Event Calendar

March 2021

Mon, Mar 1, 2021

Headshot of Rosa Leon-Zayas

Biology Monday Seminar

4:00 pm Virtual

Rosa Leon-Zayas, Ph.D., assistant professor of biology at Willamette University, will speak on "Diving Deeper: Microbial Diversity and Metabolic Potential in the Marine Deep Biosphere."

Exploration of the deep ocean has expanded our understanding of oceanic ecosystems, and yet still little is known about these deep sites on Earth. Some of the most poorly understood ecosystems are subsurface sedimentary environments and ultra-deep trenches, particularly as it pertains to the distribution of novel microbial lineages and their associated metabolic abilities.

In this presentation, I will share an two examples of work that has advanced our understanding of the distribution and metabolic potential of novel microbial lineages, such as those that are part of the Candidate Phyla Radiation, and archaeal lineages such as Bathyarchaea and Asgard archaea superphylum. Overall, this research seeks to reveal the metabolic potential of novel microbial lineages, which significantly contributes to our overall understanding of the ecosystem function of subsurface sedimentary environments.

Persons from the Amherst College community who wish to attend should please register by sending an email request to the Biology Department ADC, Karen Racz, who will provide the Zoom link to the meeting.

Headshot of Kirun Kapur

Kirun Kapur ’97: A Reading and Conversation

7:00 pm Virtual

Please join us for a reading and conversation with poet and Amherst College Writer-in-Residence Kirun Kapur '97. Kapur’s newest book, Women in the Waiting Room, which Aimee Nezhukumatathil calls “a must read for these times and beyond,” was a finalist for the National Poetry Series. Her first collection, Visiting Indira Gandhi's Palmist, was awarded the 2013 Antivenom Poetry Award and was described as a “stellar debut by a major new voice” by Andre Dubus III.

Registration Required
KVE discussion program poster. Text in black and white, with gray gradient stripes in background. Picture of KVE members at bottom in color.

Kaleidoscope Vocal Ensemble Kitchen Table Conversation: "What Does It Mean to Intentionally Center Racial and Ethnic Identities in Ensemble Work?"

The Queer Resource Center and the Amherst College Choral Society are pleased to present a series of roundtable discussions and workshops addressing and exploring how to lead, facilitate, direct and participate in vocal ensembles that not only center marginalized folks, but actively create and sustain a more affirming and less harmful interpersonal dynamic and ensemble culture. Kaleidoscope Vocal Ensemble Kitchen Table Conversation: "What Does It Mean to Intentionally Center Racial and Ethnic Identities in Ensemble Work?" will present to attendees a frank and open conversation with KVE members! Join us in a discussion concerning how diversity, equity and inclusion can thrive in choral and musical spaces, and to consider the diverse ways we see excellence in music when we work from a framework of equity and justice. All are welcome.

Tue, Mar 2, 2021

James H. Dickerson II, Ph.D. (Jay) '94, Chief Scientific Officer Consumer Reports : "Using Science for Good"

We expect that the products we use every day will be safe, reliable, and effective. However, that does not always occur. A computer battery can unexpectedly catch fire, bedroom furniture can be unstable and topple, and food can be contaminated. Consumer Reports (CR) is committed to revealing the truth and raising the bar for safety and fairness, and empowering consumers with trusted information. Learn how CR uses science for good, applying its scientific findings for diverse audiences—from consumers to rule makers, industry to government, all with the goal of driving marketplace change that benefits everyone.
This presentation describes the underpinning endeavors of my organization, Consumer Reports. Thus, the topic will attempt to address the skepticism that many have that "ratings" or "reviews" of consumer products that Consumer Reports provides are no different from those often seen in forums like Amazon, YouTube, WireCutter, and other venues. My intent is to demonstrate that the robust science that we undertake at CR is far superior to that "used" in other venues.

Wed, Mar 3, 2021

two students studying an art exhibit at the Mead Art Museum

CHI Salon: "From Student to Explainer: The Public-Facing Work of Students in the Arts and Sciences"

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

Writing museum labels or web content for a public audience requires a mastery of the ideas that permit the author to be both brief and dense, specific but jargon-free. So what about teaching students to do it? What does it look like to teach students to communicate complex topics in art and science to a broad public audience?

In this panel discussion, Mead Art Museum’s Head of Education Emily Potter-Ndiaye will moderate a conversation with Professors Chris Durr (chemistry) and Dwight Carey (architectural studies and art history) to hear more about their recent student projects in public-facing writing and the pedagogies that support it. What does this look like for topics that normally require a deep base of background knowledge? What is specific to the discipline, universal across the curriculum? Where did their best efforts fall flat? And what do they take from the process as educators and scholars? Participants are welcome and encouraged to come with notes from their own practice to add to the discussion.

Registration Required

Fania Davis: "Restorative Justice and Racial Justice in a Time of Heartache, Awakening and Repair"

What do justice and healing look like in these times?

Marking the launch of Amherst College’s Center for Restorative Practices, Dr. Davis’ talk will review the origins and fundamentals of restorative justice, while addressing its intersection with racial justice in this historical moment of George Floyd, white nationalism, COVID-19, economic disaster and climate catastrophe. She will also discuss today’s unprecedented anti-racist awakening and the consequential truth and reparations initiatives bubbling up across the nation. Dr. Davis is the author of The Little Book of Race and Restorative Justice.

Registration Required

Thu, Mar 4, 2021

Statistics and Data Science Colloquium: "Statistical and Computational Methods for Whole-Genome Sequencing Studies," Dr. Sheila Gaynor

Many complex diseases have a notable genetic component; however, for most diseases and traits, a limited number of associated genetic variants have been identified. Current large-scale whole-genome sequencing efforts allow for the analysis of genetic associations across millions of low-frequency and rare variants using large samples (100K+). To analyze rare variants, variance component tests aggregating multiple variants are commonly implemented to improve statistical power. However, such generalized mixed model-based methods are nonetheless limited by low statistical power and significant computational cost.

In this talk, I discuss methods for rare variant tests to analyze large samples incorporating functional data in a dynamic weight scheme to improve power. I introduce cloud-based computational tools that implement such methods using a scalable framework. Lastly, I discuss the application of these methods to analyze data on heart, lung, blood and sleep disorders from the NHLBI Trans-Omics for Precision Medicine (TOPMed) Program.

Fri, Mar 5, 2021

Image of Professor Cajetan Iheka

"The Media Turn in the Environmental Humanities: Insights from a Black Oil Ecology"

The English department invites you to join us for the first presentation in our series "Lectures in Black Literature and Culture," a talk by Professor Cajetan Iheka, Department of English, Yale University.

Advance Zoom registration is required to attend the lecture:
https://amherstcollege.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_WPl98en7QGqPtP6U801Pyw

Registration Required
Headshot of Professor Kaku So-Armah '07

Cheminar: "Epidemiology at Intersections: HIV, Cardiometabolic Disease and Substance Use"

3:30 pm - 4:30 pm Virtual Seminar Via Zoom Link

Pryde Lecturer: Professor Kaku So-Armah '07, Research Professor at Boston University School of Medicine

Abstract: I would like to have a conversation about questions my lab is interested in answering to improve the lives of people living with HIV. With the success of highly effective antiretroviral therapy to treat HIV infection, people with HIV are living longer. An important aspect of this longer life expectancy is that people with HIV are at risk for diseases of aging like heart disease, non-AIDS-related cancers and liver disease. Our group has focused on quantifying this risk, exploring mechanisms driving this risk and testing interventions to reduce this risk.

Mon, Mar 8, 2021

Goutte_Headshot

Biology Monday Seminar

4:00 pm Virtual

Caroline Goutte, PhD, Professor of Biology and BCBP, Amherst College, will speak on "Using genetic analysis in C. elegans to probe Gamma Secretase variations within the conserved Notch signaling pathway."

Communication between cells is critical to animal development and homeostasis. Despite the variety of cellular contexts and outcomes of communication, a surprisingly small number of core molecular mechanisms are used repeatedly to achieve cellular communication in a multicellular organism. The Goutte lab focuses on a well-conserved mechanism of contact-dependent cell communication known as Notch signaling. We seek to discover sources of molecular variation that could adapt the Notch signaling machinery to different cellular needs. To carry out this quest, we use the simple model system Caenorhabditis elegans, for which multiple distinct events of Notch signaling have been characterized, and we have in hand all the genetic components of the core Notch signaling machinery. Our most recent results have led us to interrogate the large integral membrane complex gamma secretase, which executes the final activation step in Notch signaling. Although well-accepted as a standard and non-variable step in Notch signal transduction, we are beginning to put together a more dynamic view of this protein complex and its role in Notch signaling across the life of an animal.

Members of the Amherst College community who wish to attend should please register by sending an email request to the Biology ADC, Karen Racz, who will send the Zoom link.

Tue, Mar 9, 2021

The Broken Heart of America: A Conversation with Walter Johnson ’88

7:00 pm Virtual

President Biddy Martin will moderate a conversation with Walter Johnson ’88, the Winthrop Professor of History and Professor of African and African American Studies at Harvard University, about lessons from the research for his new book, The Broken Heart of America: St. Louis and the Violent History of the United States. This event is part of the President’s Colloquium on Race and Racism, a series that centers the voices of scholars studying intersections of race and American democracy.

This event is supported by the Victor S. Johnson Lecture Fund, established for the president to bring to Amherst lecturers in the best tradition of the liberal arts.

Wed, Mar 10, 2021

Page from early modern manuscript recipe book

CHI Salon: "Before Farm to Table: Early Modern Foodways and Cultures"

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

This salon features a presentation by five students selected this past fall as Folger Undergraduate Fellows. The Fellows took part in an intensive seminar during January term to work in close collaboration with Folger staff and with a group of postdoctoral researchers to engage in a 360-degree investigation of an 18th-century manuscript recipe book from the Folger Shakespeare Library collection. Students examined how the book was put together; investigated its users, contributors and sources; and identified seasonal ingredients, preservation methods and ingredients made available through trade routes and institutionalized slavery. They transcribed, edited and adapted recipes, uncovered implicit knowledge and hidden labor encoded in the recipes, and even recreated selected recipes.

Student presenters: Sarah Edelson '23, Hildi Gabel '21, Maddie Hahm '23, Kate Lester '22, and Anna Smith '22.

Folger Shakespeare Library staff: Dr. Heather Wolfe, curator of manuscripts; Dr. Amanda Herbert, associate director of fellowships

The Folger Shakespeare Library is one of the world’s premier research libraries. Its founder, Henry Clay Folger, graduated from Amherst in 1879 and bequeathed the Library to Amherst upon his death in 1930.

Registration Required
Photo of Dr. Joseph Sebarenzi

Joseph Sebarenzi: "From Bitterness to Forgiveness: A Personal and National Restorative Approach After the Rwandan Genocide"

Dr. Joseph Sebarenzi, former head of the Parliament of Rwanda, has endured tragedy most of us cannot fathom. He lost both his parents, seven siblings and numerous other relatives in the Rwandan genocide of 1994. Yet, years later, as a senior government official in a position to exact revenge, he instead pushed for peace and reconciliation. Dr. Sebarenzi tells his dramatic and historic story and imparts a message of forgiveness and restorative justice. His book is entitled God Sleeps in Rwanda.

Registration Required

Thu, Mar 11, 2021

David Brooks headshot

Politics and Poetry: A Conversation with New York Times Columnist David Brooks

7:00 pm Virtual

In this conversation, Ilan Stavans and David Brooks will discuss whether America’s ideological polarization is unbreachable and how we might find common ground. This event is part of the Politics and Poetry Series and is co-sponsored with the Amherst College Political Union.

David Brooks has been an op-ed columnist for The New York Times since 2003 and a political commentator for the PBS NewsHour since 2004. His books include The Social Animal: The Hidden Sources of Love, Character, and Achievement (2011), The Road to Character (2015) and The Second Mountain: The Quest for a Moral Life (2019).

Ilan Stavans is the Lewis-Sebring Professor of Humanities and Latin American and Latino Studies at Amherst and the publisher of Restless Books. His most recent books are The Seventh Heaven: Travels through Jewish Latin America (2019), How Yiddish Changed America and How America Changed Yiddish (2020) and Selected Translations: Poems 2000-2021 (2021). He is the recipient of numerous international awards and honors, and his work has been translated into 20 languages, and adapted into film, radio, TV and theater.

Registration Required

Fri, Mar 12, 2021

Mon, Mar 15, 2021

Nautiyal_headshot

Biology Monday Seminar

4:00 pm Virtual

Katherine Nautiyal, PhD, Assistant Professor, Psychological and Brain Sciences, Dartmouth College, will speak on "The neural and behavioral basis of impulsivity"

I’m interested in how we exert self-control, and reasons why we might fail to be able to control our behavior. Our lab studies one aspect of this by focusing on understanding the neural circuits that underlie impulse control. Impulsive behavior is characterized by acting on a whim or difficulty delaying gratification and is a key component in many every-day behaviors such as making healthy eating choices or saving money. Dysregulated impulsivity plays a major role in a number of psychiatric disorders including ADHD, binge eating, substance use disorders, and behavioral addictions. We use a number of neurobiological and behavioral approaches in mouse models to understand how serotonin modulates the neural circuits that contribute to the regulation of impulsive behavior. Our work uses genetic and viral manipulations of serotonin signaling, careful behavioral assessment, and in vivo one photon calcium imaging. Recent work has focused on the serotonin 1B receptor (5-HT1B), and its role in reducing impulsivity by influencing reward value.

Persons from the Amherst College community who wish to attend should please register with Biology ADC Karen Racz, who will provide the Zoom link to the seminar.

Tue, Mar 16, 2021

Event poster featuring headshots and biographical information about Kim Yi Dionne and Fulya Felicity Turkmen

"The Politics of Pandemic Othering: Putting COVID-19 in Global and Historical Context"

5:00 pm - 6:30 pm Held Via Zoom, Zoom Link: https://amherstcollege.zoom.u

The Department of Political Science and Department of Economics at Amherst College, along with additional funding from the Eastman Fund and the Lamont Fund, present "The Politics of Pandemic Othering: Putting COVID-19 in Global and Historical Context."

Register in advance for this meeting:

https://amherstcollege.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJcsce6orTojGNGfk4cM5mQ5...

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

This event is free and open to the public.

Talk abstract:
The COVID-19 pandemic has either reminded or introduced publics to how pandemics can affect marginalized populations through blame and othering. In this lecture, we draw on our recent article published in International Organization in which we study the history and global scope of pandemic othering and blame. We argue that in a global politics characterized by racialized inequality, pandemics such as COVID-19 exacerbate the marginalization of already oppressed groups. We draw on lessons from smallpox outbreaks, the third bubonic plague, the 1918 influenza pandemic and more recent pandemics, such as HIV/AIDS, SARS and Ebola, to historicize pandemic othering and blame. We also compile reports to document the discrimination and violence targeting marginalized groups early in the COVID-19 pandemic. The article and our lecture lay bare the continuation of a long history of othering and blame during disease outbreaks and identify needs for further inquiry.

Speakers:

Kim Yi Dionne
Dionne is an associate professor of political science at UC Riverside and was formerly a Five Colleges assistant professor of African politics (2013-2018). She studies health interventions, identity, public opinion, political behavior and policy aimed at improving the human condition, with a focus on African countries. She is a contributing editor to The Monkey Cage, a blog on politics and political science at The Washington Post. She also founded and co-hosts Ufahamu Africa, a weekly podcast about life and politics on the continent. She is the author of Doomed Interventions: The Failure of Global Responses to AIDS in Africa (Cambridge University Press, 2018).

Fulya Felicity Turkmen
Turkmen is a Ph.D. student at UC Riverside, where she is focusing her training in comparative politics and international relations. Her research examines international migration, citizenship, ethics of immigration and forced migration. She also works as a research and production assistant for Ufahamu Africa, a podcast about life and politics on the continent.

Wed, Mar 17, 2021

Black-and-white image of a Black male figure wearing white gloves, holding a teapot and looking away.

CHI Salon: “Hidden Drives: The Scene and Unseen of Home”

A panel discussion with CHI Fellows Stephen Dillon, Lili Kim, Samantha Presnal, Ashlie Sandoval, and Ashley Smith discussing the culminating project for their research fellowship at the college. The CHI Fellows have come together under the guidance of the Mead Art Museum’s Dwight and Kristen Poler & Andrew W. Mellon Head of Education and Curator of Academic Programs and CHI Advisory Board member, Emily Potter-Ndiaye, to curate Hidden Drives, a virtual exhibit that examines how our perceptions, experiences, and routines of home are affected by forces invisible to some while intensely felt by others.

Registration Required

Thu, Mar 18, 2021

"Interest Groups and the Battle Over Climate Change in the United States"

Dr. Leah Stokes is an assistant professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB). Her book Short Circuiting Policy won the 2020 Best Energy Book award from the American Energy Society, and examines the role utilities have played in promoting climate denial and rolling back clean energy laws. Professor Stokes also contributed to the anthology All We Can Save, a collection of essays written by influential women in the climate space, and is a co-host of the podcast A Matter of Degrees.

Zoom Link: https://amherstcollege.zoom.us/j/8195827095

This event is supported by the Lamont Lecture Fund. Please direct inquiries to Professor Ashwin Ravikumar (aravikumar@amherst.edu).

"Math Colloquium: The Mystery of Colliding Blocks," Dan Velleman, Amherst Professor Emeritus

"I will solve a simple physics problem with a very surprising answer." - Dan Velleman

There will be a pre-talk chitchat starting at 5:20 p.m.

The Zoom link will be sent out the day of the event. If you are not on the MathStat listserv and would like the link, please email kglista@amherst.edu.

Photo of Dr. Cornel West smiling

Dr. Cornel West: "Leadership, Accountability and Change at Colleges and Beyond"

The Office of Student Diversity, Equity and Inclusion invites you to join Dr. Cornel West and Amherst College Professor Mary Hicks for a conversation. They will discuss student leadership, institutional accountability and how to make change in the contemporary world. This event is co-sponsored by Amherst’s Black studies, American studies and political science departments.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Registration Required
Jericho Brown outside, wearing a white shirt and a crown of flowers

Politics and Poetry: A Conversation with Poet Jericho Brown

7:00 pm Virtual

In this conversation, Ilan Stavans and Jericho Brown will discuss how we become accustomed to terror and how terror is perceived by different groups. This event is part of the Politics and Poetry: A Point/Counterpoint Series, which examines our current crossroads, both nationally and globally, from the perspective of opinion writers, poets, activists, linguists and historians.

Jericho Brown is the author of three collections of poetry: Please (2008), which won the 2009 American Book Award; The New Testament (2014), winner of the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award; and The Tradition (2019), a finalist for the 2019 National Book Award and winner of the 2020 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. He is the Charles Howard Candler Professor of English and Creative Writing at Emory University.

Ilan Stavans is the Lewis-Sebring Professor of Humanities and Latin American and Latino Studies at Amherst and the publisher of Restless Books. His most recent books are The Seventh Heaven: Travels through Jewish Latin America (2019), How Yiddish Changed America and How America Changed Yiddish (2020) and Selected Translations: Poems 2000-2021 (2021). He is the recipient of numerous international awards and honors, and his work has been translated into 20 languages, and adapted into film, radio, TV and theater.

Registration Required

Fri, Mar 19, 2021

Headshot of Professor Candice Jenkins

The English Department Presents Lectures in Black Literature and Culture

Join us for the third presentation. Candice Jenkins, professor of English and African American studies, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, will give a talk entitled "Towards a Theory of Speculative Pessimism."

Advance registration is required to access Zoom link. Please register here: https://amherstcollege.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_Klsuz7UQRZyz875Z7Mj1Og

Registration Required

Mon, Mar 22, 2021

Center for Restorative Practices Logo: Concentric purple circles with white text reading "Amherst College CRP"

"Creating a Restorative College Campus: Practical Considerations for Reducing Harm and Building a Greater Sense of Trust, Belonging and Community Building"

How can restorative practices on college campuses teach the rest of us about how to live in community?

Dr. David Karp will talk about the restorative justice movement and the role of RJ on college campuses. By teaching and practicing RJ with students, modeling how to be a restorative community, and contributing to RJ theory and empirical research at higher education institutions, restorative campuses can be engines of innovation and social change for our larger society. Dr. Karp is the author of The Little Book of Restorative Justice for Colleges and Universities.

Registration Required

Tue, Mar 23, 2021

Professor Luis A. Orozco, University of Maryland and Joint Quantum Institute: "Optical Nanofibers: Some Experiments in Optomechanics"

Optical nanofibers are produced by gradually reducing an ordinary single-mode optical fiber to half-micron diameters, less than the typical wavelength we use at 780 nm. We have studied the optomechanical coupling between the angular momentum produced by polarized light and the torsional mode one of those nanofibers. We have observed significant changes, decrease and increase, in the thermal noise of the fundamental torsional mode depending on the angle of polarization with respect to the apparent birefringence axes of the nanofiber. We measure the thermal noise reductions with the Maxwell-Boltzmann distribution of amplitude fluctuations and show cooling by more than a factor of five from room temperature. This cooling happens to all the torsional modes and is free of any optical cavity, opening new avenues to optomechanical investigations.

"JFK: The Last Speech" film poster

Politics and Poetry: Film Screening of "JFK: The Last Speech"

7:00 pm Virtual

This film screening of JFK: The Last Speech is part of Politics and Poetry: A Point/Counterpoint Series, hosted by Ilan Stavans. The virtual series examines our current crossroads, both nationally and globally, from the perspective of opinion writers, poets, activists, linguists and historians.

JFK The Last Speech explores the dramatic relationship between two seminal Americans—President John F. Kennedy and the poet Robert Frost—which reached its tragic climax in a surprising encounter with Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev at the height of the Cold War. Born out of these events is Kennedy’s remarkable speech about poetry and power, which alters the life course of a group of Amherst College classmates who witness this compelling address and continue to exemplify in their contemporary lives a portrait of challenges facing America.

Ilan Stavans is the Lewis-Sebring Professor of Humanities and Latin American and Latino Studies at Amherst and the publisher of Restless Books. His most recent books are The Seventh Heaven: Travels through Jewish Latin America (2019), How Yiddish Changed America and How America Changed Yiddish (2020) and Selected Translations: Poems 2000-2021 (2021). He is the recipient of numerous international awards and honors, and his work has been translated into 20 languages, and adapted into film, radio, TV and theater.

Registration Required

Wed, Mar 24, 2021

Headshot of Laure Thompson in front of bookshelves

CHI Salon: "A Symbiotic Future for Machine Learning and the Humanities"

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

Computational methods can help the humanities by making massive cultural heritage collections more explorable and analyzable. Machine learning and statistical methods provide an opportunity to view collections from alien, defamiliarized perspectives that can call into question the boundaries between established categories. But the converse is also true: the humanities have much to offer machine learning. The use of computational methods within humanities scholarship often tests and expands the affordances of these methods. The complexities and idiosyncrasies of humanities collections can improve our understanding of what models learn and how we might direct what they learn.

In this talk, Laure Thompson will discuss how machine learning and the humanities help each other. She will demonstrate how convolutional neural networks can be used as an exploratory tool to ask "What is Dada?" Then, she will show how science-fiction novels highlight the way topic models tend to learn author- and series-oriented discourses, and how they have inspired a method for directing these models toward more cross-cutting themes. Finally, Thompson will briefly describe how these two lines of work are being combined to enable the study of magical gems, an art-historic category of engraved gemstones from the Greco-Roman world.

Laure Thompson is an assistant professor in the College of Information and Computer Sciences at UMass Amherst. This talk will be introduced and facilitated by Lee Spector, visiting professor of computer science at Amherst College.

Co-sponsored and funded by the Artificial Intelligence in the Liberal Arts Initiative

Registration Required
Portrait of Ibram X. Kendi

"Where Do We Go From Here?": A Conversation with Ibram X. Kendi and Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor

7:00 pm Virtual

Kimberlyn Leary ’82, Amherst College trustee and senior vice president at the Urban Institute, will moderate a conversation with Ibram X. Kendi, the Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities at Boston University and founding director of the BU Center for Antiracist Research, and Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, assistant professor of African American studies at Princeton University. This conversation is part of the President’s Colloquium on Race and Racism, a series that centers the voices of scholars studying intersections of race and American democracy. This event is restricted to members of the Amherst College community, and registration is required.

Ibram X. Kendi is the Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities at Boston University, and the founding director of the BU Center for Antiracist Research. He is a contributing writer at The Atlantic and a CBS News racial justice contributor. Kendi is the 2020-2021 Frances B. Cashin Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University. He is the author of many books including Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America, which won the National Book Award for Nonfiction, making him the youngest ever winner of that award. He also authored three #1 New York Times bestsellers, How to Be an Antiracist; Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You, co-authored with Jason Reynolds; and Antiracist Baby, illustrated by Ashley Lukashevsky. His newest books are Be Antiracist: A Journal for Awareness, Reflection, and Action; and Four Hundred Souls: A Community History of African America, co-edited with Keisha Blain, which will be out in February. In 2020, Time magazine named Kendi one of the 100 most influential people in the world.

Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor is an assistant professor in the Department of African-American Studies at Princeton University. She is the author of Race for Profit: How Banks and the Real Estate Industry Undermined Black Homeownership, published in 2019 by the University of North Carolina Press, longlisted for a National Book Award for nonfiction and a 2020 finalist for the Pulitzer in History. Taylor’s book From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation, won the Lannan Cultural Freedom Award for an Especially Notable Book in 2016. She is also editor of How We Get Free: Black Feminism and the Combahee River Collective, which won the Lambda Literary Award for LGBTQ nonfiction in 2018. Taylor is a scholar of racial inequality in public policy making and the various ways that Black communities have challenged or resisted these constraints. She writes extensively on race and politics, Black social movements and organizing, and radical activism and politics. Taylor is currently working on a project, tentatively titled, Morning in America or Black America’s Nightmare: Reaganism, Racism, and the Long Decade of the Nineteen Eighties, which will explore the persistence of racial inequality into the 1980s during the successive presidential terms of Ronald Reagan, despite claims of colorblind governance. Taylor is among the inaugural cohort of Freedom Scholars funded by the Marguerite Casey Foundation and Group Health Foundation. She has been appointed as a Distinguished Lecturer for the Organization of American Historians by the Organization of American Historians and is a contributing writer and columnist for The New Yorker.

Kimberlyn Leary ’82 was appointed to the Board of Trustees in 2016. She is the Senior Vice President at the Urban Institute. She is also an associate professor of psychology at the Harvard Medical School and an associate professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and Lecturer in Public Health. As a Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy Fellow, she served as an adviser to President Obama's White House Council on Women and Girls, developing the Advancing Equity initiative focused on improving life outcomes for women and girls of color. She also served as an advisor to the White House Office of Management and Budget in the Health Division’s public health branch and a senior policy advisor to the Office of National Drug Control Policy.

Registration Required

Thu, Mar 25, 2021

David Schneider in Buckley Recital Hall

M@A: Juilliard String Quartet Preconcert Talk with Professor David Schneider

You are invited to join Professor David Schneider and Wisteria String Quartet members Sarah Briggs, Kaila Graef, Greg Diehl and Wayne Smith as they introduce parts of upcoming Music at Amherst Juilliard String Quartet program to Professor Schneider's class: Music 101: "Listening Through History." This event will be livestreamed on the Music Department Event Livestream page and is free and open to the public.

Photo of the speaker, Dr. Naomi Oreskes

Hawkins Lecture: Naomi Oreskes, "Diversity Isn’t Just the Right Thing to Do; Diversity Helps Us Get the Right Answers"

Lecture by Dr. Naomi Oreskes, the Henry Charles Lea Professor of the History of Science at Harvard University and the author of Why Trust Science?

Science has lagged behind other professions in working to purposefully create opportunities to expand diversity in its workforce. Critics of such efforts have framed diversity as antithetical to the pursuit of excellence in scientific inquiry, but this framing has the problem backwards. In this talk, I argue that we cannot have scientific excellence without diversity.

Registration Required
Headshot of Elissa Washuta

Elissa Washuta: A Reading and Conversation

7:00 pm Virtual

Please join us. Elissa Washuta is a member of the Cowlitz Indian Tribe and a nonfiction writer. She is the author of My Body Is a Book of Rules and Starvation Mode, and her book, White Magic, is forthcoming from Tin House Books in April. With Theresa Warburton, she is co-editor of the anthology Shapes of Native Nonfiction: Collected Essays by Contemporary Writers. She is a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship recipient, a Creative Capital awardee and an assistant professor of creative writing at Ohio State University.

“Elissa Washuta is exactly the writer we need right now: as funny as she is formidable a thinker, as thoughtful as she is inventive—her scrutiny is a fearless tool, every subject whittled to its truest form. White Magic is a bracingly original work that enthralled me in a hypnosis on the other side of which I was changed for the better, more likely to trust my own strange intelligence.” —Melissa Febos, author of Girlhood.

Registration Required
Photo of Dr. Lori Patton Davis

Dr. Lori Patton Davis on Race, Colleges and Student Leadership

The Office of Student Diversity, Equity and Inclusion is excited to present Dr. Lori Patton Davis, an eminent scholar on race and racism in higher education, campus diversity initiatives, Black students-- particularly girls and women in educational and social contexts --and college student development. Dr. Davis will give a 45-minute keynote speech on race, racism and student leadership in higher education, with 15 minutes for questions and answers.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Registration Required
Headshot of Logevall

Politics and Poetry: Historian Fredrik Logevall and Biographer Jay Parini

7:00 pm Virtual

In this conversation, Ilan Stavans, Fredrik Logevall and Jay Parini will discuss how politicians and poets approach truth. This event is part of the Politics and Poetry: A Point/Counterpoint Series, which examines our current crossroads, both nationally and globally, from the perspective of opinion writers, poets, activists, linguists and historians.

Fredrik Logevall is the Laurence D. Belfer Professor of International Affairs and Professor of History at Harvard. He is the author or editor of 10 books, most recently JFK: Coming of Age in the American Century (2020). His book Embers of War: The Fall of an Empire and the Making of America’s Vietnam (2012) won the Pulitzer Prize for History and the Francis Parkman Prize, as well as the American Library in Paris Book Award and the Arthur Ross Book Award from the Council on Foreign Relations.

Jay Parini, award-winning poet, novelist, biographer, screenwriter and critic, is the D.E. Axinn Professor of English and Creative Writing at Middlebury. His books include The Last Station: A Novel of Tolstoy's Last Year (1990), Benjamin's Crossing (1996), Jesus: The Human face of God (2013) and Borges and Me: An Encounter (2020). He has written biographies of Robert Frost, John Steinbeck and Gore Vidal.

Ilan Stavans is the Lewis-Sebring Professor of Humanities and Latin American and Latino Studies at Amherst and the publisher of Restless Books. His most recent books are The Seventh Heaven: Travels Through Jewish Latin America (2019), How Yiddish Changed America and How America Changed Yiddish (2020) and Selected Translations: Poems 2000-2021 (2021). He is the recipient of numerous international awards and honors, and his work has been translated into 20 languages and adapted into film, radio, TV and theater.

Registration Required

Fri, Mar 26, 2021

Image of Professor Kelly Josephs

"Caribbean... in Digital Space and Time"

The English department invites you to the final talk in our series "Lectures in Black Literature and Culture." Kelly Josephs, professor of English and digital humanities, York College, CUNY and the CUNY Graduate School, will give a talk entitled "Caribbean... in Digital Space and Time."

Register in advance for this lecture:
https://amherstcollege.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_prWBGa-9TLSTh0i6_DOIKw

Registration Required
Professor Lou Charkoudian

Cheminar - Professor Lou Charkoudian, Haverford College, Department of Chemistry

3:30 pm - 4:30 pm Virtual Seminar Via Zoom Link

Seminar Title: "Capturing transient interactions of proteins involved in natural product biosynthesis"

Mon, Mar 29, 2021

Trans Rights flyer

Trans Rights Priorities for the Biden Administration

A new presidential administration that is supportive of trans rights provides opportunities to make further progress on addressing discrimination and violence against trans people. Join us for a panel discussion of how trans leaders are hoping to make gains during the Biden administration.

Panelists:
-Kylar Broadus, Founder and Director, Trans People of Color Coalition
-Sasha Buchert, Senior Attorney, Lambda Legal
-Kris Hayashi, Executive Director, Transgender Law Center
-Mara Keisling, Executive Director, National Center for Transgender Equality
-Shannon Minter, Legal Director, National Center for Lesbian Rights

Moderated by Genny Beemyn, Director, UMass Stonewall Center

Free, but registration required

This event is being held to mark the publication of The SAGE Encyclopedia of Trans Studies, edited by Abbie Goldberg and Genny Beemyn. The panelists are all contributors to the work, and attendees will be given free access to their entries.

Sponsored by the UMass Stonewall Center and Clark University’s Women’s and Gender Studies Program. Co-sponsored by UMass Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies and the Five College Queer, Trans and Sexuality Studies Certificate.

Registration Required

Tue, Mar 30, 2021

Richard Anantua, Center for Astrophysics at Harvard and Smithsonian: "A Glimpse into Horizon-Scale Physics by 'Observing' Movies and Polarization"

Recent radio observations of infalling and outflowing plasma radiating in the vicinity of supermassive black holes are linked to simple phenomenological models via general relativistic magnetohydrodynamic simulations using a methodology called "Observing" Jet (or outflow)/Accretion flow/Black hole (JAB) Simulations.

For Sagittarius A* in our Galactic Center, movies simulating hourly timescales show that these models can be classified into at least four types: 1.) thin, asymmetric photon ring with best fit spectrum; 2.) coronal boundary layer with thin photon ring and steep spectrum; 3.) thick photon torus with flat spectrum; and 4.) extended outflow with flat spectrum.

For M87, a HARM jet simulation is used to replicate observed collimation and magnetic substructure, while serving as the basis for a self-similar, stationary, axisymmetric force-free flow model used to generate Stokes maps at Global mm-VLBI Array (86 GHz) and Event Horizon Telescope (230 GHz) scales. This model varies plasma content from ionic (e-p) to pair (e-e+). Emission at the observed frequency is assumed to be synchrotron radiation from electrons and positrons, whose pressure is set to relate to the local magnetic pressure through parametric prescriptions. Polarization maps are found to be sensitive to the positron effects of decreasing intrinsic circular polarization and increased Faraday conversion.

Wed, Mar 31, 2021

RCT Directors Dialogue with Special Guest, Dr. Perry Zurn

Topic: Trans History + Activism Across Five Colleges | Wed. 3/31.12-1PM via IG Live

Please join us on this years' Trans Day of Visibility in conversation with Professor Perry Zurn from American University as we talk about his research on trans community and activism across the five colleges. With no set agenda, we have high hopes to talk about Perry's current research, building archives, the intimacies between transness, queerness, and disability, and anything else that might come up along the way.

Dr. Zurn's Socials: Instagram: @resintheory | Twitter: @perryzurn

Portrait of Ashlie Sandoval in front of a bookshelf

CHI Salon: "Engaging with the Failures of Racial Empathy"

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

In this talk, CHI Fellow Ashlie Sandoval examines the limitations of empathy to think through its role in struggles for racial justice. Scholars, tech entrepreneurs and media pundits are calling for an increase in empathy, in the face of media attention that has recently spotlighted police brutality, racialized COVID-19 deaths and the renewed visibility of white supremacy groups. To develop non-Black individuals’ capacity to undo racial injustice, specifically the daily violence experienced by Black people, some have turned to virtual reality to instill empathy, claiming that it may move viewers beyond feelings of pity to feeling accountable to dismantle racism.

However, is racial empathy possible? And what can we expect from it? Examining philosophical critiques of empathy’s capabilities in the context of anti-Black racism, Sandoval focuses on what empathy’s limitations might tell us about the emotional and material structures that prevent empathy from achieving the results its advocates often hope for.

Registration Required