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Event Calendar

Wed, Feb 10, 2021

headshot of Allison Formanack

CHI Salon: Worthless: An Ethnography of Devaluation and Domecide in a Midwestern Trailer Park

Manufactured homes (MHs), better known as “mobile homes” or “trailers,” house an estimated 22 million Americans, however fewer than 25 percent of all manufactured homes are titled as real estate. Classifying their homes as personal property is the only option for the estimated 7 million residents living in approximately 50,000 mobile home communities (MHCs) across the United States. Although over 90 percent of MHs never move once sited, most municipalities restrict MHs to MHCs, where resident landownership is prohibited. Based on 28 months of ethnographic research in urban MHCs in Lincoln, Nebraska, in this talk, 2019-20 CHI Fellow Allison Formanack describes how mobile-homeowners create symbolic--if not economic--value in their homes. As these case studies reveal, the affective labor of home-making produces a hybrid identity, that is, a deeply meaningful relationship between “home” and “owner” that is as often destructive as it is beneficial.

Allison Formanack is an incoming Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of Southern Mississippi. A cultural anthropologist, Dr. Formanack considers the process by which pollution, ruin, and “trashiness” is transferred from home to resident in the context of the most maligned housing type in the United States: the “mobile” or “trailer” home. Drawn from 28 months of ethnographic fieldwork in urban mobile home communities in Nebraska, her work finds that immaterial systems of law and finance conditions the materiality of categorically ambiguous “mobile” housing. This creates a state of “im/permanence,” or imposed temporariness, which threatens the rights and wellbeing of an estimated 22 million mobile-homeowners. She is currently working on a book project based on this work, Mobile Home on the Range: Manufacturing Ruin and Respect in an American Zone of Abandonment. Dr. Formanack received her Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of Colorado Boulder, where her research received support from from the National Science Foundation and the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, among others.

Registration Required

Fri, Feb 12, 2021

Hired Guns? The Politics of Foreign Interventions

12:00 pm - 1:00 pm Held Via Zoom, Zoom Link: https://amherstcollege.zoom.u

The Faculty Colloquium Series for 2020-21 presents a lecture entitled "Hired Guns? The Politics of Foreign Interventions" presented by Eleonora Mattiacci, Assistant Professor of Political Science. This lecture will be held via Zoom (see link below). Faculty Colloquium events are sponsored by a group of faculty colleagues who meet informally with the purpose of supporting and promoting the College’s commitment to faculty research. The event is open to the Amherst College Community. For more information about the Faculty Colloquium Series please visit this link


Wed, Feb 17, 2021

headshot of Jennifer Hamilton

CHI Salon: The Indian in the Freezer: The Genomic Quest for Indigeneity

4:30 pm - 5:30 pm Virtual, Zoom

Visiting Professor of Sexuality, Women's and Gender Studies, Jennifer Hamilton, will present her new book manuscript, The Indian in the Freezer: The Genomic Quest for Indigeneity (under contract with the University of Washington Press). The book explores what she terms “the genomic quest for indigeneity,” and follows people, scientific objects, biomedical discourses, and capital over time and in space in order to provide a rich ethnographic account of how race, sex, and sexuality continue to inform and shape contemporary biomedical inquiry. Hamilton argues that indigeneity is a productive category, particularly in terms of how genomics is imagined. She does the empirical work of tracing how indigeneity circulates and how it impacts the creation of diagnostic technologies and therapeutics as part of a larger intervention in ongoing discussions of how and why health disparities cannot be reduced to naturalized narratives of biological difference. The overall point of the book is to take seriously that if we accept, possibly embrace, the speculative and contingent yet material and consequential dimensions of genomics and the life sciences more broadly, we can potentially shift scientific modes of inquiry to be more inclusive of other possible worlds.

Registration Required

Wed, Feb 24, 2021

Thumbnail image of the book cover. The title is at the top with an image of Hitler below.

CHI Salon: Spain, the Second World War and the Holocaust

Join editors Gina Herrmann and Sara J. Brenneis in a discussion of the new publication Spain, the Second World War and the Holocaust: History and Representation (University of Toronto Press, 2020). Herrmann and Brenneis brought together over 30 international experts around the topic of Spain's involvement in World War II, combining the vantage point of Jews who fled Nazi persecution through the Iberian Peninsula, Spaniards who were directly involved in the war and/or imprisoned in Nazi camps, and artists who have created representations of this historical period and its actors. The waves of people-- Jewish refugees and Spanish antifascists alike --who moved across borders, through concentration camps and into exile press us to consider what "home" meant during a moment of unparalleled global strife.

The editors will speak about this collection as the first volume to take this kind of interdisciplinary and cross-cultural view of the period, consider how the volume came together, and discuss some of the more extraordinary takeaways from the book.

Gina Herrmann is a Norman H. Brown Faculty Fellow, professor of Spanish and director of the Harold Schnitzer Family Program in Judaic Studies at the University of Oregon, Eugene. Sara Brenneis is professor of Spanish and department chair at Amherst College.

This event is co-sponsored by the Departments of Spanish and European Studies at Amherst College. Pre-registration is required.

Please note this event will be recorded.

Registration Required