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Abigail Pogrebin is the author of the recently published book, My Jewish Year: 18 Holidays, One Wondering Jew. Hear how she spent 12 months researching and observing every holiday in the Jewish calendar. Recorded on 04/22/2018.

How it is possible for imagination to have practical social effects? The great potential size of human societies, in contrast to those of other primates, is due to a kind of shared imagination of which kinship and religion are important examples, says Maurice Bloch, Emeritus Professor of Anthropology at the London School of Economics. Bloch says that the shared imaginary emerges in normal life at certain moments yet is still governed by the potential of imagination. The lecture is illustrated by Bloch's experience of an isolated village in Madagascar. Recorded on 06/04/2018.

Communicating through the Internet is different than face-to-face interaction. No matter how familiar people are with email, chat, and the web, differences in the availability of nonverbal cues lead people to underestimate the interpersonal and emotional impact of online interaction. Joe Walther (UCSB Communication) explores the hyperpersonal model of communication and explains how people actually create more intense impressions and relationships as they influence each other online, often more positive than those occurring face-to-face. The results of studies from several online settings show how we and our communication partners sometimes unwittingly affect our perceptions of others and ourselves through computer-mediated interaction. Recorded on 07/11/2018.

The ancient Buddhist sources have a great deal to say about what it means to be a biological man or woman, what it means to be gendered male and female, what kinds of desires and sexual practices are considered normative, and what kinds deviate. But this material is scattered throughout hundreds of different texts and is found in no single source. Drawing on decades of research into the classical Indian and Tibetan Buddhist texts - and on the extensive literature on ancient theories of "queerness" - Jose Cabezon traces the life of a man and woman from conception to death, in the process laying bare Buddhist assumptions about what it means to be normal and abnormal and why these issues were so important to ancient authors. Recorded on 02/07/2019.
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