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Academic Speaker Series

The mission of the Academic Speaker Series is to promote the intellectual environment of the College and to facilitate discussion of important issues in the community.

Fall 2016 Academic Speaker Series

The Landmark College Speaker Series' mission is to promote the intellectual environment of the College and to facilitate discussion of important issues in the community. Free and open to the public, these events are held on Mondays at 7 p.m. in the Brooks M. O’Brien Auditorium, located in the East Academic Building of Landmark College, unless otherwise noted. Please note the November 14th event will take place at Next Stage Arts in downtown Putney.

September 12: "Unraveling the Knot of Race" with Allan Johnson
September 26: "Only God is Good": Islam Through the Words of Jesus with Amer Latif
October 17: "Off Target: What Hollywood, Journalist, and Shooters Get Wrong About Guns" with Mark Timney
November 14: "Imagining the Re-Integration of Art and Humanity" with Carlton Turner

Headshot of Allan Johnson"Unraveling the Knot of Race"
Allan Johnson
Monday, September 12, 7 p.m.
Brooks M. O'Brien Auditorium, East Academic Building

One of the greatest barriers to ending racism and other forms of privilege is that we are trapped in cultural ways of thinking that turn conversations about privilege and oppression into occasions for members of dominant groups to feel guilty, defensive, and angry. As a result, the conversations we need to have either happen badly or, more often, don't happen at all. This presentation offers an alternative way of thinking about issues of privilege that can help to overcome that barrier. It is based on Allan Johnson's books, The Gender Knot (third edition, 2014) and Privilege, Power, and Difference (2nd edition, 2005).

Allan G. Johnson is a nonfiction author, novelist, sociologist, public speaker, and workshop presenter who has devoted most of his working life to understanding the human condition, especially in relation to issues of social justice rooted in gender, race, and social class. He has spoken at more than 200 universities, colleges, corporations, and other organizations in 39 states. His social justice work is based on a deeply held belief that systems of privilege and the injustice and unnecessary suffering that result are not inevitable features of human life, and that the choices each of us make matter more than we can ever know. For more about his work, visit his website and his blog.


Headshot of Amer Latif“Only God is Good”: Islam Through the Words of Jesus
Amer Latif
Monday, September 26, 7 p.m.
Brooks M. O’Brien Auditorium, East Academic Building

This talk introduces Islamic teachings, ritual practices, and the sharia by using a story from the Gospels in which Jesus answers the questions of a rich man who desires to become his disciple. Although there are significant differences between Islam and Christianity, this comparative approach allows us to grasp some fundamental similarities between these two Abrahamic faith traditions.

Amer Latif has been professor of religious studies at Marlboro College since 2003. His research focuses primarily on Islamic mystical texts and practices. He is also interested in the issues surrounding cultural translation and has published translations of the poetry of Jalaluddin Rumi, the 13th century Muslim scholar and mystic. A current resident of Putney, he grew up in Pakistan and came to the United States for college. After getting a B.A. in physics from Bard College, he received his Ph.D. in comparative literature from Stony Brook University.  

This event is co-hosted by the Brattleboro Area Interfaith Initiative. For more information about this initiative, contact Rupa Cousins at

Missed this talk? Watch the video


Headshot of Mark Timney

"Off Target: What Hollywood, Journalists, and Shooters Get Wrong About Guns" 
Mark Timney
Monday, October 17, 7 p.m.
Brooks M. O’Brien Auditorium, East Academic Building

This is an apolitical examination into the mythology that surrounds firearms. The term “mythology” is especially appropriate here given that much of what the average person, even the average gun owner, thinks s/he knows about guns is inaccurate. Without getting into a discussion about what we should or shouldn’t do about the issue of guns, Keene State College professor Mark Timney’s lecture and discussion will instead examine how our perceptions of firearms have been distorted by media and folklore. Such distortions—about the mechanics, ease of use, and lethality of guns— have seriously hindered public discussion about the regulation of firearms. 

Mark Timney is an award-winning mass communicator and educator with more than 20 years of professional experience. He's worked as a television reporter, producer and news anchor, healthcare public relations professional, freelance magazine and Internet writer, and public relations and advertising consultant. Mark earned his M.S. in journalism and Ph.D. in mass communication from Ohio University. When he isn't at Keene State you might find him flying his hang glider, riding his motorcycle, in his kitchen cooking, or playing lead guitar in his classic rock band "Observant Ego."

Headshot of Carlton Turner (photo credit: Xiauna Lin Turner)“Imagining the Re-Integration of Art and Humanity”
Carlton Turner
Monday, November 14, 7 p.m.
Next Stage Arts, downtown Putney

(This talk is the Keynote Address for “Voices of Community” Conference at Next Stage Arts.)

“Imagining the Re-integration of Art and Humanity” sounds like the title for an liberal arts college course, but it is more of a call to action for all of those interested in understanding the answers to the greatest challenges of our time. This talk will examine the connection between the commodification of art as a product and the separation of art from cultural practice and purpose and the impact of that disconnection on the development of our collective humanity. 

Carlton Turner is the Executive Director of Alternate ROOTS, a regional non-profit arts organization based in the South. Carlton is also co-founder and co-artistic director, along with his brother Maurice Turner, of the group M.U.G.A.B.E.E. (Men Under Guidance Acting Before Early Extinction). M.U.G.A.B.E.E. is a performing arts group that blends of jazz, hip-hop, spoken word poetry and soul music together with non-traditional storytelling. M.U.G.A.B.E.E. has released two albums, Earth Tones (2002) and World Domination (2006); written and produced two plays Steal Away (2001) and Batteries in the Killing Machine (2005). Throughout Carlton’s career he has worked as a lead convener with Voices from the Cultural Battlefront: Organizing for Cultural Equity, an ongoing 20+ year international conversation about the role of art and culture in the struggle for human rights; a panelist and facilitator with the Center for Civic Participation Arts & Democracy Project helping to present conversations in more than six cities. 

Past Speakers

Our speakers' talks are recorded and broadcast by Brattleboro Community Television (BCTV). 

Watch videos of past speakers

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