Fisher Center 2019-20: “The Drowned World” – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Fisher Center 2019-20: “The Drowned World”

Throughout the 2019-20 academic year, the Fisher Center for the Study of Gender and Justice will host a series of speakers and events exploring the theme, “The Drowned World: Water, Politics, and the Future.”

Aligning with the campus-wide Year of Water, “The Drowned World” will explore water as a conduit for connection, the undercurrent of life. From struggles over social justice movements from Flint, Standing Rock and Seneca Lake to Palestine, India and New Zealand, this year’s series will examine the role water plays as a resource in the struggles for a better world, addressing questions such as: How does one recover submerged histories and afterlives—of slave trade, piracy, lawlessness and statelessness? How is the sea as a ground of colonial violence implicated in the liberatory imaginings of the oceanic?

“The Drowned World” names the loss of hope, the breakdown of sociality and apocalyptic visions that accompany climate change, while at the same time drawing out the hybrid entanglements that inspire us to imagine new flows of life and currents of possibility.

Sharpe Chirstina Fisher Center 3The series begins on Wednesday, Sept. 18 with “The Ethics of Dust,” a lecture by Christina Sharpe, professor of humanities at York University and distinguished visiting professor at Ryerson University. Sharpe is the author of two books: Monstrous Intimacies: Making Post-Slavery Subjects (2010) and In the Wake: On Blackness and Being (2016) both published by Duke University Press. The Guardian named In the Wake one of the best books of 2016. Sharpe is currently working on a monograph titled Black. Still. Life.

On Wednesday, Oct. 23, the Fisher Center welcomes Nick Estes, a citizen of the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe and assistant professor of American studies at the University of New Mexico. As an activist and researcher, Estes has concentrated on indigenous resistance in an era of climate change, with particular attention to the water protectors of Standing Rock. He is the author of Our History Is the Future: Standing Rock Versus the Dakota Access Pipeline, and the Long Tradition of Indigenous Resistance.

On Wednesday, Oct. 30, physicist and award-winning science fiction writer Vandana Singh joins the series. Singh is chair of the Department of Physics and Earth Science at Framingham State University in Massachusetts. Singh also serves on the Advisory Council of METI (Messaging Extraterrestrial Intelligence). She is the author of numerous short stories and novellas.

Other speakers and events will be announced later this year.

Endowed with a $1 million gift from Emily and the late Richard Fisher, whose son Alexander graduated from Hobart College in 1993, the Fisher Center was inaugurated in October 1998 with an event titled “Engendering the Future: Educating Women, Educating Men, Educating Women and Men,” featuring noted experts Carol Gilligan, renowned feminist, psychologist and professor; and Michael Kimmel, author and editor of many influential books on the topic of masculinity.

Since then, the Fisher Center has hosted nearly a dozen events each year, bringing together faculty, students and experts in gender-related fields in the arts, humanities and social and natural sciences to foster mutual understanding and social justice in contemporary society. Reflecting the intersection of the Colleges’ coordinate history and trends in the study of gender throughout academe, the Fisher Center builds upon the Colleges’ long-held commitment to interdisciplinary liberal arts education.