The University of Massachusetts Amherst

Social Science Matters

The College of Social and Behavioral Sciences is home to a broad range of approaches to social science, all of which we celebrate, from purely theoretical and interpretive research to all manner of qualitative and quantitative research methodologies. One of our priorities is to ensure that this exciting social science research connects with the public while showing the relevance of the social sciences to everyday lives and policy.

The Social Science Matters series showcases the contributions of various social science disciplines to pressing current societal issues. The series demonstrate the cross-disciplinary connections within and beyond the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences and has covered topics such as inequality and resistance in past iterations.

The upcoming theme from Fall 2019 to Fall 2020 will be Critical Issues for the 2020 Election Cycle and will feature experts discussing policy and intellectual questions around immigration, health care, and other timely and relevant topics. We will be joined by a variety of speakers from across the country who will offer their valuable insights through a series of engaging panels.


Critical Issues for the 2020 Election Cycle: U.S. Immigration Policy

Date/Time: November 19, 2019, at 12:00pm. Light appetizers served at 11:45am.
Location: Old Chapel

Panelists: David Hernández (Mount Holyoke College), Deborah Schildkraut (Tufts University), and Abigail Williamson (Trinity College)

Moderator: Scott Blinder (UMass Amherst, Political Science)

U.S. immigration policy is dominating the headlines and promises to be one of the top controversial issues of the 2020 election. The upcoming panel brings together an array of prominent local immigration scholars for a moderated conversation about why we can't seem to resolve the immigration issue, why it is such a divisive topic, and what citizens should know about immigration in order to be informed voters. The panel includes experts on immigration enforcement, public opinion on immigration, and integration of immigrants into local communities. The event will include time for questions from audience members.


How to Submit a Speaker or Event Suggestion

We welcome suggestions from SBS faculty members for next year’s series. Suggestions are reviewed by the SBS Leadership Council and SBS Chairs. Your nomination can be for a specific speaker or for a panel featuring 2-3 speakers on a particular topic to be debated. Criteria for successful submission are as follows:

  1. The speaker should be a high-profile, scholarly social scientist who is very well known across disciplines.
  2. The proposed event should draw a large multi-disciplinary audience, also attracting students and community members.  
  3. Relevance and importance of speaker/topic
  4. Ability to articulate the contributions of social science in an engaging way
  5. The speaker or event will be co-hosted across at least two SBS departments

Submit A Speaker