UC Berkeley News


Close Encounters of a Cross-Cultural Kind: Seventy-five years at International House, Berkeley, By Joseph Lurie and I-House

27 October 2004

International House will celebrate its 75th anniversary next year — three-quarters of a century of providing not only housing for foreign students (and domestic ones, too), but a place where students from just about everywhere can learn to interact, discuss (as in talk), eat, sleep, discuss (as in argue), and grow wiser together.

A collection of recollections (or “testimonials,” as I-House executive director Joe Lurie, this book’s co-author, calls them) about time spent in the Moorish-inspired building at the top of Bancroft Way, Close Encounters of a Cross-Cultural Kind packages short and very short pieces from 40-some I-House alumni into just over 100 pages of photos and text. A few contributors’ names (John Kenneth Galbraith, Harry Belafonte) will be familiar to all; a few more will call to mind longtime members of the Berkeley community (Sherry Warrick, Richard Newton). But most of these remembrances are from people who lived at I-House for a year, or four, and then moved on (and, in many instances, away from Berkeley) — though not without leaving something of themselves behind and taking something equally precious with them. As Bay Area environmental writer Harold Gilliam writes: “I-House was the world in microcosm, and ... I believe I have sharper perceptions, deeper understanding, more first-hand insights into other cultures and people because of my time at I-House.”

To order copies of the book ($13.95 including postage and handling), contact the I-House Alumni Office at 642-4128 or e-mail Shanty Corrigan at shanti@berkeley.edu.

DF Publications, 2004; 105 pages