Student allies, faculty, and staff compiled these resources in response to questions about events around the Amherst Uprising and to help students leaving campus soon after for Thanksgiving break. This is an evolving clearinghouse of aggregated information, and it will be updated over the next weeks and months as we receive and gather additional sources.
KNOW THE EVENTS
On Thursday, November 12th, three students organized a sit-in in Frost library in solidarity with students of color at the University of Missouri, Yale and similar institutions. The event was initially scheduled to last an hour; however, it turned into weekend-long occupation of the library, during which students of color and other students whose experiences are marginalized on our campus gave testimony about their experiences of struggle at Amherst. Over the course of the weekend, students, staff, faculty and administrators alike came together to witness these testimonies—and to begin to think critically about how to make the college a safer, more inclusive place for those who feel the least supported on campus.
KNOW THE CAUSE
At colleges and universities across the nation, students of color have been speaking out about the immense obstacles—emotional, academic, and psychological—that have troubled and complicated their experiences in higher education. Protests surrounding these issues on the campuses of the University of Missouri and Yale have been particularly fraught with tension and conflict. But importantly, the experiences described by the students are not unique to any specific campus, they persist everywhere, including at Amherst. Some students on our campus feel marginalized, isolated, undersupported and overburdened. Many do not feel safe walking around the college because of the acts of discrimination (due to race, class, nationality, sexuality, gender identity, and other differences) that they have confronted. Many who seek resources report finding themselves face-to-face with an institution that is not equipped to meet their needs. Prior to the sit-in, many students in such circumstances repeatedly engaged with the administration and faculty calling for change, and they report disappointment in progress towards change.
KNOW WHERE YOU FIT IN
The issues discussed at the sit-in are some of the specific experiences many black and Latino students have had Amherst, yet they speak to the experiences of students who have also found themselves marginalized in their experiences, for instance of race, class, ability, gender, sexuality, or religious difference on campus. As a result, allies may not feel like they can contribute to the movement; however, these students do have a place in the movement and should be engaged with issues of inequality as a whole. Certain allies may benefit everyday from their status and may often take their privilege for granted. This privilege is often invisible to them; to recognize and understand it, they must listen to the experiences, insights, and hardships of their fellow students. Involvement and support also sends a message to other students that the issues raised in this movement affect the entire Amherst community and deserve everyone's attention.
KNOW WHAT COMES NEXT
What comes next looks different for everyone. For some of us, it means being more aware of ourselves and our place on this campus. For many, it means discussions with the people around you. If you’re going home for break, or staying on campus and talking with your friends and family by phone or Skype, you may be having difficult conversations—perhaps for the first time. It can be hard to talk about race, class, gender, religion, and other forms of structural oppression on and off campus with family members who may not understand. But this is an opportunity for you to have honest conversations with those around you and to engage with the challenging work of raising awareness of systemic inequality and how it affects you and our Amherst College community.
KNOW WHAT YOU CAN DO
Get personal! Make a commitment to listening and learning going forward. Attend events hosted by the Multicultural Resource Center, Queer Resource Center, and Women’s and Gender Resource Center. Take this time to reflect; be conscious of privilege and struggles, and the ways structural inequality affects your life on campus. Allies often cannot “give up” their privilege, but they can use it in constructive ways. Be an active bystander: question and bring attention to discrimination you see on campus. Lastly, seek out ally organizers and ask how you can work with them.
Activist work is important, but it is also incredibly difficult and draining. To prevent activist burnout, self-care is of primary importance; see the Support Tools tab for important resources from the Counseling Center. Thanksgiving Break is a good opportunity to take a step back from the intense atmosphere of the past week and focus on re-energizing yourself so that you’re ready to work on being part of the change when classes resume. If you need support during Thanksgiving Break, see the Support Tools tab above. Trust your instincts and conscience when it comes to what level of activism or engagement in difficult conversations comes next.
Many members of the Amherst College community, including faculty and staff, support this movement as can be seen here: http://amherstuprising.com/letters.html
SUPPORT TOOLS and NETWORKS
Some possible ways to seek and find support:
The Counseling Center has put together resources:
and self-help tools:
Students can access a counselor anytime by calling the Counseling Center main line at 413-542-2354. The service is 24/7, including evenings, weekends and holidays.
Amherst Uprising's message to Alumni, Family, & Friends
President Biddy Martin's 11/15 Statement and 11/20 Letter
Dan Ahn '17 in the Amherst Student
Marc Daalder '18 in In These Times
Alum Adeline Oka in the New York Observer
Lerato Teffo '18 discusses the evolution of the protest with Matt Randolph '16
Websites with student perspectives
This bibliography is a work in progress. Much is pulled directly from the student-created Amherst College Disorientation Guide, with additional sources suggested by students, staff, and faculty. This is by no means comprehensive but provides a starting point for reading additional perspectives on these complicated issues. We welcome any suggestions.
Race and Racism
Alexander, Michelle. The New Jim Crow. New York: New Press, 2010.
Baldwin, James. The Fire Next Time. New York: Vintage, 1992.
Byrd, Brandon. "Introduction to the #Mizzou Syllabus." African American Intellectual History Society blog, November 13, 2015.
The Black Student Union and Andrew Lindsay. “A Letter to Amherst: Response to Racial Epithet.” The Amherst Student, October 2, 2013.
Bonilla-Silva, Eduardo. Racism without Racists: Color-blind Racism and the Persistence of Racial Inequality in America. Lanham, Md.: Rowman & Littlefield, 2014.
Coates, Ta-Nehisi. Between the World and Me. New York: Spiegel & Grau, 2015.
Coates, Ta-Nehisi. "The Case for Reparations." The Atlantic, June 2014.
Dominguez, Sharline, “Living in the Shadows of America” AC Voice, May 1, 2014.
Dominguez, Sharline and Becky Konijnenberg. “On Silence.” Amherst Soul, July 20, 2015.
Fadulu, Lola. “The Sad Black Kids: ‘Waking Up’.” AC Voice, August 10, 2015.
Harney, Stephen, & Fred Moten. The Undercommons: Fugitive Planning and Black Study. New York: Minor Compositions, 2013.
Ignatin, Noel and Allen, Ted. “White Blindspot: The Original Essays on Combating White Supremacy and White-Skin Privilege.” In Lost Writings of the SDS. Pittsburgh: Changemaker Publications, 2011.
Laymon, Kiese. “My Vassar College ID Makes Everything OK.” Gawker, November 29, 2014.
Lindsay, Andrew. “Black Lives, Shadow Lives: A Response to All Lives Matter.” The Amherst Student, October 22, 2014.
Lindsay, Andrew. "Spectacles of Invisibility: Race and Racism at Amherst College." Amherst College Disorientation Guide. September 1, 2015.
MacAlpine, Mercedes. “My Melanin Is Not a Myth, It’s Your Nightmare.” Amherst Soul, February 7, 2015.
McIntosh, Peggy. “White Privilege and Male Privilege.” Working paper #189, Center for Research on Women, Wellesley College, Wellesley, MA, 1988.
Ranganathan, Athri. “A Reflection.” Amherst Soul, October 22, 2014.
Various Authors. “Day of Dialogue or Day of ‘Dialogue’?” The Amherst Student, February 2, 2015.
Roberts, Frank. "We Gon' Be Alright: The Black Lives Matter Movement." Black Lives Matter Syllabus, September 19, 2016.
Addenbrook, Stephanie. “Job Well Done.” Yale Daily News, January 30, 2015.
Ahmed, Sarah. “Against Students.” The New Inquiry, June 29, 2015.
Arnold, Ryan. “The Amherst College Drinking Fetish.” AC Voice, September 4, 2013.
Arnold, Ryan. “On Irony and Loneliness.” AC Voice, September 28, 2013.
Dombek, Kristin. “The Help Desk: For those in distress.” n+1 19 (Spring 2014).
Gayer, Nora. “On (In)Accessibility at Amherst.” The Amherst Student, March 24, 2015.
Pappano, Laura. "First-Generation Students Unite." New York Times, April 12, 2015.
Rosenblum, Samuel. “Answering Mister Rogers.” AC Voice, April 4, 2015.
Rosenblum, Samuel. “From a Member of the Social Clubs Work Group: Vote No on the Proposal.” The Amherst Student, May 5, 2015.
Situationist Internationale. “On the Poverty of Student Life.” November 1966.
Sridhar, Meghna. “The Amherst Work Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism.” What’s Left at Amherst, November 7, 2013.
Various Authors. “An Open Letter on Social Clubs.” The Amherst Student, November 19, 2014.
Alinsky, Saul. Rules for Radicals. New York: Vintage, 1989.
Dominguez, Sharline. “Perspectives on Activism and Latinos in Higher Education.” AC Voice, December 12, 2013.
Gude, Shawn, & Bhaskar Sunkara, eds. Class Action: An Activist Teacher’s Handbook. Bronx, NY: Jacobin Foundation, 2014.
Minieri, Joan and Paul Getsos. Tools for Radical Democracy: How to Organize for Power in Your Community. San Francisco: Wiley, 2007.
Mushett, Travis. “Get Rude: In Praise of Obnoxious and Annoying Activism.” Blunderbuss Mag, April 24, 2013.
Osminkin, Roman. “Poems and Fuckery.” n+1, October 4, 2013.
Reclaim UC. “Against Civility: Dartmouth and the Logic of Administrative Discourse.” Reclaim UC Blog, April 28, 2013.
Rosenblum, Samuel. "On Self-Critical Activism." Amherst College Disorientation Guide. September 1, 2015.
Sridhar, Meghna. “The Lack of Leftist Discourse.” The Amherst Student, September 24, 2013.
Winant, Gabriel. “We Found Love in a Hopeless Place: Affect theory for activists.” n+1, Spring 2015.
Amherst College: Professors, Students, Staff, Alumni, and History
Dumm, Thomas. “Resignation.” Critical Inquiry 25.1 (1998): 56-76.
Kelly, Mike. “Oh, Lord Geoffrey Amherst was a soldier of the King.” The Consecrated Eminence, March 22, 2013.
Pouncey, Peter R., ed. Teaching What We Do: Essays by Amherst College Faculty.Amherst, MA: Amherst College Press, 1991.
Randolph, Matt. “Why History Matters.” AC Voice, April 14, 2014.
Sedgwick, Eve. “Sabrina Doesn’t Live Here Anymore.” Amherst Magazine 37.3 (1985): 12-17, 21.
Sitze, Adam. “Senior Assembly Address.” Lecture, Amherst College, Amherst, MA, May 8, 2013.
Sridhar, Meghna. “Graduation: A Time of Silence.” The Amherst Student, April 30, 2014.
Townsend, Kim. “Civil Disobedience: A Question of Institutional Involvement.” The Massachusetts Review 53.4 (2012): 701-716.
Wallace, David Foster. “Commencement Address: This is Water.” Lecture, Kenyon College, Gambier, OH, May 21, 2005.
Chasteen, John Charles. Born in Blood and Fire: A Concise History of Latin America. New York: W.W. Norton, 2002.
Fanon, Frantz. The Wretched of the Earth. New York: Grove Press, 2004.
Galeano, Eduardo. Open Veins of Latin America. New York: Monthly Review Press, 1997.
Hickel, Jason. “Aid in Reverse: How Poor Countries Develop Rich Countries.” New Left Project, December 18, 2013.
Illich, Ivan. “To Hell With Good Intentions.” Lecture, Conference on InterAmerican Student Projects, Cuernavaca, Mexico, April 20, 1968.
Zinn, Howard. A People’s History of the United States. New York: HarperCollins, 2003.
Feminism, Gender, and Sexuality
Anzaldua, Gloria. Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza. San Francisco: Aunt Lute Books, 1999.
Davis, Angela. Women, Race, & Class. New York: Random House, 1981.
Halberstam, Judith. The Queer Art of Failure. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2011.
hooks, bell. Feminism is for Everybody: Passionate Politics. London: Pluto Press, 2000.
Lorde, Audre. Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches. Trumansburg, NY: Crossing Press, 1984.
Muñoz, José Esteban. Cruising Utopia: The Then and There of Queer Futurity. New York: NYU Press, 2009.
Polk, Khary. “Glass Blowing.” Gawker, March 30, 2013.
Sedgwick, Eve Kosofsky. Touching Feeling: Affect, Pedagogy, Performativity. Durham, NC: 2003.
Spade, Dean. Normal Life: Administrative Violence, Critical Trans Politics, and the Limits of Law. Brooklyn, NY: South End Press, 2011.
Sridhar, Meghna. “A Love Letter to Anxious Ladies.” The Amherst Student, March 3, 2014.
Liberal Arts, Academia, and Pedagogy
Bousquet, Marc. “The ‘Informal Economy’ of the Information University.” Workplace 5 (2002): n.p.
Butler, Judith. “Critique, Dissent, Disciplinarity.” Critical Inquiry 35.4 (2009): 773-795.
Chandler, James. “Introduction: Doctrines, Disciplines, Discourses, Departments.”Critical Inquiry 35.4 (2009): 729-746.
Cronon, William. “‘Only Connect…’: The Goals of a Liberal Education.” The American Scholar 67.4 (1998): n.p.
Deresiewicz, William. Excellent Sheep. New York: Free Press, 2014.
Deresiewicz, William. “The Neoliberal Arts.” Harper’s, September 2015.
Douthat, Ross. “College, The Great Unequalizer.” New York Times Sunday Review, May 3, 2014.
Eco, Umberto. How to Write a Thesis. Translated by Caterina Mongiat Farina and Geoff Farina. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2015.
Freeman, Elizabeth. “‘Monsters, Inc.’: Notes on the Neoliberal Arts Education.” New Literary History 36.1 (2005): 83-95.
Freire, Paulo. Pedagogy of the Oppressed. Translated by Myra Bergman Ramos. New York: Continuum, 2000.
Garber, Marjorie. Academic Instincts. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2001.
Hofstadter, Richard. Anti-intellectualism in American Life. New York: Knopf, 1963.
Macharia, Keguro. “On Quitting.” The New Inquiry, May 3, 2013.
Mikics, David. Slow Reading in a Hurried Age. Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press, 2013.
Mowitt, John. “The Humanities and the University in Ruin.” Lateral 1 (2012): n.p.
Rancière, Jacques. The Ignorant Schoolmaster: Five Lessons in Intellectual Emancipation. Translated by Kristen Ross. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1991.
Sitze, Adam. "The Politics of the Liberal Arts." Amherst College Disorientation Guide. September 1, 2015.
Sitze, Adam. “Response to John Mowitt’s ‘Humanities and the University in Ruin’.” Lateral1 (2012): n.p.
Sitze, Adam, Austin Sarat, and Boris Wolfson. “The Humanities in Question.” College Literature 42.2 (2015): 191-220.
Slaughter, Sheila and Gary Rhoades. “The Neo-Liberal University.” New Labor Forum 6 (2000): 73-79.
Vendler, Helen. “What We Have Loved, Others Will Love.” In Falling Into Theory: Conflicting Views on Reading Literature, edited by David H. Richter, 27-36. New York: St. Martin’s, 1994.
Wellbery, David E. “The General Enters the Library: A Note on Disciplines and Complexity.” Critical Inquiry 35.4 (2009): 982-994.
Reflections on Amherst Uprising
(originally posted on December 3, 2015)
As we return from the Thanksgiving break, the staff of the Amherst College Library reflects on the events that started as the November 12th sit-in in Frost Library. We thank the students who organized and participated in the occupation of the Library—the respect and consideration they showed each other, our staff, and the library space were impressive, and we felt privileged and humbled to host the beginnings of their movement. We learned a great deal from students’ stories about our community, our college, and our shared hope for a more just society. We hope to continue to encourage, support, and provide resources to foster the conversations and work that started here and have continued across campus.
The Library strives to be a place of inquiry, debate, discovery, research, and creative expression, and in many ways, Amherst Uprising participants embodied that spirit in their willingness to communicate openly and think deeply about complex issues facing the college and the world at large. We hope that students chose the Library because they felt safe to have difficult conversations here, and that students will continue to see the Library as a space for this. Indeed, part of the mission of the Library is to build community by supporting peaceful, respectful, open inquiry and debate that bridges the intellectual and the social.
As we move forward, we want to hear from students, faculty, and staff about the role Amherst College Library can play in fostering discussion and learning about these issues that are so central to lives on campus. We also want to hear how the Library—as a place, a staff, a collection of resources—inhibits (or has inhibited) the inquiry, debate, and expression we hope to foster. To those ends, we encourage you to provide feedback about our collections, spaces, services, or anything else in the following ways:
For more information about the Amherst Uprising movement, visit the Amherst Uprising Information & Sources page, a resource guide compiled by student allies, faculty and staff.