Workshop: By Design: Graphics & Images Basics

By Design: Graphics & Images Basics
Thursday, April 6th, 3:10-4:30pm
Location: Doe 223
Lynn Cunningham

In this hands-on workshop, we will learn how to create web graphics for your digital publishing projects and websites. We will cover topics such as: sources for free public domain and Creative Commons images; image resolution for the web; and basic image editing tools in Photoshop. If possible, please bring a laptop with Photoshop installed. (All UCB faculty and students can receive a free Adobe Creative Suite license: Register here.

Upcoming Workshops in this Series – Spring 2022:

  • HTML/CSS Toolkit for Digital Projects

Please see for details.

“Why Should We Share Anything with Them?!” – Oral History, Truth, and Ethics in Post-Totalitarian Societies

Interview room at Marienborn, the border of the former German Democratic Republic. Two chairs, a desk, and typewriter, now part of a museum exhibit.
Interview room at Marienborn, a border crossing of the former German Democratic Republic. Photograph by Erich Honecker, 2009


“It is a spoken account, offered by the interviewee in response to questioning, and as such it is reflective, partisan, deeply involved, and irreplaceable.” This quotation is part of a description of what we at the Oral History Center do. It sits at the beginning of every oral history we publish. It was written by Willa Baum, the longtime director of the Regional Oral History Office (the former name of the OHC until 2015). It highlights quite beautifully the conceptual foundation of modern oral history: the deliberate exploration of the unique, subjective historical truths of individuals. While oral history was once considered a poor evidentiary cousin to official records stored in archives, academic oral historians from the 1960s on proclaimed proudly the value of subjective evidence. It was the subjectivity itself that was to be recorded and studied. At the same time, oral historians promised to expand the archive by interviewing people whose views had not been recorded in archives or studied by historians. So, there are two related ideas: oral history as a practice of inclusion that diversifies and enriches the archive, and a belief that the historical record can be made more accurate, more true, by conceiving of it as a living, evolving, contentious space in which there is little in the way of a settled, single consensus about what actually happened. “What actually happened” is a translation of a phrase coined by German historian Leopold Von Ranke, who regarded government documents as the apex of authoritative sources because he saw the 19th-century nation state as the prime mover of history. When I took historical methods courses ages ago, this phrase was trotted out by professors as a particularly primitive, dated, and possibly morally bankrupt form of reasoning. History is about power, the professors would argue, written by the winners, erasing the views and the experiences of the excluded. What mattered in modern historiography was making sure that different experiences and viewpoints were represented in the historical record, and in the interpretations of the historical record.

Recognizing that history is about power, oral historians evolved practices for sharing authority with interviewees, whom we in the field refer to as “narrators” to highlight their authority as originators of a narrative, as opposed to passive sources for an interview. Sharing authority might involve planning an interview far in advance with the narrator, apportioning time to topics, putting up guardrails, and sharing the text of the transcript after the interview to permit them to reflect on their own words and correct them if necessary, or to protect themselves or others from anticipated harm. I call this process the construction of the “deliberate self.” With all the pressure and stimulation of undergoing a recorded interview in real time, even the most seasoned and trained speakers can, in a moment, misrepresent themselves, speak in a disorganized fashion, and mischaracterize what they remember. This is the spontaneous self. To be ethical, and above all trustworthy, interviewers should give narrators the opportunity to see themselves in their own words and refashion them to better represent themselves and the past for posterity. This works well if oral historians are already aligned more or less with their narrators with respect to what is known and how what is known is understood. This “shared authority,” to use oral historian Michael Frisch’s term, is part of what practitioners call the co-construction of oral history.

But what happens when a single, official narrative of state history is washed away by a revolution, and what remains is the collective trauma of decades of misinformation, surveillance, and punishment? How does one conduct interviews in this space? More importantly, how does one interpret what is said?

Over the past four years, I have conducted interviews with a group of Czech physicists. This project evolved into an exploration of how a scientific community functioned under a totalitarian order. The Czechoslovak Academy of Science and courageous scientists emerged as important spaces and agents that supported intellectual diversity and underground political activism. Scientific orientations and a certain form of asceticism underpinned political activism against dogma, propaganda, and the repression of fellow scientists and citizens. These interviews highlighted the contributions of scientists to the underground political movements established before the Velvet Revolution and to the democratic political order that followed.

Why was I doing this research? I study “scientists in trouble.” I am interested in the ways in which a scientist’s commitment to objective truth – a truth completely separate from the background, ideology, beliefs, and values of people – plays out in the messy political world in which scientists must live and operate. What happens when an individual scientist’s commitment to scientific truth clashes with powerful political forces? It could be the Iowa dairy industry during World War II, the global tobacco industry in the 80s and 90s, or the Communist Party in Czechoslovakia. In the latter case, what is the relationship between a scientist’s commitment to objective truth and the demands in a totalitarian society of an absolute commitment to dogma? In my conversations with these narrators, and with scholars and students in the Czech Republic, I was confronted by a different understanding of the value of oral history from what we have constructed in the United States and a few other countries.

Last fall, I conducted two workshops on oral history methods, for faculty and oral historians at the Czech Academy of Sciences in Prague and for graduate students at Masaryk University in Brno. My primary motivation for doing this work was to use oral history to meet the challenges of a difficult past and of an increasingly difficult present, one in which state-sponsored versions of the truth pose grave threats to democracies in Central and Eastern Europe. I was also considering the value of oral testimony in the historical shadow of a police state, where many official records from the totalitarian period have now been destroyed. Finally, I wanted to share ideas about the role of trauma in these stories – the difficulty of telling stories that, to this day, are not supposed to be told in Czechia.

But it was when I came to lead the training in Brno for graduate students in a history department that I learned about the implications of a particular form of collective trauma for the practice of oral history with populations who lived under or in the shadow of totalitarianism. After I explained the involved process of co-construction of an oral history from beginning to end, the importance of sharing transcripts with narrators, for example, a hand went up. “My adviser told me not to share the transcripts with the narrators.” Why? Part of the project this student was undertaking was to interview former members of the Czechoslovakian secret police. I said to the class that transcripts should be shared with narrators if possible. The student replied, “Why should we share anything with them? We give them more consideration than they ever gave us!” I trotted out my explanation of the “deliberate self.” Another student spoke, “If you say something in court, it’s in the record forever. You can’t erase it.” Still another said, “If you give them the opportunity to see how they really look, they will cut everything of any historical value out, and we will have nothing!”

I took my time to respond. “This type of interviewing will work, exactly once. But when you break trust with narrators, the reputation of your process, and those of anyone else claiming to do oral history, for that matter, will be tarnished in direct proportion to the notoriety of the exposure of the narrators’ hidden stories.” (Full disclosure, I said this at the time much more awkwardly than what I wrote here, but I am asserting my prerogative to reconstruct my narrative.)

The discipline of oral history relies on multiple narratives to tell a composite, textured story of perspectives about how complex phenomena can be understood, and framed. It was oral historians from Italy, a nation with a comparably complex political history as Czechoslovakia’s, who helped shape the field of modern oral history. For Alessandro Portelli and Luisa Passerini, oral history was the analysis and interpretation of the complex interplay between memory and recorded history. Portelli studied collective memory and press reports about labor protests in Italy. He wrote about how narrators transposed the death of a protestor at the hands of the police to a different protest about a different cause that actually happened four years later. Passerini wrote about the deafening silence in the life histories of those who described a “before” and an “after” of the Italian fascist period.

With these kinds of approaches in mind, I offered some suggestions to the Czech students. If you are disturbed by what you perceive as false narratives, lies to whitewash the narrator’s complicity in an evil political order, you can do at least two things. You can interview those who suffered at the hands of the police, explore the consequences of surveillance and interrogation on families of the suspected and accused, and/or you could also serve as a trustworthy partner of narrators whose deeds and perspectives you find abhorrent, but in the process potentially produce a more candid text than might otherwise be obtained through spontaneous revelations in some kind of interview trap. Then, you could interpret the alignment and differences among those perspectives. Allowing these perspectives to talk to one another through your historical interpretation is a way to understand oral history work.

So, were these graduate students chastened and enlightened, having been brought up to date on the latest best practices in oral history from the United States via postwar Italy?

Not necessarily.

The modern oral history method, this careful co-construction of the story between interviewer and narrator, is in my opinion the best way to interview the survivors of trauma and to collect and archive their stories. It gives the narrators control, the absence of which is at the center of trauma, which offers the potential to be a salve for the wounds of the past.

I wonder, however, if there isn’t some kind of American exceptionalism, or Italian exceptionalism, to this version of oral history practice. The evolution of the discipline or practice of oral history is towards diversity and inclusion, both in terms of sources of narratives and the ways in which narratives may be cultivated, framed, archived, or disseminated. Truth is plural, and the plural truths stand in contrast to one another. It’s a model of history as mosaic, not a king’s chronicle. In fact, the value of oral truth is that it comes from a narrator, filtered by the narrator’s history, memory, background, and position in the world.

When I did my initial interviews for the Czech physics project, one thing that struck me was that, of all the books smuggled into Czechoslovakia, the most important to this group was the works of Karl Popper. Karl Popper is a philosopher, known in some sectors of the academy for his rigid definitions of the mechanisms of science and the nature of scientific truth. More recently, some historians have pointed to Popper’s right-of-center political commitments as evidence that a belief in positive knowledge independent of the knower – that is, a truth that is not a matter of perspective, of background, or of prior knowledge – is a tool and a smokescreen for right-wing hegemony.

And yet, the people’s struggle, in Czechoslovakia, the poet’s revolution of Vaclav Havel, was fought by people who took this definition of truth as their north star. It is not hard to understand why.

It is not just the narrator who is traumatized in the Czech Republic, and so many other places; it is an entire society. The source of the trauma is more than the narrator’s experience of a lack of control in their past; it is the fundamental interdiction of independent meaning-making that is the lifeblood of a totalitarian state. It was the insistence on a daily truth that brooked no examination, discussion, or independent verification that so scarred those who are trying to tell their stories in Czechia now. One of the critiques of social science and humanities research is that the instrument of knowing cannot really know itself. How can humans really know humans the way we measure the chemical composition of matter? But that kind of objective clarity is in a way what these young historians in Czechia want. The heat of this discussion came in part from the problem of interviewers interviewing other interviewers about their interviewing practices. Oral history practice evolved partly in response to the historic menace of the interview: the confession, the interrogation, the Inquisition, self-incrimination through recorded, and always in some way compelled, speech. The tables turned, the student viewed the formerly powerful as liars, now minimizing, erasing, or justifying their practices as police interrogators. Is historical truth here a salve or a weapon? Can it be both?

It is often said that testimony about trauma has been a path to healing. Witness the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa in the 1990s (though the results of that process are still being evaluated). But what if a society is still very much stuck on the truth part? One of the students came up to me after the workshop and apologized. “I don’t think we as a society are ready yet for your high ethical standards.” There was not a hint of sarcasm in his statement, though maybe there should have been.

This encounter with post-Velvet Revolution graduate students in Czechia did not change my mind about current oral history best practice as I understand it. Making the narrator feel safe and in control is the best guarantor of their representation of themselves and what they experienced. But in our search for plural truths, we need to respect the fact that one person’s truth is often a claim to “capital T” truth, not a perspective or opinion, and that their participation in an oral history project can be part of their battle against obfuscation, propaganda, erasure, and lies. That goes for both the narrator and the interviewer. So we need to be careful when we consider the epistemology of oral history, and reflect on what objective truth means to many individuals and communities, as a matter of cultural and actual life and death. And we might further consider the extent to which our commitment to co-construction shapes both the archive and a historian’s interpretive freedom. If trust-as-alignment is paramount, how much room is there for skepticism, comparison, or independent evaluation? Fortunately, oral history is an evolving field, and it is through these encounters with meaning-making in different contexts that we stumble towards our provisional truth of what we think we know about ourselves and what we do, much as Karl Popper once claimed was the ideal practice of science.

Important service announcement for CNKI resources

The East Asian Library has received the following email from East View Information Services:

March 17, 2023

Dear Customer,

We bring to your attention some important, breaking news. As all are surely aware, recent weeks have seen an acceleration in policy changes at the government level in the People’s Republic of China. East View has been monitoring the situation, and we are doing all possible to remain closely informed by our partners, such as CNKI.

The Cybersecurity Administration of China (CAC) has recently imposed new oversight requirements on Chinese publishers and exporters of information. In short, many content types that were previously viewed as mundane have now been flagged by the Chinese authorities to be subject to government review. We were just informed in recent days that this may lead to a review of:


As of the evening of March 15, 2023, East View was informed that the Cybersecurity Administration will require Chinese publishers to temporarily suspend access to full-text downloads of these content types, as soon as April 1 as CAC creates new compliance standards for publishers.

These conditions are also breaking news for our partners in China, who supply the content for overseas use.

As of this morning (March 17th, 2023), we received the following official notification from one partner, CNKI, affirming the imposition of changes on April 1. Their official notification can be downloaded at the following links:暂停部分服务通知/ and

East View has learned that similar measures have been imposed in Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau, and will occur in South Korea, Japan, and elsewhere. East View is attempting to learn the extent to which actions imposed in those countries are similar to or divergent from any actions that will be applied for North America.

The fact that these developments are emerging at a moment of heightened international tension is clear. Our partners are operating under difficult circumstances to become compliant with recently created regulations and short deadlines. The duration of such suspensions is not yet known, but we have been told that access will resume upon CAC determining that Chinese publishers have addressed their requirements for the review of the affected content types. While we are working with partners to understand their circumstances, we are also advocating frankly for our customers’ interests and have registered our concern about the timing and scope of these actions.

East View’s mission is to provide meaningful access and solutions for research content from dynamic regions from which such access is not unproblematic. Whether it is content from within or beyond China’s borders, and whether it is collaboration with partners operating under evolving regulations of this nature, this remains our mission. East View is always grateful for your support, and we are eager to provide you maximum transparency and positive outcomes in fulfillment of your missions. We will be engaged with China and with you, our library partners, actively as we learn more about these emerging developments.

East View Information Services

Webinar on March 21st: Ukrainian Publishers and Literary Critics Speak

Ukraine Fights On: One Year Later
Ukrainian Publishers and Literary Critics Speak

In this second event, women publishers and literary critics from Ukraine will update us on the current state of publishing, the different strategies they are using to mitigate the tragic circumstances of their war, and how publishing has evolved since the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Date: Mar 21, 2023

Time: 9:30 am PDT /12: 30 pm EDT/ 19:30 Kyiv Time

Duration: 1 hr. 15 min.

Language of Event: English.

All are welcome with prior registration.

Link for event registration:


  • Iryna Baturevych co-founded the Chytomo media project (NGO), the largest independent media covering publishing and contemporary literary and cultural processes in Ukraine.
  • Anastasia Bilousova is an editor and project manager at the RODOVID Press publishing house in Kyiv.
  • Lidia Lykhach is the executive editor and founder of RODOVID Press.


Aglaya Glebova is an Associate Professor in the History of Art at the University of California, Berkeley.

Organizer: Dr. Liladhar R. Pendse, Librarian for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies

The image provides photos of the speakers and describes the webinar that is planned for March 21st as follows: Ukraine Fights On: One Year Later Ukrainian Publishers and Literary Critics Speak In this second event, women publishers and literary critics from Ukraine will update us on the current state of publishing, the different strategies they are using to mitigate the tragic circumstances of their war, and how publishing has evolved since the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Celebrating the 100th Anniversary of San Francisco Opera

front view of stage, performance of opera Fidelio, with chorus and leads dressed as detainees and guards in a prison camp. San Francsico Opera, 2021
Performance of Fidelio, San Francisco Opera, 2021, photograph courtesy of Cory Weaver


It is with great pride and pleasure that we announce the launch of four new oral histories with San Francisco Opera, continuing a collaboration with the Oral History Center that reaches back decades. In 1973, interviewer Suzanne Riess sat down for interviews with Julian Bagley, who met H.G. Wells and Marian Anderson during his forty years working at the War Memorial Opera House from its opening in 1932! In 1999, Oral History Center interviewer Caroline Crawford conducted an oral history  with tenor, voice teacher, and impresario James Schwabacher, whose relationship with San Francisco Opera went back to the 1940s. The San Francisco Opera has benefited from very stable leadership over the past century, with only two general directors during the first sixty years of its existence. This oral history project gained momentum in the 1980s with a three-volume oral history with Kurt Herbert Adler, who was general director of the Opera from 1953 until 1981, and those who knew and worked with him.

In the 2000s, Crawford conducted a number of interviews documenting the conception, creation, planning, management, rehearsal, and performance of an opera commissioned by the Company, John Adams’ Dr. Atomic. For the oral history project Doctor Atomic: The Making of an American Opera, Crawford interviewed composer John Adams, general director of the San Francisco Opera Pamela Rosenberg, music director Sir Donald Runnicles, who conducted the world premiere, music administrator Clifford “Kip” Cranna, and chorus director Ian Robertson. In 2011, Crawford created and oral history with star mezzo-soprano Frederica “Flicka” von Stade, exploring in depth a career in opera performance.

In 2018, we undertook dramaturg emeritus Kip Cranna’s oral history, this time to capture his long career with the opera as a music scholar/ administrator and dramaturg, including his familiarity with the tenures of general directors Kurt Herbert Adler, Terence McEwen, Lotfi Mansouri, Pamela Rosenberg, and David Gockley.

The oral history with general director David Gockley (2006-16) showcased his transformative promotion of “American music theater” that he had pioneered at the Houston Grand Opera. In his time at San Francisco, Gockley focused on dissolving the boundary between opera as high culture and a more democratic and inclusive notion of music theater. He was also an important impresario of new, original compositions by American composers, often in American historical settings.

The oral history with general director Pamela Rosenberg (2001-2006), Gockley’s predecessor, revealed a different approach to opera administration. Although raised and educated in Venezuela and California, Rosenberg spent her entire career in opera administration in Europe, and brought a European sensibility and enthusiasm for adventurous productions to San Francisco. As she began her term in 2001, Rosenberg faced the impact of 9/11 and the recession. Despite these challenges, she pressed forward with high-risk, high-reward premieres and productions.

The Oral History Center also explored the intersection of San Francisco Opera with the broader community in an interview with Opera Board member Sylvia Lindsey. She was asked to join the Opera Board in 1987, and since then has held a number of positions on committees, in particular to do with education and outreach. She has been a vital force in bringing young people to the opera, but she also fostered inclusion and belonging among the staff and visiting musicians and performers, long before these terms came to stand for common institutional practices. The interview touches on her multiple roles with several arts organizations, highlighting a key facet of her importance as a connector, bringing different people together towards a common purpose.

The pursuit of an art form that is hundreds of years old in the world center of up-to-the-minute technological trends and innovation may seem to be paradoxical, and even a bit quixotic. But the San Francisco Opera is an American story of modernity, resilience, and adaptation. It is about the transplantation of cultural forms from Europe, nurtured early on by many Italian immigrants to the city. It is also about would-be performers growing up in smalltown USA, seeing Beverly Sills on late-night talk shows, and wondering if they too might one day undertake something so grand and beautiful as a calling. But it is also about the ways in which art forms and their institutions can signal and in some ways exemplify elitism, and the efforts of the Opera to move beyond this unintentional cultural positioning through outreach, education, and initiatives of inclusion and diversity. Ultimately, these stories are about broadening the idea of what opera can be, for the performers, for the audiences, and for young people who talk to a singer who visits their schools, attend a performance, see themselves represented on stage, and perhaps dream one day to perform.

This most recent set of interviews is an in-depth exploration of what it means to do art. Creativity is of course the lifeblood of composition, performance, production, and, dare I say, administration. But this project is very much about the drama of the work of performance in all its dimensions. The audience experience of opera performance is certainly visceral. Those soundwaves hit you in your chest. You are, after all, sitting inside the giant horn that is the War Memorial Opera House. The melodies and harmonies open your heart, and the dramatic performance threatens to break it. But what emerges after talking for hours with people who make each of those performances work flawlessly every night is that this art is constructed and expressed on a knife’s edge. The stage manager’s calls sound like an air-traffic controller calmly landing dozens of jets at once. A prima donna falls sick the day of, and a cover, or understudy, steps in to sing a four-hour opera. Many, many things can go wrong at any moment, but the audience experience is only a musical and dramatic catharsis. Radiate out from the excitement behind the scenes of every performance, and you can see the larger drama in which the Opera finds itself: the ups and downs of the market and the tragedies of war and disease that impact the Company, its audience, and the wider community. In short, these interviews are very much about what art means, now and for the ages. For the past one hundred years the San Francisco Opera has been making meaning and beauty for its evolving communities. May it continue to do so long into the future.

PhiloBiblon 2023 n. 2 (marzo). Fuero parece, Real lo es: BH MSS 345 de la Biblioteca Histórica ‟Marqués de Valdecilla”

Mónica Castillo Lluch
Université de Lausanne

El manuscrito BH MSS 345, custodiado en la Biblioteca Histórica ‟Marqués de Valdecilla” de la Universidad Complutense de Madrid, fue catalogado bajo los títulos ‟Libro del fuero que dio el Rey don Alfonso a la uilla de Sant fagunt” y ‟Fuero de Sahagún”, por comenzar su texto de este modo: ‟Este es el libro del fuero que dio el Rey don Alfonso a la villa de Sant Fagunt” (f. 4r, v. imagen 2). Como Fuero de Sahagún se encuentra hasta hoy (18 de marzo de 2023) en el catálogo de la Biblioteca de la Universidad Complutense de Madrid y hasta hace varios días así en PhiloBiblon, bajo BETA texid 2443 con el registro BETA cnum 9301.

Ahora bien, la catalogación de este códice como Fuero de Sahagún es errónea, pues el texto que contiene es el del Fuero Real, como anuncian inequívocamente los índices de sus cuatro libros (ff. 1v-3v) y como revela la lectura del texto. El códice procede del Museo-Laboratorio jurídico ‟Ureña” de la Facultad de Derecho de la Universidad Central (lleva su sello en diversos folios) y por ello sorprende que hasta hoy no haya sido identificado como testimonio del Fuero Real, lo que se comprueba consultando la nómina de manuscritos que ofrecen Martínez Diez en su edición (1988: 22-72) y Fernando Gómez Redondo y José Manuel Lucía Megías en el Diccionario filológico de literatura medieval española (2002: 11-15). Consecuentemente tampoco ha figurado hasta ahora este testimonio entre los que da PhiloBiblon del Fuero Real (BETA texid 1006), error que ya se ha corregido, enlazando el registro con el testimonio en BETA cnum 9301.

Dos razones explican la catalogación defectuosa: de un lado, el título de Fuero Real es moderno –de finales del siglo XV­-, y los códices antiguos no lo llevaban; en los pocos códices en los que aparece un título este es el de Libro del fuero, Libro del fuero de las leyes, Libro de las leyes, Libro de Flores o Flores (Martínez Diez 1988: 78-79 y BETA texid 1006). De otro, numerosos códices del Fuero Real se destinaron a localidades concretas (Martínez Diez 1988: 80-91), mediante la fórmula inicial de ‟Libro del fuero que dio el Rey don Alfonso a Burgos, Valladolid, Santo Domingo, Carrión… ”, lo que provoca confusión a la hora de identificar el texto, que se puede interpretar como fuero de esa villa (otro ejemplo del mismo tipo de error es que el códice de Filadelfia del Fuero Real (BETA cnum 3676) aparece como Fuero de Burgos en el CORDE; cf. Rodríguez Molina y Octavio de Toledo y Huerta 2017: 29).

Por desgracia al códice BH MSS 345 le faltan los últimos folios y, por tanto, la data, por lo que nunca sabremos si en la fórmula habitual ‟Este libro fue fecho e acabado en Valladolit por mandado del rey don Alfonso … días andados del mes de… era de 1293” figuraba la fecha de 18 de julio, la de 25 de agosto u otra de ese año 1255. Si nos atenemos al otro ejemplar que se ha conservado del Fuero Real destinado a Sahagún (esc. Z-II-8), que Martínez Diez (1988: 44) fecha de mediados del siglo XIV, y asumiendo que este fuera copia de BH MSS 345 –lo que está por probar–, esa fecha habría sido el 30 de agosto (o el 25, si hubo error de lectura, cf. Martínez Diez 1988: 83). En cualquier caso, merece la pena mencionar que el verdadero Fuero de Sahagún concedido por Alfonso X (BETA texid 2443 en PhiloBiblon) el 25 de abril de 1255, que se conserva en un privilegio rodado original (AHN, Clero Regular-Secular: car. 917, n. 13 BETA cnum 3569), en su dispositivo hace mención de que el rey otorga a la villa el Fuero Real como supletorio: ‟todas las otras cosas que aquí nõ son escriptas, que se judguen todos los de Sant Fagund, cristianos e judíos e moros pora siempre por el otro fuero que les damos en un libro escripto e seellado de nuestro seello de plomo” (texto apud BNE MSS/18128, f. 80v. Cf. Barrero García 1972: 404 y Martínez Diez 1988: 92 y 108).

¿Podría ser BH MSS 345 ese libro del Fuero Real escrito y sellado en 1255? Sin pretender dar una respuesta definitiva a pregunta tan importante en esta nota, cabe aquí al menos apuntar que rasgos textuales, codicológicos, paleográficos y diplomáticos de este códice revelan su antigüedad y hacen verosímil que pueda tratarse de un testimonio salido de la cancillería real en el verano de aquel año.

Desde el punto de vista textual, de confirmarse que BH MSS 345 es el arquetipo de Z-II-8, la calidad del texto de este último (‟ofrece un texto excelente del Fuero Real”, según Martínez Diez (1988: 45), y fue el testimonio elegido por la RAH para su edición de 1836) apuntaría a una fecha temprana de redacción. Entre los aspectos codicológicos y paleográficos que apoyarían la antigüedad del testimonio­­, podrían señalarse el intercolumnio partido para destacar las capitales, estas mismas capitales destacadas, las ocurrencias de d semiuncial interior ante vocal de trazo curvo o de r de martillo en los grupos br, pr (cf. Rodríguez Díaz, próxima publicación).

 1: F. 15v, en el que se aprecia el intercolumnio partido, las capitales destacadas, d semiuncial ante vocal curva en 4a, 7a, 16a, 18b y r de martillo tras b en 1b, 2b, 4b.
Imagen 1: F. 15v, en el que se aprecia el intercolumnio partido, las capitales destacadas, d semiuncial ante vocal curva en 4a, 7a, 16a, 18b y r de martillo tras b en 1b, 2b, 4b.

Pero hay otro elemento codicológico que nos interesa subrayar por su posible asociación más precisa con 1255. Sahagún era por aquel tiempo una villa de la merindad mayor de Castilla (Martínez Diez 1988: 110), como otras a las que posiblemente se les concedió de modo general el Fuero Real en la primavera de 1255 (Iglesia Ferreirós 1971: 950 y Craddock 1981: 384-385). Esto explicaría la intensísima actividad de la cancillería en el verano que siguió, durante el que se multiplicarían en ella los ejemplares del Fuero Real. Como ya se ha indicado, gran parte de esos libros iban destinados nominalmente a las villas (Martínez Diez 1988: 80), y para facilitar la producción en masa de estos se recurrió al método del formulario: se dejaba en blanco el espacio del nombre de la villa, que se rellenaría después. Esto explicaría que en ese punto del texto varios de los códices que se han conservado presenten el nombre sobre un raspado (Burgos en Z-III-13, siguiendo a Craddock 1981: 385) o anacolutos (Z-III-17, ibidem), así como quizá la gran variabilidad de las fórmulas genéricas (Martínez Diez 1988: 81). Pues bien, en el caso de BH MSS 345, su diseño se corresponde a todas luces con el de un formulario: se dejó ese hueco rellenado después con una letra de módulo superior a la del resto del texto, de diferente factura y con tinta de tono más oscuro. En cuanto a la rúbrica, ha de pensarse en una intervención posterior a la inserción del nombre de la villa destinataria, pues en ella no se aprecia el mismo fenómeno.

Imagen 2: F. 4r, en el que se inicia el texto. En las ll. 1-3a figura el título del libro y en 7-8b se aprecia el hueco para la inscripción posterior del nombre de la villa.
Imagen 2: F. 4r, en el que se inicia el texto. En las ll. 1-3a figura el título del libro y en 7-8b se aprecia el hueco para la inscripción posterior del nombre de la villa.

Confirma el carácter de formulario el hecho de que en la ley de las iglesias juraderas (2.12.3, f. 33r), se dejaron 7 líneas en blanco (12-18a) para que se rellenaran después con precisión de la iglesia en cuestión en función de la villa a la que se destinaba (Martínez Diez 1988: 86-87). Parece ser la misma mano del f. 4r la que rellena esas líneas y lo hace con la mención de la iglesia de Santiago, una de las principales de Sahagún en aquel momento (cf. imagen 3).

Imagen 3: F. 33r, cuyas líneas 12-18a se dejaron en blanco para ser rellenadas después con el nombre preciso de la iglesia de la villa a la que se destinaba el fuero.
Imagen 3: F. 33r, cuyas líneas 12-18a se dejaron en blanco para ser rellenadas después con el nombre preciso de la iglesia de la villa a la que se destinaba el fuero.

Por último, cabe señalar que el pergamino de todo el códice está taladrado en su vértice inferior izquierdo para pasar los hilos de seda de los que colgaría el sello de plomo que lo validaría como emitido en la cancillería real (cf. imágenes 3 y 4). Este parece ser uno de los métodos habituales de aposición de sellos en los cuadernos y libros alfonsíes (Ruiz Asencio 1988: 153).

Imagen 4: F. 68r. En el vértice inferior izquierdo se ve el taladro para el sello pendiente.
Imagen 4: F. 68r. En el vértice inferior izquierdo se ve el taladro para el sello pendiente.

En definitiva, estimo que este testimonio del Fuero Real que viene ahora a sumarse a la lista de los que ya se conocían podría haber sido producido en 1255 a partir del original de la cancillería real. Corresponde ahora examinarlo en detalle desde un punto de vista estructural, paleográfico, codicológico y lingüístico para poder confirmar esta primera impresión. El trabajo en curso de Inés Fernández-Ordóñez y Elena Rodríguez Díaz (2021) sobre el manuscrito BNE MSS/7798 (BETA manid 3086), también recientemente identificado como un nuevo manuscrito antiguo del Fuero Real, podrá tener en cuenta BH MSS 345, evaluarlo a la luz del resto de la tradición manuscrita y valorar si se produjo, junto a otros de los testimonios conservados, como original múltiple. Entre estos podrían igualmente encontrarse los membra disiecta de un manuscrito custodiado en el Archivo de la Real Cancillería de Valladolid (BETA manid 5754) al que en este mismo blog dedicó Jerry Craddock un post en 2016 (The original manuscript of the Fuero real (Valladolid: Archivo de la Real Chancillería?).

Otra buena noticia es que la Biblioteca Histórica ‟Marqués de Valdecilla” está redactando actualmente un adendum a su catálogo y que rectificará el registro de este códice en breve, lo que ya ha sucedido en PhiloBiblon.

P.D. Precisamente a base de esta noticia de la profesora Castillo Lluch hemos podido rectificar los registros de PhiloBiblon, quitando el enlace de BETA cnum 9301 con el registro del Fuero de Sahagún (BETA texid  2443) para enlazar este testimonio correctamente con el registro del Fuero real (BETA texid 1006). [Charles Faulhaber]


Barrero García, Ana María (1972), ‟Los fueros de Sahagún”, AHDE 42, 385-597.

Craddock, Jerry (1981), ‟La cronología de las obras legislativas de Alfonso X el Sabio”, AHDE 51, 365-418.

Fernández-Ordóñez, Inés y Rodríguez Díaz, Elena (2021), ‟Un manuscrito del siglo XIII del Fuero real”, comunicación presentada en “Alfonso X y el poder de la literatura (1221-2021)”. Congreso internacional, Iemyrhd, Universidad de Salamanca, 2021 (22-24 de noviembre).

Gómez Redondo, Fernando y Lucía Megías, José Manuel (2002), ‟Fuero Real”, en Alvar, Carlos y Lucía Megías, José Manuel, Diccionario filológico de literatura medieval española: textos y transmisión, Madrid, Castalia, 11-15.

Iglesia Ferreirós, Aquilino (1971), ‟Las Cortes de Zamora de 1274 y los casos de corte”, AHDE 41, 945-72.

Martínez Diez, Gonzalo (1988), Leyes de Alfonso X. II. Fuero Real (edición y análisis crítico), Ávila, Fundación Sánchez Albornoz.

Rodríguez Díaz, Elena (próxima publicación), ‟Elementos para fechar los códices leoneses y castellanos según los manuscritos datados (ss. XII y XIII)”, en Ángeles Romero Cambrón (ed.), La ley de los godos. Estudios selectos, Peter Lang.

Rodríguez Molina, Javier y Octavio de Toledo y Huerta, Álvaro (2017), ‟La imprescindible distinción entre texto y testimonio: el CORDE y los criterios de fiabilidad lingüística”Scriptum digital. Revista de corpus diacrònics i edició digital en Llengües iberoromàniques 6, 5-68.

Ruiz Asencio, José Manuel  (1988), ‟Estudio paleográfico”, en Gonzalo Martínez Diez, Leyes de Alfonso X. II. Fuero Real, Ávila, Fundación Sánchez Albornoz, 133-59.

Women Photographers Book Selections from the Richard Sun Donation

Here is a selection of books of the works of women photographers recently donated by Richard Sun.  Additional books from the donation are now on display in the Art History/Classics library.  Click the links to see their records in UC Library Search.

Stranger: Olivia Arthur                                        Mourka: Martha Swope                   Hot Days in Camp Hansen: Mao Ishikawa


Liz Johnson Artur                                      Moving Away: Ishiuchi Miyako                     Myself Mona Ahmed: Dayanita Singh

Memorandum: Ana Paula Estrada      Every Night Temo Ser La Dinner: Sofia Ayarzagoitia         Picture Book: Hannah Hock

Spring bloom: new ebooks from OpenEdition

Open Edition Books

It’s that time of year when we choose new ebook titles from OpenEdition. Below you will find a few that have made it to the list. Please send other recommendations to the Librarian for Romance Languages by April 1.

Since 2014, the UC Berkeley Library has supported this initiative based at the Université d’Aix-Marseille to open scholarly content from Europe and France in particular to the world. The Freemium program allows the UC Berkeley community to participate in an acquisitions policy that both supports sustainable development of open access (OA) and that respects the needs of teaching, research and learning communities. With our participation, faculty, students, and other researchers can benefit from greater functionality while making it possible for anyone in the world to view in html and in open access 70% of the ebook catalog of more than 13,000 titles.

Through the Freemium model, UC Berkeley gains access to preferred formats (pdf, epub, etc.) with no DRM quotas and seamless access to the content with UC Library Search.

Armeno-Indica: Four Centuries of Familiarity and Friendship Conference at UCLA

The image shows a monument from India. This photo was used for a poster or marketing material of Armeno Indica conference that was organized at UCLA in March of 2023


Armeno-Indica: Four Centuries of Familiarity and Friendship
March 17 – March 18

This event is organized by the UCLA Richard Hovannisian Endowed Chair in Modern Armenian History.

Friday, March 17, 2023, | 10:00 AM – 6:30 PM (Pacific Time)
Saturday, March 18, 2023, | 11:30 AM – 6:00 PM (Pacific Time)

Postponed due to the pandemic, this international conference celebrates the bicentenary of the founding of Kolkata’s famed Armenian College (est. 1821), one of three centers of Armenian higher learning in the diaspora during the nineteenth century and the only one that has survived and is thriving today. Bringing together economic, literary, legal, and cultural historians from India, Armenia, France, the United Kingdom, Germany, and the United States, the conference highlights how, beginning in the early modern period and continuing to the present, Armenians have traveled to India to make its distant shores and cultures their own. India looms large in the Armenian social imaginary. It was not only the place where the first Armenian proto-constitution for an “imagined” nation-republic was published (Madras 1788/9), it was also the cradle of the first Armenian newspaper (Madras, 1794-1796), the first modern Armenian play (Calcutta 1823), and arguably also where the first Eastern Armenian novel appeared (Calcutta, 1846), as well as where the first Armenian “feminist” tract (Calcutta, 1847) was published.

Gathering an international group of scholars, Armeno-Indica explores the Indo-Armenian saga in South Asia from the seventeenth to the twenty-first centuries. The themes to be explored include the connected economic, literary, legal, and political histories of Armenians and Indians in South Asia and beyond across the waters of the Indian Ocean. The keynote for the conference will be delivered by Professor Sanjay Subrahmanyam.


Please fill out the form for providing RSVP for in-person attendance. The form is located at the following hyperlink:

VENUE: UCLA Royce Hall 314 and Fowler Museum

Alternatively, you may attend this conference using zoom with prior. Here is the hyperlink that will lead you to the form that needs to be filled out:

Friday, March 17, 2023 (Royce 314, UCLA)
Welcoming words: Amy Landau and Ann Karagozian
(10:00 AM – 10:15 AM)

Introduction to the conference: Sebouh David Aslanian
(10:15 AM – 10:30 AM)

Panel 1: Trade, Law, and Go-Betweens (10:30 AM – 12:30 PM)
Santanu Sengupta (Kolkata): “Negotiating with Law: Phases of Armenian Interaction with the Early Colonial Law Courts in India.”

Xabier Lamikiz (University of the Basque Country /Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea (UPV/EHU): “Armenian Merchants from Madras in Eighteenth-Century Spanish Manila: A Story of Love and Hate.”

Ruquia Hussain (Aligarh Muslim University, AMU): “Of Sarhad and Calcutta: The English East India Company, Khwāja Israel di Sarhad and the Foundation of Modern Calcutta.”

Sona Tajiryan (Gemological Institute of America, GIA): “How to Choose and Buy Pearls? An Eighteenth-Century Armenian Guide on the Pearl Trade in India (1730s).”

Discussant: Glenn Penny (UCLA)

Lunch Break: Balcony of Royce 306 (12:30 PM – 1:30 PM)

Panel 2: Language and Literary Revival (1:30 PM-3:00 PM)
Ahona Panda (Claremont McKenna): “Ajab Shahar Calcutta: The Outsider in the Bengal Renaissance.”

Talar Chahinian (University of California, Irvine): “Mobilizing Subjectivity in the Practice of the Nation: Tagheadeants‘s’ Case for Women’s Education.”

Peter Cowe (Near Eastern Languages and Cultures, UCLA): “Intertextuality and Innovation: Mesrop Taghiadeants‘ and his Experimentation with the Novel Genre in Comparative Perspective.”

Discussant: Houri Berberian (University of California, Irvine)

Coffee Break: (3:00 PM – 3:15 PM)

Panel 3: Armenian Historiography and Print Culture in Madras (3:15-5:00PM)
Martin Adamian (UCLA, graduate student): “Mesrovb J. Seth, Father of Indo-Armenian Historiography.”

Anna Sirinian (Dipartimento di Storia Culture Civiltà, Università di Bologna): “Azdarar (1794-1796): The First Armenian Periodical in the World.”

Hasmik Kirakosyan (Senior Researcher, Mashtots Repository of Manuscripts, Yerevan): “Harutiwn Shmavonean an Armenian Printer-publisher in Madras and a Farman for Printing in Arabic script in Madras.”

Discussant: Nile Green (UCLA)

Panel 4: History in the Present (5:00 PM – 6:30 PM)
Armen Arslanian: (Warden of the Armenian Church of Dhaka, Bangladesh): “The Armenian Church of Dhaka (Bangladesh) and the task of Heritage preservation.”

Vache Tadevosyan: (Community leader, Kolkata, India): “The Mardasirakan Jemaran (Armenian College of Kolkata) and its Bicentenary.”

Satenik Chookaszian (Armenian National Gallery in Yerevan): “Sargis Katchadourian’s reproductions of India’s cultural gems from the collection of National Gallery of Armenia.”

Chair and Discussant: Armen Baibourtian

Saturday, March 18, 2023 (Fowler Museum, UCLA)
Check-in at Lenart Hall (11:30 AM – 12:00 PM)

Welcoming remarks: Amy Landau

Panel 1: Monuments, Patronage, and Indo-Persianate Identities (12:00 PM – 2:00 PM)
Sebouh David Aslanian (Department of History, UCLA): “Cemeteries as Heterotopias: Armenian Sepulchral Culture in Agra and Surat, or what the Dead can tell us About the Living.”

Talinn Grigor (Department of Art History, UC Davis): “‘Transimperial’ Strategies of Artistic Patronage: From New Julfan Merchants to Parsi Industrialists.”

Veronika Zablotsky (Freie Universität, Berlin): “Orientalism and the Making of the Armenian Diasporic Imaginary in Early Colonial India.”

Discussant: Peter Cowe (UCLA)

Panel 2: The Historical Imagination and the Circulation of Revolutionary Ideas in Late 18th Century South India (2:00 PM – 3:30PM)
Michael O’Sullivan (The European University Institute, Florence): “Portfolio Capitalism and History-Writing in Hagop Simonean Ayubeant’s Life of Haydar Ali Khan, c. 1782-1795.”

Ayal Amer (UC Irvine): “Fitna and Patriotism in Late 18th century Madras.”

Satenig Badwagan Toufanian (Inalco, Paris): “The Snare of Glory: A Call for Freedom from Madras.”

Discussant: Sebouh D. Aslanian

Intermission: Lemonade, Cookies, and Open Galleries in Courtyard (3:30 PM – 4:40 PM)

Keynote Address (4:40 PM – 5:40 PM)
Sanjay Subrahmanyam (Distinguished Professor & Irving and Jean Stone Endowed Chair in Social Sciences): “Armenians and Others in Mughal Surat: Rethinking Communities, Collaboration and Conflict.”

Reception on the Terrace (6:00m – 7:30 pm)



UCLA Richard Hovannisian Chair of Modern Armenian History
Fowler Museum at UCLA
Armenian Studies Center at the UCLA Promise Armenian Institute
USC Dornsife Institute of Armenian Studies
National Association for Armenian Studies and Research (NAASR)
UCLA Narekatsi Chair in Armenian Studies
UCLA Center for Near Eastern Studies

A Conversation About Awe

Group photo of speakers
Mridini Vijay, Dacher Keltner, Yuria Celidwen, and Wesley Lu in a conversation about awe in the Morrison Library on February 27, 2023.

In his new book Awe: The New Science of Everyday Wonder and How it Can Transform Your Life, Dacher Keltner, UC Berkeley professor of psychology, defines awe as “the emotion we experience when we encounter vast mysteries that we don’t understand.” In his recent book talk, he introduced a receptive crowd to this concept, and how it is distinct from bliss, ecstasy, or gratitude. It is an emotion of mystery, of goosebumps. Keltner has even served as an “awe consultant,” guiding Pixar films on how to incorporate awe in the films Inside Out, and Soul.

When ProfBook Coveressor Keltner was joined in conversation with three colleagues and an audience of a hundred in the Morrison Library on February 27, the discussion touched on many aspects of this emotion. Yuria Celidwen, a senior fellow at the Othering & Belonging Institute, spoke about transcendent experiences as conceptualized in indigenous cultures and how the elders in her Chiapas, Mexico community teach about a sense of reverence for nature or “ecological belonging.” Wesley Lu, a fourth year undergraduate and a student mental health advocate, spoke about collective effervescence — when a life force creates a collective self whether in a classroom, during a religious ceremony or among sports fans.

And no conversation about awe, especially in Berkeley, is complete without a discussion of plant medicine; third year undergraduate Mridini Vijay, also a campus mental health advocate, asked Celidwen to discuss her research on the topic that is commonly, though incorrectly, referred to as psychedelics. In Ethical Indigenous Medicine to Guide Western Psychedelic Research and Practice (The Lancet Regional Health – Americas (February 2023)), which Keltner described as “one of the most important papers on psychedelics ever published,” Celidwen and colleagues discuss concerns by Indigenous Nations over the cultural appropriation and exclusionary practices of psychedelic use in the West and the false notion that plant medicine is somehow the “one key pill to human enlightenment.” In fact, there is evidence that a daily practice incorporating “understanding, kindness, gratitude and reverence” may be as good as or better than psychedelics. In the end, there is so much more to learn about awe, and how we may experience it in our daily lives. Keltner’s book is a wonderful starting point for that journey.