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The Writer-in-Residence Program

The History Department at the University of Massachusetts Amherst is dedicated to the idea that an understanding of the past is essential to living in a vibrant democracy. As a measure of that commitment, the UMass/Five College Graduate Program in History's Writer-in-Residence Program facilitates sustained conversation with widely-read authors whose historical work engages broad public audiences. 


2020 Writer-In-Residence: Vijay Prashad

Vijay Prashad is the Director of Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research, Chief Editor of LeftWord Books, and Chief Correspondent for Globetrotter. He has written twenty-five books, including the two volume history The Darker Nations and The Poorer Nations; and he has edited twenty books, including Liberate the Colonies. For twenty-five years he has been a foreign correspondent for Frontline, India’s national magazine. Prashad holds a PhD in History from the University of Chicago.


History to the Defeated May Say Alas

The Annual Writer-In-Residence Public Lecture

Wednesday, February 26, 6:00 pm, Flavin Family Auditorium, UMass Amherst

A historian who looks into the ruins in search of the future has to squint, look carefully at the shards of hope, wonder if it would ever be possible to find the pathways outwards and forwards. That historian has to learn the difference between failure and defeat, has to wonder about the contradictions of the human experience, indeed has to wonder about the idea of the “human” itself — we were people, with great difficulty we became human. Join me for a journey into the ruins.

Additional Events with Vijay Prashad

Community Book Discussion of Strongmen 
Monday, February 24, 6:30 pm, Historic Northampton (46 Bridge St. Northampton). 
Copies of the book are available at Forbes Library and the UMass Library. Co-hosted with Forbes Library. 

An Evening Assembly: A Conversation on Public Education When the World’s on Fire with Gwen Agna
Tuesday, February 25, 6:00 pm, Edwards Church (297 Main St, Northampton). 
Co-hosted with the Jackson Street PTO and numerous additional community partners. 


The Writer-in-Residence Program

Each year, with major funding from Five Colleges, Inc., the Department of History and the UMass/Five College Graduate Program in History brings a writer of national prominence to campus for a week-long residency in order to give focused attention in our graduate training to writing for a range of audiences and in a variety of venues well beyond the monograph or scholarly article. Our guest visits courses and seminars, meets with students and faculty over coffee, lunches and dinners, and gives a public lecture on campus or in Amherst. The residency is embedded within our signature seminars, Writing History and History Communication. In this way, graduate students from UMass Amherst expand their ability to write for a wider array of readers, sharing the insights of our discipline both within the academy and well beyond.