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Dreams and Nightmares: The Promises and Perils of Revolutionary Visions

'Smash the Old World, Build the New World" (c.1967)

What is at stake, and what is at risk, in the building of new worlds? What makes one effort to transform the world liberatory, and another oppressive? How and why have fundamentally oppressive visions appeared liberatory to some people? How and why have many movements for liberation resulted in maintaining or creating new forms of oppression? Most important, how can we learn from these examples to engage more effectively and in more liberatory ways in our own movement building? 

Five College historians will share their expertise on nightmarish visions of social transformation and oppressive aspects of liberatory movements around the world. Short presentations will be followed by an open conversation on the tough questions faced by all revolutionaries. 

Presenters include:

  • Laura Briggs (Professor of Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies, UMass)
  • Alon Confino (Professor of History and Director of the Institute for Holocaust, Genocide and Memory Studies, UMass)
  • Sigrid Schmalzer (Professor of History, UMass)
  • Diana Sierra Becerra (Postdoctoral Fellow and Lecturer in History and Latin American & Latina/o Studies, Smith)
  • Priyanka Srivastava (Associate Professor of History and Economics, UMass)
  • Kevin Young (Assistant Professor of History, UMass)

Event Information
Location Information: Marcus Hall is located on the north side of campus at 100 Natural Resources Road. Free parking is available in many staff parking lots after 5:00 pm. Click here for a campus map with the venue and nearby parking indicated and click here for a bus schedule.

Note location change. This event was previously scheduled for the Institute for Holocaust, Genocide and Memories Studies. The location was changed in order to ensure that there would be sufficient space. Marcus Hall is a short distance from the Institute. There will be signage and guides available to direct you to the new location. Transportation will be available from the Institute to Marcus Hall for those with accessibility needs. 

Accessibility: Marcus Hall is wheelchair accessible. More information: accessible parkingcampus accessibility map.

Young people of all ages are welcome at this event and all Feinberg Series events. There will be coloring books and crayons available for children. Stipends are available to support transportation for bringing groups of young adults to the event. Contact for details.

If you need directions or additional assistance to plan your visit, or to request specific accommodations, please contact the History Department's communications assistant, Adeline Broussan, at

About the Feinberg Series

The 2018 Feinberg Series theme is Another World Is Possible: Revolutionary Visions, Past and Present. Series events and initiatives will explore the radical imaginations of intellectuals, artists, political leaders, renegade thinkers, community organizers, and everyday people who have worked to make another world possible. All events are FREE and open to the public. The Feinberg Family Distinguished Lecture Series is offered every other academic year by the Department of History at UMass Amherst and made possible thanks to the generosity of UMass history department alumnus Kenneth R. Feinberg ’67 and associates.

Visit the Feinberg Series webpage for more information about the series.

Feinberg Series Co-sponsors and Community Partners: Amherst College: Department of American Studies and Department of Anthropology and Sociology. Hampshire College: Ethics and the Common Good and Hampshire College Art Gallery. Mount Holyoke College: Department of English. Smith College: Department of History and Latin American and Latino/a Studies Program. UMass Amherst: Anthropology Department, Center for Research on Families, Civic Engagement and Service Learning, College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Commonwealth Honors College, Communications Department, English Department, Fine Arts Center (keynote), Graduate School (keynote), Institute for Social Science Research, James Baldwin Lecture, established by Allen Davis '68 (keynote), Labor Center, Institute for Holocaust, Genocide and Memory Studies, Massachusetts Society of Professors, Office of Equity & Inclusion (keynote), Office of the Provost (keynote), Political Science Department, Public History Program, Prison Abolition Collective, Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies, Social Thought and Political Economy Program, Student Affairs and Campus Life (keynote), Student Government Association, University Museum of Contemporary Art, Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies Department, W.E.B. Du Bois Department of Afro-American Studies. Community Organizations: Arise for Social Justice, All Hamptons Reads, Collaborative for Educational Services, David Ruggles Center, Great Falls Books Through Bars, Historians for Peace and Democracy, International Socialist Organization Western Mass, Massachusetts Peace Action, Northampton Committee to Stop the Wars, Out Now, Pa’lante Restorative Justice, Pioneer Valley Democratic Socialists of America, Pioneer Valley Workers Center, Racial Justice Rising, Resistance Center for Peace and Justice, Springfield No One Leaves, Western Mass Jobs with Justice, Western Mass Prison Abolition Network, and Western Mass Showing Up for Racial Justice.