January 23, 2006
Director of Media Relations

AMHERST, Mass.—Patricia Williams, the John J. McCloy ’16 Professor of American Institutions and International Relations at Amherst College and a professor of law at Columbia University School of Law, will give a talk titled “‘Gender, Genes and Genesis,” on Thursday, Feb. 16, at 4:30 p.m. in the Cole Assembly Room (Red Room) in Converse Hall at Amherst College. The talk will be free and open to the public.

The Alchemy of Race and Rights: A Diary of a Law Professor (1991), Williams’ first book, was an autobiographical work that challenged what many take for granted in our society, particularly with regard to cultural constructs of race and gender. One reviewer praised Williams for her ability to “meld sophisticated legal scholarship, memoir and allegory.”

Williams, who joined the Columbia Law School faculty in 1991, received a B.A. from Wellesley College and a J.D. from Harvard University. She served as a deputy city attorney (1976-1978) in the Los Angeles City Attorney's Office; staff attorney (1978-1980) for the Western Center on Law and Poverty in Los Angeles; assistant professor (1980-1984) and associate professor (1984-1985) at Golden Gate College; and associate professor (1984-1988) at the City University of New York in Queens.

Her other works include The Rooster’s Egg: On the Persistence of Prejudice (1995) and Seeing a Color-Blind Future: The Paradox of Race (1997), among many others. Her most recent book was Open House: On Family Food, Friends, Piano Lessons and The Search for a Room of My Own (2004.) Williams also writes a column for The Nation and received a MacArthur Fellowship in 2000.

The John J. McCloy ’16 Professorship was established at Amherst College in 1983 to honor John J. McCloy and his outstanding career of service and accomplishment in American politics and international diplomacy. Williams’ visit is hosted by the Department of Political Science at Amherst College.