Oakley Center Events


Persian Classical vocalist and musician Sepideh Raissadat playing the setar at a colloquium presentation, September 2012

Throughout the year the Center sponsors numerous colloquia. Typically, a scholar, artist, performer, or critic conducts a discussion with Williams faculty and staff who have signed up to attend. Participants are often asked to read a short essay provided by the guest as background or as the focus for discussion. Colloquia give faculty and staff an opportunity for more intensive discussion with the guest than public lectures or other presentations usually afford, and they have come to play an important role in stimulating intellectual exchange at Williams.

Colloquium speakers may be invited by the Director of the Center or suggested to the Director by interested faculty. Note, however, that speakers whose work or talk is aimed solely at the members of one department are more suitable for department functions than for Center-sponsored colloquia. Speakers for Center colloquia should be figures of notable achievement whose work would be of significant interest to faculty in multiple departments and programs.

Past Colloquia and Lectures

Oakley Center Director Leyla Rouhi (left) and Mats Rosengren, Professor of Rhetoric at Södertörn University, Sweden (right), at a colloquium presentation, October 2013

Annual Lectures

The Center sponsors annual Davis, Richmond, and Weiss lectures. These lectures are delivered by distinguished scholars who typically spend at least a fully day on campus. In addition to a public talk, the lecturer may give a more specialized colloquium, speak to a class, or meet with interested groups of faculty and students.

Background of the Annual Lectures Program

Conferences & Special Events

Informal discussion during break in the "After Humanism" conference, September 2010. L to R: Keith McPartland, Kim Guschow,
Michael Zimmerman (U Colorado), Cary Wolfe (Rice),
Sarah Franklin (LSE)

The Center's substantial endowment makes it possible for individuals or small groups of faculty, working with the Director, to organize and host conferences or other major academic events without the need for other funding sources. There is no specified format for conferences, but the event should have a significant interdisciplinary dimension or appeal. Typically, the participants have included both Williams faculty and scholars and intellectuals from other institutions. Recent conferences have brought to campus both eminent senior scholars and those at the beginnings of their careers; some conferences have centered on presentations open to the campus and the wider public; others have included workshop sessions exclusively for invited participants. Faculty with ideas for conferences should consult with the Director as early as possible in the academic year before the conference would be held.

Past Conferences