Feinberg Family Lecture Series

The Feinberg Family Distinguished Lecture Series is an endowed series offered every other academic year by the Department of History at UMass Amherst. Each series focuses on a contemporary public policy or social issue in historical perspective and features a wide variety of events, from lectures and exhibitions, to performances, panel discussions and films. 

The most recent series explored the theme, The U.S. in the Age of Mass Incarceration. This series took a critical look at the ways that state violence, mass incarceration, and mass criminalization have transformed the U.S. economy, culture and society. Other prior series themes have included immigration, truth and reconciliation, politics and protest, civil rights, and more.

The Feinberg Family Distinguished Lecture Series is made possible thanks to the generosity of UMass history department alumnus Kenneth R. Feinberg (B. A., 1967) and associates. Kenneth R. Feinberg grew up in Brockton, Massachusetts and received his B. A. in History from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 1967. A renowned attorney and one of the nation’s leading experts in resolving legal disputes out of court, Feinberg served as special-settlement master in a number of major class-action suits involving victims of asbestos, Agent Orange, securities fraud, the Dalkon shield. Feinberg also served as the government-appointed administrator of the BP Deepwater Horizon Disaster Victim Compensation Fund and the One Fund, the victim assistance fund established in the wake of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings. Most prominently, Feinberg served as director of the Congressional fund to assist the families of those killed or injured in the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. He oversaw the distribution of almost $7,000,000,000 and his book, What is Life Worth?: The Unprecedented Effort to Compensate the Victims of 9/11 (Perseus, 2005), grew out of that experience. Mr. Feinberg has been the recipient of numerous honors and awards, including an honorary doctorate from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 2002.