Reflections on 40 Years of Teaching: A Conversation with Austin Sarat about Continuity and Change at Amherst College

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Homecoming, November 8, 2014

Austin Sarat, the William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Jurisprudence and Political Science and associate dean of the faculty, has taught at Amherst for 40 years. He will reflect on what has remained constant and what has been altered in the way Amherst educates its students since he began teaching here. Are the experiences of Amherst students of today radically different from those of their predecessors? How, if at all, have the aspirations of Amherst's faculty changed? How has the life of the classroom changed? What inferences can we draw about the situation of American higher education from Amherst's experience? His latest book, Gruesome Spectacles: Botched Executions and America's Death Penalty, was co-authored with four Amherst students, a rather unique collaboration in the annals of academic book publishing. What about Amherst made this collaboration possible, and what does it tell us about the kind of education Amherst will provide to future generations of students?