Wednesday, December 30, 2009

January seminars in Paris

4 upcoming seminars at the EHESS in Paris, plus one lecture at University College London:

At the EHESS:

1) In Rose-Marie Lagrave's seminar on "Genre et sciences sociales," Thursday, January 14, 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. salle 1, 105 bd Raspail. Topic: "L'étude critique de la sexualité. Représentations, catégories, et la production des sens et des savoirs."

2) In Rose-Marie Lagrave and Eric Fassin's seminar, "Etudes de genre et de sexualité," Friday, January 15, 1 p.m to 5 p.m., amphithéâtre François-Furet, 105 bd Raspail. Topic: "L'invitée de Simone de Beauvoir et les sexualités proprement innommables."

3) In the seminar of the Groupe de Recherches Interdisciplinaires sur l'Histoire du Littéraire, Tuesday, January 19, 5 p.m to 8 p.m., CRH (105 boulevard Raspail), salle 7. Topic: "Sexualité et champ littéraire, France - XXe siècle."

4) In Judith Lyon-Caen's seminar, "Les usages sociaux de la littérature au XIXe siècle," Friday, January 22, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., salle 507, 54 bd Raspail. Topic:"Sur les ratés de la Famille. La vie contextuelle et les apports ethnographiques des oeuvres littéraires."

On Wednesday, January 20, 2010 at University College London, 5pm, room 114, Foster Court Building: "Beauvoir, Duras, Context, Sexuality."

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

BKS Iyengar turns 91

Yoga Master BKS Iyengar turned 91 on Monday. In honor of the day, my friend Jarvis Chen, who teaches yoga in Cambridge, MA, posted some inspiring compilation videos he made a while back. Check them out!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Write the representatives again...

Dear Assemblymember Ammiano,

I wrote you a few weeks ago regarding budget cuts to the University of California, and to public education more generally.

Today I write as a faculty member at UC Berkeley, and one of your constituents, to comment on a quote in the San Francisco Chronicle from Assemblymember Julia Brownley. She argued that the campus protests at Berkeley and the other UC campuses last Thursday involve only an issue of how the University has cut its budget:

"'The state is facing an unprecedented fiscal crisis,' said Julia Brownley, a Santa Monica Democrat who chairs the Assembly Education Committee. 'The students are protesting how the university cut its budget. The Legislature left that up to the university.'"

As someone who attended that event, I can assure you that is only a small part of the story. Faculty and students are deeply distressed about the declining commitment of the state government in support of California's unparalleled tradition of public education. The UC system has long served as a cultural, scientific, and economic resource for the State of California, the preeminent example of access to the highest quality of education for all students, regardless of their background.

While the budget cuts imposed from UCOP are painful, the fundamental issue for which we are fighting is the restoration of support from state government, and our voters, for public education at all levels: K-12, community colleges, CSU and the UC. Please support education and the future of California. Please listen to our message more carefully than your colleague Julia Brownley seems to have done.

Respectfully yours,
Michael Lucey
Professor of French and Comparative Literature
Chair, French Department
UC Berkeley

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Template for a letter about the University of California crisis

Senator Mark Leno
State Capitol
Room 4061
Sacramento, CA 94248-0001

Dear Senator Leno,

I write to express my concern about the current state of public education in California, and in particular about the crisis at the University of California, Berkeley, where I am a professor.

On a purely personal level, the furloughs at UC that begin on September 1, 2009 and will last for a year will result in my pay being cut by 8% for the year. As chair of a department, I am all too conscious of the amount of pain and anxiety the furlough plan will be causing to my co-workers, staff and faculty alike. Many of us will see a serious reduction in our quality of life. There are those of us who will simply no longer be able to make ends meet.

The University of California at Berkeley is one of the most renowned universities in the world. It cannot continue to be so with inadequate support from the state of California. What a tragedy it would be for the state to lose this amazing resource! At the current level of funding, it is not just the quality of life of the university’s diverse employees that has been diminished. (And there have been many employees laid off as well.) The educational experience available to our students is now also being impaired, as is the ability of the faculty to pursue research effectively. I urge you to work to see that state funding for the University of California becomes a high priority.

Everyone recognizes that the crisis at Berkeley and at the University of California more generally is part of a wider crisis affecting every level of public education in California and many other public services as well. Because of this, I also ask you to commit to working to reform the budget process in the state of California, and in particular to find responsible ways to generate more revenue, and a more stable stream of revenue, to support public education and other public services.

In particular, I would ask that you support and work towards:

--a sensible revision of Proposition 13 that would remove the requirement for a 2/3 majority to approve tax increases and that would rethink in a sensible way the way property tax levels are set, especially on commercial properties;

--a removal of the requirement for a 2/3 majority to pass the state budget;

--the generation of new revenues, for example through the creation of an oil severance tax
and perhaps the reinstatement of the vehicle licensing fee;

--a serious rethinking of the corrections budget of the state and serious reform of sentencing requirements to help reduce the prison population;

--a rational reform of the proposition process, which provides only the most grotesque illusion of democratic participation.

Thank you for your attention to these urgent matters.


Michael Lucey

How to contact your California state legislator

You can find out who represents you by entering your home address at

Monday, July 20, 2009

Tuesday Jazz @ Caffe Trieste in Berkeley

When: Tues 7/21 7-9pm
Where: 2500 San Pablo Ave, Berkeley, CA

The band:
Brian Wood- saxophone
Michael Lucey - piano
Richard Anderson - guitar
Huy Nguyen - bass
Jeff Becerra - drums

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Violette Leduc, hoping to find her first book in a bookstore window...

Un après-midi, je préparais un assortiment de légumes pour mon potage, j’eus un espoir fou, le couteau tomba sur le morne poireau. Je m’habillai à la hâte. Le trajet fut interminable jusqu’à la station Bac. J’arrivai haletante devant les vitrines éclectiques de la librairie Gallimard, boulevard Raspail. Il y était sûrement. Il n’y était pas. Les grands papiers, les éditions rares de Valéry, de Gide, d’Apollinaire, hautains, secrets, me repoussèrent. On ne renverse pas les forteresses de la littérature moderne pour rejoindre sa petite merde. Mon Dieu que j’ai mendié aux vitrines… Si j’avais été sûre de ce que j’écrivais, j’aurais été sauvée… Baudelaire, Rimbaud étaient-ils sûrs d’eux? Je n’étais pas Baudelaire, je n’étais pas Rimbaud. Dix nouveautés par jour. Comment veux-tu qu’on puisse exposer ce flot? Une heure, ne serait-ce qu’une heure, chacun notre tour… Où est-il depuis que je l’ai dédicacé? Où se terre-t-il? Les libraires l’ont-ils reçu? Je mourrais de honte si je devais le leur demander. Ecrire est une mauvaise action puisque je préfère la dissimuler. Je redevenais coupable, vitrines et libraires me chuchotaient la nuit : «Tu n’arriveras à rien, tu n’arriveras jamais à rien » comme me l’avait ressassé ma mère. Je vais rendre mon tablier. Rendre mon tablier à qui? Aux libraires, aux vitrines, à l’éditeur.
Violette Leduc, La folie en tête

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Upcoming Yoga Workshop

Yoga Garden San Francisco, 286 Divisadero

Working with Inversions

Sunday, May 3
2:00-4:00 p.m

Sirsasana (Headstand) and Sarvangasana (Shoulderstand), along with Adho Mukha Vrksasana (Full arm balance) and Pinca Mayurasana (Forearm balance), are the key inverted poses in an asana practice. Headstand and Shoulderstand in particular are each part of a cycle of poses that includes many different variations on the main pose. In this workshop we will learn which poses prepare us for these important inverted poses. We'll study each of them in some detail, including how to work on specific problems participants might have in each pose. We will also learn some of the variations of the main poses. Recommended for students who have been practicing regularly for at least 6 months. Cost: $35 if registered by April 26th. MEMBERS: $25

Click here to register.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick 1950-2009

Spending a lot of time today thinking about Eve and remembering her.

Here's a little quote from an interview with Eve in the book Regarding Sedgwick, edited by Stephen Barber and David Clark:

"I'm always compelled by the places where a project of writing runs into things that I just can't say--whether because there aren't good words for them, or more interestingly because they're structured in some elusive way that just isn't going to stay still to be formulated. That's the unrationalizable place that seems worth being to me, often the only place that seems worth being."

Here's a link to Duke University Press's announcement:

and here's a brief memorial by Cathy Davidson:

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

A couple quotes for the day

Here are the epigraphs for the paper I'm writing to deliver at the ACLA in a couple days, which is in part about how Claude Lévi-Strauss's way of thinking about music is related to what he learned from Roman Jakobson's structural linguistics...

Music is language without meaning [La musique, c’est le langage moins le sens]; consequently, it’s easy to understand that the listener, who is already a speaking subject, feels irresistibly drawn to fill in this absent meaning, like an amputee who attributes to his or her missing limb those sensations that he or she is experiencing which have their locus in the stump.
—Lévi-Strauss, L’homme nu.

What happens when we learn to feel the ending of a church mode as an ending?
—Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations, number 535

Thursday, March 19, 2009

American Comparative Literature Association Convention at Harvard

I'm participating in a seminar at the ACLA meeting next week at Harvard:

Melopoiesis: New Soundings in Music and Poetry
Seminar Organizer: Yopie Prins, U of Michigan

This seminar will explore the relationship between music and poetry, from various theoretical and historical
perspectives, and attuned to forms of dissonance as well as resonance. Papers are invited on musical settings of poems and poetic meditations on music; poets who make music and musicians who make poetry; the poetics of music and the music of poetry; words on music and music on words; the melody of poetry and the poetry of melody; further meditations on the reversibility of these relations, and their irreversibility.

Friday, March 27, 11:00 am - 1:00 pm

James H. Donelan, UC Santa Barbara
“The Sound Itself: Kantian Consequences for Romantic Poetics and Musical Aesthetics”
Michael Lucey, UC Berkeley
“Structural Sonology: Lévi-Strauss, Jakobson, Words, and Melody”
John A. Golden, Harvard U
“Hopkins: The Motions of Music”
Harris Feinsod, Stanford U
“Sound Poetry as Genre”

Saturday, March 28, 11:00 am - 1:00 pm

Jeffrey Arthur Lloyd, U of Michigan
“E.T.A. Hoffmann’s Beethoven Review as Periodical Literature: Musical Autonomy and Linguistic Automation within a New Public Sphere”
John T. Hamilton, NYU
“Aesthetics, Fantasy, and Composition in E.T.A. Hoffmann’s Aurora”
Michael C. Cohen, Macalester College
“Civil War Songs: Poems and Airs in Circulation”
Phyllis Weliver, Saint Louis U
“‘the awakening of a great people’: Prometheus Unbound and the English Musical Renaissance”

Sunday, March 29, 11:00 am - 1:00 pm

Cashman Kerr Prince, Wellesley College
“Prisoner of a New Generation? Salonen and Obermüller Set Sappho to Music”
Ben Lempert, UC Berkeley
“Charles Olson, Charlie Parker, and the Musicality of Form”
Ben Glaser, Cornell U
“For Rhyme and for Rapture: Hip hop and the Study of Prosody”
Robert George Kaufman, UC Berkeley
“Notre Musique? Darwish, Celan, Godard”

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Jazz in Berkeley on Tuesday, March 3, 7-9p.m.

It's the Brian Wood Quartet:

Brian Wood - saxophone
Eric Marshall - bass
Michael Lucey - keys
Rick Rivera - drums

When: Tuesday March 3, 2009 7-9pm
Where: Cafe Trieste, 2500 San Pablo, Berkeley, CA

Monday, February 16, 2009

Yoga: Backbending workshop on April 12 in SF

Yoga Garden San Francisco
Sun 4/12/2009
2:00 PM - 4:00 PM
This workshop will be devoted to two key backbends, Urdhva Dhanurasana (Upward Facing Bow Pose) and Dwi Pada Viparita Dandasana (Two-Legged Inverted Staff Pose). We will learn how to prepare appropriately for these two asana, practicing them in a variety of ways, building stamina and intelligence in the poses. We will also learn sensible ways of winding down from an intense backbending practice. This workshop is one of several throughout the year for students who would like to focus in more detail on intermediate-level, challenging poses. Recommended for students who have been practicing regularly for at least 6 months. Cost: $35 if registered by April 5th. MEMBERS: $25

Thursday, January 8, 2009

New yoga classes at the SF Yoga Garden

This Saturday, January 10, I start teaching a beginning level yoga class from 10-11:30 at the Yoga Garden on Divisidero. As of next week, I'll be teaching an intermediate class on Wednesdays from 6-7:30 and an "Ageless Yoga" class on Saturdays from noon to 1.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Yoga Workshop on Sunday, February 15 in Alameda

Inspiration from India
Teacher: Michael Lucey
Price: $35 pre-registration; $40 at the door (space permitting)
Date & Time: Sunday, February 15, 2:00 to 5:00 pm
Michael Lucey spent the month of November 2008 enrolled in public classes at the Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute in Pune, India. The institute is run by B.K.S. Iyengar, his daughter Geeta, and his son Prashant. In this asana workshop, Michael will share some of what he learned in his month at the RIMYI, focusing on how to practice asana for the breath and for the mind as well as for the body. Intended for students with at least one year's experience of yoga.

For a registration form and directions to the Alameda Yoga Station, go to: (or just click on the title of this post).

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Advance Practice Yoga Class in the East Bay

with Mary Lou Weprin & Michael Lucey
Thursday Morning, 9:30-11:30am -- Oakland Yoga Studio

(class does not meet in July and August)

This class is part of the Continuing Education available to students in Year 3 (and beyond) of the advanced studies program at the Yoga Room in Berkeley. Designed for teachers and advanced yoga students, this class emphasizes refinements and variations upon the basic practice, as well as sequencing toward more challenging poses. The opportunity to partner with and observe others is included. By permission of instructors only.

Mary Lou Weprin is Associate Director of The Yoga Room in Berkeley and has worked to make advanced asanas more accessible through sequencing, observation, and partnering for many years.

Michael Lucey is a graduate of The Yoga Room’s Advanced Studies Program and frequently travels to India to study at the Iyengar Institute in Pune. He offers popular, clear and informative workshops detailing his studies.

For more information or to inquire about attendance, please call Mary Lou Weprin, 510-236-0295.