New Watering Holes: Brenda Wong, South Asian Art History and U.C. Berkeley

Roger R. Hale

Rs. 395 Rs. 296 Out of stock

We were first introduced to Brenda Wong and her family in Three Chinese Travellers to India, which Roger R. Hale wrote collaboratively with his wife, Elizabeth Chien-Hale.

In the second of three short stories, Brenda Wong is a proud mother, daughter and wife who, along with her husband Milton, is starting a family in Cupertino, California. As a result of Milton’s job, the family relocates to Bengaluru, India for three years before returning to Northern California. While in South India, Brenda builds on her interest in architecture by researching temples in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.

New Watering Holes is the story of Brenda Wong’s decision to pursue a PhD in South Indian Art History at age 30 at U.C. Berkeley; her two children are young and Brenda fails to receive full support and encouragement from her husband and her mother.

This story explores three themes: First, it looks at the challenges in maintaining a healthy family while pursing ambitious personal and professional goals. Second, the book grapples with the contradictions surrounding wealth and inequality, particularly in the San Francisco Bay Area. Political progressives at Berkeley live nearby the economically motivated engineers in Silicon Valley, and yet their beliefs about money and wealth could not be more different. Finally, Brenda’s story sheds light on some of the complexity of interpreting culture and cultural artifacts: Who has the right to interpret the culture of others?

Roger R. Hale Roger R. Hale became interested in India at Wesleyan University in Connecticut, USA, where he studied mrdangam for three years with Tanjavur Ranganathan. Along with mrdangam, Roger Hale played other percussion instruments—drum set, timpani and vibraphone—and majored in philosophy. His studies at Wesleyan provided the backdrop for what became a lifelong interest in Indian history and culture. He received his M.A. in Indian Studies at U.C. Berkeley in 1985.

Also in 1985, he met and married Elizabeth Chien-Hale, who is a legal expert in Intellectual Property issues focusing on US, China and Taiwan. As a result of their lives together, in Northern California, Taiwan and China, Roger & Elizabeth are deeply engaged in thinking and writing about the cultural intersection between India and China.


1. Admission to U.C. Berkeley
2. U.C. Berkeley—The First Few Days
3. Getting Settled: Semester One
4. Developing Relationships at Berkeley
5. Brenda and Anita
6. Summer in Cupertino
7. Brenda and Milton
8. Year Two at Berkeley
9. India Research #1: Tanjavur, Madurai and Hampi
10. India Research #2: Writing the Dissertation
11. Job offer: New Watering Holes



4 items - $164,50