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Event Calendar

Thu, Jan 30, 2020

Cover of Anne Fausto-Sterling's book "Sex/Gender: Biology in a Social World"

“Gender/Sex Identity is in the Body”—Lecture by Anne Fausto-Sterling

4:30 pm - 6:00 pm Science Center, Lipton Lecture Hall, E110

“The Feminist Thought Group of the Center for Humanistic Inquiry welcomes all to attend a public lecture by Dr. Anne Fausto-Sterling, the Nancy Duke Lewis Professor Emerita of Biology & Gender Studies in the Department of Molecular & Cell Biology & Biochemistry at Brown University & founder of the Science &
Technology Studies Program at Brown University. The author of three books and over 60 scholarly articles, she is also a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science."

Tue, Feb 4, 2020

Protik K. Majumder, Williams College: Heavy metals, cheap lasers, and precision measurements of atomic structure

With important contributions from many Williams undergraduates over recent years, we have completed a series of high-precision spectroscopic measurements in Group III and IV atoms such as thallium, indium and lead. These results test state-of-the art theoretical models of these complicated atoms and guide further refinement. I will discuss some recent results including a new precision measurement of a “forbidden” transition in lead which makes use of a laser polarimetry technique capable of microradian optical rotation resolution. Improved models of these heavy atoms aid in the bigger goals of testing the Standard Model (and beyond) with table-top atomic and laser physics experiments.

Thu, Feb 6, 2020

Tara Westover in Conversation with Tony Jack ’07

Tara Westover is an American historian and writer known for her unique and courageous education journey. She was born to Mormon survivalist parents opposed to public education. Tara never attended school. She spent her days working in her father’s junkyard or stewing herbs for her mother... until Tara decided to get an education and experience the world outside of her community. Tara taught herself enough mathematics, grammar and science to take the ACT and was admitted to Brigham Young University. She was 17 the first time she set foot in a classroom and continued learning for a decade, graduating magna cum laude from BYU in 2008 and subsequently winning a Gates Cambridge Scholarship. She earned an M.Phil. from Trinity College, Cambridge, in 2009, and in 2010 was a visiting fellow at Harvard University. She returned to Cambridge, where she was awarded a Ph.D. in history in 2014. Her new book, Educated, is an account of the struggle for self-invention. It is a story that gets to the heart of what education is and what it offers: the perspective to see one’s life through new eyes and the will to change it. Tara argues that education is not just about job training, but a powerful tool of self-invention. Educated was long-listed for the 2019 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence and had spent 32 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. Former U.S. President Barack Obama named Educated as one of the books on his summer reading list of 2018.

Anthony Jack ’07, sociologist and assistant professor of education at Harvard University, is transforming the way we address diversity and inclusion in education. His new book, The Privileged Poor: How Elite Colleges are Failing Disadvantaged Students, reframes the conversation surrounding poverty and higher education. In it, he explains the paths of two uniquely segregated groups. First, the “privileged poor”: students from low-income, diverse backgrounds who attended elite prep or boarding school before attending college. The second are what Jack calls the “doubly disadvantaged”—students who arrive from underprivileged backgrounds without prep or boarding school to soften their college transition. Although both groups come from economically disadvantaged backgrounds, the privileged poor have more cultural capital to navigate and succeed—in the college environment and beyond.

Wed, Feb 12, 2020

Steven Dunn

Fiction Reading: Steven Dunn

A reading followed by refreshments. Steven Dunn, aka Pothole (because he’s deep in these streets), is the author of two novels from Tarpaulin Sky Press—Potted Meat (2016) and water & power (2018)—and a chapbook Our Migrations (Business Bear Press, 2018). Potted Meat, which Laird Hunt described as “full of wonder and silence and beauty and strangeness and ugliness and sadness and truth and hope,” has been adapted to film by Foothills Productions. Dunn was born and raised in West Virginia, and is currently an MFA student at Stetson University, and an MFA instructor at Regis University.

Fri, Feb 14, 2020

Hyper Education: When Good Grades, Good Schools and Good Behavior are Not Enough

The Faculty Colloquium Series for 2019-20 presents a lecture titled “Hyper Education: When Good Grades, Good Schools, and Good Behavior are Not Enough” presented by Pawan Dhingra, professor of American studies.
“A recent truth in middle-class parenting is the over-scheduling of young children in extracurricular activities. Hyper-education refers to a growing trend of young children already performing well in school and yet participating in privatized, extracurricular education. After-school math learning centers and academic competitions (e.g. spelling bees) are two main types. This trend is normally associated with Asian Americans (e.g. “Tiger moms”) but is growing among whites as well. Based on ethnographic research on Asian Americans and others, I explain the motivations of this seemingly foreign practice and demonstrate that it is in line with contemporary education reforms, and as such should be expected to grow. The rise of hyper education has implications for educational inequality."
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: or visit Faculty, staff, and members of the administration are cordially invited to attend these presentations.

Tue, Feb 18, 2020

Picture of hand grasping microphone, framed by words "JUSTICE: Amherst College's Speaking Competition 2020" and "PERSUADE. INSPIRE. SPEAK OUT."

JUSTICE! Amherst College’s Speaking Competition

Students compete with five- to seven-minute speeches using this year’s theme: Justice.

Winners receive cash prizes and recognition in the College award ceremonies.

Thu, Feb 20, 2020

Rhonda Cobham-Sander sitting at desk with open book

Reflections on Teaching with Rhonda Cobham-Sander

4:30 pm Frost Library, CHI Think Tank

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

Fri, Feb 28, 2020

Parker String Quartet

M@A Masterclass: Parker Quartet Feb. 28

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

Wed, Mar 11, 2020

Poetry and Conversation: Fatimah Asghar and Franny Choi

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

Thu, Mar 26, 2020

Johnetta Cole In Conversation With President Biddy Martin

8:00 pm Science Center, Lipton Lecture Hall

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

Fri, Mar 27, 2020

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

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

Wed, Apr 1, 2020

Poetry and Conversation: Alex Dimitrov and Dorothea Lasky

A poetry reading and conversation between the co-authors of Astro Poets: Your Guides to the Zodiac. Dimitrov, whom the Los Angeles Review of Books has called “a vital new energy in American poetry,” is the author of the collections Together and by Ourselves and Begging for It, as well as the online chapbook American Boys. He founded Wilde Boys, a queer poetry salon which he ran until 2013 in New York City, where he lives. Lasky is the author of five full-length collections of poetry, a number of chap books, and a new book of essays, Animal, about “ghosts, colors, animals, and bees.” Shane Jones has said, “Lasky writes beautifully and lyrically, but in such a new and musical way it’s hard not to think of sunny hip-hop.”
Refreshments to follow.

Wed, Apr 8, 2020

Reading and Conversation: Thirii Myint and Dennis Sweeney

A lyric nonfiction reading and a conversation about writing and translation. Sweeney is the author of a number of chapbooks including the new Ghost/Home: A Beginner’s Guide to Being Haunted from Ricochet Editions, which is about “Crohn's, ghosts, homes, and being a host for something you can't identify.” His fiction, nonfiction, and poetry have appeared in Crazyhorse, The New York Times, and The Southern Review. Myint wrote the lyric novel The End of Peril, the End of Enmity, the End of Strife, A Haven, which Jenny Boully called “an amazingly beautiful changeling of a book,” and the forthcoming family history project Zat Lun, which won the 2018 Graywolf Press Nonfiction Prize. She is the Visiting Writer at Amherst College.
Refreshments to follow.

Thu, Apr 23, 2020

Arthur Brooks

Arthur C. Brooks is president of the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), a nonpartisan public policy think
tank in Washington, D.C., where he is also the Beth and Ravenel Curry Scholar in Free Enterprise.
Additionally, Dr. Brooks is a columnist for the Washington Post and host of the podcast The Arthur Brooks Show. At 19, Dr. Brooks left college to work professionally as a classical musician (a period his parents described as his “gap decade”). During this time, he toured the United States with the Annapolis Brass Quintet, recorded albums with jazz guitarist Charlie Byrd and others, and spent several seasons as associate principal French horn with the City Orchestra of Barcelona. In his late twenties, Dr. Brooks returned to college by correspondence and studied economics, mathematics, and modern languages, eventually earning his B.A. while still working as a musician. He went on to pursue an M.A. in economics at Florida Atlantic University and a Ph.D. in public policy at the RAND Graduate School in Santa Monica, California. His doctoral work focused on applied microeconomics and mathematical modeling. While earning his Ph.D., Dr. Brooks also conducted research for the RAND Corporation on theater-level combat models for the U.S. Air Force. Upon completion of his doctorate, Dr. Brooks joined the faculty of Syracuse University as a professor of public administration. For ten years, he taught courses in economics and social entrepreneurship and conducted research on happiness and the economics of philanthropy. He was the Louis A. Bantle Professor of Business and Government at Syracuse until assuming the presidency of AEI on January 1, 2009. Dr. Brooks has published dozens of scholarly articles and 11 books on topics including philanthropy, military operations research, the future of conservatism, and human happiness. His next book, Love Your Enemies, will be released in March 2019 (Broadside Books, 2019). Previous books include New York Times bestsellers The Conservative Heart: How to Build a Fairer, Happier, and More Prosperous America (Broadside Books, 2015) and The Road to Freedom: How to Win the Fight for Free Enterprise (Basic Books, 2012) as well as the textbook Social Entrepreneurship (Prentice Hall, 2008).
Dr. Brooks delivers more than 100 speeches annually around the U.S., Europe and Asia. He appears
regularly on radio and television and is a frequent guest host for programs such as CNBC’s Squawk Box. He writes frequently for the Washington Post and publishes featured pieces in outlets such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Commentary Magazine, and Foreign Affairs. In the spring of 2019, he is releasing The Pursuit, a feature-length documentary film that explores the themes of poverty alleviation and human happiness both at home and abroad. Dr. Brooks is a native of Seattle, Washington, and has been married for 27 years to his wife, Ester. They have three children and currently live in Maryland. In the summer of 2019, he will join the faculty of the Harvard Kennedy School and Harvard Business School.