UC Berkeley Library

You can still access the UC Berkeley Library's services and resources. Here's how.

Using the Library during COVID-19

Many of our services are now being offered in new ways. To find the latest information on course reserves, book returns, 24/7 online help, and more, visit our Library services and resources during COVID-19 page. The information on that page supersedes all other information on the Library website at this time.


Content section: 

Due to Covid-19, many of Bancroft's events will be conducted online via Zoom.

Please note: As per the University's guidelines, all participants and hosts are now required to sign in to a Zoom account prior to joining meetings hosted by UC Berkeley. The Bancroft Library attempts to offer programs in accessible, barrier-free settings. If you think you may require disability-related accommodations or have questions about an event, please email banc-roundtable@berkeley.edu for the Roundtables, and bancroft@library.berkeley.edu for other Bancroft-sponsored events.

While our physical exhibition spaces are closed, please visit our online exhibits: 


ROUNDTABLE: Eldridge Cleaver and the Global Archive

February 18th
Register via Zoom
Presented by Justin D. Gifford, Professor of English Literature, University of Nevada, Reno

Justin Gifford is an Associate Professor of English Literature at the University of Nevada, Reno. His teaching and research interests are African American literature, archival research, and popular fiction. He is the author of three books, Revolution or Death: The Life of Eldridge Cleaver, Street Poison: The Biography of Iceberg Slim, and Pimping Fictions: African American Crime Literature and the Untold Story of Black Pulp Publishing. Starting at The Bancroft Library, Dr. Gifford's research on Eldridge Cleaver took him all over the globe, from the secret police archives in Paris to the national archive in Algiers to the living room of revolutionary Kathleen Cleaver.

You can order the book via the publisher Chicago Review Press or through your local, independent bookstore.


ROUNDTABLE: Everything She Touched: The Life of Ruth Asawa

March 18th
Register via Zoom
Presented by Marilyn Chase, Continuing Lecturer, Graduate School of Journalism, University of California, Berkeley

Marilyn Chase will join the Bancroft Roundtable to discuss her work on the first biography of sculptor and survivor Ruth Asawa (1926–2013). Beloved in the Bay Area for her wire sculptures and fountains, Asawa's works were forged by Depression-era poverty, incarceration in a WWII internment camp and relentless racial and gender bias. Asawa's journey was the focus of five years' work by Chase, a UC Berkeley Continuing Lecturer, drawing from the Bancroft's Oral History Center, other archives and over 80 interviews with family, friends and colleagues. The resulting book, Everything She Touched: the Life of Ruth Asawa (Chronicle Books, 2020), is now in its fourth printing. A former reporter for the Wall Street Journal, Chase also chronicled a 1900 epidemic fueled by denial –a familiar dynamic to many of us today– in The Barbary Plague: The Black Death in Victorian San Francisco (Random House, 2003). A graduate of both Stanford and Berkeley, Chase currently teaches writing at Berkeley's Graduate School of Journalism.

You can order the book via the publisher Chronicle Books or through your local, independent bookstore. Visit the author's website for incredible photos from Imogen Cunningham of Ruth Asawa at work!


ROUNDTABLE: Inescapable Mutuality of Place: Aaron Mair, Environmental Justice, and the Sierra Club Oral History Project

April 15
Register via Zoom
Presented by Roger Eardley-Pryor, Historian, Oral History Center, The Bancroft Library

Aaron Mair is a pioneer in the movement for environmental justice who became the Sierra Club’s first Black president from 2015-2017. Mair's sense of self and his sense of place are deeply entangled. To nourish one's sense of place, to acquire the sense not of ownership but of belonging, Sierra Club member Wallace Stegner suggested we look around us instead of always looking ahead. Oral historians help narrators look back and reflect on their past. The intense week I spent with Mair recording his fifteen-hour oral history in 2018 helped me realize how much we can learn by joining our narrators in looking around. How did the experience of conducting Mair's oral history, first in South Carolina and then in Albany, New York, relate to the power of place and the importance of interconnection, two key themes that arose in Mair's oral history? And how has the enslavement and emancipation of Mair's ancestors, as well as his own life experiences, intersected with the Sierra Club's evolving efforts toward environmental justice and its reckonings over race since the Club's founding in 1892?


ROUNDTABLE: "An Island Rises from the Sea to Annex Itself": George Davidson, the Pacific Coast Survey, and the Charting of an Oceanic American Empire

May 20th
Register via Zoom
Presented by Alexander Arroyo, graduate student, Department of Geography and Kenneth E. and Dorothy V. Hill Fellowship recipient

George Davidson, head of the U.S. Coast Survey for the Pacific, president of the California Academy of Sciences, and the first professor of geography at Berkeley, spent nearly his entire career charting the location and transformation of the Bering Sea's stratovolcano, Aĝasaaĝux (or "Bogoslof," as renamed by Russian sailors)—from his first Alaska survey in 1867 until his death in 1911. Utilizing historical information from Unangan informants, navigational charts of failed forays through the Northwest Passage, and military-scientific expeditions in the Aleutian Islands, Davidson's extensive research into the centurial life of Aĝasaaĝux/Bogoslof refracts the complex relations between multiple modes of geographic knowing deployed in the United States' fin de siècle imperial project. Drawing on The Bancroft Library's voluminous collection of Davidson's papers, Arroyo will utilize unpublished notes, drawings, and correspondence to discuss the historical conditions through which "an island rising from the sea" could be said to "annex itself" for empire.