College Connection

  

The College Connection is lectures and panel talks from colleges and universities from Western New England, particularly from the Five Colleges in Western Massachusetts: University of Massachusetts Amherst, Amherst College, Smith College, Mount Holyoke College, and Hampshire College. This forum provides an opportunity for listeners to engage with researchers, intellectuals, poets and authors active within our academic communities.

Subscribe to the podcast in Apple Podcasts or find episodes below.

NOTE: The lectures recorded for the College Connection are designed to build a public audio library of the western New England experience, and are not intended as news content, or endorsements by NEPR’s staff or Board.

Debating Gender and Body in the Epic Mahabharata

May 2, 2017
Lancaster University

Chakravarthi Ram-Prasad is professor of comparative religion and philosophy at Lancaster University in the United Kingdom.

In this talk, Ram-Prasad examines an excerpt from the Mahabharata, a Sanskrit epic poem. In the poem, a female who has renounced the world in order to attain spiritual enlightenment challenges a king, who argues that real spiritual enlightenment is achieved only while still engaged in the normal duties of life.

Noam Chomsky Weighs Our Prospects for Survival

Apr 24, 2017
Political Economy Research Institute, University of Massachusetts

Noam Chomsky is Institute Professor Emeritus at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The world renowned linguist has lectured and written extensively on the subject, as he has on philosophy, politics, international affairs and numerous others.

Chomsky was invited by the UMass Amherst Political Economy Research Institute to speak on the existential threats posed by nuclear weaponry and climate change.

His talk, “Prospects for Survival,” was recorded on April 13th, 2017 at UMass Amherst.

Patrice Rushen
Ben Alman / Creative Commons

Patrice Rushen chairs the Popular Music Program at the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music. Although her early training was in classical music, she is a jazz pianist and R&B singer perhaps best known for her popular music of the ‘70s and ‘80s. A four-time Grammy nominee, Rushen has also composed scores for television and film.

Rushen was invited to Amherst College to talk about why USC started the Popular Music Program and how it fills an underserved artistic need in America.

Fighting Dialect Prejudice In Courtrooms And Beyond

Apr 11, 2017
John Rickford
L.A. Cicero / Stanford News

John Rickford is a professor of linguistics at Stanford University, where he studies the relationship between language and social structure.

In this talk, he delves into vernacular English to show how differences in language can lead to distrust and disregard between communities. Rickford concludes by offering solutions to help bridge linguistic gaps across cultures.

He is the author of several books on language and culture, including "African American, Creole and Other Vernacular Englishes: A Bibliographic Resource."

The Risk of Change vs. the Cost of Doing Nothing

Apr 3, 2017
wesleying.org

Majora Carter is an American urban revitalization strategist based in the South Bronx, New York. Last fall she was invited to deliver the keynote address for the dedication of Hampshire College's R. W. Kern Center. The building is considered a significant addition to the college's sustainability initiative for a carbon neutral campus.

Daniel Lieberman
UMass Amherst

Daniel Lieberman, a paleoanthropologist and biology professor at Harvard University, spoke about his work studying human athletic behavior and performance as part of the Center for Research on Families’ Tay Gavin Erickson Lecture Series. He said in developed countries there is currently an “exercise paradox”: Although humans evolved to become athletes, few in these countries are adequately physically active. This, Lieberman said, was because we evolved both to be athletes, but also to avoid unnecessary activity.

Steve Waksman
Fred Contrada / MassLive

Steve Waksman, Professor of Music and American Studies at Smith College, gave a historical view of the movement of jazz from “lowbrow” popular music, to “highbrow symphonic art”. Waksman focused on the people that influenced this movement, and how it changed cultural perceptions and expectations of jazz.

Dennis Childs, associate professor of African American literature and an affiliate faculty member of the department of ethnic studies and critical gender studies at the University of California, San Diego, spoke about the past and present incarceration of the poor and people of color as a continuation of the modern practice of slavery in the U.S.

He currently serves as director of UCSD’s African American studies program, and faculty advisor for Students Against Mass Incarceration, a student-organized prison abolitionist organization.

Franklin Odo is the John J. McCloy Visiting Professor of American Institutions and International Diplomacy at Amherst College. As part of the UMass Amherst History Department’s Feinberg Family Distinguished Lecture Series: “The U.S. in the Age of Mass Incarceration”, Odo talked about Japanese Internment during World War II, the subsequent redress, and how Japanese Americans have been affected by discrimination.

Republican political commentator and strategist Ana Navarro was recently invited to speak as part of Smith College’s Presidential Colloquium Series. Navarro shared why she has been a lifelong Republican and spoke on the political values she feels have been challenged by the Trump administration.

Pages