Unlearning: Rethinking Poetics, Pandemics, and the Politics of Knowledge

Charles Briggs

Part of the Novedades/Lançamentos: New Scholarship @ Berkeley Series

January 27, 2022

Charles Briggs - Unlearning: Rethinking Poetics, Pandemics, and the Politics of Knowledge

Event Description

This is the third event in the new series Novedades/Lançamentos: New Scholarship @ Berkeley. In this space, we highlight new work from Berkeley scholars about Latin America and the Caribbean by inviting a faculty member and a graduate student to discuss the recent work of a Berkeley faculty member. 

Charles Briggs’s latest work, Unlearning: Rethinking Poetics, Pandemics, and the Politics of Knowledge, questions intellectual foundations and charts new paths forward, bringing together colonialism, health, media, and psychoanalysis to rethink classic work on poetics and performance that revolutionized linguistic anthropology, folkloristics, media studies, communication, and other fields. 

Unlearning offers students, emerging scholars, and veteran researchers alike a guide for turning ethnographic objects into provocations for transforming time-worn theories and objects of analysis into sources of scholarly creativity, deep personal engagement, and efforts to confront unconscionable racial inequities. 


Charles Briggs is the Alan Dundes Distinguished Professor of Folklore in the Department of Anthropology at UC Berkeley. chair of the Folklore Graduate Program, codirector of the Medical Anthropology Program, and codirector of the Berkeley Center for Social Medicine. He is the author of numerous books and has received such honors as the James Mooney Award, the Chicago Folklore Prize, the Edward Sapir Book Prize, the J. I. Staley Prize, the Américo Paredes Prize, the New Millennium Book Award, and the Cultural Horizons Prize.

Patricia Baquedano-López is an Associate Professor in the Graduate School of Education. She is a linguistic anthropologist of education who investigates the relationship between migration, academic development, and educational policy. A scholar with a long-standing interest in the education of minoritized students in schools, one strand of her research focuses on Indigenous Latinx students, and examines processes and practices of settler colonialism in education.

Bernardo Moreno Peniche is a Ph.D. candidate in the UC Berkeley/UCSF Medical Anthropology joint program, with a Designated Emphasis in Science and Technology Studies. He researches the occurrence of Chagas disease in the U.S. and how it gains relevance through nation-building discourses and practices that redraw racial and species boundaries.