The President’s Colloquium on Race and Racism centers the voices of scholars studying intersections of race and American democracy by hosting a series of public lectures through the Presidential Scholars program.

Supported by the Victor S. Johnson Lecture Fund, established for the president to bring to Amherst lecturers in the best tradition of the liberal arts.

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The Presidential Scholars Program

The Program brings some of the most distinguished voices in the area of anti-racist scholarship to Amherst for short-term residencies. Alumni and friends of the College can watch recordings of each scholar’s lecture.

Videos of Past Events in the Colloquium

An Interview with Hilton Als

Amherst College Presidential Scholar Program

Amherst College President Michael A. Elliott interviews Hilton Als in anticipation of his Presidential Scholar Residency, February 24–26, 2023. In addition to visiting classes, Als' visit includes participating in LitFest and speaking about his exhibit, “God Made My Face: A Collective Portrait of James Baldwin,” in Mead Art Museum. 

Between You and Me: Thinking Politics and the Self Otherwise

October 25, 2022

Karma R. Chávez is the Bobby and Sherri Patton Professor of Mexican American and Latina/o Studies and Department Chair at the University of Texas at Austin.

Jason Moran: A Pre-Concert Conversation

September 23, 2022

Composer, pianist and Presidential Scholar Jason Moran spoke with audience members in anticipation of his concert, a tribute to an iconic figure in the evolution of African American music, ragtime pioneer and World War I hero, James Reese Europe.

The Black Feminist Cosmos: A Conversation with Dr. Chanda Prescod-Weinstein

March 30, 2022

A conversation with Dr. Chanda Prescod-Weinstein, assistant professor of physics and astronomy and core faculty in women’s and gender studies at the University of New Hampshire, and Sheila Jaswal, associate professor of chemistry and faculty equity and inclusion officer.

Kwame Anthony Appiah: "What Is Racism? One Story"

NOVEMBER 4, 2021

Philosopher, cultural theorist, and writer, Kwame Anthony Appiah, visited campus as part of the Presidential Scholars Program at Amherst College: "What Is Racism? One Story." (Please note: There were technical difficulties with the audio for the first 13 minutes of this video.)

“Held in the Balance: The Trask 250”

October 4, 2021

Nicka Smith, a professional photographer, speaker, host, consultant and documentarian with more than 20 years of experience as a genealogist, discussed, among other things, the unique challenges facing genealogical research of enslaved ancestors.

The Presidential Scholars Program at Amherst College: Harriet Washington

September 30, 2021

Science writer, editor, and ethicist Harriet Washington delivered the keynote address as the first Presidential Scholar. The talk was moderated by Katrina Karkazis, Professor of Sexuality, Women’s and Gender Studies.

The Broken Heart of America: A Conversation with Walter Johnson ’88

March 9, 2021

Associate Professor Khary Polk moderated a conversation with Walter Johnson ’88, Professor of African and African American Studies at Harvard University, about lessons from the research for his new book, The Broken Heart of America: St. Louis and the Violent History of the United States. Read more

Imani Perry in Conversation with Anthony Jack ’07

December 3, 2020

Anthony Jack ’07 in conversation with Imani Perry, the Hughes-Rogers Professor of African American Studies at Princeton University and a faculty associate with the Programs in Law and Public Affairs, Gender and Sexuality Studies and Jazz Studies. Read More