Events at Williams College


Williams College in Williamstown, Mass. is less than half an hour from Bennington

Timothy Snyder to speak on environment and the holocaust

Timothy Snyder, Bird White Housum Professor of History at Yale University, will present a talk titled "Black Earth: The Ecological Politics of the Holocaust" as part of the year's Confronting Climate Change Initiative at Williams College on Monday, Sept.19, at 7 p.m. in Griffin Hall, room 3. This event is free and open to the public.

Snyder's most recent book, Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning (Tim Duggan Books, 2015), presents a new explanation of the Holocaust that highlights the role of environmental concerns and demagogic exploitation of those fears. He traces back the beginnings of the ideology that allowed the Holocaust to happen and devotes much of the book to examining the few people who aided Jews without institutional support. He concludes that due to growing current preoccupations with food and water, along with political unrest, today's society is coming to resemble that of the early twentieth century period that saw the rise of the Nazi ideology. His talk will look at the structural causes for how Hitler's ideology could and can function, and how today we might face similar risks due to climate change and state collapse.

Snyder was born in southwestern Ohio. He received his B.A. from Brown University and later his doctorate from University of Oxford. He has written five books and co-edited two, and has published essays in numerous publications including the Journal of Cold War Studies, the International Herald Tribune, New York Review of Books, the Wall Street Journal and the Times Literary Supplement. His book Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin (Basic Books, 2010) has earned him 12 awards including the Emerson Prize in the Humanities, a Literature Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Leipzig Award for European Understanding and the Hannah Arendt Prize.

This event is sponsored by the Program in Jewish Studies, the Department of History, and the Center for Environmental Studies.

Planetarium schedule for the fall semester

Williams College invites you to experience the wonders of our universe at the Milham Planetarium, located inside the Old Hopkins Observatory at Williams College. For reservations (recommended) contact Michele Rech at 413-597-2188 or email at Others will be admitted as space permits. Large groups should call for special appointments.

Astronomy students at the College will host free shows for the public on the following Friday evenings at 8 p.m.: Sept. 23, 30, Oct. 7, 14, 21, 28, Nov. 4, 11, 18 and Dec. 2. Audiences will be treated to shows from the high-precision Zeiss Skymaster ZKP3/B opto-mechanical planetarium projector, installed in April 2005.

The Zeiss Skymaster is capable of demonstrating phenomena including: retrograde motions of the planets, phases of the moon, the varying temperatures/colors of stars, locations of neighboring galaxies, the mythological figures and zodiacal signs ascribed to constellations, the Southern Hemisphere's sky, comets, artificial satellites, and much more.

Fall 2016 shows will be hosted by Williams College students Rececca Durst '17, Sarah Stevenson '17, Diego Gonazlez '18 and Glen Gallik '18. Field Memorial Professor of Astronomy, Jay Pasachoff, is Director of the Hopkins Observatory.

The Hopkins Observatory, built in 1836-38 by the first professor of astronomy at Williams College, Albert Hopkins, is the oldest extant observatory in the United States. Shows will last about 50 minutes.

The Hopkins Observatory is on a small hill on the south side of Main Street east of Spring Street in Williamstown and just east of Lawrence Hall Drive, on which planetarium patrons share parking with the Williams College Museum of Art. A campus map showing the Hopkins Observatory's location can be found on the web at or at 829 Main Street, Williamstown, MA in

Williams alumnus to give talk on bird conservation

Bruce Beehler, naturalist and conservationist, who has studied birds and their forest habitat in an effort to preserve them in the Asia-Pacific region and North America, will talk at Williams College on Sept. 16, at 1:10 p.m., in Thompson Biology, room 112. Beehler, along with four other alumni, will be honored with Bicentennial Medals at Fall Convocation on Saturday for distinguished achievement in their fields of endeavor.

Beehler followed the northward spring migration of songbirds from the coast of Texas up the Mississippi Valley and then into the vast boreal forests of northern Ontario—the heartland of the breeding ranges of many of these small and colorful species. The talk, illustrated by many of Beehler's images, will focus on stories about the people and institutions working to better understand and to effectively conserve this globally important migration system. It will highlight the history and culture of the many little-known rural places that he visited along the way, as well as the special places, dedicated government and non-government workers, and insightful university researchers working on songbird migration and on the conservation of these birds and the places they need to prosper.

Beehler '74 has spent much of his scientific career studying and working to conserve birds and their forest habitats. After conducting doctoral fieldwork in Papua New Guinea, Beehler worked at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History, followed by stints at the Wildlife Conservation Society, U.S. Department of State, Counterpart International, Conservation International, and the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation.

Is peace possible? Israelis & Palestinians: A New Paradigm

Sunday, September 18 at 3 p.m. to 4:15. Brooks-Rogers Recital Hall, Bernhard Music Center 54 Chapin Hall

As the Middle East chaos has focused elsewhere, the Israeli and Palestinian issue has been largely sidelined. Negotiated peace, the classic paradigm for the last few decades, has been put aside. What will take its place? What new paradigm can offer peace to both sides and put aside this tragic conflict? What can the US do? Co-sponsored by Ephs for Israel, Political Science, History, and Global Studies.

Williams Music Faculty Recital with Tendai Muparutsa

The Williams College Department of Music presents vocalist/guitarist/percussionist Tendai Muparutsa in a faculty recital on Friday, Sept. 30 at 8 p.m., in Brooks-Rogers Recital Hall on the college campus. The event is free and open to the public.

Tendai Muparutsa leads a group that creates Afro-soundscapes infused with soulful imagination. With his unique finger-picking style, Tendai and his band explore popular music of Zimbabwe and other parts of Africa. The performance brings faculty and students together for a joyful sound celebration that crosses many borders on the way to musical fulfillment. Tendai Muparutsa, who teaches African music and dance at Williams College, composes or arranges his music to highlight the spirit of his talented band. Each musician has a chance to shine, and every performance is singular.

Joining Tendai on stage is Jason Ennis, a master guitarist who is a star in his own right. Gary Rzab is a drummer with a deep background in jazz and fusion. Avery Sharpe is a bassist with solid roots in American jazz, whose lengthy resume includes many of the greats. Percussionist Matthew Gold enjoys a wide range of interests and talents that enable him to navigate a vast musical map. In addition, Williams students Ruby Froom '17 and Cindy Liao '17 contribute their energy, singing and playing the marimba.

The group will perform a set of music inspired by traditional African music, as well as a set of high-voltage Afro-pop interpretations.

Charlotte Dobbs, soprano, performs

The Williams College Department of Music presents Charlotte Dobbs, soprano, along with pianist Renana Gutman on Saturday, Oct. 1 at 8 p.m. in Brooks-Rogers Recital Hall on the Williams College campus. There is also a voice master class featuring talented Williams student singers on Friday, Sept. 30 at 4:15 p.m. in the Brooks-Rogers Recital Hall. A piano master class takes place concurrently in room 30 of the Bernhard Music Center. These free events are open to the public.

Ms. Dobbs and Ms. Gutman present an ambitious and pleasingly varied program. The beginning selections highlight German art song tradition, with selections by Brahms, Schumann, Schubert, and Wolf. The evening also offers a chance to get acquainted, or reacquainted, with a work that combines the genius of two American icons: Aaron Copland's "Twelve Poems of Emily Dickinson." The second half includes a song cycle by Francis Poulenc and a set of Russian songs by Rachmaninov.

Williams opens Horn Hall, first new residence hall in 40 years

As students return to campus this week, a new residential hall, the first one built in 40 years at Williams College, will open. Horn Hall, located on Stetson Court, will house 60 sophomores, juniors, and seniors.

The 25,000-square foot residence hall contains 40 single rooms and 10 doubles organized into six-person suites that share a bathroom. It has several lounge rooms, study areas, a collaborative meeting room and classroom space, and a backyard with patio space for entertainment or meeting space. The building has many sustainability features including low-flow plumbing fixtures, triple-glazed windows, additional exterior insulation in the roof and walls, LED light fixtures, and occupancy sensors. The college is pursuing LEED Gold certification for the building.

The $15-million project is the first new residence hall on the campus since Mission Park was completed in the '70s. Horn Hall is named for Joey and Ragnar Horn, alumni of the classes of 1987 and 1985, respectively, who supported the project with a $10 million philanthropic gift. Joey Horn has served as a member of the college's board of trustees since 2009.

"We are delighted and grateful that the Horns stepped forward to support residential life at Williams so generously," said Williams President Adam Falk. "Joey and Ragnar are great examples of alumni whose love of Williams has translated into active engagement and deep dedication to the college and its future."

The Horns, who live in Norway and are both international alumni, said they consider the residential living experience at Williams to be particularly meaningful to the overall student experience at the college. The Horns themselves met at Williams through a chance encounter at Hubbell House, where Joey lived her junior and senior year.

"Residential life is an important part of the Williams experience, just as academics are," said Joey Horn. "Whenever I talk to alumni from around the world, one of the first questions we always ask one another is 'Where did you live?' because everyone strongly identifies with their entry or the houses they lived in while at Williams. We each have lifelong friends from Williams whom we met in our entries or the dorms we lived in as upperclassmen."

The building's community-centered design appealed particularly to Ragnar Horn.

"This type of structure is what the liberal arts is all about," he said. "It will bring together a diversity of people who will learn from each other, and that is as important as what they learn in the classroom. Williams gave us so much, and we have a deep sense of giving back to Williams. We hope to inspire other alumni to give back during this exciting capital campaign."

Vice President for Campus Life Steve Klass said the opening of Horn Hall begins a 20 to 30 year-long strategy for enhancing residential life at Williams.

"Horn Hall really provides a program-driven template for us to use to reimagine some of our existing dorms to provide similar features," Klass said. "This is a great opportunity to improve opportunities to cultivate community in our other upperclass facilities."

Construction of Horn Hall began in April 2015. The general contractor for the project was Engelberth Construction of Colchester, Vt., and the building's architect was Centerline Architects of Bennington.


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