Event Calendar

December 2018

Sun, Dec 2, 2018

"After Emily": A Reading and Book-Signing with Julie Dobrow

2:00 pm Amherst Woman's Club

When Emily Dickinson died in 1886, she was unknown outside the circle of her family and friends. After her death, her sister Lavinia found the cache of nearly 1,800 poems and sought an editor who could decipher the confusing manuscripts and put them into publishable form. Though the poet never met Mabel Loomis Todd face-to-face, their correspondence afforded Todd the insight she would later need as she and her daughter Millicent Todd Bingham shaped Dickinson's literary legacy.

For author Julie Dobrow, the story of Mabel's and Millicent’s lives and their integral role in editing and publicizing Emily Dickinson’s poems, and shaping the myth of the so-called Belle of Amherst, has been waiting in the archives. Now, in After Emily: Two Remarkable Women and the Legacy of America’s Greatest Poet, the full story behind Mabel and Millicent’s work is finally revealed.

Join us for a reading and book-signing with Julie Dobrow. After the reading, stay for refreshments and have your book signed by the author! Books will be available for purchase. This event is free and open to the public. No reservations are required.

Mon, Dec 3, 2018

Biology Monday Seminar: “Molecular Mechanisms of Iron Uptake and Compartmentalization in Plants”

Erin Connolly, Ph.D., professor and department head of plant sciences at Penn State University, will discuss “Molecular Mechanisms of Iron Uptake and Compartmentalization in Plants.”

Current estimates indicate that ~3 billion people suffer from iron deficiency and plant foods serve as the principal source of iron for most people. In addition, ~30 percent of the world's soils are considered iron-limiting for plant growth. Improving iron uptake and partitioning in plants could therefore have dramatic effects on plant and human health. Research in the Connolly Lab focuses on the molecular mechanisms of micronutrient uptake and trafficking in plants. We are particularly interested in the mechanisms that underlie the delivery of iron to mitochondria and chloroplasts. In addition, we have a long-term goal of elucidating the mechanisms that function to maintain iron homeostasis in plants.

Stephen Finley: "Wheels, Wombs and Women: Louis Farrakhan, UFOs and the Religious Meaning of Black Women's Bodies in the Nation of Islam"

Join us for a public lecture by Stephen C. Finley, associate professor at Louisiana State University. Finley is a member of the Department of Philosophy & Religious Studies at Louisiana State and is the director of the African & African American Studies Program.

This presentation will argue that making theoretical sense of UFO (what the Nation of Islam calls the "Mother Wheel") discourses in the Nation of Islam and-- indeed --Louis Farrakhan's own UFO narrative are necessary to make sense of the ultimate significance of race, "gender" and sexuality in the religion. More specifically, the religious meaning of women's embodiment in the Nation of Islam is refracted though the meaning of Farrakhan's own body, which is not intelligible outside of his UFO narrative. In short, wheels, wombs and women are inextricably bound in the Nation of Islam.

This event is generously supported by the Amherst College Department of Religion and the Willis D. Wood Fund.

Tue, Dec 4, 2018

"Breakup of the Russian Empire and Soviet Union: Similarities, Dissimilarities or a Continuum of Imperial Transformations" - Talk by Alexander Semyonov

Alexander Semyonov will discuss "Breakup of the Russian Empire and Soviet Union: Similarities, Dissimilarities or a Continuum of Imperial Transformations."

This talk addresses the tectonic shift in thinking about empire and nation in contemporary historical writing and, in particular, the critique of the teleological assumption of ubiquitous transition from empire to nation-state as the vector of modern history. The talk summarizes the recent literature on the problem of diversity in the moment of breakup of the Russian empire and Soviet Union, advances diachronic comparison of two historical events, and suggests an alternative framework of imperial transformation that captures the horizons of expectations of political actors during the reform processes in the Russian empire and Soviet Union and the persistence of the problem of diversity in the post-imperial political arrangements.

Semyonov is a historian of modern Russian history, his research interests include political and intellectual history, history of empire and nationalism. He is also interested in the emerging field of global history and dialogue between new imperial history and global history. He has published on the intellectual and political history of Russian liberalism and liberal imperialism, the history of political reforms and revolutions, the first Russian parliament in the early twentieth century and the history of Russian social sciences and their global connections. Since 2000, he has been a co-founding member of the editorial board of Ab Imperio: Studies of New Imperial History and Nationalism in the Post-Soviet Space.

The talk is sponsored by the Amherst Center for Russian Culture, the Georges Lurcy Lecture Series at Amherst College and the Lucius Root Eastman 1895 Fund at Amherst College.

Thu, Dec 6, 2018

Event poster showing "Manual for Survival" book cover

History of Science, Technology and Medicine Lecture Series: Kate Brown on "Manual for Survival: A Chernobyl Guide to the Future"

4:00 pm Science Center, Kirkpatrick Lecture Hall - Room A011)

Governments and journalists tell us that though Chernobyl was “the worst nuclear disaster in history,” a reassuringly small number of people died (44) and nature recovered. Yet, drawing on a decade of fine-grained archival research and interviews in Ukraine, Russia and Belarus, this talk uncovers a much more disturbing story—one in which radioactive isotopes caused hundreds of thousands of casualties. Scores of Soviet scientists, bureaucrats and civilians documented stunning increases in cases of birth defects, child mortality, cancers and a multitude of prosaic diseases, which they linked to Chernobyl. Worried that this evidence would blow the lid on the effects of massive radiation release from weapons testing during the Cold War, international scientists and diplomats tried to bury or discredit it. A haunting revelation of how political exigencies shape responses to disaster, Kate Brown's Manual for Survival makes clear the irreversible impact on every living thing not just from Chernobyl, but from eight decades of radiation from nuclear energy and weaponry.

Event poster showing overlapping blue, yellow and white geometric shapes

Math Colloquium: "Symmetries, Groups & How They Interact"

Catherine Pfaff of Queen's University will deliver the final colloquium of the semester, titled "Symmetries, Groups & How They Interact."

Abstract: "The symmetries of a polygon form a group. This group acts on the polygon by rotating it and flipping it. This basic idea of studying a group as symmetries of an object extends far beyond polygons. Through a myriad of colorful pictures, I will introduce the notion of a group, some of my favorite examples and then examples of the interplay between these groups and various geometric objects. No advanced mathematical knowledge will be assumed, and of course we will also play with doughnuts!"

Refreshments will be served at 4 p.m. in Seeley Mudd 208.

Mon, Dec 10, 2018

Photo of two frogs, one on the other's back

Biology Monday Seminar: "Evolution of Homomorphic Sex Chromosomes, Sex-Biased Gene Expression in the Common Frog"

Wen-Juan Ma, Ph.D. and postdoctoral research associate at Amherst College, will present "Evolution of Homomorphic Sex Chromosomes, Sex-Biased Gene Expression in the Common Frog."

"My research focuses on the fields of evolution and genomics of sex chromosomes and mating-type chromosomes, sex determination, as well as evolution of asexuality (especially induced by the bacteria Wolbachia). To understand the evolution and genomics of sex chromosomes and sex determination, I have used a broad range of non-model organisms, including invertebrate haplodiploid parasitic wasps, vertebrate amphibians, angiosperm plants and parasitic plant anther smut fungi, using various approaches in combination of fieldwork, experimental crosses, common garden experiment, molecular genetics and comparative genomics. Previously, my work on genomics of homomorphic sex chromosomes in the common frogs was investigating of evolutionary signatures of early stage of sex chromosome evolution, such as transcriptional degeneration, feminization of X chromosomes, dynamics of sex-biased gene expression throughout development and among adult tissues. The results revealed that sex-biased gene expressions were not enriched in sex chromosomes, no transcriptional degeneration occurred and no Faster-X (sex chromosome) evolution evolved, suggesting the canonical model of sexual antagonistic selection might not play a critical role at least in amphibian sex chromosome evolution. Currently, I am using comparative genomics approach to investigate temporal degeneration of non-recombining mating-type chromosomes in a series of anther smut Microbotryum fungi species."

Wed, Dec 19, 2018

The Role of Diversity and Inclusion in Human Resource Practices

The Office of Diversity and Inclusion and the Office of Human Resources at Amherst College are proud to offer a complimentary event featuring guest speaker, Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., the President and CEO of the Society for Human Resource Management.

"The Role of Diversity and Inclusion in Human Resource Practices" will be presented in Cole Assembly Room in Converse Hall, located on the Amherst College campus. This is a complimentary event and a grab-n-go lunch will be provided at the end of the event.

Registration Required