The Oakley Center was established in 1985 to support research across the humanities and social sciences, with a special emphasis on interdisciplinary work. Since that time, it has come to play a vital role in the scholarly life of Williams College. The Center provides a meeting place where faculty and administrative staff can pursue their intellectual and research interests. It sponsors many events and programs throughout the year, some exclusively for faculty and staff and others for the entire campus and the wider public.

Featured Events

Post-Discipline: Literature, Professionalism, and the Crisis of the Humanities

Merve Emre

October 6 Thursday, 4:30pm | Oakley Center

While literature departments in North America have experienced decreasing student enrollments, budget cuts, and program closures since the end of the Cold War, the study of literature has flourished in schools of professional education. Since the 1970s, business schools, medical schools, and law schools (and their associated commercial and media spaces) have started to emerge as new sites for literary pedagogy, investing in courses, degree-granting programs, and institutes that promise to draw productive links between reading literature and professional practice in a connexionist economy. "Post-Discipline" is a sociological account of North American literary studies and contemporary literature after the institutionalization of high theory and, subsequently, the deterritorialization of literary pedagogy: its escape or departure from the literature classroom.

The Annual Davis Lecture | Policing Black Women: The Urgency of Reproductive Justice

Dorothy E. Roberts

October 18 Thursday, 7:00pm | Online

Dorothy E. Roberts is an American sociologist, law professor, and social justice advocate. She is Penn Integrates Knowledge Professor, George A. Weiss University Professor, and the inaugural Raymond Pace and Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander Professor of Civil Rights at the University of Pennsylvania. Her path breaking work in law and public policy focuses on urgent social justice issues in policing, family regulation, science, medicine, and bioethics.She is the author of more than 100 scholarly articles and book chapters, as well as a co-editor of six books on such topics as constitutional law and women and the law.

Fall 2022 Event Announcements

We have a fascinating roster of events lined up for this semester and in spring 2023, read more and RSVP here!

Introducing the Clark-Oakley Fellow

We welcome Jonathan Flatley, Professor of English at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan, as the 2022-2023 Clark-Oakley Fellow. His research concerns collective emotion as it takes shape in aesthetic forms, and he is the author of Affective
Mapping: Melancholia and the Politics of Modernism (Harvard University Press, 2008), Like Andy Warhol (University of Chicago Press, 2017), and co-editor, with Jennifer Doyle and José Esteban Muñoz, of Pop Out: Queer Warhol (Duke University Press, 1996). He recently completed a new book titled Black Leninism: How Revolutionary Counter-Moods Are Made. As Clark-Oakley Fellow, Flatley will be working on a book about liking and being like trees.

We respectfully acknowledge that Williams College stands on the ancestral homelands of the Stockbridge-Munsee Mohicans, who are the Indigenous peoples of the region now called Williamstown. Following tremendous hardship after being forced from their valued homelands, they continued as a sovereign Tribal Nation in Wisconsin, which is where they reside today. We pay honor and respect to their ancestors past and present as we commit to building a more inclusive and equitable space for all.