Event Calendar

October 2020

Thu, Oct 1, 2020

Biochemistry & Biophysics Program Thesis Writer Blitz Talks

4:30 pm - 6:15 pm Virtual Seminar via Zoom Link

Please join the BCBP Program for an evening of "Blitz Talks" from each of our thesis writers.

Presenters will be Sarah Gayer, Koun Yun, Samuel Grondin, Navid Rahimi Larki, Kyle Jones, Donna Roscoe, Jasper Flint, Scott Song and Waleed Babar.

For additional details, and to access the Zoom invitation, please click on the BCBP Seminar Webpage link below.

Kyra Brown on Black Lives Matter, Policing and Environmental Justice

Please join us for a conversation with Kyra Brown about policing, incarceration and environmental justice. Kyra is the digital strategist for Black Visions Collective in Minneapolis, and the incinerator and zero waste organizer at the Minnesota BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) Environmental & Climate Justice Table.

Climate change, pollution, COVID-19 and racism conspire to disproportionately harm poor communities and communities of color. Kyra will discuss their work at the intersection of these issues at this community event.

The event will take place via Zoom at the following address: https://amherstcollege.zoom.us/j/819582709

Statistics and Data Science Colloquium: How Statistics Can Make an Impact: A Case Study Describing the Filing Story of ZINPLAVA

Speaker: Alison Pedley, Ph.D., Merck

Statistics plays a big role in drug development in the design and analysis of clinical trial data. This case study explores an example where statistics made a huge impact and allowed for a deeper understanding of the data. More specifically, ad-hoc sensitivity analyses designed and conducted by the statistical team proved to be critical to the product’s approval. Two large, phase 3 trials were conducted to demonstrate the superiority of ZINPLAVA over placebo. Though the primary endpoint was met in both studies, another important endpoint had conflicting results. In one study, ZINPLAVA was significantly higher, and in the other study, it was significantly lower. This talk will also give a brief overview of the drug development process and the role of a statistician at a large pharmaceutical company in clinical development.

*The link will be sent to the Math & Stats listserv on the day of the event. If you are not part of that group and would like to attend, please email kglista@amherst.edu, and the link will be sent the day of the event.

Headshots of speakers Amy Coddington, Dwight Carey, Ana Carneiro and Darryl Harper

Confronting Race in Arts Research: A Cross-Disciplinary Conversation

6:00 pm Virtual

Join us for a conversation with Dwight Carey, assistant professor of art and the history of art; Ana Carneiro, visiting artist in playwriting, theater and dance; and Amy Coddington, assistant professor of music, moderated by Darryl Harper, associate professor of music and director of the CHI. The panelists bring cross-disciplinary perspectives to the conversation about acknowledging and redressing racism in arts research and pedagogy. Following the panel, there will be a Q&A.

Dwight Carey, Assistant Professor of Art and the History of Art
Professor Dwight Carey’s research examines the built environments of slavery. In collaboration with Professor Peter Crowley in the geology department, Professor Carey has been chemically analyzing samples of mortar, plaster, coral, stone and wooden flooring from 18th-century buildings on the island of Mauritius. Through comparing these results with archival information on the skills that slaves possessed in masonry, woodworking and coralsmithing, Professor Carey is developing a natural resource history of Mauritian architecture: a history of the island that accounts for the ways in which architectural knowledge and labor rendered slaves the mavens of the land, the masters of a vast island that only they understood.

Amy Coddington, Assistant Professor of Music
Amy Coddington’s research investigates how the music industry influences musical expression. Her current book project, How Hip-Hop Became Hit Pop, explores the commercial radio industry’s role in making hip-hop mainstream. She explores how hip-hop’s move into the mainstream also expanded the possibilities for how artists sounded their racial identities, and, ultimately, transformed how audiences conceived of their own racial identities in an increasingly multicultural America.

Ana Candida Carneiro, Visiting Artist in Playwriting, Theater and Dance
Ana Carneiro is an award-winning playwright whose works touch on themes like social justice, globalization, immigration, culture clash, gender inequity and climate change, using multiple and invented languages, heterogeneous linguistic registers and genres, and are increasingly marked by experimentation with the dramatic form. She writes in English, Italian and Portuguese and frequently collaborates with other artists, markedly composers. Her current book project, The Global Playwriting Workbook, complies and catalogs exercises and methods used by teaching playwrights from around the world.

Darryl Harper, Associate Professor of Music and Director of the Center for Humanistic Inquiry
Darryl Harper is a jazz musician interested in how race, culture and political economy intersect with music. His current projects include an article on the social agenda attached to the formation of the jazz program at New England Conservatory in the late 1960s, namely, to integrate black students into the conservatory.

Registration Required
Professor Carrie Palmquist presents "Kindergarten in the Time of Covid"

What We Think: Amherst College Psychology Department Fall Lecture Series

Join Prof. Carrie Palmquist and Amherst alum (and current kindergarten teacher) Marissa Fierro '16 as they discuss the unique challenges of teaching and supporting young children during the time of COVID-19. The discussion will be followed by time for questions and conversation.
Open to all students. First years encouraged!

Meeting ID: 942 0565 1897

Students Only

Fri, Oct 2, 2020

How Can We Do the Most Good?: Q&A with Will MacAskill

Will MacAskill is a philosophy professor at Oxford University and the co-founder of three nonprofits based on effective altruist principles: Giving What We Can (2009), 80,000 Hours (2011) and the Centre for Effective Altruism (2012). These organizations have collectively raised over $15 million for effective charities, with a further $700 million in lifetime pledged donations. A major focus of his research is the use of evidence and reason to promote well-being.

Register at https://bit.ly/3czfhTr

Registration Required

Discussion Cheminar: "Critical Mass Takes Courage: Diversity in the Chemical Sciences”

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

The Department of Chemistry and Chemistry Anti-Racism Advisory Committee (CARAC) invite you to this event, which will begin with a short group discussion about Dr. Sibrina N. Collins’ chapter titled “Critical Mass Takes Courage: Diversity in the Chemical Sciences.” Discussions will continue in smaller groups in Zoom breakout rooms and then, inspired by the chapter, each group will be assigned a Black chemist to research and prepare a short presentation about with a guided Google Slides template. The event will conclude by bringing everyone back together to reflect on the research and activity.

**Please read the article linked below prior to this event.

Image shows the Valentine Balcony lit up by string lights at night, some students sitting in the grass on the quad looking at the balcony where music is being played.

Music on the Val Balcony

Come join us in listening to our own Amherst students performing from the Valentine Balcony. Some chairs will be provided, but we recommend you bring a sweatshirt as fall draws near!

M@A: A Virtual Season Presents Composer and Pianist Conrad Tao

M@A's 2020-21 Virtual Series continues with a live, online performance by composer and pianist Conrad Tao hosted by Maestro Mark Lane Swanson. This performance is free and open to the public. Please visit the Music Department Event Live Stream page listed below to catch the show. We look forward to seeing you!

CONRAD TAO: All I had forgotten or tried to
J.S. BACH: Chromatic Fantasy and Fugue
RUTH CRAWFORD SEEGER: Piano Study in Mixed Accents
JASON ECKARDT: Echoes' White Veil
BEETHOVEN: Sonata op 31 no 2, 'The Tempest'
FREDERIC RZEWSKI: Which Side Are You On?
(from North American Ballads)

Conrad Tao has appeared worldwide as a pianist and composer, and has been dubbed a musician of “probing intellect and open-hearted vision” by The New York Times, who also cited him as “one of five classical music faces to watch” in the 2018-19 season. Tao is a recipient of the prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant and was named a Gilmore Young Artist—an honor awarded every two years highlighting the most promising American pianists of the new generation. At the 2019 New York Dance and Performance Award (“Bessies”), Tao was the recipient of the award for Outstanding Sound Design / Music Composition, for his work on "More Forever," his collaboration with Caleb Teicher.

Mon, Oct 5, 2020

Storz research image: Illustration of molecules and proteins

Biology Monday Seminar: "Genes That Were Missed: Hundreds of Small RNA and Small Protein Regulators"

Gisela Storz, Ph.D.
National Institute of Health
NIH Distinguished Investigator
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development

For many years, a major focus of research by my group has been the identification and characterization of small, regulatory RNAs, also denoted “noncoding” RNAs. These regulatory RNAs have been found to be integral to most regulatory networks in E. coli. Similar to eukaryotic miRNAs, many of these bacterial RNAs act by base pairing with mRNA targets. While it was initially assumed these small RNAs are encoded as independent genes between protein-coding genes, recent studies have shown that some small RNAs are derived from the 5’ end, internal region and 3’ end of mRNAs. Thus, the distinction between coding and noncoding is becoming increasingly blurred. This blurring is further reflected in the finding that several small RNAs shown to act as regulators also encode small proteins. Small proteins of less than 50 amino acids comprise another overlooked class of molecules. We have detected synthesis of many of these unannotated small proteins and have documented functions as regulators that modulate the activities and levels of larger proteins.

Persons from the college community that wish to attend should please register by sending an email request to the biology academic department coordinator, Karen Racz.

Rafael Campo '87: A Reading and Conversation

Join Rafael Campo '87 as he reads from Comfort Measures Only: New and Selected Poems, 1994–2016, generated from his decades-long career as a poet-physician. “Campo’s careful and precise depictions of our mortality not only in harrowing moments of medical crisis but also in the ecstatic moments of human connection serve as testimony to our human condition” (Noah Stetzer, A&U Magazine). A Q&A will follow.

Campo teaches and practices general internal medicine at Harvard Medical School and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. He is the author of seven volumes of poetry, as well as the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Pushcart Prize and two Lambda Literary Awards, among numerous other honors. Mark Doty describes Campo’s work as inhabiting “the landscape of birth and of dying, sorrow and sex, shame and brave human persistence—first and last things, center stage in these large-hearted, open, deeply felt poems.”

Registration Required

Tue, Oct 6, 2020

Assistant Professor of Physics Candice Etson, Wesleyan University: "Using Single-Molecule Imaging to Investigate Protein-DNA Interactions"

Proteins and DNA constantly interact with one another and are inextricably linked by both the central dogma of molecular biology and the critical need for maintenance and faithful transfer of genomic information from mother to daughter cells. However, many important protein-DNA interactions are transient and dynamic, which makes them particularly challenging to observe and characterize. Technological advances in fluorescence microscopy, including total internal reflection fluorescence (TIRF) microscopy, have made it possible to observe these processes in real time at the single-molecule level. These types of studies can reveal interactions and dynamics that would normally be obscured by the ensemble averaging that occurs in other approaches. Molecular processes are stochastic at the single-molecule level, and they often involve multiple intermediate steps. Therefore, careful statistical analysis of single-molecule data can provide key insights into the mechanistic details of these processes.

In this talk, I will describe how my research group is using single-molecule TIRF microscopy to directly observe the activity of restriction endonucleases. This class of enzymes includes numerous members that bind to DNA and mediate double strand breaks at specific sites based on the DNA sequence. I will describe how we collect data on individual cleavage events, and how we analyze the data to extract information about how these enzymes work. In addition, I will describe how TIRF microscopy can be used to collect single-molecule Förster Resonance Energy Transfer (FRET) data. This approach can provide even more detailed information about dynamic protein-DNA interactions.

Wed, Oct 7, 2020

CRG: Doing the Work: White People Committing to Anti-Racism (Group A)

12:00 pm - 1:00 pm Zoom (link will be shared before meeting)

The current racial justice movement has most likely motivated you to think more about racism and in many ways, question how you participate and perpetuate racism in your own life. Fortunately there are many steps one can take to embark on the journey of anti-racism. Many of us are at different stages of learning and unlearning how racism operates in our lives and often the question is where to start? This new CRG will guide us through a series of self-reflection activities and action steps to begin and dive deeper into the work of anti-racism. We will utilize the book Me and White Supremacy by Layla F. Sadd, to guide our process.

A space for staff to examine what it means to be white, learn how to identify and confront racism in ourselves, the systems and people surrounding us, and to critically reflect on our actions and socialization. We will emphasize building our own capacity as white people doing anti-racism work that centers BIPOC.

For the fall semester we will host two separate groups of 20 people each. Both sessions will be co-facilitated by Angie Tissi-Gassoway and Dr. Sarah Erickson

Registration Required

CHI Salon: Matahari Women Workers' Center

Join us for a conversation with Monique Tú Nguyen, executive director of the Matahari Women Workers' Center and CHI Fellow and Visiting Lecturer in History Lili Kim. This event is part of the series in Professor Kim's course "Women of Color and the Emergence of the U.S. Third World Feminist Left." In this conversation, they will discuss how, in 2014, Matahari and its partners in the Massachusetts Coalition of Domestic Workers won a historic campaign to pass the Massachusetts Domestic Workers Law (Bill of Rights), as well as the oral history project with the domestic workers and employers that Professor Kim's students will help curate for a public exhibit website.

Matahari Women Workers' Center is a Greater Boston organization where women of color, immigrant women and families come together as sisters, workers and survivors to make improvements in ourselves and society and work toward justice and human rights. Our goal is to end gender-based violence and exploitation. The core of our work and vision is a belief in the importance of collective action and people’s leadership as strategies for social change. When marginalized groups are able to engage in arenas of public debate, their voices work to reverse historic oppression and assert that all people, especially the most excluded, are entitled to equal rights, dignified lives and the opportunity to participate in movements for social justice.

This event will take place over Zoom. Pre-registration is required.


Registration Required

Thu, Oct 8, 2020

Event poster featuring a black-and-white headshot of Eve Ewing

Education Reform, Racism and the Future of Public Education

Public education amidst the pandemic has undergone urgent and radical shifts. What is the future of America's public schools in the midst of this upheaval? What are the lessons for educational reform and racial justice? Drawing on her research into Chicago's 2013 mass public school closures-- the largest wave of such closures in the nation's history --Professor Eve Ewing will speak about the context of educational inequality that influences the conditions of public schooling in this moment of crisis. The conversation will be facilitated by Kristen Luschen, the Lewis Sebring Visiting Professor of Education Studies, and will include a brief question and answer session.

To register: https://amherstcollege.zoom.us.webinar/register/WNGDyvgXC9QgigXLF9mV2pJA

Registration Required

Fri, Oct 9, 2020

Image shows the Valentine Balcony lit up by string lights at night, some students sitting in the grass on the quad looking at the balcony where music is being played.

Music on the Val Balcony

Come join us in listening to our own Amherst students performing from the Valentine Balcony. Some chairs will be provided, but we recommend you bring a sweatshirt as fall draws near!

Sat, Oct 10, 2020

ASO Concert: Welcome to the Amherst College First-Year Class!

Members of the Amherst Symphony Orchestra studying on campus this semester present the annual "Welcome to the Amherst College First-Year Class!" concert at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 10, in a special live-streamed performance. ASO musicians present an all-Beethoven concert in celebration of the composer's 250th birthday year, and in memory of the opera devotée the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who spoke at Amherst in a visit less than a year ago.

Works to be performed include the Overture to Beethoven's only opera, Fidelio, as well as the aria "Abscheulicher... Komm, Hoffnung" from Fidelio; Drei Equali for four trombones; Andante con variazione from the "Kreutzer" sonata for violin and piano; the first movement of the op. 71 wind quintet; and the Marcia funèbre from Symphony #3 ("Eroica") as arranged by Beethoven's student Ferdinand Ries for piano and string trio.

Mark Lane Swanson, music director, conducts, and is at the keyboard. Members of the Amherst class of 2024 perform in all chamber works on the concert. There is no charge to view the event on the Amherst College music website.

Tue, Oct 13, 2020

Professor Amy Connolly, Ohio State University: "High-Energy Neutrino Astrophysics with Radio Techniques"

Multimessenger astronomy has entered an exciting new era with the recent discovery of both gravitational waves and cosmic neutrinos. I will focus on extremely energetic neutrinos as particles that can uniquely probe the most extreme astrophysics sources at cosmic distances, as well as fundamental physics in an unexplored energy regime. While optical Cerenkov radiation remains the most powerful strategy for neutrino detection over a broad energy range, the radio Cerenkov technique has emerged in the last two decades as the most promising for a long-term program to push the neutrino frontier by over a factor of 1,000 in energy. I will present the latest results from the field of high-energy neutrino astrophysics, with a focus on the balloon-borne ANITA experiment and the in-ice South Pole array ARA. I will also give an overview of the many exciting projects in this field that are on the horizon, and their anticipated impact in terms of the astrophysics and particle physics questions that we seek to answer.

Black-and-white headshot Shayla Lawson

Shayla Lawson: A Reading and Conversation

Join poet Shayla Lawson as she reads from her new essay collection This Is Major: Notes on Diana Ross, Dark Girls, and Being Dope, which has been called “a hilarious, heartbreaking, and endlessly entertaining homage to black women’s resilience and excellence” (Kirkus Reviews). A Q&A will follow.

This event is co-hosted by the Emily Dickinson Museum Tell It Slant Poetry Festival.

Lawson is also the author of three books of poetry—A Speed Education in Human Being, the chapbook Pantone and I Think I’m Ready to see Frank Ocean. She was born in Rochester, Minn., grew up in Lexington, Ky., studied architecture in Italy, and spent a few years as a Dutch housewife—milkmaid braids and all. She teaches at Amherst College and lives in Brooklyn, N.Y.

Registration Required

Wed, Oct 14, 2020

Headshot of Laure Thompson. She is in a library with bookshelves behind her.

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

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 towards 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 & Computer Sciences at UMass Amherst. This talk will be introduced and facilitated by Lee Spector, visiting professor of computer science at Amherst College.

Please note this event will be recorded for use by students in the computer science course "Machine Learning."

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

This event is open to the public over Zoom. Pre-registration is required.

Khalil Gibran Muhammad

The Condemnation of Blackness

Khalil Gibran Muhammad is a professor of history, race and public policy at Harvard Kennedy School and the Suzanne Young Murray Professor at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Studies. He is the former director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, a division of the New York Public Library and the world’s leading library and archive of global black history. Before leading the Schomburg Center, he was an associate professor at Indiana University.

Professor Muhammad will discuss how the history of the idea of Black criminality was crucial to the making of modern urban America.

This event is part of the Provost's Lecture Series, which will focus on "The History of Anti-Black Racism in America" for the 2020-2021 academic year. Students, faculty, staff, alumni and the public are all welcome.

Thu, Oct 15, 2020

Maintaining Focus Under Challenging Conditions

Prof. Matt Schulkind Presents Maintaining Focus under Challenging Conditions

Maintaining concentration is a challenge under the best of circumstances; these times are not the best of circumstances. Prof. Schulkind discusses scientific literature on attention, then shares strategies for maintaining focus. The lecture is followed by friendly discussion.

Open to all students. First-years encouraged!


Meeting ID: 942 0565 1897

Students Only

Statistics and Data Science Colloquium: Regression Methods for Network Indexed Data: Modeling Occurrences of Burglary and Identifying Correlates of Injection Drug Use Cessation

We begin by defining and providing examples of network-indexed data. We then turn to two applications: modeling occurrences of residential burglary in Boston and identifying network predictors of injection drug use cessation among a group of drug users in rural Kentucky. We discuss the graph Laplacian, a hierarchical regression model and generalized estimating equations along the way.

Bio: Elizabeth Upton completed her Ph.D. in statistics at Boston University. Her research focuses on network science, particularly adapting regression methodologies to network-indexed data. Before attending BU, Elizabeth taught high school math for three years and worked in finance as a quantitative analyst. She currently is an assistant professor at Williams College. Outside of her research and work interests, Elizabeth enjoys spending time with her family, skiing and cheering on the New England Patriots.

*The link will be sent to the Math & Stats listserv on the day of the event. If you are not part of that group and would like to attend, please email kglista@amherst.edu, and the link will be sent the day of the event.

The Far Right Today in the U.S. and Abroad

7:00 pm - 8:00 pm Held via Zoom

Cas Mudde will give a talk titled "The Far Right Today in the U.S. and Abroad." This talk is based on Mudde's two recent books: The Far Right Today (2019) and The Populist Radical Right: A Reader (2017).

Cas Mudde is a Dutch political scientist who focuses on political extremism and populism in Europe and the United States. His research includes the areas of political parties, extremism, democracy, civil society and European politics. He is the Stanley Wade Shelton UGAF Professor in the School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Georgia and a Professor II in the Center for Research on Extremism (C-REX) at the University of Oslo. Born in the Netherlands, he received his M.A. and Ph.D. at Leiden University. He has held tenure-related positions at Central European University (Budapest, Hungary), the University of Edinburgh (UK) and the University of Antwerp (Belgium). He moved to the U.S. in 2008, where he has taught at the University of Oregon, the University of Notre Dame, and DePauw University.

This event is sponsored by the Department of Political Science at Amherst College, along with funding support from the Eastman Fund and the Lamont Fund. It is free and open to the public.

Please register for this event at https://amherstcollege.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJwtdu2orz8jEtOXoH51RbKA.... You will receive a link to join the event after registration.

Registration Required

Fri, Oct 16, 2020

Kyle Marshall dancing in a studio

Masterclass with Kyle Marshall

The Department of Theater and Dance is thrilled to host a Zoom masterclass in contemporary dance with Kyle Marshall!

Choreographer and dancer Kyle Marshall is a 2018 Juried Bessie Award winner, New Jersey State Council on the Arts Fellow and 2020 Dance Magazine Harkness Promise Awardee. His company, Kyle Marshall Choreography, has performed at venues including BAM Next Wave Festival, Jacob’s Pillow Inside/Out, Joe’s Pub at the Public, Actors Fund Arts Center, NJPAC, and NYC SummerStage. Commissions have included Dance on the Lawn: Montclair's Dance Festival, NJPAC and Harlem Stage. He has received residencies from the 92nd Street Y, Mana Contemporary, CPR and Jamaica Performing Arts Center. Kyle graduated from Rutgers University with a BFA in dance.

Register in advance. Zoom link and password will be sent on the day of the event. This event is sponsored by the Eastman Lecture Fund.

Registration Required
Poster advertising the event. Poster shows profile pictures of W. Kamau Bell and Valerie Jarrett.

ACVotes GOTV Event with Valerie Jarrett and W. Kamau Bell

8:00 pm Virtual

Join ACVotes’ discussion with comedian W. Kamau Bell and Valerie Jarrett P’07, H’07, former senior advisor to President Obama and Chair of the Board for When We All Vote.

Mon, Oct 19, 2020

Long Research Image

Biology Monday Seminar: "Don’t Stress: Iron Regulatory Mechanisms at the Intersection of Plant Development and Multi-Stress Resilience"

Terri Long, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
North Carolina State University

Anemia induced by iron deficiency is one of the most prevalent nutritional disorders in the world. Most people obtain nutritional iron predominantly from plants. Our research focuses on understanding the molecular mechanisms that plants use to uptake, transport and utilize iron, and to respond to low iron conditions. We use molecular and systems biology to identify iron deficiency response regulators and their corresponding gene targets, with the long-term goal of elucidating gene regulatory networks involved in plant iron homeostasis. Ultimately this information may lead to the generation of crops with increased nutritional content and increased yield when grown in poor soils.

Open to members of the Amherst College community. Please contact Karen Racz, biology department ADC, for information and a link to the Zoom presentation.

Close-up of Danielle Allen smiling

Why Democracy Matters: A Conversation with Danielle Allen H’18

7:00 pm Virtual

Danielle Allen H’18, former trustee and James Bryant Conant University Professor at Harvard University and director of Harvard’s Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics, is interviewed by Bella Edo '21, Ryan Kyle '23 and Jeremy Thomas '21.

Allen is a political theorist who has published broadly in democratic theory, political sociology and the history of political thought. She is the recipient of the 2020 John W. Kluge Prize for Achievement in the Study of Humanity, an award administered by the Library of Congress that recognizes work in disciplines not covered by the Nobel Prizes. Widely known for her work on justice and citizenship in both ancient Athens and modern America, Allen is the author of The World of Prometheus: The Politics of Punishing in Democratic Athens (2000), Talking to Strangers: Anxieties of Citizenship since Brown vs. the Board of Education (2004), Why Plato Wrote (2010), Our Declaration: A Reading of the Declaration of Independence in Defense of Equality (2014), Education and Equality (2016) and Cuz: The Life and Times of Michael A. (2017).

Allen is also the principal investigator for the Democratic Knowledge Project, a distributed research and action lab at Harvard University. The Democratic Knowledge Project seeks to identify, strengthen and disseminate the bodies of knowledge, skills and capacities that democratic citizens need in order to succeed at operating their democracy. She is a co-chair of the Commission on the Practice of Democratic Citizenship, formed to explore how best to respond to the weaknesses and vulnerabilities in political and civic life. Its final and bipartisan report, Our Common Purpose: Reinventing American Democracy for the 21st Century, was released in June 2020 and includes six strategies and 31 ambitious recommendations to help the nation emerge as a more resilient democracy by 2026, the nation’s 250th anniversary. As director of Harvard’s Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics, Allen led a collaboration of scientists and researchers at leading institutions to develop the Key Metrics For COVID Suppression framework, which provides clear, accessible guidance to policy makers and the public on how to target and suppress COVID-19 more effectively across the nation.

Still from "The Prison in Twelve Landscapes," showing people playing chess in a park

A Conversation with Award-Winning Filmmaker Brett Story

The Department of Art and the History of Art and the Program in Film and Media Studies is excited to present a conversation with filmmaker Brett Story, who will be discussing her award-winning film The Prison in Twelve Landscapes. (We recommend watching the film on Kanopy.com ahead of this event: https://amherst.kanopy.com/video/prison-twelve-landscapes-1.)

Brett Story is a filmmaker, writer and geographer based in Toronto. Her films have screened internationally at festivals such as CPH-DOX, the Viennale, SXSW, True/False and Oberhausen. Her most recent feature documentary, The Hottest August, was a New York Times Critics’ Pick and is currently playing cinemas and festivals around the world.

Brett has held fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the Sundance Documentary Institute. Her 2016 feature documentary, The Prison in Twelve Landscapes, was awarded the Special Jury Prize at the Hot Docs Documentary Festival and was a nominee for Best Feature Documentary at the Canadian Screen Awards.

Brett is the author of the book Prison Land: Mapping Carceral Power across Neoliberal America and co-editor of the forthcoming volume Digital Life in the Global City. She holds a Ph.D. in geography and is currently an assistant professor in the School of Image Arts at Ryerson University.

Please register in advance. This event is sponsored by the Eastman Lecture Fund.

Registration Required

Tue, Oct 20, 2020

Professor Philip Bucksbaum, Stanford University: "Ultrafast Strong Field AMO Physics"

Electron-electron and electron-ion forces drive all processes in chemistry, yet for many years these interactions were difficult to capture in experiments because of the ultra-short time scales and distances involved.

Two advances in laser technology led to methods that overcome these problems. The first was the development 30 years ago of powerful ultrafast lasers with focused optical fields comparable to the binding fields in chemical bonds, exceeding one volt per Angstrom. These lasers led to new ways to control the interactions of electrons in atoms on their natural time scales.

The second advance was the development in the last decade of ultrafast x-ray lasers with Angstrom-wavelengths and even higher focused fields. These can be used to produce movies of molecules as they undergo bond rearrangements in tens to hundreds of femtoseconds (millionth-billionths of a second). Recent improvements in the x-ray source will soon enable measurements that can resolve attosecond-scale (billionth-billionth of a second) electron motion in x-ray-atom interactions.

Amity Gaige: A Reading and Conversation

Join Amity Gaige for a reading from Sea Wife, her “stunning fourth novel” (The New York Times). “Sea Wife brilliantly breathes life not only into the perils of living at sea, but also into the fraught and hidden dangers of domesticity, motherhood, and marriage. What a smart, swift, and thrilling novel,” says Lauren Groff ’01. A Q&A will follow.

Gaige is the author of three previous novels: O My Darling, The Folded World and Schroder, which was published in 18 countries, shortlisted for The Folio Prize and named one of Best Books of 2013 by The New York Times Book Review and many other publications. Gaige teaches at Yale University and lives in Connecticut with her family.

Registration Required

Wed, Oct 21, 2020

CRG: Doing the Work: White People Committing to Anti-Racism (Group B)

12:00 pm - 1:00 pm Zoom (link will be shared before meeting)

The current racial justice movement has most likely motivated you to think more about racism and in many ways, question how you participate and perpetuate racism in your own life. Fortunately there are many steps one can take to embark on the journey of anti-racism. Many of us are at different stages of learning and unlearning how racism operates in our lives and often the question is where to start? This new CRG will guide us through a series of self-reflection activities and action steps to begin and dive deeper into the work of anti-racism. We will utilize the book Me and White Supremacy by Layla F. Sadd, to guide our process.

A space for staff to examine what it means to be white, learn how to identify and confront racism in ourselves, the systems and people surrounding us, and to critically reflect on our actions and socialization. We will emphasize building our own capacity as white people doing anti-racism work that centers BIPOC.

For the fall semester we will host two separate groups of 20 people each. Both sessions will be co-facilitated by Angie Tissi-Gassoway and Dr. Sarah Erickson. Please email Angie at atissi@amherst.edu to request your book and learn about next steps.

Registration Required
Black-and-white headshots of Carlos Alberto Sánchez and James R. Martel

CHI Salon: Amherst College Press Authors in Conversation

Join Amherst College Press authors Carlos Alberto Sánchez and James R. Martel in conversation with Press Director Beth Bouloukos for a discussion about violence, culture and personhood.

In A Sense of Brutality: Philosophy after Narco-Culture (Amherst College Press, 2020), philosopher Carlos Sánchez argues that violent cultural modalities, of which narco-culture is but one, call into question our understanding of “violence” as a concept. In narco-culture, the normalization of brutality into everyday life is a condition upon which the absolute erasure or derealization of people is made possible.

Sánchez will be joined by ACP author James Martel, whose book Unburied Bodies: Subversive Corpses and the Authority of the Dead (ACP, 2018) investigates why the presence of the abandoned corpse can be seen by both authorities and protesters as a source of power. Martel explores how those who have been marginalized by structures of authority find their aspirations for dignity and humanity.

This event will take place over Zoom. Pre-registration is required.

Registration Required

Thu, Oct 22, 2020

Suhail Yusuf Khan seated, playing the sarangi

Lessons from Sarangi: A Virtual Performance and Conversation with Suhail Yusuf Khan

Suhail Yusuf Khan is a Sarangi player, vocalist, composer, and Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Music at Wesleyan University. Khan is writing the first in-depth ethnomusicological study by a hereditary sarangi player. His ethnographic scholarship draws on personal experience as an eighth-generation musician belonging to a lineage of Hindustani musicians. He situates this musical tradition in a globalized context, to help new audiences connect with the riches of this repertoire.

All are invited to a live sarangi concert by Suhail Yusuf Khan, followed by a conversation. Yael Rice, assistant professor of art and the history of art and of Asian languages and civilizations, will introduce this event by presenting works of art from the Mead’s collection that feature the sarangi and speak to the rich history of the instrument.

This program is presented in collaboration with the Departments of Art and the History of Art, Architectural Studies, and Asian Languages and Civilizations and will take place via Zoom.

Registration for this event is required. Please use the following link to sign up:

Registration Required

Making Dances, Doing Research and Problem-Solving During the Zombie Apocalypse

The Department of Theater and Dance welcomes Chris McMillan to host a Zoom workshop, "Making Dances, Doing Research, and Problem-Solving During the Zombie Apocalypse"! McMillan’s workshop will frame creative research (choreography) as multifocal compositional process(es) that can be mobilized as a problem-solving tool. The workshop will seek to answer the question: How does the making of choreography complicate, probe and deconstruct questions of power as they relate to race, class and gender?

The “body,” in study, and in life more generally, is at the center of the arts and humanities. For what can one do without a body? Dance's focus on the body makes critical choreographic study a uniquely situated lens from which to engage all disciplines (probably). We will look at artists/theorists such as Beyonce, Kendrick Lamar and bell hooks, and consult cultural products such as The Night of the Living Dead / The Walking Dead to playfully come up with artistic problem-solving and world-making techniques that might save lives (in theory).

Christopher-Rasheem Mcmillan is a performance-related artist and scholar. He has a joint appointment between dance and gender, women's and sexuality studies at the University of Iowa. McMillan has an MFA in experimental choreography from the Laban Conservatoire, London (2011), and his Ph.D. in theology and religious studies from King’s College, London (2017). His writing has been published in The Journal of Dance, Movement & Spiritualities, Kinebago and Contact Quarterly. Currently, Mcmillan is a visiting assistant professor and fellow at The Institute of Sacred Music at Yale University

Registration Required

How Can You Represent Those People?

8:00 pm - 9:00 pm Zoom link: https://amherstcollege.zoom.us/j/93115956512

Join the Amherst Political Union for an event on Zoom featuring Georgetown Law Professor Abbe Smith. Professor Smith will deliver a talk titled "How Can You Represent Those People?" and read from her new book Guilty People. Professor Smith is a leader in the field of criminal defense law, and she is currently the director of the Criminal Defense and Prisoner Advocacy Clinic at Georgetown University. Check out our website for more information.

2020 Presidential Election Post Debate Discussion

10:30 pm on Oct 22, to 12:00 am on Oct 23 Held via Zoom, Zoom Link: https://amherstcollege.zoom.u

You are invited to join members of the Political Science Department, including Professors Austin Sarat and Jonathan Obert, for a debate discussion following the last Presidential Election Debate.

This event will be held via Zoom. Here is the link:


Mon, Oct 26, 2020

Davila research image showing a researcher wearing a read parka and kneeling down amid a snowy landscape, under a cloudy sky

Biology Monday Seminar: The Search for Evidence of Life Beyond Earth

Alfonso Davila, Ph.D., research scientist at NASA Ames Research Center/Exobiology Branch, will speak on "The Search for Evidence of Life Beyond Earth."

Davila's research focuses on the search for evidence of life beyond Earth, and currently he is helping develop several mission concepts to search for evidence of life on Mars and Enceladus, a small moon of Saturn. Davila has participated in more than 15 field expeditions in the Atacama Desert, a Mars-like environments, and has published numerous papers and book chapters on the microbial communities that inhabit the driest parts of the Atacama. Davila has also participated in multiple field expeditions in Antarctica, another Mars-like environment, and in other extreme deserts.

Open to members of the Amherst College community. Please contact Karen Racz, biology department ADC, for a link to join the Zoom presentation.

Monday, October 26 at 4:00 Psychology Department Lecture

What We Think: Amherst College Psychology Department Fall Lecture Series

What We Think - Abundance: Pathways for Psych Majors
There are many pathways to take when choosing to study psychology. Students may focus on research, treatment, marketing, industry, or a multitude of other side roads. Join Amherst Professor Kneeland '10 and Amherst alum Tyler Tory- Murphy '10 (currently marketing with Google Pixel) as they discuss their thought and decision-making process in becoming psychology majors and the opportunities available to them once they declared. Open to all students. First-years encouraged!

Meeting ID: 942 0565 1897

Students Only

Tue, Oct 27, 2020

Research Assistant in Physics Abigail Plummer, Harvard: "Instability, Frustration and Phase Transitions in Thin Elastic Sheets"

Thin sheets, such as plant leaves, cell membranes and atomically thin materials, can show complex and surprising behaviors when allowed to grow and deform in three dimensions. One such behavior is the purely elastic shape memory found in disordered spring networks and, to a good approximation, crumpled paper. In this talk, I will introduce a simplified model for this effect, in which we locally swell a periodic array of points on an elastic sheet. When the local expansion is sufficiently large, or the sheet is sufficiently flexible, the regions of dilation will prefer to buckle out of the plane. We find that we can understand the ground state as well as the finite temperature behavior of this system if we assume that the buckled dilations behave like spins in an Ising model, a simple model for magnetism and phase transitions.

Black and white photograph of the artist in Victorian dress performing the role of Sarah Forbes Bonetta.

Artist Talk with Heather Agyepong

London-based artist Heather Agyepong has worked within photographic and performance arts since 2009 and is interested in mental health and well-being, activism, invisibility, the diaspora and the archive. She uses both lens-based practices and performance to create cathartic experiences for herself and her audiences. Agyepong’s works have been published, performed and exhibited extensively within the UK and internationally. A selection of her photographs is currently on view at the Mead Art Museum.

Join us to learn more about Agyepong’s artistic practice; her acclaimed project Too Many Blackamoors; and her forthcoming projects, performances and exhibitions. This conversation will be moderated by Aneeka Henderson, assistant professor of sexuality, women's and gender studies.

This program is supported by the Arts at Amherst Initiative and will take place via Zoom. Registration is required.

Registration Required

Wed, Oct 28, 2020

A white poster of headshots of the featured authors: Katherine Vaz, Tiffany Higgins, Jose Pinto de Sa, Eliane Marques, Jethro Soutar, Susana Moreira Marques, Shauna Barbosa

CHI Salon: Voices from the Lusosphere: The Common Launches Its 20th Issue

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

Marking 10 years of publication, Amherst's award-winning literary magazine, The Common, launches its 20th issue with a portfolio of writing from Portugal and its colonial and linguistic diaspora: from Lisbon to Goa; Cape Verde to Rio de Janeiro. Join us for an international reading and conversation, co-hosted by the DISQUIET International Literary Program.

Featured authors:
• Fiction writer Katherine Vaz and poet Shauna Barbosa, representing Luso-America
• Poet Eliane Marques with translator Tiffany Higgins, representing Brazil
• Essayist Susana Moreira Marques, representing Portugal
• José Pinto de Sá and translator Jethro Soutar, representing Mozambique

Registration Required

Who Merits an Elite College Education?

As part of Virtual Homecoming and Family Week, Zach Bleemer a Class of 2013 Amherst College graduate and current PhD candidate in Economics at the University of California, Berkeley will present "Who Merits an Elite College Education?" This virtual event is open to the college community via Zoom.

Jazz Combos Livestream

Student jazz combos Hale-Bopp and Hyakutake perform for Virtual Homecoming and Family Week from Buckley Recital Hall in the Arms Music Center.

This performance will be open to the general public through the music department's FREE event livestream on the Amherst College website.

Meet the Authors: A Conversation about Recent Books Published by History Faculty

Join us for a celebratory conversation with history faculty who have recently published books!
Jen Manion, Associate Professor of History, will discuss Female Husbands: a Trans History (Cambridge, 2020). Edward Melillo, Professor of History and Environmental Studies, will discuss The Butterfly Effect: Insects and the Making of the Modern World (Knopf, 2020). Vanessa Walker, Morgan Assistant Professor in Diplomatic History, will discuss Principles in Power: Latin America and the Politics of U.S. Human Rights Diplomacy (Cornell, 2020).

Registration Required

Why Democracy Matters: A Panel Discussion

8:00 pm - 9:00 pm Held Via Zoom

The Department of Political Science would like to invite the entire Amherst College community to a panel discussion on "Why Democracy Matters." Hop on Zoom to hear Professors Javier Corrales, Jonathan Obert, and Kerry Ratigan share their views. Panel discussion starts at 8pm. This is part of a series of events the department is organizing this semester in relation to the 2020 elections in the United States. This event is free and open to the entire Amherst community including all Homecoming and Family Weekend attendees.

Registration in advance is required for this meeting:

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

Registration Required
ACJE member playing a trombone

Amherst College Jazz Ensemble Livestream from Buckley

The Amherst College Jazz Ensemble (ACJE) performs for Virtual Homecoming and Family Week from Buckley Recital Hall in the Arms Music Center. This performance will be open to the general public through the music department's FREE event livestream on the Amherst College website.

ACJE Director Bruce Diehl and the student members present music chosen from jazz composers and artists Les Hooper, Matt Harris, George Gershwin, Beethoven and others.

Thu, Oct 29, 2020

Dr. Ariel Nereson: "Dancing Democracy: Empathy and Community in Bill T. Jones’ Contemporary Work"

The Department of Theater and Dance invites you to "Dancing Democracy: Empathy and Community in Bill T. Jones’ Contemporary Work," a talk by Dr. Ariel Nereson.

In our contemporary moment, with its resurgence of populism and stark ideological oppositions within diverse democratic formations, many commentators, including activists, scientists, politicians, educators, and community members and organizers, are turning to the language of empathy to describe what is missing in our current discourse. This talk looks to artists, particularly the renowned choreographer Bill T. Jones, for practices of empathy-building that align with current cognitive scientific understandings of how humans relate to others whom they perceive as different from themselves. Exploring movement-based works as experiments in empathy-building and community development may offer tactics for revitalizing democratic principles toward practices of equity and differentiated solidarity.

Ariel Nereson is an assistant professor of dance studies and director of graduate dance at the University at Buffalo - SUNY. Her current book project, Democracy Moving: Bill T. Jones, Contemporary American Performance, and the Racial Past, analyzes the choreography of Bill T. Jones as public intellectual labor, Black aesthetic praxis and historical knowledge. She sits on the board of the American Theatre and Drama Society and is the book review editor for Theatre History Studies. Her publications can be found in Theatre Journal, Theatre Survey, American Quarterly, Studies in Musical Theatre and forthcoming in Dance Research Journal, amongst others. She is also a choreographer and dramaturg.

Registration Required
NWSA Black Feminism

Black Feminism and the Reimagined Politics of Democracy and Accountability

7:00 pm - 8:30 pm https://columbiauniversity.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_9crW4_RaT6axxkofxdVBXg

Join the Women's and Gender Center as we tune into the National Women's Studies Association's Keynote Conversation, Black Feminism and the Reimagined Politics of Democracy and Accountability with Rep. Ilhan Omar and Barbara Ransby with introductions and debrief by Cathy Cohen. Registration here: https://columbiauniversity.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_9crW4_RaT6axxkofx... and the zoom information will be emailed to you.

Watching with us? Let us know: https://forms.gle/99EZAGZ2fB7Mm8gD7

Registration Required

Fri, Oct 30, 2020

Peers and Persuasion

12:00 pm - 1:00 pm Held via Zoom, Zoom Link: https://amherstcollege.zoom.

The Faculty Colloquium Series for 2020-21 presents a lecture entitled "Peers and Persuasion" presented by Jakina Debnam Guzman, Assistant Professor of Economics. This lecture will be held via Zoom (see link below).  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.  The event is open to the Amherst College Community. For more information about the Faculty Colloquium Series please visit this link   https://www.amherst.edu/mm/597044


Calidore String Quartet posing with their instruments

M@A Presents the Calidore String Quartet

8:00 pm Music Department Event Livestream

Janáček String Quartet No. 1, Kreutzer Sonata
Beethoven Grosse Fuge

Recipient of a 2018 Avery Fisher Career Grant and a 2017 Lincoln Center Award for Emerging Artists, the Calidore String Quartet first made international headlines as winner of the $100,000 Grand Prize of the 2016 M-Prize Chamber Arts Competition. The quartet was the first North American ensemble to win the Borletti-Buitoni Trust Fellowship and a BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artist, and is currently in residence with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s Bowers Program (formerly CMS Two). The Calidore String Quartet has been praised by the New York Times for its “deep reserves of virtuosity and irrepressible dramatic instinct.” The Los Angeles Times described the quartet as “astonishing” and praised its balance of “intellect and expression.” The Washington Post said, “Four more individual musicians are unimaginable, yet these speak, breathe, think and feel as one.”

Sat, Oct 31, 2020

Six people wearing COVID masks and standing, distanced from each other, on and near the Buckley Recital Hall stage

Amherst College Choral Society Family Week and Homecoming Concert

The Amherst Choral Society presents a concert from Buckley Recital Hall in the Arms Music Center. The concert will be livestreamed on the Amherst College website, FREE to the public; no in-person audience will be present.

Dr. Noah Horn and Assistant Conductor Theo Peierls '19 conduct traditional Amherst College songs including “Hand Me Down My Bonnet,” “Hymn to Amherst,” “O Amherst, Our Amherst” and “Paige's Horse.” Additional repertoire includes Samuel Barber’s “Under the Willow tree” and a virtual choir to conclude the concert with “Three Gifts” and “To the Fairest College.”

ASO rehearsing in an outdoor tent on campus, while wearing COVID masks

ASO Concert: "They Persisted: Concert Masterpieces by Trailblazing Women Composers"

The Amherst Symphony Orchestra (ASO) and Chamber Music Program present works by Hildegard von Bingen, Ethyl Smyth, Amy Beach, Cécile Chaminade, Chrétien Hedwige, Florence Price, Valerie Coleman, Joan Tower and Ellen Taafe Zwillich in a FREE, livestreamed concert in honor of the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment establishing women's right to vote.

Female composers have long faced unjust exclusion from the concert hall. Patriarchal gate-keeping and gender bias has unfairly dictated whose music would be heard. Women are dramatically underrepresented both in the music academy and on classical music stages. The ASO seeks to do its part to begin remedying this artistic inequity in a varied program of works by women composers.