Performing Strangers: Revisioning the Political Divide with Arlie Russell Hochschild and Benjamin Russell

How do people within "in groups" talk about people in "out groups"? After her groundbreaking study of emotion and politics in the book Strangers in Their Own Land, Arlie Russell Hochschild reflects on current political divides and the various ways they are affecting our country and campus. As part of the program, she explores how and whether performance can draw its audience over an “empathy wall,” as she calls it, into the “deep story” of the other. At a time of heated political debate, can the act of assembling in a theater invite opposing parties to listen to alternative perspectives?  During the talk, UC Berkeley students will perform monologues adapted from Hochschild’s book. Hochschild is joined in conversation by professional actor and researcher Benjamin Russell.

Arlie Russell Hochschild, professor emerita of sociology at UC Berkeley, is one of the most influential sociologists of her generation. In addition to Strangers in Their Own Land, which was a New York Times bestseller and a finalist for the National Book Award, her books include The Second Shift, The Time Bind, The Managed Heart, and The Outsourced Self. The winner of the Ulysses Medal as well as Guggenheim and Mellon grants, she lives in Berkeley.

A New York AEA and SAG-AFTRA actor, Benjamin Russell has recently appeared in Sweet Bird of Youth with the Gallery Players, Sense and Sensibility with Bedlam, The Awful Truth and The Fifth Woman at the Metropolitan Playhouse, The Groundling at the Axis Theater, and Liz Swados’s production of Guns! He trained at Jayd McCarty’s Studio, New York, and at the British American Drama Academy in London.

Participating units at UC Berkeley: Arts + Design Initiative; student groups (TDPS, Cal Bridge USA).