Event Calendar

December 2019

Mon, Dec 2, 2019

Math & Stats Lightning Thesis Talks - Monday 12/2, Wednesday 12/4, Thursday, 12/5, 4:30 p.m.

Math & Stats: Student Thesis Talks

Please join us for the first of three thesis lightning talks in Mathematics & Statistics. Come support our senior thesis writers and get inspired by their progress!

Tue, Dec 3, 2019

Statistics Colloquium: "What's on your Plate?" - Briana Stephenson; Dec. 3, 4:30 p.m., SMUD 206

Statistics Colloquium: "What's on your Plate?: Using Statistics to Understand Dietary Behavior in the U.S." - Briana Stephenson

It has been well documented that what we eat directly affects our health and risk of disease. Researchers have endeavored to understand how dietary habits and behaviors contribute to the risk or prevention of chronic diseases. The demographic diversity of the United States presents a uniquely complex task when attempting to understand consumption behaviors. What we eat may vary by where we reside, our ethnic or cultural background and our socioeconomic status. Time and again, research has focused on individual foods or nutrients to determine their association to population health outcomes, but this is not always realistic in practice because people do not consume individual foods or nutrients in isolation. The interrelationships between the different foods we consume are reflective of our lifestyles and specific to demographic customs. In population-based studies, diversity is often penalized or ignored for the sake of statistical power and interpretability. This limits the comprehension of dietary practices to the majority, overlooking key differences present in smaller, minority populations. In this talk, we will discuss statistical methods aimed to capture the dietary habits and behaviors in the United States. Using data obtained from large, multi-site studies on birth defects and migrant population health, we will demonstrate the application, impact and utility of these methods and discuss future directions to improve dietary pattern analysis in a continually diversifying population.

Multicolored ad for Progress Series

"Point/Counterpoint: Progressing Our Way to Mass Extinction?"

Each event in the Point/Counterpoint conversation series features an Amherst College professor and guests engaging in thoughtful discussion and attempting to bridge the growing ideological divide in our nation. Series information is available on the Amherst College website.

Join Professor Lawrence Douglas and environmentalist author Elizabeth Kolbert for a discussion on "Progressing Our Way to Mass Extinction?" Q&A will follow, and books will be available for purchase through Amherst Books.

Elizabeth Kolbert is a staff writer for The New Yorker and the 2019 recipient of the Pell Center Prize for Story in the Public Square. Her most recent book, The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History, on mass extinctions past and present, began as an article for The New Yorker, was one of The New York Times' 10 Best Books of 2014, and won the Pulitzer Prize in General Nonfiction in 2015.

Lawrence Douglas is a professor in the Amherst College Department of Law, Jurisprudence and Social Thought. He is the author of six books, including The Right Wrong Man: John Demjanjuk and the Last Great Nazi War Crimes Trial and the upcoming Will He Go?, a discussion of the potential legal implications of a refusal by President Trump to acknowledge electoral defeat in 2020.

This series is based on a course of the same name. The course and associated event series received special funding through a generous gift from 36 members of the 50th Reunion Class of 1970.

Wed, Dec 4, 2019

Math & Stats Lightning Thesis Talks - Monday 12/2, Wednesday 12/4, Thursday, 12/5, 4:30 p.m.

Math & Stats: Student Thesis Talks

Please join us for the second of three thesis lightning talks in Mathematics & Statistics. Come support our senior thesis writers and get inspired by their progress!

La Causa’s Spoken Word/Poetry Competition

La Causa presents their annual student spoken word/poetry competition. We host this event in preparation for VOICES, our yearly spoken word event. Join us as we choose three winners: 1st place will be the opening act for VOICES 2019 and receive a $30 gift card, 2nd place will receive a $20 gift card, and 3rd place will receive a $10 gift card.

Rosalind Schneider, "Abstraction" (1971)

“Women Filmmakers, Embodiment and Abstraction (1970-1995)”

Curated by Tess Takahashi and Josh Guilford

Free Admission

This program presents eight short films created by women filmmakers between 1970 and 1995 which have been drawn from the collections of three experimental film distributors in the U.S. and Canada. It highlights a prevalent – yet under-examined – tension that structures diverse forms of women’s experimental cinema from this period, gathering a range of works that exhibit a complex oscillation between abstraction and embodiment, where non-representational images and sounds continuously merge and clash with representations of gendered, raced, and sexualized bodies. Examining the co-presence of these seemingly divergent tendencies within the work of filmmakers from different regions, generations, and cultural locations, the program considers how the aesthetic conflict between abstraction and representation indexes broader cultural tensions negotiated by women artists working within the traditions of experimental cinema after the 1960s, revealing how such artists sought to reconcile prevailing inquiries into medium specificity with emergent discourses on identity politics. By foregrounding works that reference mediums other than film – such as dance, painting, and collage – the program also points to affinities between women’s experimental cinema and explorations of abstraction conducted in parallel artistic disciplines.

“Swish,” Jean Sousa, 1982, 16mm, color, silent, 3 minutes
“This film deals with the physical properties of the film medium, and pushing those distinctive features to their limit. The subject of the film is motion, and it is an attempt to get inside of it. It was made with a moving subject and a moving camera with an open shutter, the result being that each frame is unique, without the smooth continuity that is expected in film. The subject, a female body at close range, provides an intimacy and eroticism. At the same time it can be seen as a modern version of Futurist simultaneity.” — JS

“Abstraction,” Rosalind Schneider, 1971, 16mm, color, sound, 10 minutes
“Abstraction deals with the interpretation of abstract form as found in the combination of the nude body, landscape, and objects. Imagery is achieved through visual distortion dealing with reflective surfaces, as well as the superimposition of subject matter. The rhythmic structure focuses on a pulsating expansion and contraction that simulates a life force. An attempt has been made to reveal the basic concepts of a painter's approach to the distillation of reality.” — RS

“Roseblood,” Sharon Couzin, 1974, 16mm, color, sound, 8 minutes
“The dance of Carolyn Chave Kaplan; Music from Stockhausen's ‘Hymnen’ and ‘Mantra,’ Enesco's ‘Sonata No. 3 in A Minor.’ Images of a woman in dance, in flora, in picture, in eyes, in architecture, in sunshine, in color, in crystal, in space, in confusion, in danger, in disintegration, in her hand, in birth, in the Valley of Sorrow, in the sea, in repetition, in sculpture and in herself.” -SC “Some really extraordinary subliminal combinations are happening.” – Pat O’Neill

“Yogurt Culture,” Patti Lee Chenis, 1970, 16mm, b&w, sound (digital file), 11 minutes
“Animated pen and ink Cartoon space-like drawings on transparent acetate sheets & silver paint superimposed plastic bubble packing material & plastic helmet approaching 3D without the use of 3D glasses. Part of a series of yogurt culture film.” — PC

“Girl from Moush,” Garine Tarossian, 1993, 16mm, color, sound, 5 minutes
“‘Girl from Moush’ is a poetic montage of the artist's journey through her subconscious Armenia. It is not an Armenia based in a reality, but one which appears, like the mythical city of Shangri La, when one closes one's eyes. Rooted in what Jung may call a ‘communal consciousness,’ her Armenia appears on film as a collage of myth, legend, experience and immigration. In her memoir, Gariné reveals a longing which is visualized but yet never solidly based in our reality. Icons of Armenia appear on the screen for only a second, and then disappear from both the viewer's and the artist's minds. The world of the traveller is filled with uncertainty and fascination. As viewers we are engaged and forced through unchartered landscapes that have been traditionally been restricted to the mind of the artist. Projected into proportions which are larger than life, the viewer is forced to confront and assimilate all that s/he views and perceives.” — Berlinale, Panorama 40th Anniversary Screening, 2019

“Stranger Baby,” Lana Lin, 1995, 16mm, color, sound, 15 minutes
“Micro-narratives moving between fiction, non-fiction, and science fiction elaborate multiple meanings of the term ‘alien.’” - LL “Substituting sly metaphor for political rhetoric on immigration, Lin examines our world of ethical and racial complexities.” — LA Asian Pacific Film Festival catalogue

“Chronicles of a Lying Spirit (by Kelly Gabron),” Cauleen Smith, 1992, 16mm, color, sound, 13 minutes
"CHRONICLES OF A LYING SPIRIT (BY KELLY GABRON) is less a depiction of ‘reality’ than an exploration of the implications of the mediation of Black history by film, television, magazines and newspapers. Using her alter ego, Kelly Gabron, Smith fabricates a personal history of her emergence as an artist from white-male-dominated American history (and American film history). Smith collages images and bits of text from a scrapbook by ‘Kelly Gabron’ that had been completed before the film was begun, and provides female narration by ‘Kelly Gabron’ that, slowly but surely, makes itself felt over the male narration about Kelly Gabron (Chris Brown is the male voice). The film’s barrage of image, text and voice is repeated twice, and is followed by a coda. That most viewers see the second presentation of the imagery differently from the original presentation demonstrates one problem with trusting any media representation.” — Scott MacDonald

“Lie Back and Enjoy It,” JoAnn Elam, 1982, b&w, sound, 8 minutes
“JoAnn Elam’s LIE BACK AND ENJOY IT is an absorbing eight-minute dialectical film about the politics of representation. More specifically, it examines the politics of filmic representation of women under patriarchy .... An undergraduate male student paid it a true compliment in declaring that he can no longer look at a woman in a film without thinking about the consequences of the filmmaker’s use of her as a person and as a spectacle .... The film is endowed with remarkable structural and rhetorical lucidity .... Its image track consists of technologically manipulated images of women, and some printed titles. Its soundtrack consists of a dialogue between a Man (a filmmaker) and a Woman (of whom he’s going to make a film) .... Everyone who watches movies with women in them ought to see it.” — Claudia Gorbman, Jump Cut

TRT ca. 77 minutes

Support for this program is provided by the Amherst College Department of English and Film and Media Studies Program, as well as by the Arts at Amherst Initiative, the Lucian Root Eastman 1895 Fund, and the Corliss Lamont Lectureship for a Peaceful World Fund.

Thu, Dec 5, 2019

LJST Dept. Seminar Series: “After Law’s Infamy: Reconstructing Judicial Power in the Wake of Legal Evil”

Justin Collings, Associate Professor of Law at Brigham Young University, will present a paper entitled “After Law’s Infamy: Reconstructing Judicial Power in the Wake of Legal Evil.” This is the third presentation in a series of seminars that will take place this year on the theme “Law’s Infamy.”
Justin Collings is a scholar of constitutional Law, comparative constitutional law, and legal history. He is the author of Democracy’s Guardians: A History of the German Federal Constitutional Court, 1951-2001 (2015 Oxford University Press) and his forthcoming book is titled Scales of Memory: Constitutional Justice and the Burdens of the Past.
To receive a copy of the paper being presented, which explores the post-infamy reconstruction of judicial power in Italy, Germany, and the United States, please email the LJST Department Assistant Coordinator at mlestes@amherst.edu.

Math & Stats Lightning Thesis Talks - Monday 12/2, Wednesday 12/4, Thursday, 12/5, 4:30 p.m.

Math & Stats: Student Thesis Talks

Please join us for the third and final session of thesis lightning talks in Mathematics & Statistics. Come support our senior thesis writers and get inspired by their progress! This final session will feature Statistics majors, and will conclude with a brief information session about summer opportunities and study away options.

Black-and-white photo, shot from a low angle, of smoke rising from one of the World Trade Center towers on 9/11 as a plane flies toward it

"9/11 In History and Memory: A Roundtable Discussion"

What was it like on September 11, 2001, on Amherst’s campus? In New York City? At the Pentagon? How did that day change the United States and the world you grew up in? What does it all mean for today and the future? Will this all change as memories fade? Join us for a discussion with three members of the Amherst community-- Frank Couvares, Sandy Genelius and Mark Jacobson --who will speak about their respective experiences on campus, in New York City and at the Pentagon on that day.

"Is Truth Doomed in the Age of Trump? And Is Free Speech in Peril?"

Join Ilan Stavans, the Lewis-Sebring Professor of Humanities and Latin American and Latino Culture, and Stanley Fish, American literary theorist, legal scholar and author, for a discussion about free speech on college campuses.

Stanley Fish is the Floersheimer Distinguished Visiting Professor of Law at Yeshiva University, and is a world-renowned literary theorist and legal scholar. Professor Fish’s literary theory has been particularly associated with neopragmatism, where practice is advanced over theory, and with the interpretive relationships between literature and law.

Ilan Stavans is the Lewis-Sebring Professor in Humanities and Latin American and Latino Culture at Amherst College. He is an internationally known, award-winning cultural critic, linguist, translator, public speaker, editor, short-story writer and TV host, whose New York Times best-selling work focuses on language, identity, politics and history.

Q&A will follow, and books will be available for purchase through Amherst Books. This event is free and open to the public.

This event is funded through a generous gift from 36 members of the 50th Reunion Class of 1970.

Fri, Dec 6, 2019

Conservation Coalitions of the Future: From Landscape Approaches to a Pro-Indigenous Environmental State

"Conservation Coalitions of the Future: From Landscape Approaches to a Pro-Indigenous Environmental State" presented by Ashwin Ravikumar

The Faculty Colloquium Series for 2019-20 presents a lecture titled "Conservation Coalitions of the Future: From Landscape Approaches to a Pro-Indigenous Environmental State" presented by Ashwin Ravikumar, assistant professor of environmental science.

"In this talk I will present new evidence concerning how ‘quality of life plans,’ tools designed to
improve indigenous people’s well-being while supporting conservation in and around
communities, have delivered on their promises in the Peruvian Amazon. In order to assess this,
I worked with a small team to carry out focus groups and semi-structured interviews with
community members, NGO professionals, and government actors working in the Ampiyacu Apayacu watershed and adjacent protected area in the Peruvian Amazon region of Loreto. Our
results show that while community members view quality-of-life plans in a largely positive light,
they do not generally use them to assert their priorities to outside actors, and see them as
conflated with other conservation and sustainable land use initiatives. I present three major
barriers for communities in using quality-of-life plans in the manner that they were intended.
Despite these issues, community members expressed that after going through the process of
creating quality-of-life plans and other activities related to managing their regional conservation
area, they no longer allow private loggers, miners, fishers, and hunters to enter their territory,
and no longer deal with them commercially. With the available evidence, though, we cannot
causally link quality-of-life plans to these changes.

Taking this analysis a step further, I ask whether quality-of-life plans can serve communities in
leveraging funds from large external conservation programs. Specifically, I examine how the
Peruvian National Forest Conservation Program’s conditional cash transfer initiative has worked
to improve people’s well-being as defined in their quality-of-life plans. I find that the Program
has not supported priorities that were found in quality-of-life plans, and has instead generated
concerning dynamics that may undermine the effectiveness of conservation. I argue that the
Program’s current approach is in fact disrupting the local subsistence economy that ultimately
favors conservation, compromising the long-standing culture of reciprocal labor and noncommodified production systems. It therefore risks undermining the existing tools of political
organizing including quality-of-life Plans. Despite these issues, I suggest some ways forward for
the Program, and argue that State initiatives may still be able to alleviate some of the barriers to
community empowerment through quality-of-life plans."

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.

Holiday Craft Fair

Holiday Craft Fair

12:00 pm - 6:00 pm Science Center, Living Space and Ground Floor

It's beginning to look a lot like a Holiday Craft Fair! Over twenty members of the Amherst College community will be showing their artisan crafts just in time for the gift giving season. Come warm up with a cup of hot chocolate and goodies while you browse one-of-a-kind art made by Amherst staff and associates. This event is hosted by the Employee Council.

Photo of Professor Ephraim Woods

Cheminar with Professor Ephraim Woods, Colgate University: “The Initial Steps of Photosensitized SOA Formation”

Abstract: Secondary organic aerosol, or SOA, forms in the atmosphere through the oxidation of volatile biogenic compounds. The majority of the oxidation mechanisms involve small molecules, such as ozone, in the initial stages of the chemistry. Our group studies the formation of SOA through photochemical mechanisms, where electronically excited molecules play the role of the oxidizing agent. We use a laser-based, ambient pressure photoelectric charging method to monitor the decay of aerosol phase triplet photosensitizer molecules. The results bridge the gap between aerosol phase measurements, which are normally steady-state, and bulk-phase, transient absorption measurements. They also demonstrate how the morphology of particle phase systems can control the chemistry.

Photo of Jumatatu Poe dancing; he is bare-chested and wearing black shorts. A man wearing white shorts stands in the background.

J-Sette Performance Workshop with Jumatatu Poe

4:30 pm - 6:30 pm Webster Hall, Studio 1 (Room 117)

Guest artist Jumatatu Poe joins the Department of Theater and Dance to present BIG BODY: Experimental J-Sette Performance Workshop.

J-Sette, also known as Bucking, is a performance style popular in the Southern United States, practiced widely among majorettes and drill teams at historically Black colleges and universities, and also among teams of primarily queer men who compete at gay clubs and pride festivals. The workshop focuses on bombastic performance energy, complex relationships to rhythm and music, movement precision, group dynamics, and discovering joy in flesh and community. Participants will explore how the performance of J-Sette creates expectations around attention and accountability to a community, and how it positions leadership.

Jumatatu Poe is a choreographer and performer based between Philadelphia and NYC. He produces dance and performance work with idiosynCrazy productions, a company he founded in 2008 and now co-directs with Shannon Murphy.

All bodies are encouraged to participate, regardless of previous training or ability.

A row of ACJE musicians playing saxophones in front of microphones

Amherst College Jazz Ensemble Winter Concert

Music by Jeff Tyzik, Todd Marcus, Oliver Lake, Johnny Hodges, Antonio Carlos Jobim, David Springfield and others. Free admission. Collecting cash for Amherst Survival Center.

Sat, Dec 7, 2019

Abstract mixed media work of art, featuring purple, gold, orange, red and green

Saturday Close Looks

Join us on Saturdays to explore works of art on view with student museum educators. Keep coming back each week for fresh perspectives!

Free and open to all!


La Causa is hosting its 22nd VOICES Spoken Word Event! VOICES is the largest free ALANA (African/Latino/Asian/Native American) spoken-word concert in the Northeast. The event is meant to expose the Amherst College campus and Five College area to the diversity, complexity and power of the national ALANA poetry scene and to combat the underrepresentation of literary examples in schools by promoting cultural literacy.

This year’s VOICES will bring together seven established poets on one stage, for an evening of poetic engagement that decolonizes the arts within the Five Colleges. This event has become a hallmark for students of color and a campus favorite, receiving 250+ guests each year. We hope that everyone will join us on Dec. 7 at 5:30 p.m. in the Powerhouse!

Closeup of Swanson conducting ASO musicians

Amherst Symphony Orchestra Concert, Russian Season III: Rimsky-Korsakov’s "Scheherazade"

The Amherst Symphony Orchestra (ASO) presents the third of its ongoing series of works by Russian classical composers with a concert of music by Khatchaturian, Glazunov and Rimsky-Korsakov.

The concert opens with the propulsive and percussive “Sabre Dance,” from Aram Khatchurian’s ballet Gayane, a wild “wedding dance” of Armenian folk melodies so popular that it topped U.S. jukebox charts in 1948. The performance continues with the Romantic violin concerto of Alexandr Glazunov, with soloist Maya Bulos '20, and closes with Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s showpiece "Scheherazade." This iconic masterpiece depicts the heroic legend of a vizier’s daughter who outwits an embittered, murderous monarch. She thus saves her own life and those of countless other women by telling captivating tales over the course of 1,001 nights.

For information on ticketing and directions to the concert, see https://www.amherstsymphonyorchestra.com/musicians.

Tickets may be purchased at the door only. Tickets are $10 for the general public; $5 for senior citizens, students with ID and children under 12; and free to Five College students with ID.

Tickets Required

Sun, Dec 8, 2019

Amherst College Vespers poster featuring an image of a lit candle

Amherst College Vespers: A Festival of Christmas Readings and Carols

The Amherst College Choral Society and the Office of Religious & Spiritual Life present Amherst College Vespers: A Festival of Christmas Readings and Carols on Sunday, Dec. 8, at 4 and 7:30 p.m. in Johnson Chapel. Music includes familiar carols performed by the Choral Society and guest musicians. The readings will be provided by Amherst College students, faculty, staff and their children.

The event is free; no tickets are required. Monetary donations may be made to Not Bread Alone.

Mon, Dec 9, 2019

Chatime thumbnail

Chatime: (In)visibility & Asian American Studies Womxn Scholars

Join the Asian American Studies Working Group and Asian Students Association for the second-ever Chatime, an ongoing panel featuring Amherst's Asian American Studies scholars. This semester, we’re discussing gendered (in)visibility within the Asian American and Asian American Studies community. What does it mean to be an Asian American womxn and where are their stories? Featuring writers-in-residence Min Jin Lee and Thirii Myint, and CHI Fellow Lili Kim. Refreshments provided!
Presented by Amherst students enrolled in Asian American Feminisms with Professor Miliann Kang at UMass.

Concert by the Voice Studio of Ann Maggs

Enjoy a terrific mix of jazz, Broadway and ethnopop songs performed by Amherst College voice students of Ann Maggs. The concert is free and open to the public.

Japanese Breakfast Promotional Poster

WAMH 89.3 FM PRESENTS! Japanese Breakfast!

WAMH 89.3 FM (Amherst College Radio), the Asian Students Association, and the Women & Gender Center are proud to present Japanese Breakfast live!
Japanese Breakfast’s Michelle Zauner not only boasts an expansive discography of indie pop, making her one of the staples of the indie festival circuit (playing shows in the past year at Lollapalooza, Shaky Hands, and Voodoo Music and Arts Festival, to name a few). She’s also establishing herself as a powerful force in the writing world and as a video producer. Don’t miss the opportunity to see her perform! Free and open to all Five College students!

Tue, Dec 10, 2019

The Noah Garabedian Quartet

The Noah Garabedian Quartet is based in New York City and is led by bassist and composer Noah Garabedian. The band includes Carmen Staaf on piano, Raffi Garabedian on saxophone and Jimmy Macbride on drums. Their debut album, Where Fables Meet, will be released in Spring 2020. When not on the road or performing at New York’s premiere venues, the ensemble enjoys Stephen King novels, spicy noodles and animal memes.

Sponsored by Jazz@Amherst, AAS and Arts at Amherst. Doors open at 6 p.m.

ASA x CSA x ACH Screening: <i>The Farewell</i>

Join CSA, ACH and ASA for a screening of Lulu Wang’s The Farewell. Kick off your reading period with with this humorous and poignant film, boba, Insomnia cookies and an intellectually stimulating discussion afterwards.

Wed, Dec 11, 2019

Black-and-white photograph of Emily Dickinson

CHI Salon: Emily Dickinson's Birthday Party

We are celebrating Emily Dickinson's 189th birthday! Please join us for poetry readings, period music, tapas, wine and birthday cake! Childcare is available.

Black-and-white photograph of a cook standing at a window, below which is a sign reading, "PEACE Homecooked Meals 10 & 15 [cents]"

"Embodied Taste" Opening Reception

Embodied Taste explores art that takes food, in all its complexities, as a starting point, and sees how collaborations, connections, sensual experiences and stories are consumed every time you take a bite. This exhibition was organized by students enrolled in “Eat! An Exhibition Seminar at the Mead,” a course led by Amy C. Hall, visiting assistant professor of anthropology, and Emily Potter-Ndiaye, the Dwight and Kirsten Poler & Andrew W. Mellon Head of Education and Curator of Academic Programs.

Join us for the opening reception of Embodied Taste to learn more about this exciting exhibition directly from student curators.

Free and open to all!

ASA x CSA x ACH Screening: <i>The Farewell</i>

Join CSA, ACH and ASA for a screening of Lulu Wang’s The Farewell. Kick off your reading period with with this humorous and poignant film, boba, Insomnia cookies and an intellectually stimulating discussion afterwards.

Tue, Dec 17, 2019

Student-Written 10 Minute Play Festival

Interested in writing a 10-minute play? Interested in having your 10-minute play performed in an hour-long student-written play festival? Submit your 10-minute plays (approximately 10 pages) to acgreenroom@gmail.com by Saturday, Feb. 1, to be considered. Plays will be provided one set: a dining room table and chairs. Do with that what you will. Any questions, submissions or interest in design to be e-mailed to acgreenroom@gmail.com.

Students Only