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The Oakley Center

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 upcoming 2014-2015 events.


Tuesday, March 17 at 5:00 pm, Oakley Center


A conversation with SUSAN LEIGH FOSTER (Professor of World Arts and Cultures/Dance, UCLA)

*By RSVP only*


Thursday, April 9 at 5:00 pm, Oakley Center


A conversation with ROGER CHARTIER (Professeur in the Collège de France and Annenberg Visiting Professor of History at the University of Pennsylvania)

*By RSVP only*


Tuesday, April 14th, 6:30 pm, Griffin Hall #3


F. JAMIL RAGEP (Canada Research Chair in the History of Science in Islamic Societies and Director of the Institute of Islamic Studies at McGill University) will deliver the Richmond Lecture on the History of Science or Philosophy.

This event is free and open to the public.


Wednesday, April 29 at 4:30 pm, Oakley Center

A conversation with visual artist CHITRA GANESH

*By RSVP only*


Monday, May 4th, 6:30 pm, Bronfman #2

OTIS BRAWLEY (Chief Medical and Scientific Officer and Executive Vice President of the American Cancer Society) will deliver the Weiss Lecture on Medicine and Medical Ethics. Watch Dr. Brawley's TEDTalk here.

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.

Link to Oakley Center past events, 2006-2013