with Jeanne Puchol.

About the Stone Center

The James M. and Cathleen D. Stone Center on Wealth and Income Inequality at UC Berkeley was created to serve as a research hub for campus and beyond, enabling UC Berkeley’s world-leading scholars to deepen our understanding of the inequality in society and formulate new approaches to address the challenge of creating a more equitable society. The center serves as the primary convening point at UC Berkeley for research, teaching and data development concerning the causes, nature, and consequences of wealth and income inequalities with a special emphasis on the concentration of wealth at the very top. Learn more.

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Conservatorship: Inside California’s System of Coercion and Care for Mental Illness

Part of the California Spotlight Series

a homeless encampment in california

Please join us in-person or on Zoom on Monday, March 18 for a discussion of Alex V. Barnard’s new book, Conservatorship: Inside California’s System of Coercion and Care for Mental Illness. The book analyzes conservatorship, a legal system used to take legal guardianship over individuals deemed unable to meet their own basic needs. This controversial system, which has come under fire from civil liberties and disability rights groups, is at the center of state policies for mental illness, homelessness, and addiction. Through interviews with policy makers, professionals, families, and conservatees, Barnard shows how the system operates, and its many shortcomings. 

At this California Spotlight event, Professor Barnard will be joined by Lauren Rettagliata, whose comments on her lived experience of the system will complement his discussion of his research. The discussion will be moderated by Jonathan Simon, Lance Robbins Professor of Criminal Justice Law at Berkeley Law.

Co-sponsored by the UC Berkeley Institute for the Study of Societal Issues (ISSI), Department of Sociology, and the Center for the Study of Law and Society.

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Speakers

Alex V. Barnard is an assistant professor of sociology at NYU, holding a PhD in sociology from UC Berkeley. His work examines cross-national differences in the trajectory of people with severe mental illness between different institutions of care and control. His book, Conservatorship: Inside California’s System of Coercion and Care for Mental Illness was published by Columbia University Press in 2023. He is currently working on another book, tentatively titled, Mental States: Ordering Psychiatric Disorder in France.

 

Lauren Rettagliata is the mom of four sons, the oldest has Autism, the youngest has Schizophrenia. Almost five decades ago, she worked on committees that formulated federal legislation that ensconced into federal law protection for a free appropriate education for all children. Lauren found herself back home in California at the time her youngest son was diagnosed with Schizophrenia. The world changed for her. She had to search the streets and delta for her son who spent many years homeless and fell into drug addiction. Her son has been conserved. Lauren’s advocacy now centers around Housing That Heals.

 

Moderator

Jonathan Simon joined the Berkeley Law faculty in 2003 as part of the J.D., JSP, and Legal Studies programs. He teaches in the areas of criminal law, criminal procedure, criminology, legal studies and the sociology of law. Simon’s scholarship concerns the role of crime and criminal justice in governing contemporary societies, risk and the law, and the history of the interdisciplinary study of law. His published works include over seventy articles and book chapters, and three single authored monographs, including: Poor Discipline: Parole and the Social Control of the Underclass (University of Chicago 1993, winner of the American Sociological Association’s sociology of law book prize, 1994), Governing through Crime: How the War on Crime Transformed American Democracy and Created a Culture of Fear (Oxford University Press 2007, winner of the American Society of Criminology, Hindelang Award 2010) and Mass Incarceration on Trial: A Remarkable Court Decision and the Future of Prisons in America (New Press 2014).

 

 

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