WHAT’S HAPPENING IN AMHERST

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There are lots of interesting things happening in Amherst this fall. A small sample of select events follows.

Sunday, November 10th.  Poetry Reading. 4:00pm at Amherst Books.
The Indy’s Terry Johnson will read from her second poetry collection, Plunge, set in Italy during & after World War II.   Johnson began her career as a concert harpsichordist before finding her true calling as a sixth grade public school teacher.   She received an M.F.A. from Vermont College of Fine Arts & has published in numerous journals and anthologies.   Johnson loves to travel and still hopes to master the subjunctive tense in Italian. — See here for more information. 

Monday November 11.  Can We Save Democracy and the Rule of Law: Is Impeachment the Solution?  7:00 at the Amherst Women’s Club, 35 Triangle St.  Austin Sarat, Amherst College professor of Jurisprudence and Political Science will speak. Sponsored by the League of Women Voters.

Tuesday, November. 12.  Explore “The Attack on BDS and Pro-Palestinian Speech” – A Panel Discussion.  UMass Fine Arts Center.  Free and Open to the Public (free tix required – see below).  Presented by the Northampton-based Media Education Foundation and the Resistance Studies Initiative, the program will feature six high-profile activists. The organizers are renting space on campus, as many non-UMass organizations do. The opinions expressed by the speakers are their own and not those of UMass Amherst. In an open letter to Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy, 134 UMass Amherst faculty expressed their “deep disappointment and dismay” regarding the chancellor’s Oct. 21 statement about the event, sentiments that were also expressed by the Students for Justice in Palestine. The faculty’s open letter can be viewed here.

The program organized by the foundation, headed by communications Professor Sut Jhally, features Harvard Professor Cornel West, the author of 20 books on philosophy, race and religion, and television commentator; anti-racism activist Tim Wise, a best-selling author of numerous books on white privilege and the politics of racial scapegoating; Shaun King, a journalist who writes for “The Intercept” and “The North Star” and a leading voice of the Black Lives Matter movement; Dima Khalidi, the founder and director of Palestine Legal, a consortium of lawyers that advocates for the rights of pro-Palestinian activists; and Omar Barghouti, a co-founder of the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement. Barghouti will join the event via Skype live from Israel. The panel will be moderated by Palestinian-American activist Linda Sarsour, a co-founder of MPower Change and former co-chair of the Women’s March..

Tickets are available through the FAC Box Office during business hours (Monday-Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; 413-545-2511 or 800-999-UMAS) and online anytime at www.fineartscenter.com. Tickets are limited to two per person and guarantee admission until 6:15 p.m. on Nov. 12. At that time, any empty seats that remain may be filled by those without a pre-reserved ticket.

Thursday, November 14, 8-10 PM. FICTION READING: OCEAN VUONG. (UMass best selling author and McArthur Fellow).  at The Old Chapel at UMass. Hosted by UMass Amherst MFA for Poets and Writers and UMass Amherst Libraries.  Free, accessible and open to the public.

Tuesday November 19.  Book Discussion: Democracy in Chains. https://www.umass.edu/history/event/book-discussion-group-democracy-chains-0Jones Library, Woodbury Room.  7-8 PM.  Join the Jones Library’s Civics and Democracy Series, the UMass Amherst History Department and the Center for Popular Economics for a community discussion of “Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America” by award-winning historian Nancy MacLean.  Democracy in Chains is an explosive exposé of the little-known thinker behind the radical right’s relentless campaign to eliminate unions, suppress voting, privatize public education, stop action on climate change, and alter the Constitution. A finalist for the National Book Award, it has been described by Publishers Weekly as “a thoroughly researched and gripping narrative… [and] a feat of American intellectual and political history.” Booklist called it “perhaps the best explanation to date of the roots of the political divide that threatens to irrevocably alter American government.”

The conversation will be facilitated by economist and educator Francisco Perez of the Center for Popular Economics.  Copies of the book are available at the Jones Library, through the CWMars Library System and at your friendly neighborhood bookseller.

Tuesday, November 19. 7-9 PM. Discussion- Amplifying Hate: White Supremacy and Social Media/ Tuesday,.  Bangs Community Center. Karuna Center for Peacebuilding and Critical Connections are co-convening the discussion series “Understanding the Many Dimensions of White Identity: Politics, Power, and Prejudice,” to explore the history, prevalence, and resurgence of political action based in white identity. This series will examine how white identity has the power to shape violent movements, as well as the root causes, fears, and prejudices that allow white supremacist ideology to exist in its less visible dimensions. Speakers will analyze the manifestation of white supremacist ideology in recent elections and voting patterns, and the pervasiveness of hate speech in social mediawhile discussing means to address these trends, including by understanding our communities’ own role in either perpetuating or countering harmful systems and ideologies. People of all racial, ethnic, and national backgrounds are encouraged and welcomed to attend. Each event will also allow ample opportunity for discussion and dialogue with speakers and among attendees. This series is made possible through the generous support of the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts.  On November 19 join Dr. Whitney Phillips (Syracuse University), who will discuss how white supremacist groups have used social media platforms to incite violence against communities of color and the challenges inherent in curbing online hate speech. ​

Thursday November 21.  Economics for People and the Planet,  a Book Reading with James Boyce.  Amherst Books. 8 Main Street.  7 PM.

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