UC Berkeley’s flagship institute for social science research

Our purpose is captured in our name: we provide an organizational framework—a “matrix”—that supports cross-disciplinary research pursued by social scientists across the University of California, Berkeley campus and beyond.

Symposium

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Event Date: March 6th, 2024
9:30am-11:30am

Understanding AI: Humanities x Social Sciences x Technology 

Understanding and interpreting AI is the new frontier in AI research. While advances in the performance of AI models have seen enormous successes, a profound understanding of how learning happens inside the models remains to be thoroughly explored. Understanding how AI learns has the potential to help us gain novel insights in science, technology, and other fields, as well as to observe novel causal relationships in various types of data. Interpreting the internal workings of AI models can also shed light on how the human mind works and how we are similar to and different from machines. This symposium will focus on immediate challenges in AI interpretability and explore how the humanities, social sciences, and the tech world can join forces in this highly consequential research.

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Authors Meet Critics

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Event Date: March 4th, 2024
4pm-5:30pm

Authors Meet Critics: “Terracene,” by Salar Mameni

Please join us in-person on Monday, March 4, 2024 from 4-5:30pm for an Authors Meet Critics panel on Terracene, by Professor Salar Mameni, Assistant Professor in UC Berkeley’s Department of Ethnic Studies. Professor Mameni will be joined by Mayanthi Fernando, Associate Professor of Anthropology at UC Santa Cruz; Sugata Ray, Associate Professor of South and Southeast Asian Art and Architecture in the Departments of History of Art and South & Southeast Asian Studies at UC Berkeley; and Stefania Pandolfo, Professor of Anthropology at UC Berkeley.

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Lecture

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Event Date: March 7th, 2024
2:00pm

Traumatic Repercussions: Black Women and Obstetric Racism

Join us on March 7, 2024 at 2pm for an in-person lecture by Dána-Ain Davis, Professor of Urban Studies at Queens College and on the faculty of the PhD Programs in Anthropology and Critical Psychology. This talk will chart the way two Black reproducing bodies are shaped by obstetric racism. Davis will share the birthing experiences of two women and think through their medical encounters by considering how Black bodies are degraded, ushering them toward mistreatment. Here, Davis argues that obstetric racism produces traumatic repercussions  weighed down by disposability, neglect, and medical abuse.

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Panel

Event Date: March 11th, 2024
4:00pm-5:45pm

Storytelling and the Climate Crisis

Please join us on Monday, March 11 at 4:00pm for a panel discussion entitled "Storytelling and the Climate Crisis." Contemporary writers and activists have described the climate crisis as, in part, a crisis of the imagination, of culture, and of storytelling. In this panel, we’ll hear from writers and scholars of different genres — science fiction, journalism, history, literary fiction, and comedy — about how the climate crisis has impacted their craft and what practices of storytelling have to offer us at this pivotal moment in human history.

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California Spotlight

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Event Date: March 18th, 2024
12:00pm-1:30pm

Conservatorship: Inside California’s System of Coercion and Care for Mental Illness

Register to join us on March 18 for a discussion of Professor Alex V. Barnard’s book, "Conservatorship: Inside California’s System of Coercion and Care for Mental Illness," which analyzes conservatorship, a legal system used to take legal guardianship over individuals deemed unable to meet their own basic needs. Barnard will be joined by advocate Lauren Rettagliata and Jonathan Simon, Lance Robbins Professor of Criminal Justice Law at Berkeley Law.

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Lecture

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Event Date: April 4th, 2024
12:00pm

Céline Bessière: “The Gender of Capital”

Why do women in different social classes accumulate less wealth than men? Why do marital separations impoverish women while they do not prevent men from maintaining or increasing their wealth? Join us on April 4, 2024 at 12pm for "The Gender of Capital," a lecture by Céline Bessière, professor of sociology at Paris Dauphine University and a senior member at the Institut Universitaire de France. The lecture is presented by the James M. and Cathleen D. Stone Center on Wealth and Income Inequality.

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Lecture

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Event Date: April 26th, 2024
1:00pm-2:00pm Pacific

The Big Shift to Work from Home

Why did the shift to work from home endure, rather than reverting to pre-pandemic levels? Join us on April 26 for a lecture by Steven J. Davis, the Thomas W. and Susan B. Ford Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution and Senior Fellow at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research (SIEPR). Davis will consider how work-from-home rates vary by worker age, sex, education, parental status, industry and local population density, and why it is higher in the United States than other countries, as well as some implications for pay, productivity, and the pace of innovation.

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Authors Meet Critics

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Event Date: May 1st, 2024
12:00pm-1:30pm

Authors Meet Critics: “Puta Life: Seeing Latinas, Working Sex,” Juana María Rodríguez

Join us on May 1 for an Authors Meet Critics panel on the book Puta Life: Seeing Latinas, Working Sex, by Juana María Rodríguez, Professor in the Department of Ethnic Studies at UC Berkeley. Professor Rodriguez will be joined in conversation by Clarissa Rojas, Assistant Professor of Chicana/o Studies at UC Davis, and Milena Britto, Associate Professor of Literature at the Federal University of Bahia and currently a Visiting Professor at UC Berkeley. The discussion will be moderated by Alberto Ledesma, Assistant Dean for Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity in the Division of Arts & Humanities at UC Berkeley.

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Authors Meet Critics

Recap

Published February 5, 2024

Authors Meet Critics: “The Unnaming of Kroeber Hall,” Andrew Garrett

Recorded on January 19, 2024, this "Authors Meet Critics" panel centered on the book, "The Unnaming of Kroeber Hall: Language, Memory, and Indigenous California," by Andrew Garrett, Professor of Linguistics and the Nadine M. Tang and Bruce L. Smith Professor of Cross-Cultural Social Sciences in the Department of Linguistics at UC Berkeley. Professor Garrett was joined in conversation by James Clifford, Professor Emeritus at UC Santa Cruz; William Hanks, Berkeley Distinguished Chair Professor in Linguistic Anthropology; and Julian Lang (Karuk/Wiyot), a storyteller, poet, artist, graphic designer, and writer, and author of "Ararapikva: Karuk Indian Literature from Northwest California." Leanne Hinton, Professor Emerita of Linguistics at UC Berkeley, moderated.

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Book Talk

Recap

Published January 28, 2024

Vincent Bevins – “If We Burn: The Mass Protest Decade and the Missing Revolution”

Watch the video (or listen to the podcast) of Vincent Bevins discussing his book, "If We Burn: The Mass Protest Decade and the Missing Revolution," which tells the story of the recent uprisings that sought to change the world – and what comes next. The panel was moderated by Daniel Aldana Cohen, Assistant Professor of Sociology at UC Berkeley and Director of the Socio-Spatial Climate Collaborative, or (SC)2.

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Podcast

Interview

Published January 13, 2024

Authoritarian Absorption: An Interview with Yan Long

This episode of the Matrix Podcast features an interview with Yan Long, Assistant Professor of Sociology at UC Berkeley, whose research focuses on the politics of public health in China. Matrix Communications Scholar Jennie Barker spoke with Long about her forthcoming book, "Authoritarian Absorption: The Transnational Remaking of Infectious Disease Politics in China."

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Authors Meet Critics

Recap

Published December 19, 2023

Trevor Jackson, “Impunity and Capitalism: the Afterlives of European Financial Crises, 1690-1830”

Recorded on December 5, 2023, this Authors Meet Critics panel focused on Impunity and Capitalism: the Afterlives of European Financial Crises, 1690-1830 (Cambridge University Press, 2022), by Trevor Jackson, Assistant Professor of History at UC Berkeley. Professor Jackson was joined by Anat Admati, the George G.C. Parker Professor of Finance and Economics at Stanford University Graduate School of Business, and William H. Janeway, Affiliated Member of the Economics Faculty at Cambridge University.  The panel was moderated by David Singh Grewal, Professor of Law at UC Berkeley School of Law.

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Authors Meet Critics

Recap

Published December 16, 2023

Authors Meet Critics: Sharad Chari, “Gramsci at Sea”

How might an oceanic Gramsci speak to Black aquafuturism and other forms of oceanic critique? Recorded on November 28, 2023 as part of the UC Berkeley Social Science Matrix “Authors Meet Critics” series, this panel focused on Gramsci at Sea, a book by Sharad Chari, Associate Professor in Geography and Co-Director of Critical Theory at UC Berkeley. Professor Chari was joined in conversation by Leslie Salzinger, Associate Professor and Chair of Gender and Women’s Studies at UC Berkeley, and Colleen Lye, Associate Professor of English at UC Berkeley. The panel was moderated by James Vernon, Helen Fawcett Distinguished Professor of History at UC Berkeley.

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Authors Meet Critics

Recap

Published December 16, 2023

Dylan Penningroth, “Before the Movement: The Hidden History of Black Civil Rights”

Watch a video (or listen to the podcast) of our "Authors Meet Critics" panel on "Before the Movement: The Hidden History of Black Civil Rights," by Dylan Penningroth, Professor of Law and Alexander F. and May T. Morrison Professor of History at UC Berkeley, and Associate Dean, Program in Jurisprudence and Social Policy / Legal Studies at Berkeley Law. This book overturns the conventional wisdom about the Civil Rights Movement by demonstrating that Black people had long exercised “the rights of everyday use,” and that this lesser-known private-law tradition paved the way for the modern vision of civil rights.

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