Special

Will be shown below the Features (if any).

Spring 2021 Cover

Illustration showing a cracked but recovering America. Illustration by Nicolás Ortega.

Illustration by Nicolás Ortega  

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The Power of Narrative

Illustration of a flying eagle. Illustration by Nicolás Ortega.

By Amy T. Lovett, Editor-in-Chief   “This is nowhere near the whole story.”  I was reminded of that fact in late March, during a virtual conference hosted by Boston University, where historian and writer Jelani Cobb was discussing what he called the “particular power” of narrative.  “We make sense of the world through narrative,” Cobb said.

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Planned Evolution

Illustration of a drooping daisy. Illustration by Nicolás Ortega.

By Maud S. Mandel, President   On the surface, Williams looks different in 2021 from the way it did in 1921 or 1821. But something essential has been retained from one era to the next. A flame was kept, a torch passed, and we’re its latest keepers. Our job is to carry the light forward through

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Campus News

Photo showing how some teachers met with students outdoors, masked and distanced

The Outlook for Fall “A residential learning experience is the very heart of what makes Williams special.” —Maud S. Mandel   Provided the health outlook continues to improve, the college has announced tentative plans to open in the fall for a fully in-person semester.  Strict health and safety protocols, including wearing masks, social distancing and routine testing,

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Together at Williams

Photo showing students involved in an art project

Highlights from a year unlike any other. Photographs by Bradley Wakoff   Click any image to make it larger and read the caption. Once you’ve selected an image, you can scroll through the entire gallery by clicking on the left or right arrow.    

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Mapping Ballet’s “Dark Stars”

Old photo of Doris Jones en pointe

A student project helps recover the stories of Black artists, schools and influences in ballet.   By Kate Abbott ’00   In a 1948 photograph, Doris W. Jones stands en pointe with the light on her shoulders. Already an exceptional dancer, choreographer and teacher, she would go on to have wide influence with leaders in

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More than Medicine

Portrait of Laura Wang

New courses and a debut speaker series connect pre-med study to the liberal arts.  By Julia Munemo   The daughter of two physicians and the sister of a medical resident, Laura Wang ’21 wasn’t planning to follow her family’s career path. She came to Williams for the liberal arts. In her freshman year, she took

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Critical Partnerships

Photo of brown leather fringed leg stockings

An alumni-funded internship fuels a student’s interest in heritage and art repatriation. By Meadhbh Ginnane ’21   Deep in the Williams College Museum of Art’s storage, a slim box sits in an unobtrusive cabinet—the odd eternal resting place of a human hand. Originally from Egypt, the hand is almost 2,000 years old, cracked and brown with

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From Activism to Action

Portrait of Mohammed Memfis

Meet the new generation of Williams leaders fighting for environmental justice. By Vicki Glembocki   Mohammed Memfis ’21 was working with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in Georgia when he arrived in rural Randolph County to fight voter suppression. A Williams freshman at the time, he quickly learned that the residents he was assisting, most

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Research, Untethered

Photo of Bertie Miller climbing an ice crevasse

By Bertie Miller ’18   Many of my queer friends have their own versions of the same story: minding your business—usually in a restroom—only to be yanked into a matrix of power and exposure by a stranger who wants to know, delicately or aggressively, “What are you?” Sometimes this sounds like: “This is the women’s

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An Undaunted Spirit

Portrait of John Hubbell

By John Hubbell ’71   I am living with death.  A week and a half ago, prior to beginning a new clinical trial, my oncologist said to me, “I am very worried. Plan for the worst, and hope for the best.”  While this may seem harsh, he spoke in the most gentle and caring manner. He

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A Matrix of Catastrophe

Illustration depicting reading about disasters

By Jim Shepard Illustration by Carmen Segovia   Here’s how preoccupied with catastrophe I’ve been: One of my earliest reading memories was a book called All About Volcanoes, and by the time I hit first grade I was one of the fierce early proponents of the asteroid theory when it came to the dinosaurs’ extinction (a

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Breaking the Code

Old photo showing how women worked as decoders

Interview by Soledad Fox Maura   Two movies and a forthcoming book—the work of Sarah Megan Thomas ’01, Hilary Klotz Steinman ’90 and Amy Butler Greenfield ’91, respectively—reveal the untold stories of female spies and codebreakers during World War II. This past winter, the alumnae sat down together over Zoom for a conversation with Williams

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Strength and Resilience

Photo of a woman getting a shot

By Jessie Kerr ’06   My husband and I moved to the Navajo Reservation nearly six years ago to become “rez docs.” I’m a pediatrician; he’s an internist. We completed two monthlong rotations in Shiprock, N.M., during our training, and friends and family offered constant praise for our decision to work with a marginalized population in

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The Myth of the Model Minority

Photo of vintage poster showing fear of Chinese

By Danny Jin ’20   Soon Chung Park, 74; Hyun Jung Grant, 51; Suncha Kim, 69; Yong Ae Yue, 63; Delaina Ashley Yaun, 33; Paul Andre Michels, 54; Xiaojie Tan, 49; Daoyou Feng, 44. In the days after these eight people—six of whom identified as Asian women—were shot and killed at Atlanta-area spas, it was astounding

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An American Tragedy

Photo of Asian women at a protest

  By Jiayang Fan ’06   On Tuesday, March 16, while eating out with a friend, I received a text: “Just holding you close in my heart tonight.” It was from a Taiwanese American friend and New York State Assembly member, Yuh-Line Niou. I thought she was referring to an alarming uptick in anti-Asian crimes in

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Claiming Williams: In Conversation

Interview by Kelsey M. Jones ’08 Illustrations by Molly Magnell   In a virtual campus event that drew hundreds of attendees, Distinguished Visiting Professor of Education Kelsey M. Jones ’08 and noted legal scholar, advocate and author Michelle Alexander discussed community building, fierce love and the messy, courageous path to justice. Kelsey M. Jones ’08: 

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Familiar Trouble

Illustration showing Black and white people on the same playing card

  By Charles B. Dew ’58 Illustration by Carmen Segovia   We are currently witnessing the death throes of white supremacy in our country. And it is not a pretty sight. As someone who has spent the major part of my adult life trying to understand the history of the American South, it has been, in

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What Will Liberate Us

Illustration of Black hands breaking out of police tape

By DJ Polite ’13 Illustration by Carmen Segovia   Some public figures have declared the conviction of former police officer Derek Chauvin as “justice served.” George Floyd is dead. Justice does not occur if harm to communities or holes in families are neither repaired nor restored.  How can we possibly achieve justice when those who share

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Where Economics Failed Us

Illustration showing wealth disparity in the pandemic

By William E. Spriggs ’77 Illustration by Carmen Segovia   Economists today interpret low wages as low skills and use the word “unskilled” as an epithet to describe the low-wage workforce: unskilled workers “deserve” low wages; they have no distinguishable skills and are therefore interchangeable. If they suffer unemployment, it can be ignored as the “natural

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Doctoring Freedom

Old photo of a Black nurse and doctor taking an x-ray of a baby with a huge old machine

By Gretchen Long During the Civil War, the physical suffering of African Americans as slaves, refugees, military laborers and enlisted soldiers was laid bare to the public. African Americans, fleeing plantations where they had been enslaved, appeared at Union army camps, often in need of medical treatment but also ready to labor, looking for protection

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A More Peculiar Kinship

Illustration depicting the state of Georgia being painted blue

By Tyran Steward Illustration by Nicolás Ortega A Williams historian reflects on the arc of history that led to the election of Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff as the first Black and first Jewish U.S. senators from Georgia.   In the early morning hours of April 27, 1913, Newt Lee, a Black night watchman, discovered

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The Root of Political Violence

Photo showing Trump supporters at the insurrection

By Cathy Marie Johnson   Some of my earliest political memories involve violence. My mother made me watch President John F. Kennedy’s funeral service on television, even though I was very young and did not understand its significance.  A few years later, the first known school shooting in Minnesota occurred in my hometown, at the high

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Racial Politics in the Post-Trump Era

Illustration showing how people are baited by racial politics

By Matt Tokeshi Illustration by Nicolás Ortega   In my Racial Politics in America course, I show students some of the most famous political ads in American history. There’s the 1968 ad in which Richard Nixon declared that “the first civil right of every American” is to be protected against violent 1960s protesters. There are George

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