Leadership at the Weissman Center often takes the form of advocacy. We are not content with merely learning about compelling issues—we step forward to conduct necessary research, construct actionable policies, shape public opinion, run for office, and impact decision-making. Now more than ever, our academic strengths need to be relevant in the public domain, and many of us strive to translate and serve as public intellectuals. Such ventures come with challenges and may require new training (and courage).
This year, we engage in an event series that delves into Advocacy in the Public Domain by showcasing those who are actively shaping the public discourse around a range of compelling issues, whether within science policy, environmental justice, race and power, and the arts. We look to scholars such as Claudia Rankine, who advocates for inclusive dialogue in the arts, and to Arlene Dávila for exploring the politics of race and space in the art world. Robert Musil presents life lessons to advance environmental legislation, and Shaughnessy Naughton reveals the connection between advocacy and science policy. With the media as a crucial driving force affecting political opinion, CNN reporter Tanzina Vega delves into race in the media, and communications expert Erin Hennessy offers strategic tools to amplify our voices when we advocate for a cause. Samuel Ace, Visiting Lecturer in Creative Writing at Mount Holyoke College will deliver an exciting reading and talk. His presentation is titled "Poetry and Sound: Reading, Performance, and Conversation with Samuel Ace". Yarimar Bonilla, Associate Professor of Anthropology and Caribbean Studies at Rutgers University, will explore the temporal politics of recovery in Puerto Rico, examining how catastrophic events impact our experience of time, progression, social action, and political possibility. Carmen Yulín Cruz Soto, Mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico, will propel us to action as she discusses transformational leadership in times of crisis at her talk in April to the Mount Holyoke College community.
Please join us this year for our Event Series, as we partner across campus, leverage our historical strengths, and contribute to this timely conversation.