Fisher Center Opens 2010-11 Season – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Fisher Center Opens 2010-11 Season

This fall, the Fisher Center for the Study of Men and Women ushers in a new academic year with the introduction of a new series of speakers.  Guests this year will discuss the topic of Gender, Isolation and Imprisonment.

Prisons have held a place in society as areas of confinement and deprivation.  They are the strongholds for people who deviate from societal conventions and governmental rules.  However, they are also the places of great social change and struggle.  Prisons present a platform on which to discuss countless issues relating to society and gender.

“The committee threw out so many ideas, and this was one we all thought was timely,” says Fisher Center director and Associate Professor of Political Science Cedric Johnson.   “Focus on prisons – both domestic and international – has relevance today; whether its issues of torture or imprisonment, the last presidential election, and the controversies surrounding places like Camp X-Ray, proved that this is something that is very important and pertinent.”

Not only does the theme of imprisonment play a particularly prominent role in current events, it is also a topic that has deep connections to the past, and the forming of society as it exists today.  “There is so much historically connected with prisons,” remarks Johnson.  “Prisons are important places where struggles begin and changes emerge.  It is also a topic that presents us with a wide range of thought-provoking speakers.”

With a variety of prolific speakers joining the Fisher Center series this year, a broad range of perspectives on prisons and imprisonment will be presented.  “After Loïc Wacquant’s opening talk, we have people who will take this idea in different directions,” explains Johnson.  “We want to tie the theme in with the Fisher Center’s focus on gender and social justice. Next spring, we will have Michael Leo Owens, who will speak about felons re-entering society as disenfranchised people.”

The Fisher Center will open its speaker series with a lecture from Dr. Loïc Wacquant, Sociology Professor at University of California, Berkley, one of the world’s foremost sociologists writing on prison today.  The lecture, “Engendering the Punitive State: Workfare and Prisonfare in Post-Civil Rights America,” will take place Wednesday, Sept. 22 at 8 p.m. in the Geneva Room.  Other speakers at the Fisher Center this fall include University of Binghamton Sociology Professor, and human rights activist, Dr. Juanlta Diaz-Cotto on Wednesday, Oct. 20, and Associate Professor of History at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Dr. Jasmine Alinder on Wednesday, Nov. 10.

The Center was endowed with a $1 million gift from Emily and the late Richard Fisher, whose son Alexander graduated from Hobart College in 1993. Creation of the Fisher Center for the Study of Women and Men reflects a perfect intersection of the Colleges’ coordinate history and trends in the study of gender throughout academe.

The photo above features Dr. Loïc Wacquant.