Event Calendar

March 2019

Fri, Mar 1, 2019

LitFest: How to Get a Job in Publishing

The world of publishing offers storytellers and literature lovers career paths that can meander from editing, to production, to marketing. If you’re ready to explore the possibilities—from early career to executive leadership—join us Friday, March 1 during LitFest for a behind the scenes look at How to Get a Job in Publishing. This in-depth discussion will feature three distinguished alumni who will share the paths they took that led them to careers with industry leaders Penguin Books, Oxford University Press, and Stanford University Press.

Sunna Juhn ’18, Editorial Assistant, Stanford University Press
Niko Pfund ’87, President, Oxford University Press
Julie Strauss-Gabel ’94, President and Publisher, Dutton Children's Books

Each panelist will speak for 10-15 minutes, providing students with an overview of their own career trajectory and some tips for the trade. Following a general Q&A, we will break into small group discussions where students will have the opportunity to ask more direct questions about networking in the field, application advice, and the wide range of job possibilities in publishing.

LitFest: Crafting a Career in Journalism

Stellar writing skills, a love of storytelling, and a desire to impact our communities and culture. These connective threads unite generations of Amherst alumni and students, and are the foundations of a successful career in journalism. Explore the possibilities for your own work through this in-depth discussion with three distinguished alumni who’ll share the details of their trajectories into daily news, investigative reporting, and science and data journalism.

Aleszu Bajak ’06, freelance science journalist and graduate programs manager at Northeastern University's School of Journalism
Luis Ferre Rangel ’88, former Editor in Chief of El Nuevo Día & current Chief Social Innovation Officer of Grupo Ferré Rangel
Diana Babineau Owen ’14, Managing Editor, In These Times

Each panelist will speak for 10-15 minutes, providing students with an overview of their own career trajectory and some tips for the trade. Following a general Q&A, we will break into small group discussions where students will have the opportunity to ask more direct questions about networking in the field, application advice, and the wide range of job possibilities in journalism.

Cheminar: 32nd Pryde Lecturer Dr. Gerard Hilinski '04 on "Drug Discovery in Academia"

Hilinski is director of biochemistry at the Drug Development Institute of The Ohio State Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Refreshments will be served at 3:15 p.m.

Mon, Mar 4, 2019

Biology Monday Seminar: "Bacterial Spores: Still Surprises After All These Years"

Peter Setlow
Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor of Molecular Biology and Biophysics
UConn Health, Farmington, Conn.

Title: "Bacterial Spores: Still Surprises After All These Years"

"Dr. Setlow’s research over the past ~50 years has focused on spore formers of various Bacillus species, concentrating on the mechanisms of the formation, resistance, killing and germination of the spores of these organisms, as well as their biochemical properties, and he has published over 500 research papers on these topics, including definitive studies on the mechanism of spore resistance to 254 nm UV radiation. Dr. Setlow’s research work has utilized techniques from many disciplines, including: 1) microbial physiology; 2) molecular genetics; 3) molecular biology; 4) classical genetics; 5) light, fluorescence and electron microscopy; 6) enzyme purification and characterization; 7) spectroscopy of single cells; 8) small molecule analysis; 9) structural biology; and recently 10) transcriptomics."

Marisol Lebrón in front of a bookshelf, smiling

"We Want You Here and Alive: Puerto Rican Feminists Confront the Carceral State"

Marisol LeBrón is an assistant professor in the Department of Mexican American and Latina/o Studies at the University of Texas at Austin. An interdisciplinary scholar working across American studies, Latinx studies and feminist studies, she researches and teaches on social inequality, policing, violence and protest movements in Puerto Rico and U.S. communities of color. She is the author of Policing Life and Death: Race, Violence and Resistance in Puerto Rico (University of California Press, 2019), which examines the growth of punitive governance in contemporary Puerto Rico.

"Loíza, a low-income and predominantly Afro-Puerto Rican town and municipality just outside of the capital city of San Juan, has long been plagued by racist and violent policing practices. The siege-like conditions that police created in many of Loíza’s public housing complexes and neighborhoods have done little to stem high rates of violence and crime in the area, and, to the contrary, have directly contributed to the general sense of insecurity that many residents feel. Tired of seeing how both police violence and gang violence were creating harm and death in the community, Taller Salud, a feminist public health organization based in Loíza, decided to take action. In this talk, I look at Taller Salud’s program Acuerdo de Paz, which has worked to develop systems of community accountability and mediation as a way of working outside of the punitive structures that tend to exacerbate violence and insecurity in Loíza. I position Taller Salud’s Acuerdo de Paz initiative as just one example of a growing movement in Puerto Rico that is rejecting punitive governance and trying to create alternative visions of justice that do not rely on the intensification of conditions of vulnerability for already marginalized communities."

"The Political Language and Discourse in Japan"

Professor Takashi Ito, professor of faculty of sociology from Doshisha University, has come to Amherst to speak about the current state of Japanese politics from the perspectives of journalism and prevailing public discourse in Japan. He will touch on topics such as the political situation in Japan today, political language and concepts in confusion, and public discourse and media coverage of politics in Japan today.

Tue, Mar 5, 2019

Anne Jaskot, UMass: "How to Reionize the Universe: Clues from the Green Pea Galaxies"

In the first billion years after the Big Bang, the universe's hydrogen gas became ionized, an event known as reionization. Reionization represents a fundamental transition in the universe's properties, and yet we know little about how it occurred. The most likely explanation is that ionizing, Lyman continuum (LyC) photons escaped into the intergalactic medium from early star-forming galaxies. However, most star-forming galaxies show no sign of LyC escape. If reionization was caused by galaxies, which galaxies were responsible? The recent discovery of escaping ionizing radiation from the unusual "Green Pea" galaxies has provided new clues to this puzzle. I will discuss what we are learning from the Green Peas about how ionizing radiation escapes galaxies and about the possible properties of the galaxies that reionized the universe.

"Getting Along with Geese and Horses: Val Vinokur Talks About Translating Isaac Babel and Vladimir Mayakovsky"

A seminar with Val Vinokur '94 of Eugene Lang College and The New School

In 2017, Val Vinokur published The Essential Fictions, his annotated translation of 72 stories by Isaac Babel. In his new book, Relative Genitive, Vinokur translates two of the great Russian poets of the early 20th century: the Acmeist neo-classicist Osip Mandelstam and the Futurist revolutionary Vladimir Mayakovsky––their work woven together by the thread of Vinokur’s own poems, echoing the sound and spirit of the poets he has translated, and collapsing the distance between high culture and low, beauty and wreckage, origin and destination. Val will focus his discussion on two texts that depict the fate of animals (and humans) in Revolution: Babel’s Red Cavalry story “My First Goose” and Mayakovsky’s poem “Getting Along with Horses.”

Val Vinokur (AC '94) was born in Moscow and immigrated to Miami Beach as a child. He is an associate professor of literary studies at Eugene Lang College and The New School, where he also serves as chair of liberal arts in the B.A. Program for Adults and directs the minor in literary translation. He is the author of The Trace of Judaism: Dostoevsky, Babel, Mandelstam, Levinas; and his work as a co-translator with Rose Réjouis was recognized with a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2008. His annotated translation of 72 stories by Isaac Babel, The Essential Fictions, was published in 2017. Vinokur is a senior editor at Public Seminar and is the founding editor of Poets & Traitors Press, which recently published his new book Relative Genitive: Poems with Translations from Osip Mandelstam and Vladimir Mayakovsky.

"Women in the Spanish-Speaking World"

In celebration of National Women’s History Month, Dr. Bárbara Mujica (Georgetown University) and Dr. Rolón-Barada (independent scholar) will give a talk on women in the Spanish-speaking world, focusing on Frida Kahlo (Mexico) and Carmen Laforet (Spain), on Tuesday, March 5 at 5 p.m. in Pruyne Lecture Hall. This event is sponsored by the Eastman Fund and the Georges Lurcy Lecture Series Fund at Amherst College, with additional funding from the Latinx and Latin American Studies Program and Department of Spanish.

Wed, Mar 6, 2019

Education Studies Initiative Speaker Series Presents Natasha Warikoo: "The Diversity Bargain: And Other Dilemmas of Race, Admissions and Meritocracy at Elite Universities"

We’ve heard plenty from politicians and experts on affirmative action and higher education, about how universities should intervene—if at all—to ensure a diverse but deserving student population. But what about those for whom these issues matter the most? In this book talk, Natasha K. Warikoo deeply explores how students themselves think about merit and race at a uniquely pivotal moment: after they have just won the most competitive game of their lives and gained admittance to one of the world’s top universities. What Warikoo uncovers—talking with both white students and students of color at Harvard, Brown and Oxford—is absolutely illuminating, and some of it is positively shocking. As she shows, many elite white students understand the value of diversity abstractly, but they ignore the real problems that racial inequality causes and that diversity programs are meant to solve. They stand in fear of being labeled racist, but they are quick to call foul should a diversity program appear at all to hamper their own chances for advancement. The most troubling result of this ambivalence is what she calls the “diversity bargain,” in which white students reluctantly agree with affirmative action as long as it benefits them by providing a diverse learning environment—racial diversity, in this way, is a commodity, a selling point on a brochure. And, as Warikoo shows, universities play a big part in creating these situations. The way they talk about race on campus and the kinds of diversity programs they offer have a huge impact on student attitudes, shaping them either toward ambivalence or, in better cases, toward more productive and considerate understandings of racial difference.

Ultimately, this book demonstrates just how slippery the notions of race, merit and privilege can be. In doing so, it asks important questions not just about college admissions but about what the elite students who have succeeded at it—who will be the world’s future leaders—will do with the social inequalities of the wider world.

Natasha Kumar Warikoo is an associate professor at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education. She is an expert on the relationships between education, racial and ethnic diversity, and cultural processes in schools and universities. Her most recent book, The Diversity Bargain: And Other Dilemmas of Race, Admissions and Meritocracy at Elite Universities, illuminates how undergraduates attending Ivy League universities and Oxford University conceptualize race and meritocracy. The book emphasizes the contradictions, moral conundrums and tensions on campus related to affirmative action and diversity, and how these vary across racial and national lines. Her first book, Balancing Acts: Youth Culture in the Global City, analyzes youth culture among children of immigrants attending low-performing high schools in New York City and London. Balancing Acts won the Thomas and Znaniecki Best Book Award from the American Sociological Association's International Migration Section.

Yellowed page with photos of small children

"Economies of Recognition: Portrait Photography Competitions in Turkish Journals of the 1920s"

Dr. Yasemin Gencer, a scholar of Islamic art, will be visiting Amherst College to give a talk on "Portrait Photography Competitions in Turkish Journals of the 1920s," sponsored by the Faculty Lecture Fund.

"Media and Content Industry in Today's Japan"

Professor Takashi Ito, professor of faculty of sociology from Doshisha University, has come to Amherst to speak about the media and content industry in modern Japan. He will touch on topics such as structural characteristics of the Japanese media and content industry, the challenges facing the industry, and more.

"Beaverland: Travels Among Rodents of Unusual Size with Ben Goldfarb '09"

5:00 pm - 6:30 pm Science Center, Kirkpatrick Lecture Hall (SCCE A011)

Award-winning environmental journalist Ben Goldfarb '09 will discuss his book Eager: The Surprising, Secret Life of Beavers and Why They Matter, explore trends in ecological restoration and wildlife conservation, and talk about turning science writing into a career. Goldfarb's work has appeared in Science, Mother Jones, The Guardian, The Washington Post and many other publications. Eager: The Surprising, Secret Life of Beavers and Why They Matter is a finalist for the 2019 PEN/E.O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award.

Event poster featuring headshots of Brecht and Revermann

"Brecht and Naturalism"

Join the Department of Theater and Dance for a special talk by Professor Martin Revermann (University of Toronto). Brecht’s theater, both in practice and in theory, is very much a response to Naturalism. Professor Revermann will outline key aspects of this productively antagonistic relationship: What could be wrong with Naturalism? How exactly does Brecht’s theater differ from Naturalism? How does anti-Naturalism manifest itself? Can anti-Naturalism be political at all? And is there common ground after all? Many features central to Brechtian theater will be introduced, with his plays The Life of Galileo and The Good Person of Sezuan functioning as prime case studies.

Sponsored by the Georges Lurcy Lecture Series Fund at Amherst College

Mon, Mar 18, 2019

Iridescent research image

Biology Monday Seminar: "Dynamic Cytoskeletal Reorganization in the C. Elegans Reproductive System"

Erin Cram, associate professor in biology at Northeastern University, will present "Dynamic Cytoskeletal Reorganization in the C. Elegans Reproductive System."

The Cram lab uses the nematode C. elegans to understand how cells respond to mechanical forces such as stretch. They focus on the reproductive system, which naturally undergoes cycles of stretch and relaxation. Particular interests are in cell-cell coordination of calcium signaling and mechanical regulation of cytoskeletal alignment and contractility.

2018-2019 LJST Seminar Series: LAW and ILLIBERALISM with Sharon Krause

Sharon Krause, Professor of Political Science at Brown University, will present a paper entitled “The Anti-liberalism of Neoliberalism.” This is the fifth presentation in a series of seminars that will take place this year on the theme “Law and Illiberalism.”

Professor Krause’s field of research includes classical and contemporary liberalism and contemporary theories of justice. She is the author of Liberalism with Honor (Harvard, 2002) and Civil Passions: Moral Sentiment and Democratic Deliberation (Princeton, 2008).

To receive a copy of the paper which will be presented, please email slaizer@amherst.edu.

"Torrid Zones: Sexual Politics in Jamaican Dancehall Culture"

5:00 pm Fayerweather Hall, Pruyne Lecture Hall

Carolyn Cooper, professor emerita from the University of the West Indies in Mona, Jamaica, will give a talk on "Torrid Zones: Sexual Politics in Jamaican Dancehall Culture."

Tue, Mar 19, 2019

Headshot for Jenni Olson

Keyssar Lecture: "My Completely Impossible and Yet Partially Successful Effort to Stop Time: Jenni Olson on Landscape Filmmaking"

A major voice in the use of film as personal essay, queer documentarian Jenni Olson has been making 16mm durational urban landscape voiceover films for more than 20 years. Her feature-length essay films The Joy of Life (2005) and The Royal Road (2015) both premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and have earned awards and acclaim worldwide. In this presentation, Olson will share select excerpts from her work as well as discussing her unique storytelling style—in her films, contemplative 16mm urban California landscapes are accompanied by lyrical essayistic voiceovers reflecting on an eclectic array of topics ranging from the history of the Mexican American War to the pleasures of pining over unavailable women.

“I’ve been filming the landscapes of San Francisco since just a few years after I arrived here. In capturing these images on film, I’m engaged in a completely impossible and yet partially successful effort to stop time.” —from The Royal Road

Positing the ambition that landscape cinema has the capacity to transform how we see the world, Olson will also discuss some of her cinematic influences and engage attendees in dialogue about broadening our expectations for film form.

In addition to being an award-winning filmmaker, Olson is also an acclaimed LGBT film historian, co-founder of the pioneering LGBT website PlanetOut.com, proud proprietor of Butch.org and a 2018 MacDowell Colony Fellow.

Note: An emergency snow date has been reserved for this event: March 20, 4-6 p.m., in the Keefe Campus Center Theater.

"Biomechanics of Underwater Walking: Sea Stars, Crabs, Octopi": Talk by Olaf Ellers, Bowdoin College

The biomechanics of terrestrial legged locomotion has been extensively studied, but underwater legged locomotion is virtually unstudied. On land, animals change gaits as they increase in speed, e.g., from walking to running. These gaits are different in that step-by-step fluctuations in the kinetic and potential energy of the center of mass change from being out of phase in walking to being in phase during running. The transition from walking to running can be interpreted in terms of a dimensionless number, the Froude number, which is a ratio of inertial to gravitational forces. We have developed underwater versions of the Froude number to account for drag, fluid accelerations and buoyancy. We have discovered that sea stars use two gaits that are neither walking nor running, for two different speed ranges. And we have described how the multitude of legs work to develop effective steps. Octopi and crabs show similar oscillating patterns of motion as sea stars. A biomimetic approach based on sea stars is being used by engineers to design underwater soft-bodied robots.

Roberto Gonzales photo

Education Studies Initiative Presents Roberto G. Gonzales: "Lives Still in Limbo: UnDACAmented and Navigating Uncertain Futures"

Roberto G. Gonzales, Ph.D.
Harvard University
Graduate School of Education

Due to the political gridlock in the U.S. Congress, the fate of more than 2 million young immigrants remains uncertain. With legalization efforts stalled, on June 15, 2012, President Obama introduced the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, a change in his administration’s enforcement policy that would temporarily defer deportations from the United States for undocumented youth and young adults, in addition to providing temporary Social Security numbers and two-year work permits. At the six-year mark, more than 814,000 young people have benefited from the program and, as a result, had taken giant steps towards the American mainstream. Things changed under the Trump administration, on Sept. 5, 2017, when U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced an end to what had become a very successful policy. What does this termination mean for these young people and their families? Based on a multi-year study, Professor Gonzales provides some interesting answers to these vexing questions.

Roberto G. Gonzales is professor of education at Harvard University Graduate School of Education. Since 2002 he has carried out one of the most comprehensive studies of undocumented immigrants in the United States. His book, Lives in Limbo: Undocumented and Coming of Age in America, is based on an in-depth study that followed 150 undocumented young adults in Los Angeles for 12 years. To date, Lives in Limbo has won seven major book awards, including the Society for the Study of Social Problems C. Wright Mills Award, the American Education Research Association Outstanding Book Award, and the Law and Society Association Herbert Jacob Book Award. It has also been adopted by several universities as a common read and is being used by K-12 schools across the country in teacher and staff training. In addition, Professor Gonzales’ National UnDACAmented Research Project has surveyed nearly 2,700 undocumented young adults and has carried out 500 in-depth interviews on their experiences following President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

Wed, Mar 20, 2019

CHI Salon: “My Way: Crossing the U.S., from Venice to Babylon” with Laure Murat

4:30 pm - 6:30 pm Frost Library, Center for Humanistic Inquiry

The Department of French and the Center for Humanistic Inquiry invite you to join us for the second lecture in a series in honor of Professor Emerita Leah Hewitt, who taught for 30 years in the French department at Amherst College. We have invited Laure Murat to give a CHI Salon talk titled “My Way: Crossing the U.S., from Venice to Babylon.” Professor Murat is the director of the Center for European and Russian Studies at the University of California, where she also teaches French.

“My Way” is the title of a work in progress, both a road trip and a book. The purpose of this project is to cross the U.S. from the West Coast to the East Coast and back again, stopping only in places named after foreign cities. From Venice, Calif., to Babylon, N.Y., Professor Murat will analyze how America paid homage to the rest of the world, revealing the "elsewhere" hidden within the "here." Paris, Texas, and Memphis, Tenn., will serve as highlights of a trip which is also a wandering of the mind, inspired by the magic of names.

The lecture and reception are free and open to the public. This event is sponsored by the Lurcy Lecture Fund Series at Amherst College, the Amherst College French department, The Center for Humanistic Inquiry and the Turgeon Fund.

PoetryFest Schedule

17th Annual Five College PoetryFest

7:30 pm Frost Library, Center for Humanistic Inquiry

The 17th annual reading in celebration of poetry at Amherst, Hampshire, Mount Holyoke and Smith Colleges and the University of Massachusetts, featuring two students from each institution: Eliza Brewer and Aqiil Gopee (Amherst College); Olivia Caldwell and Blue Keller (Hampshire College); Mars Early-Hubelbank and Ariana Sarmiento Fielding (Mount Holyoke College); Ava Goga and Lucy Liu (Smith College); Courtney Janes and Vanan Phan (University of Massachusetts Amherst). Free and open to the public. Refreshments to follow.

Photograph of Ty P. Kāwika Tengan. He is wearing a blue shirt with a turquoise pattern. He is smiling and standing in a patch of bright green leaves.  He has short dark hair.

"Decolonizing Indigenous Masculinities: Perspectives from Hawai‘i" with Ty P. Kāwika Tengan

Ty P. Kāwika Tengan (Kanaka ‘Ōiwi) is an associate professor of ethnic studies and anthropology at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, as well as the author of Native Men Remade: Gender and Nation in Contemporary Hawai‘i (Duke U, 2008). He has both researched and participated in community-based efforts to regenerate Native Hawaiian masculinities through Indigenous cultural practice. In this talk, he will describe the work carried out by the Hale Mua (Men's House) and the ‘Aha Kāne (Foundation for the Advancement of Native Hawaiian Men) and discuss the potentials and limitations that their respective projects hold for decolonizing Indigenous masculinities.

Thu, Mar 21, 2019

Opening Lecture and Reception with Artist-in-Residence Macon Reed

4:30 pm Fayerweather Hall, 115 - Pruyne Lecture Hall

Join Macon Reed for a lecture and the opening of her exhibition Against Doom, on view in the Eli Marsh Gallery through April 5.

Event poster featuring photos of Vladeck and of the Supreme Court Building

"Courts at War: Federal Judges, National Security and the Rule of Law"

5:00 pm - 6:00 pm Science Center, Kirkpatrick Lecture Hall - Room A011)

Exploring both contemporary debates and the 1944 Korematsu ruling endorsing the Japanese-American internment camps, Steve Vladeck '01 will discuss the role of the federal courts in balancing collective security and civil rights, and the dangers of excessive deference to the Executive Branch on issues of national security.

"Protest Songs in Putin's Russia": Talk by Artemy Troitsky

After a decade of relative economic prosperity and political laziness, the 2010s became the decade of growing conflict between Putin's authoritarian regime and the young people of Russia, demanding freedom and social justice. Among them there are rockers and rappers, using Internet and live gigs to express their anger. The report will be illustrated by music and videos.

Artemy Troitsky is a journalist, music critic, promoter and broadcaster who played a vital role in popularizing independent Soviet rock music, as well as establishing the post-Soviet musical culture. He has published a large number of works about the Soviet underground that have been published in Great Britain, the United States, Europe and Japan. Currently, Troitsky resides in Estonia, primarily involved with social journalism, but continuing to host radio projects Pesni i Plyaski (Song and Dance) and Zapiski iz Podpolya” (Notes from the Underground).

The Privileged Poor Title Image

"The Privileged Poor: How Elite Colleges are Failing Poor Students" with Anthony Jack '07

8:00 pm - 9:15 pm Science Center, Lipton Lecture Hall

Join us for a talk, followed by a Q&A, with Anthony Jack '07 on his recently released book The Privileged Poor: How Elite Colleges Are Failing Poor Students. A book signing and reception will follow.

Getting into college is only half the battle. The Privileged Poor reveals how—and why—disadvantaged students struggle at elite colleges, and explains what schools can do differently if these students are to thrive.

Despite their lofty aspirations, top colleges hedge their bets by recruiting their new diversity largely from the same old sources, admitting scores of lower-income black, Latino and white undergraduates from elite private high schools like Exeter and Andover. These students approach campus life very differently from students who attended local, and typically troubled, public high schools and are often left to flounder on their own. Drawing on interviews with dozens of undergraduates at one of America’s most famous colleges and on his own experiences as one of the privileged poor, Jack describes the lives poor students bring with them and shows how powerfully background affects their chances of success.

If top colleges want to be engines of opportunity, university policies and campus cultures will have to change. Jack provides concrete advice to help schools reduce these hidden disadvantages.

Anthony Abraham Jack '07 (Ph.D., Harvard University, 2016) is a junior fellow at the Harvard Society of Fellows and assistant professor of education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. He holds the Shutzer Assistant Professorship at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study.

His research documents the overlooked diversity among lower-income undergraduates: the Doubly Disadvantaged—those who enter college from local, typically distressed public high schools—and Privileged Poor—those who do so from boarding, day and preparatory high schools. His scholarship appears in the Du Bois Review, Sociological Forum and Sociology of Education and has earned awards from the American Sociological Association, Eastern Sociological Society and Society for the Study of Social Problems. Jack has held fellowships from the Ford Foundation and the National Science Foundation and was a 2015 National Academy of Education/Spencer Foundation Dissertation Fellow. The National Center for Institutional Diversity at the University of Michigan named him a 2016 Emerging Diversity Scholar.

The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The Atlantic, The Huffington Post, The National Review, The Washington Post, The Hechinger Report, American RadioWorks and NPR have featured his research and writing as well as biographical profiles of his experiences as a first-generation college student. His first book, The Privileged Poor: How Elite Colleges Are Failing Poor Students, was released in February 2019 with Harvard University Press.

Fri, Mar 22, 2019

"A Brief Introduction to the Number Theory" presented by Harris Daniels

The Faculty Colloquium Series for 2018-19 presents a lecture entitled "A Brief Introduction to the Number Theory" presented by Harris Daniels, assistant professor of mathematics.

Sat, Mar 23, 2019

5C Film and Media Studies Undergraduate Conference

The 5C Film and Media Studies Undergraduate Conference is designed to build community among students studying film and media on each of the five campuses, to give our most engaged students an opportunity to hone their presentation skills and to allow them to share insights from their work with a wider audience. Participants will each give a 15-minute presentation as part of a panel with 2-3 fellow students working on related themes (the organizers will assemble these panels). Each panel will include time for questions and discussion.

This event is sponsored by the Five College Film Council, the Mount Holyoke College Film Studies Program, the Smith College Film Studies Program and the Amherst College Film and Media Studies Program.

12:30 p.m. Opening remarks from Jen Malkowski and Pooja Rangan, conference co-organizers.

12:45 - 2 p.m. Panel 1: Industry Influences
• Camille Faucheux, “Myth and Melodrama at the End of the World: Remediating Annihilation in Thor: Ragnarok and God of War”
• Makena Rasmussen, “The Next Top Model Global Empire”
• Ali Meneghetti, “Technology and Characterization in Animated Films”

2:15 - 3:45 p.m. Panel 2: Identities in Stasis and in Flux
• Shan Jiang, “Transformations of Female Depictions in Chinese Animation”
• Julia Sagaser, “Listening Against Aural Taxidermy in Trinh T. Minh-ha’s Reassemblage”
• Maeve McNamara, “‘You Can Tell Mom She Was Right’: Intergenerational Coming of Knowledge in Pariah”
• Dutch Clark, “Ripped and Gouged: Grotesque Transphobia, Victimhood and Ridicule in Ricky Gervais’ Humanity”

3:45 p.m. Break: Light refreshments including coffee and tea

4:15 - 5:30 p.m. Panel 3: Media Analysis through Media
• Elliott Farquhar, “Be More: The Liminality of Genderqueer Identity in Contemporary Media” (Video Essay)
• Kameron Millner, “‘Tie Me Up for the Culture’: Violence against Women in Celebrated Spanish Cinema” (Video Essay)
• Haley Shaw, “Reversing the Dynamic of a Terms of Service Agreement via a Choose Your Own Adventure Game”

5:40 - 6:30 p.m. Panel 4: The Futures of Authorship
• Kat Quinn, “Feminine Performance, Masculine Spaces: Gendered Displacement in the Films of Maya Deren and Celia Rowlson-Hall”
• Tara Coughlin, “The Overall Deal: How Mr. Robot Reflects the Expanding Creative Role of the Showrunner”

6:30 p.m. Catered dinner for all panelists and faculty organizers

Mon, Mar 25, 2019


Folger Fellows Presentations

Faculty and staff are invited to join us in the CHI Think Tank to learn about the fascinating research our talented Folger Undergraduate Fellows did at the Folger Shakespeare Library in D.C. last January! Light snacks and refreshments will be available.

Photo of tomatoes of various sizes, shapes and colors on a wooden tabletop

Biology Monday Seminar: "Stress! Plants Have It Too"

Susan Bush, Ph.D. and assistant professor in biology at Trinity College, will present "Stress! Plants Have It Too." This talk will assess aluminum tolerance in plants: learning how tomatoes tolerate stressful soil.

The Bush lab studies the way in which plants respond to environmental stresses. Stresses like drought, heat or toxic minerals like aluminum in the soil can make it difficult for a plant to grow, and-- unlike animals --a plant must survive and reproduce in the same location it was originally planted. Crop plants, like tomatoes, have been domesticated to carry genes that are important for farming and high yield, but the plants may not carry the gene variants that can help them survive under environmental stresses. Wild South American relatives of the tomato and colorful heirloom varieties of domesticated tomatoes harbor naturally occurring genetic diversity, which can make them more tolerant of stressful conditions.

In the Bush lab, we study the physiology, or the growth traits, of plants under normal conditions compared to their growth in the presence of the toxic element aluminum. We also examine how differences in plant physiology are underlain by genetic variation. Students can examine growth of tomato plants and the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana, the effect of stress hormones and the degree to which aluminum stress impacts different plants. We also study the genes involved in aluminum tolerance, using mutants and different species or varieties of tomato.

"Constructions of Europe/Europeans"

4:00 pm Fayerweather Hall, Pruyne Lecture Hall (Room 115)

This panel discussion on "The Future of European Studies" will reflect on what it means to study Europe in the era of the refugee crisis, climate change and Brexit. Panelists include three top scholars: Holly Case of Brown University, Denise McCoskey of Miami University and Katharina Piechocki of Harvard University. The panel discussion will be moderated by Christopher van den Berg of Amherst College.

"'Strange Radio' as Method" with Dr. Karen Werner

4:30 pm - 6:30 pm Frost Library, Center for Humanistic Inquiry

Strange Radio explores the transmission of Holocaust postmemory in Vienna through a series of radio fragments made from field recordings, narration, archival material and divination. "Strange Radio as Method" proposes an approach to art and research based on autoethnography, radiophonics, and the politics of knowledge plus an aspiration to transform.

Karen Werner, Ph.D., is a radio artist and sociologist based in Western Massachusetts. Recently, she has been an artist-in-residence in Finland at the Saari Residence-Kone Foundation and in Vienna, Austria, at the MuseumsQuartier/Tonspur and studio das weisse haus. Werner is a 2017-2018 Fellow of the Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture and received a Tending Space Fellowship from the Hemera Foundation from 2014 to 2016 for artists with a Buddhist practice. In 2016, Werner’s radio documentary Laws of Lost and Found Objects won the Grand Prix Marulic. Her writings about radio, autoethnography and the performativity of language have been published in a range of academic journals. She teaches in the B.F.A. in Socially Engaged Art Program at Goddard College in Vermont.

All are welcomed. Reception to follow.

Tue, Mar 26, 2019

"Engineering Applications of Light-Matter Interactions": Talk by Tina Shih

Tina Shih, of the MIT Lincoln Laboratory, will discuss "Engineering Applications of Light-Matter Interactions."

Abstract: The study of how light interacts with materials serves to uncover phenomena that have led to the development of the sensors and technologies we readily use today. This talk will walk through a few examples of light-matter interactions that have demonstrable applications, including ultrafast material switches, aerial 3D mapping and laser communication to the moon and beyond.

Event flier featuring color photograph of two women in kimono bowing to each other outdoors

“'When Shall We Meet Again?': Remembering a Trip to Japan in an Album"

Naoko Adachi, Ph.D. candidate in the History of Art at the University of Pennsylvania, will discuss “'When Shall We Meet Again?': Remembering a Trip to Japan in an Album."

In 1901, an American couple, Albert and Lillian Allen, traveled to Japan and documented their trip in an album with photographs. Their album, held today at the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts at the University of Pennsylvania, is a unique and interesting collection of photographs because it combines professionally produced photographs and Albert's own snapshots. The professional photographs are large-scale, hand-colored images of famous historical sites and the everyday lives of Japanese people. The smaller snapshots depict scenes from the couple's own trip, recording people and landscapes they encountered. In this presentation, Adachi explores how the album as a format changes the meanings of the photographs within, and how this album helped Albert's family remember their trip.

A photo of Alfiee Breland-Noble

"Cultivating Healthy Communities: Addressing the Mental Health and Well-Being of a Diverse Student Body"

6:00 pm - 8:00 pm Science Center, Lipton Lecture Hall

Alfiee Breland-Noble provides a unique perspective on examining the mental health needs of diverse students using over 20 years of her research in working with socioeconomically diverse young people, families and communities. She is attuned to the unique factors impacting students of color, including marginalized identities and intersectionality. She will share insights on the prominent mental health concerns facing students of color on college campuses, while also providing innovative insights on self-care for students, tips for supporting diverse faculty and training for administrators in improving the campus climate for all.

Alfiee created The AAKOMA (African American Knowledge Optimized for Mindfully Healthy Adolescents) Project in 1999 to address depression and other mental health needs of African American youth and young adults of color. Back then, she was an assistant professor focused on developing and implementing rigorous, culturally relevant, patient-centered, community-engaged research and clinical care for people in need. Today, she uses her 20+ years of knowledge and experience to collaborate with diverse teens, young adults, families and communities impacted by mental illness. Her mission is to educate the public about the unique mental health needs of students and young people of color, to educate professionals about the unique perspectives of diverse young people and their mental health and to describe her innovative solutions to supporting diverse young people.

Literary Reading: Alexander Chee

Named a Best Book of 2018 by New York Magazine, The Washington Post, NPR, and Time Magazine, among others, Alexander Chee’s essay collection How to Write an Autobiographical Novel explores how we form our identities in life and in art. “These essays feel like a life's wisdom, salvaged from a great fire,” Ocean Vuong has said. “This book makes me feel possible.” As a novelist, Chee is the author of Edinburgh and Queen of the Night, and has been described as “masterful” by Roxane Gay and “incendiary” by The New York Times. He is an associate professor of English and creative writing at Dartmouth College.

The reading is free and open to the public and will be followed by refreshments.

Clare Malone at Amherst

FiveThirtyEight Senior Political Reporter Clare Malone is coming to Amherst. She has written for The New York Times, The American Prospect and The New Yorker. In addition to appearing on the weekly FiveThirtyEight politics podcast, she regularly writes all about politics and will be sharing some of her ideas about identity politics with us. Come to hear her thoughts or to ask questions about gender in politics, the 2020 democratic primary, responsibly reporting about Trump and more! This event is free and open to the public.

Wed, Mar 27, 2019

Theory of Mind and the Brain Hosted by Psychology Journal Club

How does the brain understand other people's thoughts? Join us for Antonio's pizza as we watch a Ted Talk and discuss an article (link) on Theory of Mind research done by Rebecca Saxe, a cognitive neuroscientist at MIT. All majors and class years welcome!

CHI Salon: "The Hero's Mass" with Constantine Nakassis

Constantine V. Nakassis, assistant professor of anthropology and associate faculty of cinema and media studies at the University of Chicago, will discuss "The Hero's Mass."

This talk explores the ontological politics of the image in Tamil cinema. Its focus is a particular scene from the 2011 film "Mankatha" (directed by Venkat Prabhu) in which the protagonist, played by the “mass hero” Ajith Kumar, is slapped by a character played by the actor Vaibhav Reddy. Taking the screen image not simply as diegetic representation but as performative act unto itself, Ajith fans were enraged at Vaibhav. In reflecting on this scene, its making and its uptake, Nakassis will show how multiple ontological and political claims on what an image is intersect in and manifest in and as this image-act. This multiplicity, Nakassis argues, opens up a space to think with and against arguments by André Bazin and others about “the” ontology of the film image.

A reception will follow. Childcare will be provided.

Cha Time: A Conversation with Asian American Studies Faculty and Staff

Cha Time: A Conversation with Asian American Studies Faculty and Staff

The Amherst Asian American Studies Working Group invites you to Cha Time, an informal panel with Amherst’s incredible Asian American Studies faculty and staff. Come for insider information on Asian American Studies classes offered next semester, anecdotes about your professors’ illustrious journeys in academia and general life wisdom! Reception to follow.
The panel will feature:
Professor Sony Coráñez Bolton (Spanish & Latinx/Latin American Studies)
Professor Pawan Dhingra (American Studies & Sociology)
Professor Robert Hayashi (American Studies)
Karu Kozuma (Chief Student Affairs Officer)
Professor Franklin Odo (American Studies)

Embracing Entrepreneurship Speaker Series: Being a College Student and a Successful Entrepreneur

6:00 pm - 7:00 pm Science Center, Lipton Lecture Hall

E2 – Embracing Entrepreneurship Speaker Series
Innovation exists in every aspect of our lives whether working for a large company or venturing off on your own, the skills of an entrepreneur are universally applicable. In the E2 Speaker Series, we continue to explore innovation and the culture of entrepreneurship on campus and in the world.

Join Brian Curcio ’16, Myles Gage and the Embracing Entrepreneurship community as they discuss how they used their time at college not only to learn but to create a successful business...before graduation! Brian and Myles were both raised in Chicago and became friends in high school. That friendship has become the foundation for a growing idea and business. As advocates for financial education, especially for individuals in underserved communities, Brian and Myles designed and developed an app that addresses the three roadblocks that prohibit many from understanding the stock market: fear, exposure, and accessibility. What started out as a great idea to foster their passion for investing, the goal of improving financial literacy has become a successful company that is their effort to combat the financial illiteracy crisis in the U.S.

Brian co-founded Rapunzl while at Amherst College. As a mathematics major, he loved the idea of creating a financial tool that others could use to invest. He taught himself to code his senior year and managed two outsourced teams before on boarding an inhouse CTO to help develop the Rapunzl platform that educates others about investing. Brian constantly balances his time between development and marketing initiatives. Two months ago, he negotiated a meter with PrimalQuant, a back end technology company founded by an ex-CTO of TD Ameritrade. Currently he handles web & mobile UI design as well as coordinating college marketing efforts.

Myles Gage co-founded Rapunzl while working at CIBC after graduating from the University of Illinois Urbana-Campaign in 2016. He cultivates and maintains relationships with corporate financial sponsors and handles daily operations as they relate to Rapunzl’s high school outreach and growth. Myles develops long-term strategies that integrate Rapunzl’s social impact initiatives with broader growth objectives. He sits on the board of UrbanX Learning, Rapunzl’s fiscal sponsor, and serves as the director of Financial Pathways, a non-profit partnership aiming to address financial illiteracy across the nation.

Thu, Mar 28, 2019

Five College Faculty Seminar in Digital Humanities: Dr. Amanda Henrichs on "Computational Approaches to Shakespeare's Sonnets"

3:30 pm - 5:00 pm Frost Library, Periodical Reading Room

The Five College Faculty Seminar in Digital Humanities and the Amherst College Library welcome Amanda Henrichs for a talk called "Computational Approaches to Shakespeare's Sonnets."

Henrichs is a postdoctoral fellow in English (next year, visiting assistant professor of English) at Amherst College.

This talk brings together Shakespeare's sonnets and topic modeling (a popular digital humanities process) in order to propose that word clouds are poems. As an author steeped in the humanist educational system of late-16th-century England, Shakespeare relies on the forms of his poetry to perform communicative functions; and in fact, early modern conceptions of shaped language help us understand word clouds. What unites humanist poems and digital humanities word clouds is an abiding concern with form, and particularly form as endowed with social meaning. Taken together, theories of early modern poetic form and modern digital humanities topic modeling practices emphasize that digital humanities products are not transparent keys to the text: they are generative, and are best when read like poems, a shaped remediation of language.

"Fake Publics" with Michael Warner

In this talk, Michael Warner will take a long view of media infrastructures as grounds from which to project publics, to ask what might have changed as well as what features of the public sphere might simply be newly exposed.

The current political crisis in the United States revolves around a media crisis: Twitter rivals official communiqués, bots plant invented news stories on social media to swing elections, television networks brand themselves with rival versions of the truth and reporters who document lies are accused of peddling “fake news.” It has become clear in retrospect that the comparatively stable public sphere of the 20th century rested on the gatekeeping function of major newspapers and television news, a function they no longer play. Their model of broadcast-plus-feedback has come to seem archaic. Social media, especially Facebook, have introduced new structuring principles in public discourse, having to do with their own architecture and profit model. The media infrastructure by which publics come into existence has fractured. In other respects, though, the combat of representation has been a condition of the public sphere from its emergence in the early 18th century, the very notion of the public has always been an imaginary, and publics have always been more plural than anyone wanted to admit.

Michael Warner is the Seymour H. Knox Professor of English at Yale University. He received his Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins and taught at Northwestern and Rutgers before going to Yale, where he served as chair of the Department of English. His books include Publics and Counterpublics (2002), The Trouble with Normal (1999) and The Letters of the Republic: Publication and the Public Sphere in Eighteenth-Century America (1990). With Craig Calhoun and Jonathan VanAntwerpen, he has edited Varieties of Secularism in a Secular Age (2010). He is also the editor of The Portable Walt Whitman (2003), American Sermons (1999), The English Literatures of America (with Myra Jehlen) and Fear of a Queer Planet: Queer Politics and Social Theory (1993).

A reception will follow. Childcare will be provided.

First Lecture in the Forry and Micken Lecture Series on "Philosophy of Time"

Nina Emery from Mount Holyoke College will present the first lecture in the 2018-2019 Forry and Micken Lecture Series on "Philosophy of Time." The title of her lecture is "What Was and What Could Be: What Makes Time Different from Modality." All lectures are free and open to the public. For further information, please contact the philosophy department at (413) 542-5805.

Black-and-white photo of a crowd marching with U.S. flags past houses and trees

"Protest, Prison and Purim: A Rabbi Remembers 1965 in Selma, Alabama"

Rabbi Saul Berman, a leading Orthodox thinker and teacher, was part of a group of clergy who responded to a plea from Southern Christian Leadership Conference and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for clergy to participate in voter registration campaigns and demonstrations in Selma, Ala., in March 1965. Arrested twice, he will share his motivation for that participation, his experiences while incarcerated with other activists and memories of the March from Selma to Montgomery.

Rabbi Berman will be introduced by Norm Jones, Ph.D., Amherst's chief diversity and inclusion officer.

Rabbi Berman was ordained at Yeshiva University, from which he also received his B.A. and his M.H.L. He completed a J.D. in law at New York University and an M.A. in political science at the University of California, Berkeley. Rabbi Berman has served in pulpits in Berkeley, Calif.; Brookline, Mass.; and Manhattan and run Edah, an organization invigorating Modern Orthodox thought and religious life. Currently, Rabbi Berman is professor of Jewish studies at Stern College and the Rotter Fellow in Talmudic Law at Columbia University Law School. Rabbi Berman is a contributor to the Encyclopedia Judaica and is the author of numerous articles published in journals such as Tradition, Judaism, Journal of Jewish Studies and Dinei Yisrael. His book entitled Boundaries of Loyalty: Testimony Against Fellow Jews in Non-Jewish Courts was published in 2016 by Cambridge University Press.

Fri, Mar 29, 2019

Chemistry Seminar with Professor Kendra Frederick: "In-Cell Structural Biology of Proteins Behaving Badly"

Professor Kendra Frederick of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School Biophysics Department, an NIH New Innovator Awardee, will give a seminar titled "In-Cell Structural Biology of Proteins Behaving Badly."

Brief Abstract: The misfolded proteins associated with neurodegenerative disease can adopt a variety of different conformations, some of which are toxic. Because these proteins have identical amino acid sequences, the cellular environment clearly influences the final state, yet most structural studies do not include the cellular context, and, perhaps because we are not studying the correct conformation, not a single therapeutic strategy for these diseases addresses the underlying protein-misfolding pathology. Using new sensitivity-enhancement technology for solid-state NMR spectroscopy, we study protein structure in native environments-- inside living cells --to reveal how both healthy and disease-relevant cellular environments influence protein structure.