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Fiat Vox

Fiat Vox

Author: UC Berkeley

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A Berkeley News podcast about the people and research at UC Berkeley

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70 Episodes
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Dacher Keltner, faculty director of the Greater Good Science Center and a psychology professor at UC Berkeley, discusses how our sense of self goes silent while experiencing awe and while using psychedelics. Listen and read a transcript on Berkeley News.This audio excerpt is from an interview with Keltner that was featured in Fiat Vox episode #68: "Building community one person at a time." See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
When Natalyn Daniels transferred to UC Berkeley as an undergraduate student in 2009, she felt like an outsider. "A lot of the communication approaches I was exposed to — they're not ... necessarily accepted or tolerated in a lot of professional and academic settings," she says.How we speak, says sociolinguist and Berkeley lecturer Rose Wilkerson, represents who we are— our culture, our family and our sense of place in the world. So, when a person is criticized for how they speak, she says, it cuts to the heart. Listen to the episode, see photos and read a transcript on Berkeley News. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
In a time when our nation is more ideologically divided than ever, it's crucial that we find ways to come together across differences and find common ground, says UC Berkeley psychology professor Dacher Keltner. But how do we do this?For staffer Tyrone Wise, it starts with asking tough questions and then listening — really listening — to the answer. "When we take time to understand what people are saying to us,” he says, “then we can better understand who they are as people."Wise says that including a range of perspectives when making decisions creates a stronger community — something that he's working to build at Berkeley.And a sense of community, says Keltner, which has been lost in our individualistic society, is essential to our survival. By searching for shared values, honoring differences and knowing when to use "tough compassion," he says, we can begin to build bridges and heal as a nation.Listen and read a transcript on Berkeley News. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
This is the second part of the two-part series about how disability has been and continues to be used as a way to control and profit from Native populations. Last week, we heard from UC Berkeley's Ella Callow about how the U.S. government built a psychiatric institution in the early 1900s to imprison Native Americans. Today, Callow discusses how Native communities are still forced to exist in societal systems that use disability to justify taking Native children away from their families, and to ultimately control, and make money from, their lives.Listen to the episode and read the transcript on Berkeley News. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
In the late 1800s, two South Dakota congressmen were looking for ways to build an economy in their newly minted state — one that was carved out of Indigenous homelands. They decided on a mental institution for Native Americans. It would become the Hiawatha Insane Asylum for Indians — a place where Native people from across the country would be forcibly committed and imprisoned, often for reasons that had nothing to do with mental illness. From its opening in 1903 to 1933, when it was closed after a short, but brutal, existence, more than 350 Native people had been held, and at least 121 people had died, in the facility.This is the first part of a two-part series about how disability has been and continues to be used as a way to control and profit from Native populations. In the next episode, we'll learn about how state courts today use disability as a reason to justify removing Native children from their parents' custody and cultural environment to place them in non-Native homes.Listen to the episode and read a transcript on Berkeley News. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
When Savala Trepczynski, the director of the social justice center at UC Berkeley, first heard the decision in the Breonna Taylor case — that only one of three police officers involved in Taylor's killing in March was indicted on charges of reckless endangerment — a familiar feeling sunk in."The fact of the charge is upsetting, disappointing, angering — all of those things," said Trepczynski. "And so, I felt the exhaustion of forbearance and abiding and feeling again and again that even when you get justice, it’s kind of a half step. It’s a measure of justice. It’s not the whole thing."And she was reminded of a murder so similar to Taylor's that happened in her own family — to her great-great-grandmother.Read the story and see photos on Berkeley News. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
"People know about Rosa Parks. People know about Martin Luther King Jr. — and they should. And they know that it was the Montgomery bus boycott that ignited a certain kind of Southern civil rights movement," says Ula Taylor, a professor in the Department of African American Studies at UC Berkeley. But, what they might not know, she says, is that it was actually the behind-the-scenes organizing effort by the Women's Political Council, led by Jo Ann Robinson, that made the boycott successful."Even though these women were not in the limelight, they were engaging in a form of leadership," says Taylor. "But because we live in a country in a culture where we oftentimes identify leadership as a talking head, we don’t understand all of the thinking that goes behind a lot of the ideas that the talking head is even articulating."Read the story and see photos on Berkeley News. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
UC Berkeley's Oral History Center and KQED teamed up to record the longest interview that Jerry Brown has ever done — one that offers a first-person account of his nearly five decades in California politics. For 20 sessions, they sat at Brown’s dining room table at his ranch in Colusa County and asked him about everything from what it is was like having a father in politics to dating singer Linda Ronstadt to his views on politics today.See photos and read the transcript on Berkeley News. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Feb. 14, 2018, began like any other day for Kai Koerber. He was running late for his early morning AP English class at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. When he got there, he was handed the class's biggest assignment of the year and groaned. "At the time, I was like, 'Man, this is going to be the worst part of my day,'" says Koerber, now a first-year computer science major at UC Berkeley.After English, he had honors chemistry, followed by pre-calculus, then guitar class in the band room. At 2:18 p.m., he asked to use the restroom, but another classmate was out, so his teacher told Kai to wait. Two minutes later, the fire alarm went off. And what followed was a tragedy that his school would become known for — one that Kai would decide to speak out about, changing the narrative about the impact of gun violence on youth in the United States.At Berkeley, in between classes and studying, Kai works to promote his nonprofit and mental health curriculum — something that he's become passionate about since he survived one of the deadliest school shootings in the country.Read the transcript and see photos on Berkeley News. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
After student Drew Woodson took a playwriting course with Philip Gotanda, a professor in the Department of Theater, Dance and Performance Studies at Berkeley, he realized he had a story to tell. Two years later, that story would become his first play, Your Friend, Jay Silverheels. “The original idea for this play came out of this frustration I was having as an actor of not being able to find monologues that really fit and felt true to who I am as a Native person,” says Woodson. “I knew I had to write this story, to get it down on paper — not only for myself as an actor, but for other Native actors who maybe felt the same way as me.”On Dec. 5, Woodson is staging a reading of Your Friend, Jay Silverheels in Durham Studio Theater in Dwinelle Hall on campus.Listen, see photos and read a transcript on Berkeley News. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Saida Dahir grew up in Salt Lake City, Utah. At first, she thought she was like everyone else. But by sixth grade, she realized she was different. Her family was from Somalia — she was born in a refugee camp in Kenya after her family fled the civil war. The more she tried to fit in, the worse she felt. But in eighth grade, when she met Mr. Brandy, a journalism and English teacher, she began to realize her own power and started writing poetry. By her senior year, she was performing her poetry at protests and rallies across the country, proudly commenting on the injustices she saw all around her.Listen, see photos and read a transcript on Berkeley News. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
When UC Berkeley architect Ronald Rael took his bright pink teeter totters to the U.S.-Mexico border wall, he didn't know that what he and his team did next would go viral. He just wanted to create a moment where people on both sides of the wall felt connected to each other. “Women and children completely disempowered this wall for a moment, for 40 minutes," says Rael. "There was a kind of sanctuary hovering over this event."Read the story and see photos on Berkeley News. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
"I grew up just super dirt poor ... about as poor as you can be in this country," says first-year Berkeley Law student, Blake Danser. School was where Danser felt safe, where he thrived. "And then puberty hit, and I felt weird in a way that I couldn't really identify," he says. At the time, Blake was actually Amanda — a 14-year-old self-described tomboy. After seeing a transgender character in a TV show, Danser thought that maybe that's why he felt different — because he was transgender. But a friend convinced him that he wasn't, and Danser forgot about it until years later.After high school, Danser realized he couldn't afford college, so he joined the Air Force. "In the military, everything is very divided into male and female," says Blake. "It just very much sank in that this was not right for me. I was not female." For the next three years, he transitioned from female to male — an experience he says was awkward at times, but supported by the military. He also took online courses throughout his active service, and received his bachelor's degree in history. Now, at Berkeley Law, Danser says he wants to help low-income communities, like the one he grew up in. And he wants to share his experience of what it’s like to be transgender and a veteran.Read the story and see photos on Berkeley News. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Gemma Givens, who works at UC Berkeley's International House, was adopted from Guatemala in 1990 when she was 4 months old. Her mom, Melinda, was a graduate student at Berkeley at the time. She had a simple story she would tell Gemma about her adoption. "The story was that Gemma needed a mom and I needed a child, and so we found each other. It was a good enough story for a while," says Melinda. As Gemma grew older, though, it wasn't enough. "I felt like I was foundationless, or that I was floating, or I was a ghost, or I was a genetic isolate, which, in a way, I was," Gemma says. It would lead her to Guatemala, where her search for her birth mother would reveal the corrupt business of intercountry adoption in Guatemala and inspire her to create an international community of Guatemalan adoptees.Read the story and see photos on Berkeley News. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
For Martha Olney, a teaching professor of economics at UC Berkeley, coming out didn’t happen all at once. As a graduate student in 1980, she met her wife, Esther Hargis. A few of their friends knew they were together, but “it wasn’t something you told people.” Esther was a Baptist pastor, so she needed to be careful at the time to protect her career. It wasn’t until the couple decided to adopt their son, Jimmy, nearly two decades later, that they decided they had to live their lives fully out.See photos and read the story on Berkeley News. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Growing up in New York City, UC Berkeley ethnic studies professor Catherine Ceniza Choy remembers seeing a lot of nurses — dressed in their crisp white uniforms. She and her mom lived in an apartment building near several hospitals, so seeing health workers in the community wasn’t unusual.But she also noticed that many of the nurses were Filipino.Her mom was an immigrant from the Philippines. And when they’d go to Filipino events, it was common to see a lot of nurses.“I think when I was growing up, it was just part of the familiar landscape of home,” she says, “and what it was like to be in New York City. I didn’t really question it as a child. It just seemed natural or normal to me.”Years later, as a graduate student at UCLA, Choy began to wonder: Why were there so many Filipino nurses in the U.S.? What she found took her back to the early 20th century after the Philippines became a U.S. colony.Read the story and see photos on Berkeley News. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
On October 11, 1923, three brothers — Hugh, Ray and Roy DeAutremont — boarded a Southern Pacific Railroad train called the Gold Special near the Siskiyou Mountains in Oregon. The trio planned to rob the mail car. But instead of making off with their fortune, they killed four people and blew up the mail car and the valuables inside. A huge manhunt followed and authorities called in an up-and-coming forensic scientist and UC Berkeley lecturer and alumnus Edward Oscar Heinrich to help solve what became known as the Last Great Train Robbery. He didn't know that the case would put him on the map as a pioneer in American criminology. And now, nearly 100 years later, Heinrich's collection of crime materials from this case — and thousands of others he worked on throughout his career — are available for research in the Bancroft Library's archives at UC Berkeley. See photos and read the story on Berkeley News. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
In 1970, when Chancellor Carol Christ joined UC Berkeley's English department as an assistant professor, only 3% of the faculty on campus were women. “I always felt like a pioneer, in part, because I’m of the generation of the feminist revolution,” says Christ.In this Fiat Vox podcast episode, Christ and her longtime friend and colleague Carol Clover, a professor emerita in Scandinavian studies and film studies, discuss what it was like for women in the academy 50 years ago and how it’s changed, what makes a strong leader — and offer advice to the next generation of Berkeley women.See photos and read the transcript on Berkeley News. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
When Amy Nostbakken and Nora Sadava started writing Mouthpiece six years ago, they revealed their deepest secrets to each other with the prompt: “Tell me something that you would never want anyone ever to know.” From that, they created a raw, one-hour confessional that reflects what it feels like in one woman’s head after she finds out her mother has died and that she has to deliver the eulogy the next day. Mouthpiece premiered in 2015, and four years later, Amy and Nora, who make up the Toronto-based company Quote Unquote Collective, are performing the play for the last time on March 22-24 in the Zellerbach Playhouse. It’s the last performance of Cal Performances’ 2018-19 Berkeley RADICAL Initiative’s strand “Women’s Work,” which takes a specific look at the extraordinary artistry of women who are expanding the definition of what it is to be an artist in the 21st century.“This continuum of women’s voices and their work — the work that drives them — is important to put a spotlight on,” says Sabrina Klein, director of artistic literacy at Cal Performances. “Every single one is unique. Every single one is different. But it’s not incidental that they’re connected as women across this continuum of making work — live work, new work, fresh work, continually meaningful work.” Read the story and see photos on Berkeley News. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Malika Imhotep grew up in West Atlanta, rooted in a community that she calls an "Afrocentric bubble," in a family of artisans, entrepreneurs and community organizers. Now, as a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of African American Studies at UC Berkeley, she's studying how black women and femmes make sense of themselves in a society designed, in many ways, to keep them out. "I’m interested in how people create new possibilities for themselves, either inside of mainstream society or outside of it, or underneath it or on top of it.”But she couldn't do it alone. She needed to find and nurture a community of thinkers who could aid in the development of her research and her personal journey of discovery. So, she — along with Miyuki Baker, a Ph.D. candidate in theater, dance and performances — started the Church of Black Feminist Thought.Read the story and see photos on Berkeley News. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
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