This year we had a full lineup of Fall 2019 Berkeley Graduate Lectures. We’d like to share them with you. Check out the video or listen to the audio from these lectures. We update the site often so do check back!

Paul ButlerPaul Butler delivered the Jefferson Memorial Lecture on Thursday, Oct. 16, 2019, titled, “Prison Abolition, and a Mule.” Professor Butler serves as the Albert Brick Professor in Law at the Georgetown University Law Center. He is a legal analyst on MSNBC and frequently consults on issues of race and criminal justice. His talk suggested what would replace prisons, how people who cause harm could be dealt with in the absence of incarceration, and why abolition would make everyone safer and our society more just.



Waldo E. Martin, Jr. On Nov. 12 Waldo E. Martin, Jr. presented the Bernard Moses Memorial Lecture titled
 “DEEP SOUL: Twentieth-Century African American Freedom Struggles and the Making of the Modern World.” Professor Martin is the Alexander F. & May T. Morrison Professor of American History & Citizenship at the University of California, Berkeley.

The seminal Twentieth-century African American Freedom Struggles include the important yet relatively unknown series of southern African street boycotts in the early twentieth century, as well as the iconic Civil Rights – Black Power insurgency (1935-1975). In this lecture, Martin first examines why and how these foundational struggles proved essential to the formation of the modern African American Freedom Movement. Second, he examines the centrality of the Freedom Movement to both the development of the modern United States and the modern world.


The Jefferson and Moses lectures are part of UC Berkeley’s commemorative events spotlighting African American history after the passage of the 400 Years of African-American History Commission Act. To learn more about UC Berkley’s initiative, visit


Jane Taylor

Our final fall lecture, the Foerster Lecture on the Immortality of the Soul, was presented by Jane Taylor. She holds the Andrew W. Mellon Chair of Aesthetic Theory and Material Performance at the Centre for Humanities Research at the University of the Western Cape in South Africa. Her Nov. 21 lecture was titled “On Uncertainty: Wittgenstein: Habits of Thought and Thoughts of Habit.”

This lecture considers Ludwig Wittgenstein’s late paper, “On Certainty” in which the philosopher engages with the taken-for-granted in everyday thought. Taylor notes, “In our contemporary context of the precarious, on one hand, and the political vehemence of conviction, on the other, it seems timely to pay attention to the faltering and tentative mode of regard and thought of one of the twentieth century’s most enigmatic thinkers.”


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