Weissman Center Series Examines How Law, Order, and Disorder Shape Current Events, Politics

For Immediate Release
August 29, 2005

SOUTH HADLEY, Mass. -- How law, order, and disorder shape our understanding of contemporary events and political efforts at home and abroad is the focus of the fall series, "Law and Dis/Order," at the Weissman Center for Leadership and the Liberal Arts.

"The series is inspired by a number of sobering social and political realities as well as the emerging and vital opportunities for reform and social change," said Lois Brown, director of the Center. Brown, an associate professor of English, African American studies, and American studies is looking forward to beginning her five-year term at the center with this promising series. "It is my hope that 'Law and Dis/Order' will enable our college community to consider together international issues such as the war on terror and universal subjects such as the plight of incarcerated women, whether they are in Framingham, Massachusetts, or Abu Ghraib in Iraq."

The first event of "Law and Dis/Order" is "New York Stories: The City Before and After September 11." The event, to be held in Gamble Auditorium in the Art Building from 2 to 4 pm Sunday, September 11, the fourth anniversary of that tragic day, will include a roundtable discussion about New York City and will be directly followed by a memorial service on Abbey Green organized by the Office of Religious Life and cosponsored by the Center. The panel will feature Amy Goodman, a nationally recognized journalist, and Steve Rivo, an award-winning documentary filmmaker. Goodman, who is the host of Democracy Now! and was broadcasting from her studio in New York City on September 11, 2001, will discuss the impact that 9/11 has had on journalists. Rivo will screen historical footage of the city, share details of his recent PBS documentary, New York: A Documentary Film, and discuss how the events of September 11 have shaped his work. MHC history professor Daniel Czitrom will moderate the panel. The memorial service follows. Both events (as are all events in this notice) are free, open to the public, and accessible to all.

"Shock and Awe: Law and Dis/Order in Iraq and Beyond," a panel slated to be held at 7 p.m. Thursday, September 29, in Gamble Auditorium in the Art Building, will feature two men active on the front lines of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Jonathan Pyle, an attorney working with detainees from Abu Ghraib prison, and James Bamford, an investigative journalist known for his provocative books on war and security issues, will address the multifaceted and international endeavor now known as the war on terror.

Joan Jacobs Brumberg, author of Kansas Charley: The Story of a 19th century Boy Murderer, will speak about the juvenile death penalty in a talk entitled "'Kansas Charley' to Simmons v. Roper: Rethinking the Juvenile Death Penalty in America," which will take place at 7 pm Thursday, October 20, in Gamble Auditorium. Five days later, noted author, teacher, and cultural critic Jonathan Kozol will speak to the issue of resegregation in America's schools in a talk titled, "Shame of the Nation: The Restoration of Apartheid Schooling in America." That talk will take place at 7 pm Tuesday, October 25, in Chapin Auditorium at Mary Woolley Hall.

At 7 pm Thursday, November 3, in Gamble Auditorium in the Art Building, "Public and Private Testimonies: Women and Prisons in America and Abroad" will feature a panel that includes Cristina Rathbone, a journalist and author of the just-published and eye-opening work, A World Apart: Women, Prisons and Life Behind Bars. Also participating is Tara McKelvey, a senior editor at American Prospect whose recent work includes interviews with women detained at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. The discussion, which will include moderator Simone Weil Davis, visiting professor of English, will examine the ways in which women experience prison and the world of corrections as prisoners, wardens, family members, teachers, and activists.

The series concludes with "Judges, Citizenship, and Justice," a keynote address by the Honorable Joyce London Alexander, the first African American Chief U.S. Magistrate Judge and a highly respected defender of equity and civil rights. That event will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday, November 17, in Gamble Auditorium in the Art Building.

The fall term also will see the first "Weissman Center on the Road" event. The program, developed in cooperation with the Alumnae Association and making its debut this fall, will travel to Washington, DC, in late October. Alumnae in the area will be able to attend a lecture by Tara McKelvey, a journalist who will come to Mount Holyoke a few days later to participate in a panel discussion on women and prisons.