UMass Amherst Department of Political Science

Event Videos

Faculty and students in the Department of Political Science regularly address some of the big questions in political science and legal studies. We sponsor events that address current events, historic acheivements, or set paths for future changes. Did you miss one of our lectures? Watch the video recap below.



Peculiar Institution: America's Death Penalty in an Age of Abolition

September 18, 2013

 Professor David Garland (NYU Law) gives the 9th annual Dean Alfange Jr. Lecture in American Constitutionalism at UMass Amherst. Prof. Garland speaks on his recent book Peculiar Institution: American's Death Penalty in an Age of Abolition.

Does Politics Matter Anymore? Indignados, Occupy, and the Economic Crisis

November 20, 2012

This lecture, part of a broader Lecture Series entitled "On Protest," is given by Martha Ackelsberg, who is William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of Government and of the Study of Women and Gender at Smith College, where she teaches courses on feminist and democratic theory, urban politics, wealth and poverty, and social movements. She has published numerous articles on anarchism, feminism, social movements, reconstructing families, and Jewish women. 

Occupy Everything and the 2011 Global Uprisings

October 30, 2012

Jeffrey Juris, Northeastern University, speaks at UMass Amherst as part of the On Protest Lecture Series

The Tea Party and the Remaking of Republican Conservatism

September 19, 2012

In this lecture, Professor Theda Skocpol (Harvard) discusses her recent book, The Tea Party and the Remaking of Republican Conservatism. This is part of the Elections in Uncertain Times lecture series at the Department of Political Science at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.


Health Care Reform and the Constitution

September 19, 2012

This is the 2012 distinguished Dean Alfange Jr. Lecture in American Constitutionalism, presented by Professor Sylvia A. Law. In this lecture, Professor Law discusses the 2012 US Supreme Court decision on the Affordable Care Act and the role of cooperative federalism. Professor Law is the Elizabeth K. Dollard Professor of Law, Medicine and Psychiatry at NYU Law. She has played a major role in dozens of civil rights cases before the U.S. Supreme Court. In 1984, Law became the first lawyer in the United States selected as a MacArthur Prize Fellow. In 2004, Prof. Law was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Ethnic Minority Migrants in Britain and France: Integration Trade Offs

September 11, 2012

Professor Rahsaan Maxwell discusses the central theory behind his new book: that social integration leads to trade-offs with economic and political integration. The logic behind this claim is that socially segregated groups may have difficulties interacting with mainstream society but will have more capacity for group mobilization. That mobilization can improve economic and political integration. In comparison, socially integrated groups may have greater capacity to interact with mainstream society but also less likelihood of developing significant group mobilization resources. As a result, this can limit their economic and political integration outcomes.

Carbon Democracy

May 9, 2012

In this lecture, Timothy Mitchell presented on the following topic: How do oil and democracy mix? Oil is a curse, we are told, that causes corruption and war, but Carbon Democracy tells a different story. He begins with the history of coal, which gave those who produced it the power to shut down energy systems, a power they used to build the first mass democracies. Oil offered the West an alternative source of energy, and a different form of politics. It helped create a denatured political life whose central object, the economy, appeared capable of infinite growth. It created democratic forces dependent on an undemocratic Middle East. And it left us with an impoverished political practice, incapable of addressing the crises of cheap energy and the carbon-fueled collapse of the ecological order.

This event was sponsored by the Department of Political Science and the Department of Judaic and Near Eastern Studies.

The Arab Spring: Year 2

April 12, 2012

As the Arab uprisings enter their second year, this panel discussion reflected on broader issues concerned with regional and global change. It also examined the current state of events in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Syria, Palestine, and elsewhere in the region. Topics included the role of the United States and other international actors, the ethics of intervention, changing dynamics of protest activities and repression on the ground, and political economy.

This event was sponsored by the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, the Department of Political Science, the Department of Communication, the Media Education Foundation, and the Department of Judaic and Near Eastern Studies.

Vicarious Resilience: A New Concept in Work with Those Who Survive Political Violence and Trauma

March 5, 2012

This event is part of the larger Art of Conflict Transformation Event Series of 2012.

Working with trauma survivors as a health or mental health professional is challenging and may place therapists at risk for developing compassion fatigue. However, this work also has the potential to affect therapists in a unique and positive manner. “Vicarious resilience” describes the positive meaning-making, growth, and transformations in a therapist’s experience resulting from exposure to clients’ resilience. This presentation examines vicarious resilience processes with trauma therapists who have worked with victims of political violence and educators in the U.S. and Colombia.

This talk was given by Prof. Pilar Hernandez-Wolfe.

Emerging Democracies

September 21, 2011

In recognition of Constitution Day, a program was held on emerging democracies, featuring professors Amel Ahmed, Angelica Bernal, and Frederic Schaffer, with John Brigham as moderator. A question and answer session follows individual presentations.

This event was sponsored by the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences and the Department of Political Science.

Will The Empire Strike Back?: New Popular Uprisings against Police States & Security Occupations 
May 2, 2011

“Tensions in the Development of Liberal Counterinsurgencies” Laleh Khalili, Oriental & African Studies, Univ. of London
“The Radical Parahuman Subjects of Egypt’s Revolution: New Perspectives on the Youth Movements, Police-Military Contentions, and Sexualized Labor behind Arab Spring” Paul Amar, Global & Int’l Studies, UC Santa Barbara

“Guantanamo: The Making and Unmaking of a Black Hole” Lisa Hajjar, Sociology, UC Santa Barbara
“Narrating Law as Occupier, Colonizer, Despot, Militant” Kathleen Cavanaugh, National University of Ireland
“In the Event of an Arab Uprising: A Dual Revolt Against Neoliberal Perogative” Sayres Rudy, Hampshire College
Sujani Reddy, Asian/Pacific/American Studies, Amherst College
Jillian Schwedler, Political Science, UMass Amherst

Popular Uprisings in the Middle East 
Feb 3, 2011

In recent weeks, millions of Arab citizens have taken to the streets of Tunisia, Egypt, Jordan, Yemen, and elsewhere.  What do these events mean?  What are the protesters demanding?  How, if at all, are these events connected to each other? And what might this mean for the future of the Middle East?

Panelists: Amel Ahmed, political science; David Mednicoff, public policy, social thought, Judaic and near eastern studies; Jillian Schwedler, political science
Please wait...
Please wait...