Event Calendar

Today - Wed, Feb 19, 2020

Event poster with white text on a purple background, with a hexagonal RLadies logo

RLadies Amherst: A Conversation with Professors Brittney Bailey and Katharine Correia

Learn how two Amherst College statistics professors got to where they are now in their careers in data science. Everyone is welcome! RLadies hopes to encourage, inspire and support women in the R community.

This event is co-sponsored by the Department of Mathematics and Statistics. Refreshments will be served.

Tomorrow - Thu, Feb 20, 2020

Rhonda Cobham-Sander sitting at desk with open book

Reflections on Teaching with Rhonda Cobham-Sander

4:30 pm Frost Library, CHI Think Tank

Rhonda Cobham-Sander, the Emily C. Jordan Folger Professor of Black Studies and English, will reflect with us about her teaching now and how her teaching has evolved throughout her career at Amherst College.

RSVP through the Center for Teaching and Learning website.

Law’s Infamy: Ashker v. Brown and the Failures of Solitary Confinement Reform

Keramet Reiter, Associate Professor of Criminology, Law & Society in the School of Social Ecology at the University of California, Irvine, will present a paper entitled “Law’s Infamy: Ashker v. Brown and the Failures of Solitary Confinement Reform.” This is the fifth presentation in a series of seminars that will take place this year on the theme “Law’s Infamy.”
Keramet Reiter studies prisons, prisoners’ rights, and the impact of prison and punishment policy on individuals, communities, and legal systems.

"The Court System of Japan"

"After giving an overview of the Japanese court system, I would like to talk about the mediation system, which has been evaluated as characteristic in the Japanese court system. Of course, there is a mediation system in the United States, but mediation in Japan is performed in a court building and involves nonlegal professionals as mediators, which is completely different from mediation in the United States. I would like to think about how disputes are resolved in Japanese court through this characteristic system and what kind of image the Japanese have of the court."

—Yukihiro Okada, Professor of Law at Doshisha University

Presented by the Doshisha University and Amherst College Faculty Exchange Program

Please note that this lecture will be in Japanese.

Event flyer featuring handwritten mathematical notes and illustrations of butterflies

Math Colloquium: Amanda Folsom, “Symmetry, Almost”

Some definitions of the word symmetry include “correct or pleasing proportion of the parts of a thing,” “balanced proportions” and “the property of remaining invariant under certain changes, as of orientation in space.” One might think of snowflakes, butterflies and our own faces as naturally symmetric objects—or at least close to it. Mathematically, one can also conjure up many symmetric objects: even and odd functions, fractals, certain matrices and modular forms, a type of symmetric complex function. All of these things exhibit a kind of beauty in their symmetries, so would they lose some of their innate beauty if their symmetries were altered? Alternatively, could some measure of beauty be gained with slight symmetric imperfections? We will explore these questions, guided by the topic of modular forms and their variants. What can be gained by perturbing modular symmetries in particular? We will discuss this theme from past to present: the origins of these questions have their roots in the first half of the 20th century, dating back to Ramanujan and Gauss, while some fascinating and surprising answers come from just the last 15 years.

Cover of Sarah Knott's book "Mother Is a Verb," with an illustration of a woman with her body underwater and her face and hand sticking out above the surface

"Feminist Theory? Queer Studies? Memoir? How to Write the History of Pregnancy and Birth in Changing Times"

Sarah Knott is a writer, feminist and professor of history. She is the author, most recently, of Mother Is a Verb: An Unconventional History, which The New York Times described as “a joy to read.” She is currently an associate professor of history at Indiana University and a research fellow of the Kinsey Institute.

Sponsored by the Department of History, the Lamont Lecture Fund, and the Eastman Lecture Fund

Fri, Feb 21, 2020

Headshot of Sherrie Tucker

"Improvising Across Abilities: Pauline Oliveros and the Adaptive-Use Musical Instrument": A Talk by Professor Sherrie Tucker (University of Kansas)

The music department presents a special talk by jazz historian and professor of American studies Sherrie Tucker. All are invited.

Professor Tucker’s talk focuses on the work of composer, musician and humanitarian Pauline Oliveros (1932-2016), who is renowned for her innovations in composition, sound technology, research, philosophy and practices of listening, as well as feminist and environmental humanitarian projects. Less known is her work on all-ability improvisation through the Adaptive-Use Musical Instrument (AUMI), a free download/app that transforms any laptop, desktop, iPad or iPhone into a musical instrument that uses motion tracking to adapt to every body. Oliveros considered the AUMI a continuation of, not a departure from, her life’s work, listing it as her major research project with her department at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in her final years. From 2007 until her passing, she spoke of the AUMI as interconnected with her other projects and collaborations intended to expand our abilities to listen, and thus to expand consciousness—such as the Sonic Meditations, Expanded Instrument System and Deep Listening® practice. 

In this lecture/demonstration, jazz studies scholar Sherrie Tucker shares what she has learned as a member of the ongoing collaborative AUMI Research Project, including how it challenged her exclusive relationship with jazz as an object of study, and pivoted her jazz studies questions and methods toward explorations of inclusive mixed-ability listening, sounding and sociality. Participants are invited to bring laptops, iPads or iPhones (sorry, Android users), if they wish. Those who want to try the AUMI in advance may download it free of charge at http://aumiapp.com/download.php.

Sherrie Tucker (professor, American studies, University of Kansas) is the author of Dance Floor Democracy: The Social Geography of Memory at the Hollywood Canteen (Duke, 2014) and Swing Shift: “All-Girl” Bands of the 1940s (Duke, 2000) and co-editor, with Nichole T. Rustin, of Big Ears:  Listening for Gender in Jazz Studies (Duke, 2008). She is a member of the AUMI Editorial Collective, whose collaborative volume, Improvising Across Abilities: Pauline Oliveros and the Adaptive Use Musical Instrument (AUMI) is currently under review at University of Michigan Press. She is a member of two major collaborative research initiatives: the International Institute of Critical Improvisation Studies and Improvisation, Community and Social Practice (for which she served as facilitator for the Improvisation, Gender and the Body research area), both funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. She is a founding member of the Melba Liston Research Collective, a member of the AUMI (Adaptive Use Musical Instrument) Project and founding member of AUMI-KU InterArts, one of six member institutions of the AUMI Research Consortium. She was the Louis Armstrong Visiting Professor at the Center for Jazz Studies at Columbia University in 2004-2005, where she was a member of the Columbia Jazz Study Group. With Randal M. Jelks, she co-edits the journal American Studies. She serves with Deborah Wong and Jeremy Wallach as series editors for the Music/Culture Series at Wesleyan University Press. She is the proud holder of a Deep Listening® Ear-tificate.

For more information, contact Professor Jason Robinson (jrobinson@amherst.edu).

Mon, Feb 24, 2020

Kiessling_headshot

Biology Monday Seminar

4:00 pm Science Center, Kirkpatrick Lecture Hall A011

Laura L. Kiessling, Ph.D., Novartis Professor of Chemistry, Department of Chemistry, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, will give a talk titled “Carbohydrates at the Host–Microbe Interface.”
Our health depends on maintaining a functional microbiome and avoiding the propagation of pathogenic microbes. Our group seeks to understand the mechanisms of microbial control by focusing on a prominent feature of the cell’s exterior—the carbohydrate coat. From humans to fungi to bacteria, all cells on Earth possess a carbohydrate coat. A critical role of this coat is to serve as an identification card. Our group has been examining the role of carbohydrate-binding proteins, lectins, in influencing our microbiota and in immune defense. This seminar will focus on understanding the basis of carbohydrate-protein interactions and how they are used to control microbes. We envision that our findings can lead to alternative means to combat pathogens, methods for rapid approaches to ID microbiota, and the development of new strategies to regulate microbiome composition to promote human health.

Tue, Feb 25, 2020

Statistics Colloquium: “Are We Not Doing Phrasing Anymore?":  Mining Narrative Texts for Meaning - John Laudun, Tues. Feb. 25, 4:30 p.m., SMUD 206

Statistics Colloquium: “Are We Not Doing Phrasing Anymore?”: Mining Narrative Texts for Meaning with John Laudun

The rise of algorithmic analysis has been met by a rise in the interest in storytelling, suggesting that we are most human in the stories we tell, and that the stories we tell cannot be readily rendered into numbers. And so data scientists and digital humanities scholars have turned their attention to narrative forms in hopes of at least sketching out a computational model of narrative which might reveal how narratives work at least as texts if not also as vehicles for the delivery of meaning. Much of this work has, however, focused on texts like novels, skipping over the kinds of texts that most of us
produce each and every day both online and off. This presentation surveys recent work in corpus
stylistics, digital humanities, and information and data sciences and then sketches out what might be a way to discern the shape of small stories. Examples are drawn from local legends about treasure, the clown legend cascade of 2016, and select literary works, among other things.
Dr. John Laudun, Professor of English at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, is “fascinated by how humans create their world with relatively simple resources.” His current work in culture analytics has brought collaborations with physicists and other scientists seeking to understand how texts can be modeled computationally in order to better describe their functions and features.

Fri, Feb 28, 2020

Professor Ronald Raines

Cheminar: Professor Ronald T. Raines; Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Department of Chemistry

3:15 pm - 4:30 pm Science Center, Kirkpatrick Lecture Hall - #A011

Seminar is titled “Ghost Proteins.”
ABSTRACT: The lipid bilayer that encases human cells has evolved to keep the outside out, and the inside in. This barrier is not, however, impenetrable. Some small molecules, including many drugs, can burrow through and manifest therapeutic activities. Others can be “cloaked” to endow membrane permeability, and then uncloaked inside cells. We have learned how to beneficially cloak proteins, which are typically 100-fold larger than small-molecule drugs. Specifically, the conversion of protein carboxyl groups into esters enables a protein to traverse the lipid bilayer. The nascent esters are substrates for endogenous esterases that regenerate native proteins within cells. The ability to deliver native proteins directly into cells opens a new frontier for molecular medicine.

Parker String Quartet

M@A Masterclass: Parker Quartet Feb. 28

Please join us for a public masterclass as M@A Chamber artists, the Parker Quartet, work with students on their craft.

Crafting a Career in Food Writing

The foodie media universe offers storytellers with a passion for the culinary the opportunity to share in and define new culinary traditions. Explore the possibilities for your own work—across print, digital, and television—with this behind the scenes look at Crafting a Career in Food Writing. This in-depth discussion will feature three distinguished Amherst community members who will share the details of their trajectories into careers as food writer, cookbook authors, recipe developers and personal chefs.
They are:
Lizzy Briskin ’15 is a personal chef, cooking instructor, food writer and recipe developer specializing in healthy, vegetable-forward food.
Dana Cowin P ’22, best known for her two decades as the Editor-in-Chief of Food & Wine, is a tastemaker, talent scout, consultant, author, lecturer and radio show host.
Ted Lee ’93 is co-founder of The Lee Bros. Boiled Peanuts Catalogue, an award winning cookbook author, and host/executive producer of Southern Uncovered with The Lee Bros. on Ovation.

collage of protests, marches, and news programs

Shusenjo—The Main Battleground of the Comfort Women Issue

4:30 pm Keefe Campus Center, Keefe Theater Auditorium

Miki Dezaki, a Youtuber who was threatened and harassed by Japan’s notorious netouyo (cyber neo-nationalists) for his video on racism in Japan, is not shying away from controversial topics with his debut feature length documentary on the comfort women issue. The film dives deep into the most contentious dispute between Japan and Korea and finds answers to hotly debated questions, such as: Were the comfort women “sexual slaves” or prostitutes? Were they coercively recruited? Were there really 200,000 comfort women? And, does Japan have a legal responsibility to apologize?
Dezaki masterfully interweaves footage from demonstrations, man-on-the-street interviews, news and archival clips with in-depth interviews with the most prominent scholars and influencers from both sides of the debate, including Yoshiko Sakurai (journalist), Kent Gilbert (lawyer/celebrity), Mina Watanabe (secretary-general of the Women's Active Museum), Koichi Nakano (political science professor) and Yoshiaki Yoshimi (historian).
“Shusenjo” reveals surprising confessions and revelations that uncover the hidden intentions of both supporters and detractors while deconstructing the dominant narratives. That Dezaki has managed to bring nuance to a sensationalized and often oversimplified issue is just one of the many reasons that “Shusenjo: The Main Battleground of the Comfort Women Issue” is a must-see work.
Co-sponsored by the Departments of Asian Languages & Civilizations; History; Sexuality, Women’s, & Gender Studies; and Film & Media Studies.

Mon, Mar 2, 2020

McAnulty Headshot

Biology Monday Seminar

4:00 pm Science Center, Kirkpatrick Lecture Hall A011

Sarah McAnulty, Ph.D., assistant research professor at the University of Connecticut, will give a talk titled “A Tale of Two Symbioses: development and maintenance of bacterial partnerships with the Hawaiian Bobtail Squid.” Sarah McAnulty is a squid biologist and the executive director of the science communication non-profit Skype a Scientist! In her talk, she will cover her research on the Hawaiian bobtail squid and its relationship with the bioluminescent bacterium Vibrio fischeri and how the immune system plays a role in these interactions. She will also speak on the symbiosis within female squid’s reproductive system, the accessory nidamental gland. In addition to discussing her science, she will discuss the many ways that scientists can get involved in their communities, both local and online.

McNulty Headshot

Biology Monday Seminar

4:00 pm Science Center, Kirkpatrick Lecture Hall A011

Sarah McNulty, Ph.D., assistant research professor at the University of Connecticut, will give a talk titled
“A Tale of Two Symbioses: development and maintenance of bacterial partnerships with the Hawaiian Bobtail Squid.”
Sarah McAnulty is a squid biologist and the executive director of the science communication non-profit Skype a Scientist! In her talk, she will cover her research on the Hawaiian bobtail squid and its relationship with the bioluminescent bacterium Vibrio fischeri and how the immune system plays a role in these interactions. She will also speak on the symbiosis within female squid’s reproductive system, the accessory nidamental gland. In addition to discussing her science, she will discuss the many ways that scientists can get involved in their communities, both local and online.

LAL

“Securofeminists, Muslims, and the Political Geography of Gender Violence”

Lila Abu-Lughod is the Joseph L. Buttenwieser Professor of Social Science at Columbia University where she teaches anthropology and gender studies. A leading voice in the debates about culture, gender, Islam, and global feminist politics, her award-winning books and articles have been translated into 14 languages. Her most recent book, published by Harvard University Press in 2013, is titled Do Muslim Women Need Saving? Abu-Lughod’s scholarship, mostly ethnographic and based on long-term fieldwork in Egypt, has focused on the power of cultural forms, from poetry to television soap operas; the politics of knowledge and representations of cultural “others”; violence and memory; and the question of liberalism and global projects of human and women’s rights. She has been a fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, a Carnegie Scholar, and a John Simon Guggenheim Fellow. Sponsored by the Center for Humanistic Inquiry Feminist Thought Working Group.

Tue, Mar 3, 2020

Christopher Chambers-Ju

“Mobilizing Teachers: The Political Strategies of Mass Member Organizations in Latin America”

Christopher Chambers-Ju ’04, Visiting Assistant Professor at the College of the Holy Cross, will give a talk titled “Mobilizing Teachers: The Political Strategies of Mass Member Organizations in Latin America.”
Chambers-Ju ’04 received his Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of California, Berkeley, in 2017. His research examines the politics of education through a focus on teacher’s unions. Studying the cases of Argentina, Colombia, and Mexico, he examines why some teachers take to the streets while others form an organized voting bloc, with distinct relationships to political parties. By focusing on teachers, he seeks to shed light on broader dynamics of education policy-making and political change in contemporary Latin America.
This event is free and open to the public and is sponsored by the Political Science Department at Amherst College with funding from the Lurcy Endowment and the Lamont Funds.

Thu, Mar 5, 2020

Eng - Absolute Apology, Absolute Forgiveness

Dr. David Eng Presents “Absolute Apology, Absolute Forgiveness”

5:00 pm - 7:00 pm Science Center, Kirkpatrick Hall, Room A011

Five College Asian/Pacific/American Studies Symposium: “Looking Back to the Future: Twenty Years of A/P/A Studies in the Five Colleges” presented by Dr. David Eng, Richard L. Fisher Professor of History, University of Pennsylvania.

Fri, Mar 6, 2020

Amy Coddington

Prof. Amy Coddington: "Containing Black Noise: Radio Responds to Hip Hop in the Early 1990s"

Free and open to the public. Lunch provided.

The Music Department continues its Research in Music speaker series featuring department faculty discussing their work. In the late 1980s, hip hop moved from the margins to the mainstream, from New York block parties to family rooms across America. But despite this tremendous growth in popularity, many in the music industry hadn't come around to the relatively new style. In this talk, Professor Coddington will analyze how the radio industry reacted to hip hop's popularity, tracing the emergence of "rap-free" radio stations and examining how these stations segregated the American public by protecting white listeners from hip hop's black sounds.

For more information, contact Prof. Jason Robinson (jrobinson@amherst.edu).

Professor Rory Waterman

Cheminar - Professor and Associate Dean Rory Waterman; University of Vermont, Chemistry Department

3:15 pm - 4:30 pm Science Center, Kirkpatrick Lecture Hall - #A011

Seminar Title: “Phosphorus, Photons, and Metals: Increasingly Efficient Ways to P–C Bonds”

Wed, Mar 11, 2020

Poetry and Conversation: Fatimah Asghar and Franny Choi

A poetry reading and conversation. Asghar is poet, filmmaker, educator and performer, as well as the creator of the Emmy-nominated Web series “Brown Girls.” She is the author of the poetry collection If They Come For Us and the co-editor of Halal If You Hear Me, an anthology celebrating Muslim writers who are also women, queer, gender nonconforming and/or trans. Choi is the author of two poetry collections, Soft Science, which Monica Youn called “raw and radiant” and Floating, Brilliant, Gone. She edits for Hyphen Magazine and co-hosts the podcast VS alongside fellow Dark Noise Collective member Danez Smith. Refreshments to follow.

Thu, Mar 12, 2020

Kannan Jagannathan sitting at desk looking at camera

Reflections on Teaching with Kannan Jagannathan

4:30 pm Frost Library, CHI Think Tank

Kannan Jagannathan, Bruce B. Benson '43 and Lucy Wilson Benson Professor of Physics, will join the Center for Teaching and Learning’s 2020 “Reflections on Teaching” series. The CTL invites four senior members of the faculty to reflect on their practice—to share with us not only what they do, but also to take us behind the scenes and explain why they made the choices that they did over the years that they have been teaching.

Tue, Mar 24, 2020

Keith Ulmer '01, Colorado: "Searching for Supersymmetry at the Large Hadron Collider"

The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN currently provides the highest energy particle collisions ever produced in a laboratory. These collisions were reconstructed and analyzed by the CMS and ATLAS experiments to claim the discovery of the Higgs Boson in 2012, thus completing the Standard Model of particle physics. This talk explores what's next for the LHC, including the implications of the Higgs discovery on the search for new physics beyond the Standard Model. In particular, such open questions as the nature of dark matter and the gauge hierarchy problem may find eloquent solutions in supersymmetry, a proposed new symmetry of nature relating fermions and bosons. I will discuss the current state of experimental searches for supersymmetry at CMS including the prospects for discovery.

Thu, Mar 26, 2020

Johnetta Cole In Conversation With President Biddy Martin

8:00 pm Science Center, Lipton Lecture Hall

Johnnetta Betsch Cole is a noted educator, author, speaker and consultant on diversity, equity, accessibility and inclusion in educational institutions, museums and workplaces. After receiving a Ph.D. in anthropology, Dr. Cole held teaching positions in anthropology, women’s studies, and African American studies at several colleges and universities. She served as President of both historically Black colleges for women in the United States, Spelman College and Bennett College, a distinction she alone holds. She also served as the Director of the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art, as a Principal Consultant at Cook Ross, and as a Senior Consulting Fellow at the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Dr. Cole is currently the Chair and Seventh President of the National Council of Negro Women, an advocacy organization for women’s rights and civil rights. Throughout her career and in her published work, speeches, and community service, Johnnetta Betsch Cole consistently addresses issues of race, gender, and other systems of inequality.

Fri, Mar 27, 2020

How Markets Made Gun Rights: Self-Defense, Property, and Firearms in the Nineteenth Century U.S.

The Faculty Colloquium Series for 2019-20 presents a lecture titled “How Markets Made Gun Rights: Self-Defense, Property, and Firearms in the Nineteenth Century U.S.” presented by Jonathan Obert, Assistant Professor of Political Science.
“Scholarship on the origins of gun rights typically focuses on the Second Amendment, and the varied ways in which it has been interpreted by judges and the mass public. This project instead outlines a new approach to thinking about gun rights by focusing on the ways in which gun-makers articulated a vision of guns as meta-property—legally protected material objects used to protect property rights. Using a novel dataset of gun-making firms active in the U.S. from 1820 through the end of the century, as well as a content analysis of early American firearms advertisements, I trace the pre-history of gun rights discourse in the U.S. The symbolic construction of guns as commodities capable of protecting and providing in the late nineteenth century created the conceptual groundwork for their conversion into a rights discourse in the twentieth. Therefore, not only does “rights talk” concerning firearm ownership antedate much of the constitutional jurisprudence on the question, such talk was directly tied to the need for gun-makers to cultivate a domestic market for guns in highly competitive and uncertain economic conditions.”
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. Colleagues interested in joining this endeavor are welcome and should contact us by email: adsarat@amherst.edu. Faculty, staff, and members of the administration are cordially invited to attend these presentations.