Divisions & Units - Social Sciences

Berkeley to mark ‘400 Years of Resistance to Slavery and Injustice’

August 15, 2019

The 400th anniversary of the beginning of slavery in North America will be observed at UC Berkeley throughout the entire 2019-2020 school year, starting with a daylong symposium Friday, Aug. 30. Berkeley’s commemoration is in the spirit of “The 400 Years of African American History Commission Act,” federal legislation signed last year. It acknowledged the impact of slavery in the United States and called for a national commission to commemorate the anniversary of the forced arrival of Africans in the English colonies in 1619.

Maya more warlike than previously thought

August 5, 2019

The Maya of Central America are often thought to have been a peaceaful civilization, practicing limited ritual warfare until drought caused increased conflict and led to the collapse of its Classical civilization. However, new evidence unearthed by a researcher from the University of California, Berkeley, and the U.S. Geological Survey calls all this into question, suggesting that the Maya engaged in scorched-earth military campaigns — a strategy that aims to destroy anything of use, including cropland — even at the height of their prosperity and artistic sophistication.

Berkeley Talks: How an ‘awe walk’ helped one musician reconnect with her home

August 9, 2019

In the Science of Happiness podcast episode, “Finding awe in every step,” Dacher Keltner, a psychology professor and co-director of the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley, interviews musician and activist Diana Gameros. Gameros moved to the U.S. from Mexico at 13, and has spent years writing about the experience of undocumented immigrants in America and the heartbreak that accompanied the move.

L&S Units A-Z

The College of Letters & Science supports an impressive array of learning opportunities, evident in the departments, programs, centers, majors, minors, and instructional support units below.

Berkeley stands out in newest university world reputation rankings

July 17, 2019

For the fifth year in a row, UC Berkeley ranks sixth in the world when it comes to its reputation among academic researchers, according to new rankings from Times Higher Education.  The U.K.

‘This base is going to blow sky high.’ Port Chicago, 75 years later

July 17, 2019

A new collection of eight oral history interviews recounts little-known details of the Port Chicago disaster, a harrowing munitions explosion on July 17, 1944, at the Port Chicago Naval Magazine, a major shore-to-ship weapons distribution center near Concord, California. 

Disrupted sleep in one’s 50s, 60s raises risk of Alzheimer’s disease

June 26, 2019

People who report a declining quality of sleep as they age from their 50s to their 60s have more protein tangles in their brain, putting them at higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease later in life, according to a new study by psychologists at the University of California, Berkeley.  “Insufficient sleep across the lifespan is significantly predictive of your development of Alzheimer’s disease pathology in the brain,” said lead author Matthew Walker, a sleep researcher and professor of psychology.

Podcast: The ministry of being out

June 11, 2019

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.

The Fass track: Out of retirement to become The Magnes’ new faculty director

May 23, 2019

Paula Fass, who spent 36 years teaching history at UC Berkeley, came out of retirement this month to become the new faculty director at The Magnes Collection of Jewish Life and Art.