November 28, 2005
Director of Media Relations

AMHERST, Mass.—Ira Silver, an assistant professor of sociology at Framingham State College and a 1991 graduate of Amherst College, will speak on “What Do Urban Crises Tell Us About the Poverty in Our Midst?” at 4 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 8, in the Babbott Room of the Octagon at the college. The second lecture in the series “Old Students with New and Nifty Ideas,” sponsored by the Department of Anthropology and Sociology, Silver's talk is free and open to the public.

As did the news reports after the 1992 Los Angeles riots, the mass media in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina presented poverty as stemming from inequality of opportunity. This portrayal contrasted with Americans' prevalent view that poverty derives chiefly from individual pathology. Both events—Hurricane Katrina and the Los Angeles riots—fueled massive charitable concern, suggesting that the underlying crisis for many was not the physical devastation wrought by fire or flood, but the unmasking of stark and uncomfortable truths about poverty in the U.S.

After graduating summa cum laude from Amherst with a degree in sociology, Silver continued his studies at Northwestern University, where he received the M.A. and Ph.D. degrees. He has published widely and is currently completing a book titled The Elusive Quest for Community Empowerment: Private Philanthropy and the Embattled Legacy of the War on Poverty.