Apart from its regular seminars, the ISI hosts a number of related activities. We are delighted to invite eminent figures for our Annual Lecture, which supplements and corresponds to our seminar in any given year; sometimes this takes on other formats, such as a symposium or panel presentation. We also host other panels and presentations from time to time, and co-sponsor other events on campus. Details on current and past activities are below.

Citron Residency Public Events: Lecture and Panel Discussion

The Interdisciplinary Studies Institute (ISI) is delighted to welcome Professor Danielle Citron, Lois K. Macht Research Professor and Professor of Law at the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law, who will visit UMass from April 4-8 as part of the 2016 ISI Residency. Professor Citron will present a public lecture entitled “Hate Crimes in Cyberspace” on Tuesday, April 5 at 4:30 pm in Room 904-908 of the UMass Campus Center. In addition, Professor Citron will join current ISI Fellows Jennifer Fronc (History), TreaAndrea Russworm (English), and Jenny Vogel (Art) for a panel discussion on Wednesday, April 6 at 12:30 pm in Room 174-176 of the UMass Campus Center. The panel is titled “Identity CTRL: Trolls, Bullies, and Power in the Digital Age.” Professor Citron will also interact with students and faculty across the disciplines during seminars, classroom visits, and a meeting with this year’s ISI Faculty Fellows, who have been considering the topic of “Secrecy, Publicity, Privacy, Security” from various perspectives throughout the year.

ISI Cosponsors 'Methods' Symposium

ISI is proud to sponsor the upcoming 'Methods' symposium, an interdisciplinary one-day symposium devoted to the question of method hosted by graduate students from the English Department at UMass, Amherst. The symposium, held on March 11, will include three workshops designated as queer studies, postcolonial studies, or black studies, to which interested students can apply.  The symposium invites graduate students from across the humanities and social sciences whose work makes methodological interventions in queer, postcolonial, and/or black studies to participate in workshops and a panel discussion that ask the question, "What methods; why now?" The workshops will be facilitated by Heather Love (UPenn), Lisa Lowe (Tufts), and Christina Sharpe (Tufts), all of whom will also participate in a public roundtable. There is no cost to apply or participate in the workshops, and refreshments and a reception will be included. 

750-word proposals are due January 29, 2016 to More information, including the full call for papers and description of the event, can be found on the Methods Symposium website

ISI to Host Achebe Symposium


University of Massachusetts, Amherst

14-15 October 2015
Bernie Dallas Room, Goodell Hall

Full symposium schedule can be viewed here

On 18 February 1975, the great African writer Chinua Achebe presented a Chancellor’s Lecture at the University of Massachusetts, entitled ‘An Image of Africa: Racism in Conrad’s Heart of Darkness.’ The lecture was subsequently published in the Massachusetts Review, and since that time it has become celebrated and iconic: a remarkable moment both in literary criticism, and in a broader cultural assessment of how Africa has been perceived and represented in the Western world. In making his case, Achebe challenged the entire framework in which works of art would be judged, and in which the discussion of Africa would be sustained.

To mark the fortieth anniversary of this epic moment, as well as the fortieth anniversary of the Distinguished Faculty Lecture Series at the University of Massachusetts, the Interdisciplinary Studies Institute will host a symposium devoted to the impact of Achebe’s lecture and its continuing legacy. In this, our aim is twofold: first, to commemorate the event itself, and its significance; and second, to bring the discussion into the present by reconsidering both Achebe’s importance, and the shape of things today in terms of the issues he raised.

Panelists and speakers include NoViolet Bulawayo, Jules Chametzky, Johnnetta Cole, Achille Mbembe, Maaza Mengiste, Okey Ndibe, Caryl Phillips, Michael Thelwell, Esther Terry, and Chika Unigwe, among others.

Full details of the program will be forthcoming. If you plan on attending the symposium from out of town, we urge you to make hotel accommodations as soon as possible. The UMass Visitor's Guide includes a comprehensive list of area hotels and accommodations, and can be access here