Representations’ Andrew Jones receives Guggenheim

Congratulations to Representations editorial board member Andrew F. Jones.


Jones, professor and Louis B. Agassiz Chair in Chinese in the East Asian Languages and Cultures Department at UC Berkeley, has been awarded a 2015 John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation fellowship. Jones was selected as one of 175 scholars, scientists, and artists across the United States and Canada who have shown “prior achievement and exceptional promise” in their work.




At Berkeley, Jones teaches modern Chinese literature and media culture. His Like a Knife: Ideology and Genre in Contemporary Chinese Popular Music (Cornell East Asia Series, 1992) was the first book-length study of the emergence of Chinese rock music in the years before and after the Tiananmen movement of 1989. Yellow Music: Media Culture and Colonial Modernity in the Chinese Jazz Age (Duke University Press, 2001) explored the cultural history of modern Chinese music, tracing its emergence from out of the complex musical and media topography of colonial Shanghai in the 1920s and 1930s. With the support of the Guggenheim foundation, he will complete a book entitled Circuit Listening: Chinese Popular Music in the Transistor Era, which will listen to the sonic history of the long global 1960s from the perspective of a place that is usually dismissed as marginal to the musical revolutions of those years. The book will attempt to write China back into the narrative of how we hear the explosion of new popular musics for which these years are famous; and by the same token, reinsert the “global” into our sometimes hermetic sense of Chinese cultural history in those years.

Representations’ Lorna Hutson on Henry V


Lorna Hutson, Berry Professor of English at the University of St. Andrews and corresponding editor of Representations, will present the keynote lecture at the Renaissance and Early Modern Studies Designated Emphasis Annual Conference at UC Berkeley. The conference takes place from 12:30-5pm on Friday, April 24, in the Geballe Room at the Townsend Center for the Humanities. Hutson’s keynote address, entitled “‘Impounded as a Stray’: History, Law and Scottish Sovereignty in Henry V,” will begin at 3:30pm.

Hutson’s most recent essay for Representations, “Imagining Justice: Kantorowicz and Shakespeare,” appeared in the Spring 2009 issue (106) as part of a special forum that she edited, “Fifty Years of The King’s Two Bodies.”

Representations’ Alexei Yurchak in conversation with Mary Neuburger

Alexei Yurchak, Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology at UC Berkeley and Representations board member, will participate in a conference on “The Pleasures of Backwardness: Consumer Desire and Modernity in Eastern Europe.” Yurchak will provide a response to the opening keynote address by Mary Neuburger, Professor of History at the University of Texas at Austin and Director of the Center for Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies, entitled “To the ‘West’ and Back: Pleasure, Restraint, and ‘Civilization’ in Eastern Europe.”


The event will take place on Thursday, April 23, at 5:15pm in the Heynes Room at the Faculty Club, UC Berkeley. For more information about the conference schedule, please visit:


Yurchak’s recent essay, “Bodies of Lenin: The Hidden Science of Communist Sovereignty,” is available in Representations 129 (Winter 2015).

Representations’ Tom Laqueur on Museums and the Construction of Narrative

Thomas W. Laqueur, Helen Fawcett Professor of History at UC Berkeley and founding board member of Representations, will present a talk on “Museums and the Construction of Narrative” at the Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life at UC Berkeley. Part of the Magnes Collection’s PopUp Exhibition series, in which speakers present lectures based on selected collection items, this talk will discuss the challenges that contemporary museums face in creating and preserving narratives. On display for this talk will be a 2500-year-old coin and a glass vessel from Ancient Judaea; a basketball jersey from Peninsula Temple Beth El in San Mateo (California); and a painting by Sarah Samuels Stein, Gertrude Stein’s sister-in-law, a student of Henri Matisse, and a collector of Matisse’s work.


The talk will take place at noon on Wednesday, April 22, at the The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life, located at 2121 Allston Way, Berkeley.

Death with Interruptions

Death With Interruptions premiere and associated events 

In conjunction with the premiere of the opera Death with Interruptions, co-created by Representations founding editor Thomas Laqueur, two free public discussions will be held at UC Berkeley. Based on Nobel Prize winner José Saramago’s novel of the same name, Death with Interruptions features music composed by Kurt Rohde and a libretto by Laqueur.


On Wednesday, March 18, longtime Saramago translator Margaret Jull Costa will join in discussion of the opera with Dennis Washburn (Jane and Raphael Bernstein Professor in Asian Studies and Chair of Comparative Literature at Dartmouth and translator of the forthcoming Norton edition of Tale of Genji), Robert Alter (Class of 1937 Professor of Hebrew and Comparative Literature at UC Berkeley and translator of Genesis and The Five Books of Moses), and Paula Varsano (Associate Professor of East Asian Languages and Cultures at UC Berkeley and translator of premodern Chinese poetry). The event will take place from 5:00-7:00 pm in Room 308A in the Doe Library.

On Thursday, March 19, Representations editorial board co-chair Mary Ann Smart leads a discussion of the opera with Laqueur, Kurt Rohde (Professor of Music at UC Davis), Majel Connery (Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow and Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Music at UC Berkeley and co-founder and executive director of Opera Cabal), and Shalom Goldman (Professor of Religious Studies and Middle Eastern Studies at Duke University). The event will take place from noon to 2:00 pm in 3335 Dwinelle Hall.

Ticketing information for the San Francisco performances at ODC Theater on March 19 and March 21 can be found on the Left Coast Ensemble’s website.

A free noon concert will be offered Monday, March 16 at UC Berkeley in Hertz Hall. Please see the event listing for more information.

Neoliberalism + Biopolitics | Conference

Neoliberalism + Biopolitics | Conference

February 27-28, 2015

Maude Fife Auditorium, Wheeler Hall, UC Berkeley

Featuring Representations editor Colleen Lye and authors Christopher Newfield and James Vernon. (Lye, Newfield, and Vernon are also the editors of the Representations special issue The Humanities and the Crisis of the Public University, 2011.)

The Neoliberalism and Biopolitics conference investigates the role of neoliberalism and biopolitics as both contemporary objects of study and paradigms of analysis for humanistic and social scientific inquiry. Organized by Berkeley’s Program in Critical Theory, the conference brings together diverse scholars to evaluate contemporary work on neoliberalism and biopolitics, while also interrogating the compatibility of different approaches seeking to deploy both concepts.

For the conference schedule, please visit

Sponsors: Cultural Services-French Embassy in the United States, French American Cultural Society, and the University of California Humanities Research Institute along with UC Berkeley’s Program in Critical Theory, Divisions of Arts & Humanities and Social Sciences, Center for the Study of Law & Society, Class of 1936 First Chair of Political Science funds, Departments of English, Political Science, Rhetoric, and Sociology, Maxine Elliot Professor funds, and The Doreen B. Townsend Center for the Humanities.

Quirk Historicism

Quirk Historicism and the End(s) of Art History: A One-Day Symposium

Organized by Nicholas Mathew and Mary Ann Smart

QH poster.pptx

Saturday, Nov. 1, UC Berkeley
Geballe Room, 220 Stephens Hall, Townsend Center for the Humanities, UC Berkeley

In many humanities disciplines, the past twenty years or so have witnessed a dramatic expansion in the types of objects and ideas that can be meaningfully invoked in the course of historical study. One consequence of this has been a new reveling in the allure of objets trouvés or historical micronarratives – the conversion of the obscurity, strangeness, and distance of historical debris into a form of rhetoric, which frequently acts as a substitute for more conventional forms of argument or exposition. The emergence of this tendency, which we’re calling Quirk Historicism, is thus partly a story about how historical study has been turned into a kind of aesthetic experience.   

Participants include Nicholas Mathew, Mary Ann Smart, James Davies, Emily Dolan, Deirdre Loughridge, James Currie, Benjamin Piekut, Aoife Monks, Ellen Lockhart, Benjamin Walton, Thomas Laqueur, and Alan Tansman.

To find out more, visit the conference website at


“Designing Histories of Slavery for the Age of the Database”

Representations board member Stephen Best hosts event with Vincent Brown

Vincent Brown Lecture

On Friday, October 17, The Black Room and the Institute of International Studies will co-sponsor a talk by Vincent Brown, Charles Warren Professor of History and Professor of African & African-American Studies and the Director of the History Design Studio at Harvard University.

This presentation considers three graphic histories of slavery—a web-based animation of Voyages: The Transatlantic Slave Trade Database, a cartographic narrative of the Jamaican slave revolt of 1760–61, and a web-based archive of enslaved family lineages in Jamaica and Virginia—that illustrate how the archive of slavery is more than the records bequeathed to us by the past; the archive also includes the tools we use to explore it, the vision that allows us to see its traces, and the design decisions that communicate our sense of history’s possibilities.

The event will take place at UC Berkeley in the Maude Fife Room (Wheeler Hall 315) at noon.

What Was African American Literature?

Representations’ Best, Lye, and Otter in conversation with Kenneth Warren

On Friday, September 12, UC Berkeley English department faculty and Representations board members Stephen Best, Colleen Lye, and Samuel Otter will join Kenneth Warren, Professor of English at the University of Chicago, for a roundtable on Warren’s book, What Was African American Literature? (Harvard University Press, 2011). The roundtable will take place at UC Berkeley in the Maud Fife Room, 315 Wheeler Hall, from 12-2 pm.


Caravaggio’s Pitiful Relics

New from Representations editorial board member Todd Olson:

Caravaggio’s Pitiful Relics

Yale University Press, May 2014

Beginning with his early works, the Italian painter Caravaggio (1571–1610) was intensely engaged with the physical world. He not only interrogated appearances but also experimented with the paint’s material nature. Caravaggio’s Pitiful Relics explores how the artist’s commitment to materiality served and ultimately challenged the Counter- Reformation church’s interests. 9780300190137

In addition to Caravaggio’s Pitiful RelicsTodd Olson is the author of Poussin and France: Painting, Humanism and the Politics of Style (Yale University Press, 2002). Other recent publications include “Markers: Le Moyne de Morgues in Sixteenth-Century Florida,” in Seeing Across Cultures in the Early Modern Period, ed. Dana Leibsohn and Jeanette F. Peterson (Ashgate, 2012) and “Reproductive Horror: Sixteenth-Century Mexican Pictures in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction” (Oxford Art Journal). He is Associate Professor in the History of Art Department at UC Berkeley.