DeMott Lecture: “A Sense of Wonder: Science, Creativity and Culture”

August 30, 2010

Harold Varmus ’61, a Nobel Laureate in Medicine who majored in English at Amherst (writing a thesis on Charles Dickens under the direction of Professor of English William Pritchard ’53), discussed what the lives of Romantic Age astronomers William and Caroline Herschel, as revealed in Richard Holmes’ recent book, The Age of Wonder, tell us about science: what it is, who does it, who pays for it, what it offers to society and how it is related to the arts and humanities. Watch video of the lecture, as well as an advice-laden exchange with inquisitive first-years, in the video below.

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Immigration Politics: What Next After the Election?

The 2010-11 Copeland Program presents Daniel Altschuler ’04, Copeland Fellow; Carleen Basler, professor of American studies and sociology; Javier Corrales, professor of political science; and Ilan Stavans, Lewis-Sebring Professor in Latin American and Latino Culture (Spanish) discussing “Immigration Politics: What Next After the Election?”

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The Development Game: Experiences with International Development in Fact and Fiction

Roger King, November 10, 2010

Roger King has worked extensively with international development agencies in Africa and Asia, and has written novels about the human experience of these activities. Drawing on his own experience, he looks at the unintended consequences of the international development era, the fictions of official versions, and the role of fiction in discovering truth.

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A Wrongful Conviction – And Freedom after a Lifetime in Prison

Wrongful Conviction panel
Firsenbaum and Bozella

Dewey Bozella was 18 when he went to prison for the vicious murder of a 92-year-old woman. He was 50 when he became a free man again – after a judge threw out the conviction that had been based on the testimony of two men with criminal histories and without any physical evidence linking Bozella to the crime. Ross E. Firsenbaum ’02, whose law firm was asked by the Innocence Project to take the case pro bono, joined Bozella and his wife Trena on October 30, 2010, to tell the story of the conviction, incarceration (during which Bozella earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees and met and married Trena) and the remarkable 2,500 hours of work that led to Bozella’s vindication and release.

Listen to the presentation below.


Shahrukh Rafi Khan—“Turning Pain to Gain”

On Oct. 26, 2010, Shahrukh Rafi Khan spoke on “Turning Pain to Gain.” His talk highlighted his research on the “brain drain” problem. While acknowledging that the “brain drain,” or the migration of highly educated persons from low- to high-income countries, shows no signs of slowing down, Khan nonetheless identifies individual, NGO and state non-force mechanisms currently underway that can lessen the pain for low-income countries. Khan goes further, proposing to make this process more systematic and effective—turning pain to gain. Khan’s findings are included in his new paper (PDF) on the issue.

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Economics Talk by Joseph Stiglitz '64 and Robert Johnson

Nobel Prize-winner Joseph Stiglitz '64 and Robert Johnson of the Institute for New Economic Thinking discussed “Changing the Paradigm: The Challenge to the Economics Profession in the Aftermath of the Crisis and the Role of the Institute for New Economic Thinking,” on October 14, 2010. Watch video below.

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Kate Orkin on “In the Child’s Best Interests? Legislation on Children’s Work in Ethiopia”

Kate Orkin, a doctoral candidate and Rhodes Scholar at the Department of International Development at Oxford University, spoke at Amherst College on Oct. 13, 2010. Orkin examines abolitionist vs. regulatory approaches to child work. Using case study research from rural Ethiopia, she finds that the current abolitionist approach is overly restrictive. Orkin argues for a regulatory approach, using the “least restrictive” alternative test applied in law. She contends that children and parents are able to define “harmful work” more precisely than international definitions, suggesting that locally specific definitions developed with working children should form the basis of a regulatory approach. Orkin is a research associate with the Young Lives Project (www.younglives.org.uk), a four-country study of the causes and consequences of childhood poverty. Her paper and talk are based on research conducted with Young Lives participants. The views expressed are those of the author.

Sponsored by the Copeland Colloquium for 2010-11, Orkin’s talk is part of a series of Copeland events on the theme of “International Development: Successes, Failures and Future Directions.”

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