Amherst Magazine

College Row
Joseph StiglitzNobel Prize winner Joseph E. Stiglitz ’64 talked to students after a March talk on the economic costs of the Iraq War.

A lively spring calendar

This spring, students could hear theater director Bob Brustein ’47 talk about “Territorial Art,” participate in a roundtable with leading contemporary African filmmakers, hear Sr. Dorothy Pelkington lecture on human trafficking, and discuss sex with noted philosopher Alan Soble.

And that was just on March 31.

Once again, the spring semester was crowded with events that sparked lively discussion of timely issues. President Anthony W. Marx did his part, sponsoring a lecture on the cost of the Iraq war by Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz ’64 and a talk on democracy by prominent cultural critic Todd Gitlin. The President’s Office also asked visiting artist in residence Wendy Ewald to talk about her work creating art with young schoolchildren, and invited Francis Deng, director of the Center for Displacement Studies at Johns Hopkins University, to speak about a “new Sudan.” Jonathan Kozol and William Howell each returned to Amherst for meetings with students interested in education reform.

Wendy EwaldVisiting artist in residence
Wendy Ewald.

Academic departments also organized a full slate of events. Filmmaker Werner Herzog told an overflow crowd in Stirn Auditorium that he came to Amherst “directly from the jungle” (though it was later revealed that the transportation Professor of German Christian Rogowski had arranged was to Amherst from Willamstown). The Physics Department invited Nobel Prize winner Anthony Leggett to discuss quantum physics in everyday life, and the Departments of Philosophy and Religion invited philosophers Peter van Inwagen and Michael Tooley to debate “Should We Believe in God?” (The result was inconclusive.)

This kind of intellectual discussion is, of course, why students come to Amherst. And the speakers reflect and enhance Amherst’s intellectual diversity, says Marx, by broadening the discussion to include thinkers, ideas and topics not already available through Amherst’s extensive course offerings.

To allow broader participation in the discussion, the college has established an Events Multimedia library featuring audio, photos and other material related to major events.

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Photos: Charles Quigg '09