March 29, 2002
Director of Media Relations

AMHERST, Mass.—A diverse group of scholars of law, politics, history and other disciplines will gather at the Alumni House at Amherst College on April 5 and 6 to discuss “Loyalty and Dissent in Dangerous Times.” They will respond to the “new challenges for our culture as well as for our political and legal institutions” raised by acts of terrorism, according to Austin Sarat, the William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Law, Jurisprudence and Social Thought at Amherst College and one of the organizers of the event. The talks at this event are free and open to the public.

Sarat says, “A significant challenge is posed by the ‘new patriotism’ and political dissent. Already we have seen efforts to curtail civil liberties, proposals for new restrictions on our personal freedoms, increased surveillance of persons based solely on their ethnicity and accusations of disloyalty. We will explore these developments by recalling earlier eras and how they responded to danger, theorizing about the nature of political loyalty, thinking about danger and dissent as cultural, political, and legal phenomena, examining the nature of political repression in liberal societies, and the political and legal implications of fear.”

On Friday, April 5, at 3 p.m., Wendy Brown, professor of political science at the University of California at Berkeley, will address “Political Idealization and Its Discontents.” At 5 p.m., Lauren Berlant, professor of English, gender studies and the humanities at the University of Chicago, will speak on “Tearjerker: Ordinariness and Banality in Crisis Times.” On Saturday, April 6, at 9 a.m., Katherine Franke, professor of law at Columbia University, will discuss “Sex and the Governmentality of Attack.” At 10:45 a.m., Hugh Gusterson, professor of anthropology and science and technology studies at MIT, will consider “Surveillance and Patriotic Incorrectness in the Millennium.” David Cole, professor of law at Georgetown University, will discuss “Freedom and Security: Whose Rights are in the Balance” at 2 p.m. At 3:45 p.m., Nancy Rosenblum, professor of government at Harvard University, will consider “Constitutional Reason of State: The Fear Factor.”

“Loyalty and Dissent in Dangerous Times” is sponsored by the president, dean of the faculty, lecture committee and department of law, jurisprudence and social thought at Amherst College.