Event Calendar

April 2019

Mon, Apr 1, 2019

Research images of two zebrafish

Biology Monday Seminar: "Fish Tales: How the Zebrafish Grew Its Long Fins"

Jenny Lanni, assistant professor of biology at Wheaton College, will present "Fish Tales: How the Zebrafish Grew its Long Fins."

"My research utilizes the zebrafish model system to explore the regulation of proportional growth in vertebrates. During normal development, growth is integrated such that relative sizes among structures and tissues are specified and maintained. My laboratory is studying a zebrafish mutant strain with fins that grow to over twice the normal length. This long-finned mutant is notable in that it maintains patterned overgrowth, distinct from the kind of aberrant proliferation seen in cancer and overgrowth disorders. As zebrafish share many of their genes with humans, we hope to use this mutant to identify conserved pathways that regulate growth in vertebrates. Zebrafish also possess the remarkable ability to regenerate their fins within two weeks of amputation. Thus, understanding the growth pathways that are activated in our mutant fish may lend insight into tissue regeneration."

Tue, Apr 2, 2019

"Latin America and the Liberal International Order: Historical Trajectories and Contemporary Challenges"

Thomas Long will give a talk titled “Latin America and the Liberal International Order: Historical Trajectories and Contemporary Challenges.” He is an assistant professor in the Department of Politics and International Studies at the University of Warwick and is Fulbright Visiting Professor at the Instituto de Ciencia Política of the Pontificia Universidad Católica of Chile. He is also an affiliated professor at the Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas (CIDE) in Mexico City.  He holds a Ph.D. in international relations from American University and was nominated for both the “Brilliant Newcomer” and “Student Experience” awards at the University of Warwick. Long’s research interests include U.S.-Latin American relations, Latin American foreign policy, North America and the dynamics of asymmetrical international relations. His first book, Latin America Confronts the United States: Asymmetry and Influence (Cambridge University Press, 2015) was named one of the best books of 2016 by Foreign Affairs.

This event is free and open to the public and is sponsored by the Department of Political Science at Amherst College along with additional funds from the Lamont Fund and the Lurcy Endowment.

"Superconducting Circuits for Quantum Metrology with Squeezed Microwaves": Talk by Andrew Eddins '11

Andrew Eddins '11 from the Department of Physics at the University of California, Berkeley, will discuss "Superconducting Circuits for Quantum Metrology with Squeezed Microwaves."

Abstract: Intensive development of superconducting circuits has been driven by the prospect of quantum-computing applications. While most agree that practical quantum computers remain many years away, the interim development of quantum circuits opens previously inaccessible classes of quantum-physics experiments. For example, circuits have recently emerged as a powerful platform for studying the interaction of matter with a distinctly quantum type of radiation known as “squeezed” radiation, famous for enabling precision beyond the limit set by intrinsic quantum uncertainty, yet notoriously difficult to couple to in conventional AMO setups using lasers and atoms. In this talk, I will present a brief introduction to superconducting circuits, then discuss two experiments leveraging the circuit environment’s compatibility with squeezing, first studying how squeezing modifies fluorescence spectra of an atomic system, and second investigating the use of squeezing for the readout of a quantum-bit, the building block of proposed quantum computers. The results include the first confirmation of two nearly three-decade-old predictions of quantum optics, and the first demonstration that squeezed microwaves can improve the signal-to-noise ratio of quantum-bit readout."

Wed, Apr 3, 2019

Film Screening of "Perpetual Journey"

Perpetual Journey is a documentary film by Douglas and Laurie Challenger about students and their teachers on the road to Santiago. This screening will be followed by a Q&A with the filmmakers and trip leaders.

This event is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be provided. This event is sponsored by the Eastman Fund and the Georges Lurcy Lecture Series Fund.

Education Studies Initiative Presents Mari Castañeda and Joseph Krupczynski: “Civic Engagement in Diverse Latinx Communities: Learning from Social Justice Partnerships in Action”

Education Studies Initiative presents “Civic Engagement in Diverse Latinx Communities: Learning from Social Justice Partnerships in Action.”

Mari Castañeda, Department of Communication, University of Massachusetts Amherst
Joseph Krupczynski, Department of Architecture, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Students, faculty and community partners alike will find "Civic Engagement in Diverse Latinx Communities: Learning From Social Justice Partnerships in Action" accessible not only because it includes an array of examples regarding Latinx civic engagement, but also because it demonstrates that personal experiences are powerful tools for the production of new knowledge. This talk, and the book on which it is based, reveals an epistemology of social justice that aims to investigate and develop a new Latinx community-university praxis for how to engage with diverse communities in the 21st century.

Event flyer featuring a photo of a crowd marching in protest and a headshot of Elvira Sánchez-Blake

"Memory and Peace Building: Women’s Resistance in Latin America"

This presentation explores the aesthetic and expressive practices that women's groups have appropriated to build peace toward reconciliation in Latin America. Dr. Sánchez-Blake explores women’s resistance and political organizations from Argentina (Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo); Chile (Arpilleras); Central America (Las Dignas); and Chiapas, Mexico (FOMMA Theater troupe), along with an exploration aimed at better understanding of the role that women’s organizations have played in the recent Colombian peace process. She particularly discusses the role of Colombia’s Women’s Pacifist Route (Mujeres de la Ruta Pacífica) in raising awareness about women’s rights through art, testimonials, expressions and performances in order to transform victims of violence to agents of peace in their communities. She will conclude with cases of women's organizations having a key role in ending or stopping bloodshed on the battlefield. This presentation will address issues of historical memory, gender studies, artistic expressions and conflict resolution.

Fiction Reading: JM Holmes '12

In JM Holmes’ debut collection, How Are You Going to Save Yourself, four friends, coming of age in postindustrial Rhode Island, struggle to liberate themselves from the legacies left to them as black men in America. Michael Schaub at NPR described the book as a “stunning accomplishment” and "a shockingly powerful debut collection from a writer whose talent seems almost limitless. [...] It's hard to overstate what an incredible writer Holmes is.” Holmes was born in Denver and raised in Rhode Island. His literary prizes include the Burnett Howe Prize for fiction at Amherst College, the Henfield Prize for literature and a Pushcart Prize.

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

Thu, Apr 4, 2019

"Nuclear Politics: The Strategic Causes of Proliferation"

When do states like North Korea acquire nuclear weapons? What can counter-proliferators such as the U.S. really do to stop them? Professor Nuno Monteiro’s latest book, with Professor Alexandre Debs, leverages powerful theory and extensive historical research to analyze the impact of security concerns on the nuclear trajectory of 16 countries to gain insights on these timeless puzzles.

Nuno P. Monteiro is director of International Security Studies and associate professor of political science at Yale University. Dr. Monteiro’s research focuses on international relations theory and security studies. He is the author of Theory of Unipolar Politics and Nuclear Politics: The Strategic Causes of Proliferation (with Alexandre Debs), published by Cambridge University Press in 2014 and 2017, respectively. His work has been printed in the Annual Review of Political Science, Critical Review, International Organization, International Security, International Theory and Perspectives on Politics; and his commentary has appeared in numerous outlets, including The Guardian, Foreign Affairs, The National Interest and Project Syndicate.

This event is free and open to the public and is sponsored by the Stanton Foundation and the Department of Political Science at Amherst College.

Professor Monteiro's Talk at Amherst College

Why Do Countries Acquire Nuclear Weapons?

When do states like North Korea acquire nuclear weapons? What can counter proliferators such as the U.S. really do to stop them? Professor Nuno Monteiro’s latest book, with Professor Alexandre Debs, leverages powerful theory and extensive historical research to analyze the impact of security concerns on the nuclear trajectory of sixteen countries to gain insights on these timeless puzzles.

Rapaport Lecture in Contemporary Art: Kunié Sugiura

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

Kunié Sugiura will give this annual lecture at Amherst this spring. She was born in Nagoya, Japan. After graduating from the Art Institute of Chicago in 1967, she went to New York with two classmates and since then has been working and living there. As she herself states, “From the beginning I thought of photography as important [a] media as painting and sculpture. [I make] artworks using [the] concepts and process of photography.”

Her major exhibitions include:
Vision and Expression, Eastman Museum (1969)
Annual Exhibition of Painting, Whitney Museum (1972)
New Photography 13, MOMA, NY (1997)
For a New World to Come; Japan 1968-1979, MFA Houston and Grey Art NYU Gallery (2015)
Aspiring Experiments; 50 years in New York, Tokyo Photography and Art Museum (2018)

The Rapaport Lectureship in Contemporary Art Fund, established in 1999 at Amherst College, provides support for an annual lecture by an artist, art writer or art critic on some aspect of contemporary art. The goal of the Rapaport Lectureship is to increase awareness and appreciation of contemporary art among students and the community. The lecture is free and open to the public.

Fri, Apr 5, 2019

Cheminar by Smith College Professor Andrew Burke: “Peering Inside: Understanding Aerosol Chemistry Through Bulk-Phase Reactions”

Professor Andrew Burke of the Department of Chemistry at Smith College will give a seminar titled “Peering Inside: Understanding Aerosol Chemistry Through Bulk-Phase Reactions.”

Mon, Apr 8, 2019

"U.S. Policy in Iraq and Syria: No Friends but the Mountains"

​David L. Phillips ’81 is director of the Program on Peace-Building and Rights at Columbia University's Institute for the Study of Human Rights. Phillips has worked as a senior adviser to the United Nations Secretariat and served as foreign affairs expert and senior adviser to the U.S. Department of State during the administrations of Presidents Clinton, Bush and Obama.

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

Colorful research illustration showing the arrangement of a "Microtubule Track," "Dynein motors," "Kinesin motors" and a "DNA origami chassis"

Biology Monday Seminar: "Investigating the Emergent Behavior of Teams of Cytoskeletal Motors Using DNA Origami and Single-Molecule Microscopy"

Nathan Derr, Ph.D., assistant professor of biological sciences at Smith College, will present "Investigating the Emergent Behavior of Teams of Cytoskeletal Motors Using DNA Origami and Single-Molecule Microscopy."

The Derr lab pursues the biophysical and cell biological mechanisms of the cytoskeletal molecular motors dynein and kinesin. The group studies these molecular machines in two ways: 1) at the level of individual motors to better understand how they convert ATP into the productive work required by the cell, and 2) in small ensembles that allow us to observe how these motors interact with one another at the nanoscale. In these studies, the lab often employs techniques from the field of DNA structural nanotechnology. The Derr lab also pursues synthetic biology and the application of molecular motors to engineered nanoscale transport devices.

Computer Science Seminar with Dr. Catherine McGeoch, D-Wave Systems: "An Introduction to Annealing-Based Quantum Computing"

A quantum annealer is a computing system that exploits quantum effects-- such as superposition and entanglement --to perform computations. The quantum annealing systems built by D-Wave are designed to be efficient at solving NP-hard optimization problems. This talk will give an overview of how they work, what types of problems they can solve, and what is known to date about their performance.

Dr. Catherine McGeoch is a principal scientist at D-Wave. She was formerly the Beitzel Professor in Technology and Society at Amherst College and, for 27 years, a member of the computer science department at Amherst.

Tue, Apr 9, 2019

Professor Brian Collett, Hamilton College: "A New Precision Measurement of the Lifetime of the Free Neutron"

Since 2000 Brian Collett has been collaborating with Hamilton's Gordon Jones on projects in nuclear physics. Their work has included the development of compact 3He neutron spin filters for use in neutron scattering, and they are participants in the aCORN experiment, studying neutron decay at the National Institutes of Standards and Technologies.

Collett and Jones are responsible for the magnetic and electric fields in the experiment and have contributed extensively to the data collection and analysis. Before coming to Hamilton in 1986, Collett was a staff fellow at the National Institutes of Health and a visiting assistant professor of physics at Mount Holyoke College. He received a doctorate from Princeton University.

Wed, Apr 10, 2019

"Math for Real Life: The Role of Quantitative Skills in Educating the Next Generation of Voters, Consumers and Citizens"

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

Join us for this year's Lazerowitz Lecture with Kate Follette, assistant professor of astronomy. Professor Follette will discuss the critical role that quantitative reasoning plays in educating savvy consumers, discerning voters and conscientious citizens, focusing on recent results that can inform pedagogical practice across the curriculum.

Reception to follow!

This event is made possible by the Max and Etta Lazerowitz Lectureship Fund.

"The Politics of Research: From Fortress to Intimacy"

5:00 pm - 6:30 pm Science Center, Kirkpatrick Lecture Hall, room A011

Paulo Ravecca will give a talk titled "The Politics of Research: From Fortress to Intimacy." Ravecca is an assistant professor in the Department of Political Science at the Universidad de la República, Uruguay, where he researches epistemology and the history of political science; critical theories (queer, neo-Marxist, postcolonial and poststructural approaches); political economy and international relations; and gender and sexuality. He is an associate editor of the Journal of Narrative Politics and Crítica Contemporánea. Revista de Teoría Política.

This event is sponsored by the Department of Political Science at Amherst College, along with support from the Lamont Fund and the Lurcy Endowment.

This event is free and open to the public.

Thu, Apr 11, 2019

Fink Symposium Ad

What Can You Do with a Medical Degree? Fink Bioscience Symposium

Established in 2009 in honor of Gerald R. Fink ’62, the annual symposium is an opportunity for students who aim to work in health care policy, medicine and bioscience research to interact with Amherst alumni who are leaders in these fields.

The symposium will begin at 3 p.m. with introductory remarks by George Carmany ’62, who founded the gathering with Fink. Their Amherst classmate Marc Pohl ’62 , head of clinical hypertension and nephrology at the Cleveland Clinic, will be among the slate of speakers. For a complete schedule visit amherst.edu/go/bioscience

This year’s keynoter is Shirley Tilghman, president emerita of Princeton University, where she is a professor of molecular biology and public affairs. Tilghman made a number of groundbreaking discoveries as part of the team that cloned the first mammalian gene, as an independent investigator at the Institute for Cancer Research in Philadelphia and as an adjunct associate professor of human genetics and biochemistry and biophysics at the University of Pennsylvania. Today, she advises undergraduates on independent work.

The symposium includes a dinner with the keynote address; registration is required. Please see the Fink Symposium website for registration, a full list of speakers and schedule: amherst.edu/go/bioscience

Registration Required

"How Democracies Die: American Democracy After Two Years of Trump"

4:00 pm - 5:15 pm Science Center, Kirkpatrick Lecture Hall, Room A011

Steven Levitsky will give a talk titled "How Democracies Die: American Democracy After Two Years of Trump." Levitsky is a professor of government at Harvard University. He is co-author of the best-seller How Democracies Die. He is also an expert on Latin American politics, populism, democratic backsliding and competitive authoritarianism. He is currently working on writing about revolutionary regimes.

This event is sponsored by the Department of Political Science at Amherst College, along with support from the Lamont Fund and the Lurcy Endowment.

This event is free and open to the public.

"This Thing of Darkness: Eisenstein’s 'Ivan the Terrible' in Stalin’s Russia": Book Talk by Joan Neuberger

Sergei Eisenstein's unfinished masterpiece, Ivan the Terrible, was no ordinary movie. Commissioned by Joseph Stalin in 1941 to justify state terror in the 16th century and in the 20th, the film's politics, style and epic scope aroused controversy even before it was released. In This Thing of Darkness, Joan Neuberger offers a sweeping account of the conception, making and reception of Ivan the Terrible that weaves together Eisenstein's expansive thinking and experimental practice with a groundbreaking new view of artistic production under Stalin. Drawing on Eisenstein's unpublished production notebooks, diaries and manuscripts, Neuberger's riveting narrative chronicles Eisenstein's personal, creative and political challenges and reveals the ways cinematic invention, artistic theory, political critique and historical and psychological analysis went hand in hand in this famously complex film. Ivan the Terrible, she argues, shows us one of the world's greatest filmmakers and one of the 20th century's greatest artists observing the world around him and experimenting with every element of film art to explore the psychology of political ambition, uncover the history of recurring cycles of violence and lay bare the tragedy of absolute power.

Joan Neuberger's new book, This Thing of Darkness: Eisenstein’s Ivan the Terrible in Stalin’s Russia, was published by Cornell University Press in March 2019. Professor Neuberger studies modern Russian culture in social and political context, with a focus on the politics of the arts. She is the author of an eclectic range of publications, including Hooliganism: Crime and Culture in St. Petersburg, 1900-1914 and Ivan the Terrible: The Film Companion; co-author of Europe and the Making of Modernity, 1815-1914; and co-editor of Imitations of Life: Melodrama in Russia, Picturing Russia: Explorations in Visual Culture, Everyday Life in Russian History: Quotidian Studies in Honor of Daniel Kaiser and The Flying Carpet: Studies on Eisenstein in Honor of Naum Kleiman.

Event poster featuring a headshot of Ben Valentino and a photo of a bombed-out building

"When Would Americans Use Nuclear Weapons Against Foreign Civilians?"

Professor Ben Valentino (Dartmouth College) will present his research on U.S. public opinion's understandings of nuclear weapons and when and why most polled individuals would be OK using nuclear weapons against other countries.

Second Lecture in the 2018-2019 Forry and Micken Lecture Series on "The Philosophy of Time"

Ulrich Meyer from Colgate College will present the second lecture in the 2018-2019 Forry and Micken Lecture Series on "Philosophy of Time." The title of his talk is "Action at a Temporal Distance." All lectures are free and open to the public. For further information, please contact the Department of Philosophy at (413) 542-5805.

Dr. Chamara Jewel Kwakye: "Black Girl Lullabies: Pedagogies of Love and Labor"

Memoirs, or life stories, are collections of significant or memorable events in one's life that are captured in narrative form. This Unlock lecture shares, through story, three emergent themes from an exploration of diasporic Black girlhood: Pedagogy (things taught and learned from K-12 through higher education); Love (things learned through being in relationship with self, others and nature); and Labor (things learned about capitalism and communal investment). These stories and the others found in "Black Girl Lullabies" sharply
capture the nuances in the making of the Black diaspora (both inside and outside the United States) and recalls both the physical and metaphysical inheritances of education, family and nation.

Event flyer featuring headshots and brief biographies of Kate Germano, Kayla Williams and Dana Jacobson

"Women Veterans at War": A Panel Discussion

Join us for a panel discussion with two women veterans who have led in their military and civilian careers: former Marine Corps officer Kate Germano and former Army linguist Kayla Williams. The discussion will be moderated by CBS This Morning: Saturday co-host and NCAA Tournament sidelines reporter Dana Jacobson. The panelists will explain what it has been like to serve while the United States has been at war, the particular challenges impacting women servicemembers and veterans, and the impact of policy changes such as the end of the ground combat exclusion policy.

Poetry Reading: Jericho Brown

8:00 pm Amherst Books, 8 Main Street

Claudia Rankine has said, “To read Jericho Brown's poems is to encounter devastating genius." Brown’s first book, Please, won the American Book Award. His second book, The New Testament, won the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award. U.S. Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith says of his forthcoming third collection, The Tradition, “These astounding poems […] don't merely hold a lens up to the world and watch from a safe distance; they run or roll or stomp their way into what matters―loss, desire, rage, becoming―and stay there until something necessary begins to make sense.” Brown directs the Creative Writing Program at Emory University.

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

Mon, Apr 15, 2019

Biology Monday Seminar

Enjoy a seminar with Dr. Alo Baso, College of the Holy Cross.

Basu research image: a graph titled "Use of Spatially Precise Strategy, New Platform"

Biology Monday Seminar: "Neuronal Complexity and Hippocampus-Dependent Cognition"

Alo Basu, Ph.D., associate professor of psychology at College of the Holy Cross, will present "Neuronal Complexity and Hippocampus-Dependent Cognition."

There is strikingly little understanding, at present, of how cellular and circuit-level variation in the mammalian brain relates to variation in cognition. Following from case studies of brain damage and disease in humans, current understanding of brain-behavior relationships is largely based on results of physical, chemical, pharmacological and genetic "lesions" that result in changes to neuronal morphology, circuit physiology and cognition in experimental systems. We have developed a mouse model of D-serine deficiency which reveals the limitations of the current paradigm, including the pitfalls of hypothesis testing as regards variability in neuronal structure and cognitive function. Further, we have uncovered deleterious effects of standard laboratory housing conditions on cognition in mice that suggest that the range of behavior that is being routinely observed in translational neuroscience is limited. We propose that the analysis of variability in hippocampal neuronal morphology and behavior can be combined with noninvasive environmental enrichment to test assumptions about how complexity of hippocampal neurons relates to hippocampus-dependent cognition in mice.

"Imagining the Underworld: Life after Death in Ancient Greek Religion"

How did the ancient Greeks imagine the underworld? Their depictions of the life after death reveal the variety of conflicting ideas in the Greek tradition, from the continuative existences after death that preserve cultural memories to the compensatory afterlives that rectify the incompleteness of justice in the mortal world to the grand cosmic visions that bring together life and death, mortal and immortal, chthonic and celestial, into a single system. All these imaginings of afterlife make use of familiar tropes, names and images from the Greek mythic tradition, and each of the authors of an afterlife vision thinks with and through an imagined underworld in different ways for different ends.

Tue, Apr 16, 2019

"Decolonizing Foodways from an Indigenous Chef's Perspective" with Guest Speaker Chef Nephi Craig

Guest speaker Chef Nephi Craig will present a lecture and food demonstration with seasonal food provided by Book & Plow Farm on Tuesday, April 16, from 1 to 3:30 p.m. in the Center for Humanistic Inquiry, Think Tank.

Professor Bruce Macintosh, Stanford University: "Direct Imaging of Extrasolar Planets"

Almost 4,000 extrasolar planets are now known, but almost all have been detected through so-called indirect methods-- measuring the parent star’s Doppler shift or brightness variations. Direct detection refers to spatially separating the planet’s light from that of the star. It is extremely challenging-- Jupiter in our solar system is 10^-9 the luminosity of the sun --but allows observations of planets inaccessible to other methods, particularly the outer parts of target systems, and allows spectral acharacterization of a planet’s atmospheric properties.

I will discuss the optical physics that makes direct detection challenging, and the techniques-- adaptive optics, coronagraphy, and image processing --that can overcome these challenges. To date, direct detection has been successful for young Jupiter-like planets, and I will show highlights of those discoveries. Finally, I will review future prospects for instruments on ground-based extremely large telescopes, or dedicated space missions with coronagraphs or formation-flying star shades which may reach the level of sensitivity needed to detect Earth-like planets around nearby stars.

Headshot of Jennifer Acker

Book Talk with Jennifer Acker

Lauren Groff has said of Jennifer Acker's forthcoming book, "The Limits of the World is such a smart, compassionate and elegant novel, so deeply invested in morality and the subtleties of families, cultures, and continents, that it feels delicious and exciting to recall that this is [her] debut."

Acker is founder and editor-in-chief of The Common. Her short stories, essays, translations and reviews have appeared in Literary Hub, The Washington Post, n+1, Guernica and Ploughshares, among other places. Her essay-length memoir is forthcoming as a Kindle Single from Amazon Original Stories in 2019.

This book talk is co-sponsored by the Creative Writing Center and Center for Humanistic Inquiry.

Image by Zoe Fisher

"The Whiteness of Walden: Reading Thoreau with Attention to Race"

Rebecca Kneale Gould is associate professor of environmental studies at Middlebury College, where she teaches courses in the environmental humanities. She received her Ph.D. in the study of religion from Harvard University in 1997, and her research and teaching focus on the many compelling ways in which religious and spiritual identity shape and are shaped by our relationships to the natural world (both urban and rural). She is the author of numerous articles and books, and has worked as a board member for the Religion and Ecology group of the American Academy of Religion and currently serves on the boards of Vermont Interfaith Power and Light and The Thoreau Society.

The environmental movement in the United States has been criticized, quite justifiably, for its overwhelming “whiteness”—including the demographics of its leadership, its lack of attention to social and environmental justice, and the racist views of many early conservationists. Where does the life and work of Henry David Thoreau fit into this troubled history? Should we still read, teach and study the work of this “dead white man” today? Gould's argument is that we do a disservice both to Thoreau and to ourselves if we fail to acknowledge the “whiteness” of his thinking and his legacy. At the same time, however, Thoreau’s work calls us to be accountable to our broken world in ways that may ring true now more than ever. In this talk, Gould will offer both scholarly and pedagogical reflections on reading Thoreau with attention to race, leaving ample time for questions and conversation.

This lecture is free and open to the public and is generously sponsored by the Willis D. Wood Fund.

RLadies Amherst Kickoff Event

The Department of Mathematics and Statistics is hosting a panel to kickoff our new RLadies group! Amelia McNamara and Mine Çetinkaya-Rundel will be discussing their current research, as well as their experiences as women in the field of Statistics. If you have questions about what a career in statistics could look like, or want to hear first-hand from women in STEM, come to our kickoff panel!

Thu, Apr 18, 2019

"Why Do Countries Refrain from Using Nuclear Weapons?"

Jennifer Erickson will give a talk titled: "Why Do Countries Refrain from Using Nuclear Weapons". Jennifer L. Erickson is an associate professor in the Political Science Department and International Studies Program at Boston College. Her research interests include international security and arms control, conventional and nuclear weapons, and the laws and norms of war. Her current book project explores the historical and contemporary cases of new weapons technologies and the creation of new laws and norms of war. Her first book, which deals with the conventional arms trade and the creation of the UN Arms Trade Treaty, won the 2017 APSA Foreign Policy Section's Best Book Award.

The event is being sponsored by the Stanton Foundation and the Political Science Department of Amherst College.

This event is free and open to the public.

Asian Americans hold up signs in support of and against affirmative action

"Asian Americans and Affirmative Action": A Panel & Conversation

4:30 pm - 6:00 pm Fayerweather Hall, Pruyne Lecture Hall (Room 115)

For their final project, the students of Professor Franklin Odo's research colloquium "Asian Americans and Affirmative Action" will be producing podcast episodes covering topics including the legal and political history of affirmative action, South Asian perspectives on the lawsuit, and Chinese American media activism through WeChat. Come to hear more about each episode, and join us for a discussion on the Harvard lawsuit and its potential impact on race-based affirmative action and college admissions! Participants: DJ Boakye '21, Tara Guo '20, Seoyeon Kim '21, Eric Kim '19, Sabrina Lin '21, Marco Sanchez '21, Karina Thanawala '21. Moderated by Shawna Chen '20.

"Configurations of Russian-Jewish Modernity": Symposium and Exhibition

Marina Mogilner (University of Illinois, Chicago):
"[De]racializing Modern Jewishness between the 'Boasian Revolution' in the U.S. and the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia"

Brian Horowitz (Tulane University, New Orleans):
"Jabotinsky's Russia and the Politics and Culture of Pre-State Zionism"

Exhibition of Russian-Jewish Periodicals from the Collection of the Amherst Center for Russian Culture

The panel is moderated by Sergey Glebov and Adi Gordon from the Amherst College Department of History.

Sponsored by the Georges Lurcy Lecture Series Fund and Amherst Center for Russian Culture

Free and open to the public

Mon, Apr 22, 2019

White, black and orange event poster featuring a comic drawing of a doctor taking notes as planet Earth sits in his examination room with a thermometer in its mouth

"Gaia Has a Fever: James Lovelock, Big Oil and Planetary Health" -- Jennifer Thomson

This lecture is part of the History of Science, Technology, and Medicine Lecture Series.

Jennifer Thomson, assistant professor of history at Bucknell University, studies the relationship between American political culture and environmental politics in the 20th century.

The Green New Deal: An Evening with Policy Architect Rhiana Gunn-Wright

It's been called the boldest piece of climate policy in American history. Can the Green New Deal save us from climate disaster? Come hear from the architect of the policy, Rhiana Gunn-Wright, about the creation of the Green New Deal and how it can become a law.

This event is free and open to the public, and is sponsored by the Amherst College Democrats, Office of Environmental Sustainability, Office of Student Affairs and Association of Amherst Students.

Wed, Apr 24, 2019

"High-Value Work and the Rise of Women: The Cotton Revolution and Gender Equality in China"

Melanie Meng Xue, postdoctoral fellow at Northwestern University, will present her studies of a unique historical experiment on relative female income: the cotton revolution and its impact on the emergence of gender-equitable beliefs. The cotton revolution led to a prolonged phase (1300-1840 AD) of high productivity for women. She hypothesizes that a substantial, long-standing increase in relative female income can erode a resilient cultural belief: that women are less capable than men. Using variation across 1,489 counties in cotton spinning and weaving, she observes the trends in prenatal sex selection, gender-equitable beliefs and widow suicide in the 17th century. To further isolate the channel of gender-equitable beliefs, she estimates the effect of the cotton revolution under post-1949 state socialism-- where both genders had similar economic opportunities and political and legal rights --on predicting a higher probability for the wife to head the household. In addition, she observes the differences between high-value work and low-value work performed by women in shaping gender-equitable beliefs.

"Soviet Cybernetics and the Cybernetic Art of Lev Nussberg and the Dvizhenie Group": Talk by Tomas Glanc

A Talk by Tomas Glanc (University of Zurich): Soviet Cybernetics and the Cybernetic Art of Lev Nussberg and the Dvizhenie Group

A Conversation with Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions Poster

A Conversation with Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions

What was it that moved voters to support Donald Trump while many establishment voices opposed? The issues did play an important role but what were those issues and why did the people care? Are these issues still important and what role will they play next election?

To hear former Attorney General Jeff Session’s answer these questions and more, please join us at Johnson Chapel at 8 pm on April 24. Registration is open now at (see link bellow for tickets) for Amherst College students, faculty, and staff only. Doors will open at 7 pm. Please arrive early to ensure a good seat. The only thing that you should bring is your student ID. Bags and drinks will not be permitted inside Johnson Chapel.

Tickets Required

Thu, Apr 25, 2019

3MT: Three Minute Thesis logo

3MT®: Three-Minute Thesis Competition

Thesis students compete for cash prizes as they each talk about their thesis in a compelling and accessible way—in just three minutes! Support the competitors and vote for the "People's Choice" award. Winner and runner-up prizes will be awarded by external judges.

Host: Susan Daniels, associate in public speaking

"What Is Democracy?": A Film Screening and Community Discussion with Director Astra Taylor

4:30 pm - 7:30 pm Science Center, Lipton Lecture Hall

Professor Amel Ahmed, political science, UMass Amherst
Professor Thomas Dumm, political science, Amherst College
Mie Inouye, political science, Yale Graduate School

Astra Taylor is a filmmaker, writer and organizer. Her work focuses on the shared human search for truth, community and freedom. Her latest book, Democracy May Not Exist, But We’ll Miss It When It’s Gone (Metropolitan, May 7), has garnered advance praise from Danielle Allen, Robin DG Kelley and Rebecca Solnit. In recognition of her work on the student debt crisis, she has been named “a new civil rights leader” among scholars and activists such as Michelle Alexander, Patrice Cullors and Bryan Stevenson (Los Angeles Times). She lives in New York City.

This event is generously supported by the Lamont Fund, the Department of Political Science and the Center for Humanistic Inquiry at Amherst College. It is free and open to the public.

For further information, please contact mbrangan@amherst.edu.

A Scholars' Roundtable on "Paste, Stick, Glue: Constructing Collage in Russia"

With Ilya Kukulin (Brown University), Jane Sharp (Rutgers University) and Tomas Glanc (University of Zurich)

The roundtable will be moderated by Galina Mardilovich, acting curator of Russian and European art at the Mead Art Museum and curator of the exhibition.

Third and Final Lecture of the 2018-2019 Forry and Micken Lecture Series on the "Philosophy of Time"

Ned Markosian (University of Massachusetts Amherst) will present the third and final lecture in the 2018-2019 Forry and Micken Lecture Series on "Philosophy of Time." His lecture will be held on Thursday, April 25, at 5 p.m. in Pruyne Lecture Hall, Fayerweather Hall. The title of his lecture is "Three New Arguments for the Dynamic Theory of Time." All lectures are free and open to the public. For further information, please contact the Department of Philosophy at (413) 542-5805.

Mon, Apr 29, 2019

Biology Honors Thesis Presentations

Candidates for Honors in Biology, class of 2019, will present Honors thesis projects. The schedule and a complete list of candidates and thesis titles appears below:


3:45 PM Irish Amundson Advisor: Michael Hood
"Density-Dependent Transmission in a Vector-Borne Pathogen"

4:00 PM Rachel Cohen Advisor: Michael Hood
“Coevolution as the Driver of Specificity in Host-Pathogen Interactions”

4:15 PM Augusta Hollers Advisor: Sarah Goodwin
"The Effects of Acoustic Experience on Mate Choice Plasticity in Fall Field Crickets (Gryllus pennsylvanicus) and House Crickets
(Acheta domesticus)"

4:30 PM Jocelyn Hunyadi Advisor: Ethan Clotfelter
"Morphological Predictors of Escape Performance in the Rusty
Crayfish (Orconectes rusticus)"

4:55 PM Leah Kim Advisor: Jeeyon Jeong
"Ferroportin 3: A mitochondrial iron exporter in Arabidopsis thaliana"

5:10 PM Gabby Ro Advisor: Alexandra Purdy
"Multiple modes of cAMP-mediated regulation of the acetate switch in
Vibrio fischeri "

5:25 PM Katie Rosenberg Advisor: Caroline Goutte
“Investigating a Possible Relationship between Germ cell proliferation and Apoptosis in the C. elegans ”

"Freedom in the World 2019: Democracy in Retreat"

Sarah Repucci is Freedom House’s senior director of research and analysis. In this capacity, she leads the team producing Freedom House’s flagship research and analysis reports, including Freedom in the World, Freedom on the Net and Nations in Transit. Repucci has more than 10 years’ experience in research and evaluation techniques in the areas of democracy, human rights and good governance. Previously she worked for Transparency International and the Global Business Initiative on Human Rights, and as an independent consultant for a range of NGOs, bilateral and multilateral organizations, and private businesses.

This event is sponsored by the Lamont Fund and the Department of Political Science at Amherst College.

It is free and open to the public.

2018-2019 LJST Seminar Series – Law and Illiberalism "Weaponizing Pluralism and the Dilemmas of Illiberal Speech"

On Monday, April 29 at 4:30pm in Clark House Room 100 at Amherst College, Elizabeth Anker, Professor of English and Associate Member of the Law Faculty at Cornell University, will present a paper titled “Weaponizing Pluralism and the Dilemmas of Illiberal Speech.” This is the final presentation in a series of seminars that will take place this year on the theme “Law and Illiberalism.”

Professor Anker’s field of research includes human rights, law and literature, immigration law, and legal and political theory. She is the author of Fictions of Dignity: Embodying Human Rights in World Literature (Cornell, 2012). She is currently writing two books, On Paradox: Rights and the Claims of Theory and Our Constitutional Metaphors: Law, Culture, and the Management of Crisis.

To receive a copy of the paper which will be presented, please email the LJST Department assistant coordinator at slaizer@amherst.edu


About the seminar series – Law and Illiberalism

With increasing pressure on liberal constitutional values in the United States and abroad, legal institutions face complex challenges. Such taken-for-granted phenomena as judicial independence, freedom of the press, and a commitment to truth are now under attack. "Law and Illiberalism" is designed to explore how legal institutions and legal officials can and should respond to those challenges.

What techniques and resources does law offer in the face of growing illiberalism? How can law check executive power when the executive insists that there is no difference between law and politics? What is law’s role in policing, protecting, framing truth in a world of radical lying and dissembling? What happens to free speech notions that the answer to bad and even false speech is more speech in a world of Facebook and Twitter? What pressures do such technologies place on liberal legal regimes? Does law have a role to play in protecting scientific truth? What lessons can be learned from examining other places or times when liberal values were under attack?