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Join writer and actor Guinevere Turner, author of the coming-of-age memoir, When the World Didn't End, and author and UC Berkeley professor Poulomi Saha for a wide-ranging conversation about our fascination with cults. Learn about the global history of cults, as well as Turner's own first-hand account of growing up in one.




Speaker Bios:


Guinevre Turner is a writer, director and actor who has been working in film and TV since her 1994 debut film Go Fish, which she wrote, produced and starred in. She teamed up with director Mary Harron to write the films American Psycho, The Notorious Bettie Page and the 2019 film Charlie Says. She was a writer and story editor on Showtime’s The L Word, where she also played the recurring character Gabby Deveaux. She has written and directed seven short films, two of which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. She can be seen acting roles in The Watermelon Woman, Chasing Amy, American Psycho and The L Word. She taught screenwriting at Sarah Lawrence College, Columbia University, UGA, UCLA and NYU. She published an essay in The New Yorker in April of 2019, and expanded on that essay in her 2023 memoir When the World Didn’t End from Penguin Random House.



Poulomiaha is Associate Professor of English and co-Director of the Program in Critical Theory at UC Berkeley. A scholar of Asian American literature, postcolonial studies, & queer and feminist theory, they are currently at work on a book about America’s long obsession with Indian spirituality and why so often those groups come to be called cults. Our current cultural investments in yoga and mindfulness actually have a history going all the way back to the early republic. A history limned by scandal, anxiety, and deep longing. Their first book, An Empire of Touch: Women's Political Labor & The Fabrication of East Bengal (Columbia University Press, 2019) was awarded the Harry Levin Prize for outstanding first book by the American Comparative Literature Association in 2020 and the Helen Tartar First Book Award in 2017.

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