The Nation Columnist and Columbia Law Professor Patricia Williams to Speak at UMass Amherst

AMHERST, Mass. - Columbia University legal scholar and The Nation columnist Patricia J. Williams will present the third Feinberg Family Distinguished Lecture at the University of Massachusetts Amherst on Tuesday, Oct. 26, at 7:30 p.m. in Mahar Auditorium. Her talk, which refers to her column in The Nation, is titled “Diary of a Mad Law Professor: Recent Entries.”

Williams’ appearance also is part of a semester-long program of events organized by the UMass Amherst history department to mark the 50th anniversary of the landmark Supreme Court decision that outlawed racial segregation in schools.

Williams is James L. Dohr Professor of Law at Columbia University. Her essays, which appear regularly in The Nation and other national journals, focus on the topics of gender, race, and the law. She is the author of three books, The Alchemy of Race and Rights: Diary of a Law Professor (1991), a collection of her essays on diverse subjects, including such high-profile incidents as the “Baby M” case and the Tawana Brawley controversy. In The Rooster’s Egg: On the Persistence of Prejudice (1995) and Seeing a Color-blind Future: The Paradox of Race (1998), she continued her exploration of a wide range of legal and cultural issues raised by contemporary events.

In all her writings, Williams brings to bear the hands-on experience of the American legal system’s workings that she gained early in her career as a deputy city attorney and staff lawyer at the Western Center on Law and Poverty in Los Angeles. In 2000, Williams was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship, the citation for which stated that “her voice has created a new form of legal writing and scholarship that integrates personal narrative, critical and literary theory, traditional legal doctrine, and empirical and sociological research.”

The Feinberg lecture series is made possible by the generosity of alumnus Kenneth Feinberg, his family and friends. Feinberg is the special master administering the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund, and a prominent Washington, D.C. lawyer who grew up in Brockton. He earned his bachelor’s degree in history from UMass Amherst in 1967.

For more information, contact professor Carl H. Nightingale at 413/244-3018.