Panels and lectures at Williams College


Panel on President Obama's leadership and legacy

A panel discussion on the legacy and leadership of President Barack Obama is taking place on Nov. 9, at Williams College. "Obama: Leadership, Legacy, Lessons," part of the James MacGregor Burns Distinguished Speaker Series, begins at 7 p.m. in Griffin Hall, room 3, is free and open to the public.

Participants include Jelani Cobb, Associate Professor of History and Director of the Institute for African American Studies, University of Connecticut, and staff writer at The New Yorker; Annie Lowrey, Contributing Editor, New York Magazine; and Andrew Rudalevige, Thomas Brackett Reed Professor of Government, Bowdoin College. The panel discussion will be moderated by Justin Crowe '03, Associate Professor of Political Science and Chair of Leadership Studies at Williams.

"Seven years ago, Barrack Obama's candidacy and victory was historic and a political fairytale," said Crowe. "Today, with both allies and rivals already jockeying to replace him, he's treated mostly as either old news or a punching bag. Yet the years since Obama's election have been filled with substantial changes – for good or for ill – in American political life."

Looking back at the numerous legislative fights, years of partisan polarization, and disputes over issues ranging from healthcare to a nuclear Iran, Crowe expects the panel to discuss Obama's presidency, achievements, and shortcomings. They will also delve into his legacy and leadership, and what lessons we should take from his presidency.

Burns, Woodrow Wilson Professor of Government, Emeritus, graduated from Williams College in 1939 and went on to earn his Ph.D. at Harvard University. He joined the Williams faculty in 1947 as a professor of American political history. Burns founded the field of leadership studies and served as president of the American Political Science Association and the International Society of Political Psychology. Williams bestowed on him both an honorary degree and a Bicentennial Medal. He retired in 1986.

Burns was the author of more than two dozen books, including the American politics textbook Government by the People and Leadership, the work credited with launching leadership studies. His work on Franklin Delano Roosevelt received both a Pulitzer Prize and a National Book Award. Burns died on July 15, 2014, at the age of 95. This panel is sponsored by the Program in Leadership Studies.

Lecture on Spanish emigration

James D. Fernández, professor in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at New York University (NYU), will talk at Williams College on Nov. 11, about Spanish emigration to the United States in the 19th and 20th centuries. The talk will begin at 6:30 p.m. in Griffin Hall, room 3. The talk will provide a glimpse into the little-known history of the tens of thousands of Spanish peasants and workers who, in the late nineteenth—and early twentieth—century, emigrated to the United States, settling in tightly-knit enclaves all over the country.

For the past 10 years, Fernández and his colleague Luis Argeo have been crisscrossing Spain and the U.S., locating and interviewing descendants of immigrants and, whenever possible, scanning their family archives. They have co-directed two documentary films and published a book called Invisible Immigrants: Spaniards in the US (1868 – 1945).

"Fernández served as the founding director of NYU's King Juan Carlos I of Spain Center from 1995-2007. Before joining the faculty at NYU, he taught at Yale University from 1988-1994. He received his B.A. from Dartmouth College in 1983 and his M.A. and Ph.D. in Romance Languages from Princeton University (1985, 1988)."

This talk is made possible by the sponsorship of the Department of Romance Languages and the Center for Foreign Languages, Literatures & Cultures. The talk is free and open to the public.

David Brakke to present bicentennial Croghan lecture

David Brakke, Croghan Bicentennial Visiting Professor in Biblical and Early Christian Studies at Williams College, will present a lecture titled "The Gospel of Judas: Gnostic Truth and Apostolic Heresy in Early Christianity." The event will take place on Nov. 11, at 5:30 p.m. It will be held in Griffin Hall, room 7, and is free and open to the public.

Brakke's work involves the history and literature of ancient Christianity from its origins through the 5th century. In particular, he studies asceticism, monasticism, "Gnosticism," biblical interpretation, and Egyptian Christianity. He has written several books on these subjects, including The Gnostics: Myth, Ritual, and Diversity in Early Christianity, which argues for a social and cultural approach to the definition of "Gnosticism." In 2011, it was named a Choice Outstanding Academic Title.

Brakke is the Joe R. Engle Chair in the History of Christianity at Ohio State University. Previously, he taught at Indiana University. He holds a B.A. from the University of Virginia, a M.Div. from Harvard University, and a Ph.D. in religious studies from Yale University. Currently, Brakke is a member of an international team of scholars that is producing the first unified critical edition and translation of the works of Shenoute of Atripe, the leader of a monastic community in Upper Egypt. He serves as the president-elect of the International Association for Coptic Studies and on the Board of Consultants of the Journal of Religion.

The Croghan Bicentennial Professorship in Biblical and Early Christian Studies was established by John and Rosemary Croghan for a visiting professor to teach one course in Christianity and/or Judaism as well as to give public lectures. Brakke is one of two professors to hold the position this academic year.

The lecture is sponsored by the Croghan Fund, the Department of Religion, and the Dean of the Faculty Office.

Williams College to host Anne Carson for a reading and a talk

Poet, essayist, and translator Anne Carson will read from her works at Williams College on Nov. 12. This event will take place at 7 p.m. in the '62 Center's MainStage. It is free and open to the public.

She will also deliver "A Lecture on the History of Skywriting" on Nov. 13 at 4 p.m in Brooks Rogers Auditorium.

Anne Carson is a professor of Classics and a poet, essayist, and translator of international acclaim. Her many books include such genre-bending works as Eros the Bittersweet, Glass, Irony, and God, Autobiography of Red. The Beauty of the Husband, Decreation, NOX, and Red Doc>. Carson is the recipient of numerous honors, including fellowships from the Guggenheim and MacArthur Foundations, a Lannan Literary Award, a PEN Award for Poetry in Translation, and most recently a Griffin Poetry Prize for Red Doc> in 2014.

This event is sponsored by the Department of English.

Williams College honors three faculty members for excellence in teaching and writing

Three faculty members at Williams College have been recognized for excellence in teaching and writing. Cecelia Chang (Chinese), Ronadh Cox (geosciences), and Eiko Maruko Siniawer (history) are the recipients of the Nelson Bushnell '20 Prize, an award given annually to faculty since 1995.

Chang was noted for her "deliberate effort and very careful attention to language pedagogy;" Cox for "excelling in teaching in arenas that aren't evaluated, like independent studies, advising, summer lab research, public school outreach, and Williams-Mystic field seminars;" and Siniawer for her contributions to the teaching of writing and party for her tutorial The Two Koreas, one of the few courses on Korea at the college.

Cecilia Chang

Chang, professor of Chinese, is a specialist of second language acquisition. Her scholarship of Chinese pedagogy is extensive, examining topics pertaining to psycholinguistics, second language acquisition and language pedagogy. Her most recent scholarship, See How They Read, explored the metacognitive awareness of non-native readers of Chinese. Professor Chang works not only as the coordinator of the Chinese program here at Williams, but also as a faculty member in the master's degree program at the Middlebury Summer Chinese School, as a member of the board of directors for both the national and the New England Chinese Language Teachers Associations, and as co-chair of the College Board's Advanced Placement Chinese Language and Culture Development Committee. Chang teaches all levels of Chinese language courses and applied linguistic courses on Chinese pedagogy. She holds an Ed.D. in language, literacy and culture from UMass Amherst, an M.A. in applied linguistics from UCLA, and a B.A. in Chinese literature from Fu-Jen University.

Eiko Maruko Siniawer

Siniawer, professor of history, specializes in the history of modern Japan. Her first book, Ruffians, Yakuza, Nationalists, examines issues of political violence and democracy through a focus on violence specialists, or the professionally violent. The book explores the ways in which ruffianism became embedded and institutionalized in the practice of modern Japanese politics and argues that for much of Japan's modern history, political violence is systemic and so enduring that Japan can be considered a violent democracy. Her current book manuscript in progress is on the concepts of waste and wastefulness in post-World War II Japan. Professor Siniawer teaches a variety of courses on Japanese history, including surveys of early modern and modern Japanese history, a first-year seminar on the Japanese empire, a 300-level course on U.S.-Japan relations, and an advanced tutorial on war memory. She also offers an introductory-level tutorial on Korean history, a 300-level course on comparative histories of the 1930s, and History 301. She holds a Ph.D. in history and an A.M. in East Asian studies, both from Harvard University, and a B.A. in history from Williams College.

Rónadh Cox

Cox, professor and chair of geosciences and chair of maritime studies, has wide-ranging research interests. She studies storm erosion of coasts, focusing on how large waves erode bedrock and move large boulders, and she investigates the formation of gullies in the highlands of Madagascar, using them to understand changing erosion rates and the effect of human activities. She is also involved in analysis of the moons of Jupiter, exploring impact processes on Europa and mountain building on Io. She serves as a science editor for Geology, the Geological Society of America's flagship journal. Cox involves undergraduate students in all phases of her research, in the field and in the lab. She teaches courses on sedimentology, oceanography, planetary geology, and earth resources, and she contributes to the Williams-Mystic maritime studies program, participating in field seminars on the Mississippi River Delta. She received her B.S. from University College Dublin and her Ph.D. in Geology from Stanford University.


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