Society, Culture, and Thought Colloquium Series

The Society, Culture, and Thought Colloquium invites you to explore social questions and problems at the heart of contemporary debates. 

Upcoming Events — Spring 2022

Dr. Eli Nelson

Dr. Eli Nelson

February 28, 2022

Dr. Eli Nelson (haudenosaunee/kanien’kehá:ka) teaches in the American Studies and Science and Technology Studies Programs at Williams College. He is also the Director of Research at The Center for Black, Brown, and Queer Studies. Dr. Nelson will give a presentation entitled, "Kānaka Maoli Voyaging Technology and Geography Beyond Colonial Difference."

Munira Khayyat

Munira Khayyat

April 11, 2022

Munira Khayyat is Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology, Egyptology and Anthropology at American University in Cairo. Khayyat will give a presentation entitled, "War from the South: Resistant Ecologies in a Landscape of Occupation."

Dr. Maggie Dickinson

Dr. Maggie Dickinson

April 25, 2022

Dr. Maggie Dickinson is Associate Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies at Stella and Charles Guttman Community College, City University of New York. Dr. Dickinson will give a presentation entitled, "Policing the Grocery Store."

Lucas Bessire

Lucas Bessire

March 14, 2022

Lucas Bessire is an American writer, filmmaker and anthropologist. His work focuses on politics, environment and media in the Americas. Currently, he is an associate professor of Anthropology at the University of Oklahoma. He will give a presentation entitled, "Aquifer Aporias: Towards an Anthropology of Groundwater Depletion."

Bennington College Guest COVID Vaccination Protocol
Bennington College requires that all guests be vaccinated and have the appropriate vaccine booster. To enter into a building on campus, guests are asked to complete a visitor form—ideally 24 hours before their arrival. Visitors who have not completed this form will be asked to show their vaccination card before entering any campus buildings. Masking indoors is required in any shared spaces.

Past Event Series

Fall 2021

Carol Pal
Monday, Sep 13 2021

Carol Pal has been a professor of history of early modern Europe at Bennington College since 2008. Pal’s first book, Republic of Women: Rethinking the Republic of Letters in the Seventeenth Century, is a case study of female scholars in the seventeenth-century Republic of Letters. Published in 2012 by Cambridge University Press, the book won the Joan Kelly Memorial Prize for best book in women’s history from the American Historical Association. Watch the recording.

Rotimi Suberu
Monday, September 27 2021

Rotimi Suberu has been a professor of Politics and International Relations at Bennington College since 2008. His research interests are Nigerian government and politics, the management of ethnic and religious conflicts, and federalism and democratization. "Nigeria is Africa's demographic giant, multi-ethnic colossus, and oldest federal system. This talk Suberu will discuss the country's struggles to craft a stable federal 'solution' to its perennial challenges with national integration, democratization, and socio-economic development." Watch the recording. 

Emily Waterman
Monday, Oct 11 2021

Emily Waterman is an applied developmental scientist, and has been a professor of Phycology at Bennington College since 2020. This talk entitled “Promoting youth development through community-engaged violence prevention".In this presentation, Waterman will share findings from a recent multi-method evaluation of a youth-led sexual violence prevention initiative. She will then share updates from a current project that seeks to develop and evaluate a family-based adverse childhood experience prevention program for primarily Indigenous families. She will discuss lessons learned in the areas of community-based prevention as well as areas for future directions. Watch the recording.    

Thomas Leddy-Cecere
Monday, Oct 25 2021

Leddy-Cecere is a scholar of language variation and language change, and a professor of linguistics at Bennington College since 2018. In his talk Leddy-Cecere “The role of contact in the rise of grammar across Arabic dialects” will introduce elements of his ongoing research into socially-induced change in the grammatical systems of modern Arabic, examine this link between metaphor and grammar, and will apply this lens to data from several dozen modern Arabic speech communities. Watch the recording. 

Spring 2021

The Society, Culture, and Thought Colloquium invites you to explore social questions and problems at the heart of contemporary debates.

Nicole Starosielski
Monday, April 19 2021

Nicole Starosielski is Associate Professor of Media, Culture, and Communication at New York University. Her research focuses on the connections between media, infrastructures, and environments. This talk entitled "How Climate Change Will Kill the Internet: A Forecast" is a forecast of what will happen to the undersea cable system, internet infrastructure, and the content it circulates in the wake of climate change.

Tung-Hui Hu
Monday, April 26 2021

Poet, media scholar, and former network engineer, Tung-Hui Hu is an associate professor of English at the University of Michigan. This talk entitled "Enter Sleep Mode" starts from the unorthodox idea that a study of technical interactions is not just about decoding platforms but also about studying service work—call center operators, wait staff, even sex workers.

Kris Paulsen
Monday, May 3 2021

Kris Paulsen is associate professor in the Department of History of Art at The Ohio State University. This talk on "Oracular Intelligence" examines how the bodies, figures and forms we give to AI, as much as their “brains,” determine the kinds of relationships we can have with them and the futures they can offer to us in return.

Spring 2018 Beyond the Binaries : Gender Formations Across Space and Time

The Society, Culture, and Thought Colloquium invites you to explore social questions and problems at the heart of contemporary debates. For Spring 2018, the Colloquium brings to campus a series of distinguished scholars whose work engages the complexities of diverging gender formations across time, space and culture.

Thursday, May 3 2018
Susan Stryker

Ruth D. Ewing Lecture presents Susan Stryker, an award-winning scholar and filmmaker whose historical research, theoretical writing, and creative works have helped shape the cultural conversation on transgender topics since the early 1990s. Watch the video.

Monday, Apr 23 2018
Gregory C. Mitchell

Gregory C. Mitchell is an Assistant Professor at Williams College in Women's, Gender & Sexuality Studies. He gave a lecture on "Tourist Attractions: Performing Race and Masculinity in Brazil’s Sexual Economy."

Monday, April 16, 2018
Sahar Sadjadi

Sahar Sadjadi is Assistant Professor of Sexuality, Women's and Gender Studies at Amherst College and a trained medical doctor. She gave a lecture titled "From Domineering Mom to True Gender Self: The Clinical Management of Gender in Children."

Monday, April 2, 2018
Ann Marie Leshkowich

Ann Marie Leshkowich is Professor of Anthropology and Director of Asian Studies at College of the Holy Cross. She gave a lecture titled "Affective Expertise: Gender, Class, and the Labor of Social Work in Ho Chi Minh City."

Monday, March 19, 2018
Verónica Yáñez

Verónica Zebadúa Yáñez currently works on the concept of freedom as lived experience in the political theories of Hannah Arendt and Simone de Beauvoir. She gave a lecture titled "Thinking Feminist Freedom with Hannah Arendt and Simone de Beauvoir." Watch the video.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018
Eileen Zurbriggen

Eileen Zurbriggen is a Professor of Psychology at UCSC and the Chair of the American Psychological Association Task Force on the Sexualization of Young Girls. She gave a lecture titled "The Sexualization of Girls: Feminist Reflections on Objectification and Empowerment."

Fall 2017 | Neoliberalism and Its Discontents  

Through engagement with a series of talks by distinguished scholars, the campus community explored what is Neoliberalism and what are its effects using economic, political, cultural, and psychological perspectives. 


Vamsi VakulabharanamMonday, September 18, 2017
"Class Inequalities in India and China in Neoliberal Times"
A lecture by Vamsi Vakulabharanam

In his research, Vakulabharanam argues for a theoretical framework that incorporates two levels of political economic processes. First, global capitalist crises lead to the creation of an institutional structure or a regime in the capitalist centers that influences inequality in these core countries and in the periphery. Second, the class configuration in the non-core countries set institutional arrangements that play a key role in determining inequality outcomes. Watch the video


Laina Bay-ChengMonday, September 25, 2017
"Sexuality, Choice and Power in a Neoliberal Age"
A lecture by Laina Bay-Cheng

Laina Bay-Cheng, Associate Professor and PhD Program Director, School of Social Work at the University of Buffalo. Since the beginning of her career, she has concentrated on the social determinants of young women’s sexual well-being. In contrast to the dominant equation of youth sexuality with risk, Bay-Cheng contends that young women’s vulnerability to negative sexual experiences stems from unjust social norms and material conditions. Reflecting her interdisciplinary background and perspective, she is pursuing two lines of questioning in her current research projects: 1) how young women’s sexual experiences, including of unwanted sex, vary at intersections of gender, class, and race; and 2) the impact of neoliberal ideology on constructions of young women’s sexuality. 


Lisa DugganOctober 12, 2017
"Up Against 'The Wall': Intersectional Organizing Against the Global Right
A lecture by Lisa Duggan

Lisa Duggan is Professor of Social and Cultural Analysis at New York University. Journalist, activist, ambivalent academic, and a leading Queer Theorist. Author of Twilight of Equality?: Neoliberalism, Cultural Politics, and the Attack on Democracy (Beacon, 2003) and Sapphic Slashers: Sex, Violence, and American Modernity (Duke, 2000). Co-author with Nan Hunter of Sex Wars: Sexual Dissent and Political Culture (Routledge, 1995; 10th anniversary edition 2006), and co-editor with Lauren Berlant of Our Monica, Ourselves: The Clinton Affair and National Interest (NYU Press, 2001). Watch the video


Fred BlockOctober 16, 2017
"Capitalism: The Future of an Illusion"
A lecture by Fred Block

Fred Block is a political and economic sociologist at UC Davis. Block’s work has helped debunk the widespread claims that the "free market" alone will drive the innovation process. On this score, his work is critical for a number of different constituents, in the U.S. and around the globe: scientists, creative workers, university administrators, and a host of other researchers. For the last seven years Block has been researching the activities of the U.S. government in support of the commercialization of new technologies. He has published an edited book on these programs called the State of Innovation: The U.S. Government's Role in Technology Development. His earlier books include The Power of Market Fundamentalism: Karl Polanyi’s Critique written with Margaret R. Somers, The Origins of International Economic Disorder (1977), Postindustrial Possibilities (1990), and The Vampire State (1996). Watch the video

Spring 2017 | Solidarity and the Self 

In this Spring speaker series, the campus explored how a individual's sense of self-becomes tied to political movements and solidarity activism. We examined this questions using queer theory, psychological, political science, environmental studies, and women of color feminist perspectives. 

Giovanna di chiroMonday, May 8, 2017
"Embodied Ecologies: Whose Stories? Whose Anthropocene?"
A lecture by Dr. Giovanna Di Chiro

Dr. Giovanna Di Chiro is the Lang Professor for Issues of Social Change at Swarthmore College. She has published widely on the intersections of race, class, gender, and environmental justice with a focus on activism and policy change addressing environmental health disparities in lower-income communities. Watch the video

Ronnie Janoff-BulmanMonday, May 1, 2017
"Morality: A Dual System Perspective"
A lecture by Ronnie Janoff-Bulman

Dr. Janoff-Bulman is a world-renowned political psychologist and the head of the graduate psychology program at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Janoff-Bulman’s research on victimization and trauma led to the groundbreaking book Shattered Assumptions: Towards a New Psychology of Trauma (1992). Watch the video

Sarah SchulmanThursday, March 9, 2017
"Conflict is Not Abuse"
A lecture by Sarah Schulman 

Novelist, essayist, playwright, queer activist, and Distinguished Professor of the Humanities at the College of Staten Island, Sarah Schulman offers an eye-opening and original perspective on the cultural phenomenon of blame and scapegoating, as explored in her acclaimed work, Conflict Is Not Abuse: Overstating Harm, Community Responsibility, and the Duty of Repair. Watch the video