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!

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.
https://www.amherst.edu/mm/33214

"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.

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.

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.

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.