Conversation during the dean’s retreat surfaced tensions around implementing strategies for building an inclusive classroom, supporting productive team or group work and addressing oppressive behaviors. With the goal of helping you to gain a better understanding how you might shape your own pedagogical approach to build an inclusive classroom that fosters student learning and growth, Riley Caldwell-O’Keefe of the Center for Teaching and Learning will draw on Amherst-specific examples and the literature about inclusive and culturally responsive teaching to facilitate a discussion of these tensions. We want to hear what has worked for you, what others might try and where you are wanting to grow and need more support and ideas.
The Amherst College Education Studies Initiative welcomes Sam Abrams, director of the National Center for the Study of Privatization in Education at Teachers College, Columbia University, as the second speaker of our 2018–2019 interdisciplinary series.
In this lecture, Abrams will address the contemporary debate about vouchers, charter schools, tuition tax credits and how we got here. With particular attention to the case for vouchers made by Milton Friedman from 1955 to 2000, Abrams will trace the development of an idea, its modifications by Friedman's allies and opponents, and its impact in Chile and Sweden as well as the United States.
Outside of his directorship at the National Center for the Study of Privatization in Education, Dr. Abrams is the author of Education and the Commercial Mindset (Harvard University Press, 2016). He was previously a high school teacher for 18 years. He grew up in nearby Holyoke, Mass., and earned his B.A., M.A. and Ph.D. at Columbia. In addition to privatization, his areas of interest include curriculum design and comparative education. For his advancement of the understanding of Finnish education in the United States, the Finnish government made Abrams a Knight, First Class, Order of the Lion of Finland, in 2014.
Join us for an evening with Aatish Taseer ’03, author and contributing opinion writer for The International New York Times.
Taseer will discuss his experiences at Amherst, with its moments of protest, racial tension and self-reflection, and how they gave him a new perspective on his country of origin, India. His experiences gave him an important lesson: history is a strong vessel for self-improvement, and historical awakening elicits a demand to be seen. Taseer now notices those who need to be heard and has worked to be an active voice for these people.
Aatish Taseer was born in 1980. He is the author of the memoir Stranger to History: A Son’s Journey Through Islamic Lands and three acclaimed novels: The Way Things Were, a finalist for the 2016 Jan Michalski Prize; The Temple-Goers, which was short-listed for the Costa First Novel Award; and Noon. His work has been translated into more than a dozen languages. He is a contributing writer for The International New York Times and lives in New Delhi and New York.
In his forthcoming book, The Twice-Born: Life and Death on the Ganges, Taseer embarks on a journey of self-discovery in an intoxicating, unsettling personal reckoning with modern India, where ancient customs collide with the contemporary politics of revivalism and revenge
When Taseer first came to Benares, the spiritual capital of Hinduism, he was 18, the Westernized child of an Indian journalist and a Pakistani politician, raised among the intellectual and cultural elite of New Delhi. Nearly two decades later, Taseer leaves his life in Manhattan to go in search of the Brahmins, wanting to understand his own estrangement from India through their ties to tradition.
Known as the "twice-born"—first into the flesh, and again when initiated into their vocation—the Brahmins are a caste devoted to sacred learning. But what Taseer finds in Benares, the holy city of death also known as Varanasi, is a window on an India as internally fractured as his own continent-bridging identity. At every turn, the seductive, homogenizing force of modernity collides with the insistent presence of the past. In a globalized world, to be modern is to renounce India—and yet the tide of nationalism is rising, heralded by cries of “Victory to Mother India!” and an outbreak of anti-Muslim violence.
From the narrow streets of the temple town to a Modi rally in Delhi, among the blossoming cotton trees and the bathers and burning corpses of the Ganges, Taseer struggles to reconcile magic with reason, faith in tradition with hope for the future and the brutalities of the caste system, all the while challenging his own myths about himself, his past, and his countries old and new.
The event is funded by the Croxton Lecture Fund.
Barbara Herman, the Griffin Professor of Philosophy and Professor of Law at the University of California, Los Angeles, Department of Philosophy, will present the 13th Annual Amherst Lecture in Philosophy (ALP), titled "Motive and Wrongdoing."
This event is sponsored by the Department of Philosophy and funded by the Forry and Micken Fund in Philosophy and Science. For further information, please contact Dee Brace.
Join Geoff Sanborn, Amherst's Henry S. Poler '59 Presidential Teaching Professor of English, in celebrating the publication of his new book, The Value of Herman Melville. Sanborn is author of several books on Melville, as well as Plagiarama!: William Wells Brown and the Aesthetic of Attractions.
"What a science career looks like when med school doesn’t work out" From research to teaching to federal regulatory work, Dr. Alain Silk has followed a non-linear career path in science after his initial plan to attend medical school fell apart. Come chat with him over lunch in the new science center café, and learn about how he has made career decisions, what the day-to-day work of a scientist looks like in the FDA, and what advice he has for science students considering a range of career options. Lunch sponsored by the Loeb Center for Career Exploration and Planning. Space is limited, so please reserve your spot through Handshake.
Alain Silk is a medical device regulatory professional working on behalf of the American people to protect and promote the public health. Alain is committed to ensuring timely patient access to high-quality medical devices and has seen first-hand the added value of regulation in assuring medical device safety and effectiveness. Alain received his Ph.D. from the University of California at San Diego, conducted post-doctoral training in the Knight Cancer Institute at Oregon Health and Science University, and has held teaching appointments in the biology departments of both Lewis & Clark College (Portland, OR) and American University (Washington, D.C.).
Alain brings his broad research and teaching background to his current role at the US Food and Drug Administration. Since joining FDA in early 2014 he has reviewed pre-market submissions and worked on post-market issues related to in-vitro diagnostic devices as a member of the Division of Chemistry and Toxicology Devices in the Center for Devices and Radiological Health.
Join us for an evening with journalist and best-selling author Michael Lewis, whose forthcoming book The Fifth Risk explores the transition of government agencies from the Obama administration to the Trump administration. The talk will be moderated by Cullen Murphy '74, former chair of the Amherst College Board of Trustees and former editor-at-large of Vanity Fair.
A sharp observer of politics, finance and the evolution of American culture, Michael Lewis combines keen insight with his signature wit, making him one of today’s leading social commentators. Lewis’ program takes a fresh, hard look at the ever-changing value systems that drive our economic markets, political landscapes and cultural norms, and how organizations can adapt their thought strategies to facilitate growth among all three.
Michael Lewis has published 16 books on subjects ranging from politics to Wall Street. Lewis‘s newest book, The Fifth Risk: Undoing Democracy, which debuted on Oct. 2, 2018, examines a government in crisis. It explores the Trump Administration's failure to fill vacancies in some of the most important positions in crucial government agencies like the Departments of Agriculture, Energy and Commerce. With so much at stake, Lewis seeks out the (former) linchpins of the system—those public servants whose knowledge, dedication and proactivity kept the machinery running for so many years—and asks them what keeps them up at night.
Cullen Murphy ’74 served on Amherst College's Board of Trustees from 2000 to 2018. He served as chair of the board from 2012 to 2018.
Murphy holds a B.A. in European studies from Amherst. In 2018 he rejoined The Atlantic as editor-at-large. He is a writer and former editor-at-large of Vanity Fair magazine. Before arriving at Vanity Fair in 2006, he was an associate editor of Change magazine (1975 to 1977), senior editor of The Wilson Quarterly (1977 to 1985) and then managing editor of The Atlantic Monthly (1985 to 2005). His books include Rubbish! The Archaeology of Garbage, with co-author William L. Rathje (2001); The Word According to Eve: Women and the Bible in Ancient Times and Our Own (1998); Are We Rome? The Fall of an Empire and the Fate of America (2008); and God's Jury: The Inquisition and the Making of the Modern World (2013). His latest book, Cartoon County: My Father and His Friends in the Golden Age of Make-Believe, was published in November 2017.
Nicholas R. Micinski will give a talk titled "Everyday Humanitarianism & New Technologies: Civil Society Responses to the Refugee Crisis in Greece." This talk is sponsored by the Eastman Fund, the Lamont Fund and the Department of Political Science at Amherst College. It is free and open to the public. Micinski is a research associate at the EU Studies Center at the Ralph Bunche Institute for International Studies at the Graduate Center, City University of New York.
In the summer of 2015, large numbers of refugees and migrants arrived on the shores of the Aegean islands, but the Greek government and international organizations were slow to respond. How did civil society actors coordinate their responses when national, regional and global governance failed? This presentation will describe how civil society actors improvised their response through new cyber-technologies and everyday coordination mechanisms defined as the informal processes for communication and decision-making that make up the day-to-day action of implementation. In Greece, four examples of everyday coordination emerged: new technologies (like Facebook groups and WhatsApp chats), peer-to-peer refugee coordination, maps of services and field-level working groups. Everyday coordination threatened traditional authority in the state or international organizations, because it governed actors in a different way, created parallel systems and sometimes promoted competing goals. The Greek government responded by institutionalizing, co-opting and cracking down on civil society actors helping refugees.
Dr. Kim Baranowski, associate director of the Mount Sinai Human Rights Clinic, will give context to the immigration crisis on the U.S.-Mexico border.
This talk is sponsored by the Department of Anthropology and Sociology; GlobeMed; the Center for Community Engagement; the Loeb Center for Career Exploration and Planning; the Five College Program in Culture, Health and Science; the Eastman Fund; and the Lamont Fund.
Jordy Rosenberg is the author of Confessions of the Fox, which The New York Times named an Editor's Choice selection and described as a “mind-bending romp through a gender-fluid 18th-century London. Rosenberg's debut novel is a joyous mash-up of literary genres shot through with queer theory and awash in sex, crime and revolution.” It was also long-listed for the Center for the Fiction First Novel Prize. Rosenberg is a professor of 18th-century literature, gender and sexuality studies and critical theory at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
This reading will be followed by refreshments.
In “Staging Blackqueer Lives in Anti-Black Queer Times: Visual Possibilities, Poetics and Resistance in/through Collage,” Dr. Durell M. Callier, assistant professor in the Department of Educational Leadership at Miami University, offers an analysis of Black and queer quotidian practices and artistic practices within the area of collage and visual. Fundamentally, the question of how Black and queer people are seen, remembered and honored, their lives held sacred or not within our society, is explored. To answer this question, attention is given to the ways Black communities perform embodied, visual, sonic, resistances and representations of themselves and their lives which envision anew freedom, pleasure and Black life beyond structural forces of confinement and degradation. Based in part on two mixed-media art installations, disclosure (2015) and Staging Blackqueer Possibilities (2018), this talk examines Callier's exploration into manifesting these possibilities through creating collages, reflecting upon the visual and thus spatial interventions which are made possible through critical engagements with visual art and performance.
Sponsored by the Center for Community Engagement and the Amherst College Education Studies Initiative
Dorothy Wong will introduce and discuss her new book Buddhist Pilgrim-Monks as Agents of Cultural and Artistic Transmission: The International Buddhist Art Style in East Asia, Ca. 645-770. This event is free and open to the public, and all with an interest in the Buddhist arts of Asia are welcome to attend.
The period ca. 645–770 marked an extraordinary era in the development of East Asian Buddhism and Buddhist art. Increased contacts between China and regions to both its west and east facilitated exchanges and the circulation of ideas, practices and art forms, giving rise to a synthetic art style uniform in both iconography and formal characteristics. The formulation of this new Buddhist art style occurred in China in the latter part of the seventh century, and from there it became widely disseminated and copied throughout East Asia, and to some extent in Central Asia, in the eighth century. This book argues that notions of Buddhist kingship formed the underpinnings of Buddhist states experimented in China and Japan from the late seventh to the mid-eighth century. For brief periods, the imperial cities of the Tang and Nara courts—Chang’an, Luoyang and Heijōkyō (present-day Nara)—became transformed into capitals of Buddhist empires. The volume also argues that Buddhist pilgrim-monks were among the key agents in the transmission of the religio-political ideals of state Buddhism, its visual language, and attendant rituals and practices. As this visual style of state Buddhism was spread, circulated, adopted and transformed in faraway lands, it transcended cultural and geographical boundaries and became cosmopolitan.
Tanya Marie Luhrmann is the 2018 Willis Wood Lecturer for the Amherst College Department of Religion. She is the Watkins University Professor at Stanford University in the Department of Anthropology. Her work focuses on the edge of experience: on voices, visions, the world of the supernatural and the world of psychosis. She has done ethnography on the streets of Chicago with homeless and psychotic women, and worked with people who hear voices in Chennai, Accra and the South Bay. She has also done fieldwork with evangelical Christians who seek to hear God speak back, with Zoroastrians who set out to create a more mystical faith, and with people who practice magic. She uses a combination of ethnographic and experimental methods to understand the phenomenology of unusual sensory experiences, the way they are shaped by ideas about minds and persons, and what we can learn from this social shaping that can help us to help those whose voices are distressing.
Luhrmann was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2003 and received a John Guggenheim Fellowship award in 2007. When God Talks Back was named a New York Times Notable Book of the Year and a Kirkus Reviews Best Book of the Year. It was awarded the $100,000 Grawemeyer Prize for Religion by the University of Louisville. She has published over thirty op-eds in The New York Times, and her work has been featured in The New Yorker, The New York Review of Books, The Times Literary Supplement, Science News and many other publications. Her new book, Our Most Troubling Madness: Schizophrenia and Culture, was published by the University of California Press in October 2016.
This talk makes the argument that the way we think about our minds matters, and may shape the phenomenology of our mental events. It makes the case that different practices of attending to mental events have identifiable phenomenological consequences; and that different cultures and different theologies emphasize mind and mental process in distinctive ways. The way that people map the territory of the mind works as a kind of practice of attention: with practiced attention and cultural invitation, Christians report that some kinds of events come to feel more “external”—they develop more confidence that God has spoken, and they report a more sensory quality to the voice. The data suggest that one consequence of culturally different ways of representing mind and mental experience is that Americans have a harsher experience of psychosis, and less spiritual experience.
The talk is open to the public.
On Friday, Oct. 19, at 3 p.m. in the Center for Humanistic Inquiry at the Frost Library, Amherst College, the Practicing Democracy Symposium will convene to discuss the topic of “Hatred in Democracy.” Guest speakers will be Joseph Levin, co-founder and previously the legal director, president, CEO and general counsel at the Southern Poverty Law Center; Nadia Aziz, policy counsel of the Stop Hate Project at the Lawyer’s Committee for Civil Rights Under Law; and Manar Waheed, legislative and advocacy counsel for the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union).
This event is sponsored by the Colloquium on Practicing Democracy and the Sperling Fund.
Join us as Professor Stavans speaks with Nobel Laureate in Economics and Amherst College alumnus Joseph Stiglitz '64.
The "Globalism and Its Discontents: Point/Counterpoint" conversation series features Amherst College professor, and host of NEPR's In Contrast, Ilan Stavans and a guest engaging in thoughtful discussion and attempting to bridge the ideological divide growing in our nation.
The rise of populism worldwide today, personified by Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin, is a fierce reaction to globalism policies of the past few decades. Anti-immigration movements in Europe and the United States; assaults on free speech; racial profiling; polarized politics; intolerance for gender, economic and linguistic diversity; the building of walls and the renegotiation of international trade treaties; the tension between rural and urban communities; and the questioning of the basic tenets of pluralism are some of the symptoms. Democracy itself might be at peril.
Joseph E. Stiglitz is an American economist and a professor at Columbia University. He is also the co-chair of the High-Level Expert Group on the Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and the Chief Economist of the Roosevelt Institute. A recipient of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences (2001) and the John Bates Clark Medal (1979), he is a former senior vice president and chief economist of the World Bank and a former member and chairman of the (U.S. president's) Council of Economic Advisers. In 2000, Stiglitz founded the Initiative for Policy Dialogue, a think tank on international development based at Columbia University. He has been a member of the Columbia faculty since 2001 and received that university's highest academic rank (university professor) in 2003. In 2011 Stiglitz was named by Time magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the world. Known for his pioneering work on asymmetric information, Stiglitz focuses on income distribution, risk, corporate governance, public policy, macroeconomics and globalization. He is the author of numerous books, several of them best-sellers. His most recent titles are Globalization and Its Discontents Revisited, The Euro, Rewriting the Rules of the American Economy and The Great Divide.
Free and open to the public
"Point/Counterpoint" is co-sponsored by NEPR’s In Contrast and by a generous gift from 36 members of the 50th Reunion Class of 1970.
Find more information about the other speakers in the series here.
Interviews with previous guests, and others, are available through Ilan Stavans' NEPR show In Contrast. Have a listen!
The festival is organized by Pioneer Valley Poetry Productions and is co-sponsored by the Amherst College Department of English. No admission is charged for the readings. Poets who will read from their works Friday evening include Monica de la Torre, Brian Henry, Sawako Nakayasu, Uche Nduka and Eleni Sikelianos. The readers are among this country’s established poets working in avant-garde writing and innovative traditions.
The festival is organized by Pioneer Valley Poetry Productions and is co-sponsored by the Amherst College Department of English. No admission is charged for the readings. Poets scheduled to read Saturday evening include John High, Ruth Lepson, Michael Leong, Elinor Nauen, Patrick Donnelly and Fanny Howe. The readers are among this country’s established poets working in avant-garde writing and innovative traditions.
Allen Hurlbert '94, PhD
Department of Biology
University of North Carolina
In the Hurlbert Lab, we ask questions about the structure of ecological communities and the processes that are responsible for determining the patterns of diversity, composition, turnover and relative abundance both within local assemblages and around the globe. Our work spans vertebrate, invertebrate and plant communities, and we use a variety of approaches from manipulative experiments to modeling to working with global-scale data sets.
The Amherst Political Union welcomes Paul Smith ’76, P’09 for a talk on "Vote Suppression, Gerrymandering and the Supreme Court."
Smith was elected to the Amherst College Board of Trustees in 2016. He is a Distinguished Visiting Professor from Practice at Georgetown Law School and vice president for litigation and strategy at the Campaign Legal Center, which seeks to protect voting rights, to defend reasonable campaign finance regulation and to enforce government ethics rules. Before taking these positions in 2017, he practiced law at the firm of Jenner & Block LLP, where he became one of the most prominent Supreme Court advocates of his generation. He has handled many cases involving civil rights and civil liberties, notably in the areas of free speech, voting rights and gay rights. He has argued 21 cases before the U.S. Supreme Court, including the landmark gay-rights case Lawrence v. Texas, as well as Brown v. EMA, which established the First Amendment rights of video game producers.
Smith has received multiple awards for his work promoting civil rights and civil liberties, including the 2010 Thurgood Marshall Award from the American Bar Association. He is a member and former chair of the board of the American Constitution Society, and a former member and co-chair of the board of Lambda Legal. He also is on the boards of the Folger Shakespeare Library, the Castleton Festival and the Electronic Privacy Information Center.
Abstract: In recent years, presidential campaigns have become increasingly quantitative in nature. Once dominated by a small group of backroom strategists making gut decisions, modern campaigns have become increasingly reliant on data-backed decision support. Over the past two decades, this "moneyball-ization" of politics has transformed the way campaigns are run and how resources are allocated.
In this talk, I will describe my experiences working for the Analytics Department of Obama For America during the 2012 election cycle. As a digital analyst, I worked alongside political scientists, statisticians and physicists on problems ranging from social media analytics to quantifying the effects of communications and messaging. In addition, I'll touch upon some of the privacy issues brought up in the 2016 election cycle.
Abstract: The area of inverse problems can be thought of as the Jeopardy! of mathematical research. Instead of trying to find solutions to complicated equations, the theory of inverse problems attempts to do the opposite: Given solutions to equations, what are the equations themselves? Just as many questions have the same answer, it is true that many different equations have the same solution, making inverse problems extremely challenging to solve. In this talk I’ll describe the inverse problem of sampling continuous signals, and how to guarantee a perfect reconstruction by preventing the occurrence of “alias” signals.
On Thursday, Oct. 25, at 4:30 p.m. in Clark House Room 100 at Amherst College, Nancy Rosenblum, professor of ethics in politics and government at Harvard University, will present a paper titled “The New Conspiracism and Immunity to the Law.” This is the second presentation in a series of seminars that will take place this year on the theme “Law and Illiberalism.”
Professor Rosenblum’s field of research is historical and contemporary political thought. Her publications include Good Neighbors: The Democracy of Everyday Life in America (2016) and On the Side of the Angels: An Appreciation of Parties and Partisanship (2010). Professor Rosenblum is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Science and co-editor of the Annual Review of Political Science.
To receive a copy of the paper which will define the new conspiracism, identify its principal targets and survey how it delegitimates democratic institutions, please email the LJST Department Coordinator at email@example.com.
Expand your understanding of career options after graduation. Join us in a discussion with five unique alumni, moderated by Wade Fellow Anthony Jack '07, and hear about the professional paths they traveled after Amherst. Panelists are: Amelia Schoenbeck '14, human capital analyst at Goldman Sachs; Evan Nabrit '06, creative services specialist at Jacobs; Charmel Maynard '07, treasurer for the University of Miami; Jared Banner '07, vice president of player personnel for the Boston Red Sox; and Tarasai Karega '09, in partnership sales at NBC Sports Philadelphia.
This event is supported by the Harold Wade '68 Memorial Fund, in partnership with the Office of Diversity and Inclusion and the Loeb Center for Career Exploration and Planning.
The Department of Economics welcomes Joseph F. Quinn '69, professor at Boston College and trustee of Amherst College, for our annual Family Weekend presentation. Professor Quinn's talk, "The Challenges and Opportunities of Living and Working Longer" will be on Friday, Oct. 26, at 4 p.m. in Cole Assembly Room, Converse Hall, with reception to follow in Converse lobby. All are welcome.
Barbara A. Osborne, Ph.D.
Professor, Veterinary and Animal Sciences
Co-director, Center for Bioactive Delivery, Institute for Applied Life Sciences
University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Research in the Osborne Lab
The Osborne laboratory focuses on the differentiation and function of mature CD4+ lymphocytes. In particular, we are interested in the role of Notch proteins in CD4+ maturation and function. Over the past several years, we have demonstrated that Notch plays a critical role in the differentiation of the T-helper 1 (Th1) and T-helper17 (Th17) subsets of T cells. Both Th1 and Th17 cells have been implicated in several diseases, including experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), a mouse model of multiple sclerosis. Using gamma-secretase inhibitors (GSIs), compounds that block the activation of Notch, we have found that we can block the development of EAE in mice, suggesting that GSIs may be a possible therapeutic for the treatment of MS. Our current studies are focused on determining how Notch signaling influences the development of EAE, as well as determining which Notch family member is important in the development of disease. In mammals, there are four Notch family members, and it is unclear which Notch family member is most important in driving EAE.
Notch signaling is initiated by two enzymatic cleavages. The first cleavage, driven by ADAM proteases, is required for the second cleavage, mediated by gamma-secretase, which results in the release of the intra-cellular domain of Notch and initiates the Notch signaling cascade. Notch signaling can be blocked by gamma-secretase inhibitors, and our lab, in collaboration with colleagues at UMass, UFlorida and LSU Medical School, investigates how gamma-secretase inhibition may be used to modulate immune responses. We also are actively investigating whether Notch signaling in CD4+ T cells is mediated through canonical Notch signaling. Our data suggest Notch signaling in T cells occurs through a non-canonical pathway and current research is focused on a clearer description of this non-canonical pathway.
Kate Manne is assistant professor at the Sage School of Philosophy at Cornell University. She works in the areas of moral philosophy, feminist philosophy and social philosophy, and is the author of Down Girl: The Logic of Misogyny (Oxford, 2018), which examines misogyny as a device to control, police, punish and exile “bad” women who challenge male dominance. Her current project focuses on the idea of “himpathy,” the practice of exonerating, forgiving, forgetting and rewarding often extended to privileged boys and men. She is a sought-after commentator, most recently on the Kavanaugh hearings and on the controversial Canadian academic Jordan Peterson.
Library Journal called Debra Magpie Earling’s Perma Red “a beautiful first novel,” and Louise Erdrich described it as “boldly drawn and passionate.” It won the Western Writers Association Spur Award, WWA’s Medicine Pipe Bearer Award for Best First Novel, a WILLA Literary Award and the American Book Award. Earling is also the author of The Lost Journals of Sacajewea, a collaboration with photographer Peter Rutledge Koch. She is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, and she teaches fiction and Native American studies at the University of Montana.
This reading will be followed by refreshments.