The Oakley Center was established in 1985 to support research across the humanities and social sciences, with a special emphasis on interdisciplinary work. Since that time, it has come to play a vital role in the scholarly life of Williams College. The Center provides a meeting place where faculty and administrative staff can pursue their intellectual and research interests. It sponsors many events and programs throughout the year, some exclusively for faculty and staff and others for the entire campus and the wider public.
Programs especially for faculty include fellowships, colloquia with distinguished visiting scholars and Center-supported faculty research and reading groups. Each semester, about eight faculty Fellows are in residence and participate in a weekly research seminar. Through the Ruchman Fellowship program, two Williams seniors participate in the Fellows' seminar as well. Through the Clark-Oakley Fellowship, offered in conjunction with the Research and Academic Program of the Clark Art Institute, the Center also provides an office and funding for one scholar, from outside the College, who will take part in the programs of both institutions. The Center's public events include occasional conferences and the annual Richmond, Weiss, and Davis Lectures.
We invite you to join us for these Spring 2016 events:
Wednesday, February 24 at 4:15 pm, Oakley Center
"After the Subject, Who Comes?": Deleuze on Rethinking Subjectivity
A conversation with Fredrika Spindler (Richmond Visiting Professor of Philosophy, Williams College, and Associate Professor of Philosophy, Södertörn University, Sweden)
This was the question posed to French philosopher Gilles Deleuze in 1988 at a roundtable in the company of Derrida, Blanchot, and Lyotard. Deleuzes’ response was that the very notion of “the subject” has long been replaced, in philosophy as well as other fields, with more interesting concepts such as “impersonal individuations,” “non-individual singularities” and “becomings”—all of which denote more productive, but also more dynamic and unstable notions of the I or the We. In this colloquium Visiting Richmond Professor, Fredrika Spindler, presents new work in which she traces the development of Deleuze’s alternative to Modern understanding of subjectivity in his iconoclastic readings of key philosophers (Kant, Hume, Nietzsche) as well as in his later, more independent works. Spindler also engages Deleuze in productive dialogue with another critic of subjectivity, Michel Foucault.
*By RSVP only*
Wednesday, March 2 at 4:15 pm, Oakley Center
"The End of the Rainbow: How Educating for Happiness (Not Money) Would Transform Our Schools"
What price do we all pay for the increasingly singular focus on wage as the outcome of education? Susan Engel, a leading psychologist and educator, argues that this economic framework has had a profound impact not only on the way we think about education but also on what happens inside school buildings
The End of the Rainbow asks what would happen if we changed the implicit goal of education and imagines how different things would be if we made happiness, rather than money, the graduation prize. Drawing on psychology, education theory, and a broad range of classroom experiences across the country, Engel offers a fascinating alternative view of what education might become: teaching children to read books for pleasure and self-expansion and encouraging collaboration. All of these new skills, she argues, would not only cultivate future success in the world of work but also would make society as a whole a better, happier place.
*By RSVP only*
Tuesday, March 15 at 4:30 pm, Oakley Center
A conversation with Saadia Abbas (Associate Professor of English and Women's and Gender Studies, Rutgers Univesrity)
*By RSVP only*
Thursday, April 7 at 4:15 pm, Oakley Center
A conversation with Jeff Nunokawa (Professor of English, Princeton University)
*By RSVP only*
ANNUAL WEISS LECTURE
Thursday, April 12 at 7:00 pm, Griffin Hall #3
Udo Schuklenk (Professor of Philosophy, Queen's University) delivers the annual Weiss Lecture on Medicine and Medical Ethics
*This event is free and open to the public
Oakley Center News
Senior Oakley Center Fellow and Williams College President Emeritus John Chandler was recently featured in an article in Newsweek Magazine: "Inside the Colleges that Killed Frats for Good."
The Chronical of Higher Education featured an article on the work of Daniel Everett (Dean of Bentley College and professor of anthropology and linguistics) who delievered the annual Richmond Lecture on March 13, 2012.
Siddartha Mukherjee, (Columbia and CU/NYU Presbyterian Hospital), who gave the annual Andrew B. Weiss, MD, Lecture on Medicine and Medical Ethics in 2010, has been awarded a Pulitzer Prize for his book The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer.
Barbara J. King of the College of William and Mary blogs about a recent Oakley Center symposium, "After Humanism," here. Information about the symposium (September 23-24, 2010), as well as conference pictures, can be found here.
Former Clark-Oakley Humanities Fellow Jonathan Katz, now head of a new visual studies program at SUNY-Buffalo, speaks out about the controversy sparked by a high-profile exhibition that he curated at the National Portrait Gallery: "Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture." The exhibition received a positive review in the Washington Post.