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Dickinson September Speakers Examine Race, Gender, Biology and Immigration

Kathryn Abrams, Jo Handelsman, Kwame Anthony Appiah, Zaneta Thayer, Robyn Spencer

From left: Kathryn Abrams, Jo Handelsman, Kwame Anthony Appiah, Zaneta Thayer and Robyn Spencer

The Clarke Forum for Contemporary Issues at Dickinson College will welcome five guest speakers in September who will discuss a broad range of issues. All the lectures will take place in the Anita Tuvin Schlechter (ATS) Auditorium. The Clarke Forum is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year.

Black Power, Gender and the Black Panther Party
Thursday, Sept. 12, 7 p.m.
Robyn Spencer, Lehman College, The City University of New York

Spencer is a historian who will discuss how African Americans sought to redefine black manhood and womanhood during the 1960s, in the face of feminist social movements, radical political change and anti-colonial global upheavals. The Black Panther party’s gender politics provides an evocative case study to analyze the potential and limitations of challenging sexism and misogyny in the Black Power movement.

Microbial Communities—The Original Internet of Everything
The 68th Annual Joseph Priestley Award Celebration Lecture
Wednesday, Sept. 18, 7 p.m.
Jo Handelsman, Wisconsin Institute for Discovery at the University of Wisconsin, Madison

A renowned microbiologist and former science advisor to President Barack Obama, Handelsman will discuss how recent knowledge about microbiomes has proven that microorganisms drive processes as diverse as human disease and climate change. She will explain how research on microorganisms in isolation prove their central roles in famines, epidemics, drug discovery and crop productivity. However, there is little understanding of the basic rules governing the power of microbial communities, which is her current research focus.

Identity at Home and in the Wider World
The Morgan Lecture
Thursday, Sept. 19, 7 p.m.
Kwame Anthony Appiah, New York University

Appiah, known for writing “The Ethicist” column in the New York Times Magazine, will explore the idea of identity philosophically, the psychology of identity and the challenges of managing identities humanely. He will discuss how one particular identity—social class—works in our society, and he will explore identities across the world, defending the continuing relevance of a cosmopolitanism he believes is under attack.

The Biology of Inequality
Tuesday, Sept. 24, 7 p.m.
Zaneta Thayer, Dartmouth College

Thayer, a biological anthropologist, will look at how social inequalities can create health inequalities. She will describe the hormonal and molecular mechanisms through which environments can become embodied. Thayer is interested in understanding how stress exposures, particularly in early life, shape patterns of human biology and health, as well as the evolutionary basis for that sensitivity.

Storytelling, Emotion Culture and Performative Citizenship in the Undocumented Immigrants Movement
Thursday, Sept. 26, 7 p.m.
Kathryn Abrams, University of California, Berkeley Law

Abrams will explore three practices that have helped form a new social movement around undocumented immigrants. Her lecture draws on four years of observation and interviews with undocumented activists in Phoenix, Arizona. Abrams teaches constitutional law, feminist legal theory and law and social movements.

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Published September 9, 2019