The Luxton Lecture Series

Created to honor the contributions of longtime Professor of Sociology Richard Luxton, the Luxton Lecture Series provides free lectures and films by scientists, scholars, practitioners, journalists, politicians and diplomats. This program is cosponsored by the Department of Criminal Justice and Sociology and the D'Amour Library at Western New England University and welcomes prominent names from around the nation and the globe.

Upcoming Lectures 2015-16 

"White Bound: Nationalists, Antiracists, and the Shared Meanings of Race"

luxton_speaker2015jpgDr. Matthew W. Hughey 
Associate Professor of Sociology, University of Connecticut
Thursday, November 12 from 4:00-5:30 p.m., D'Amour Library, Rm 319

Dr. Hughey will present research in which he spent over a year attending the meetings, reading the literature, and interviewing members of two white organizations—a white nationalist group and a white antiracist group. Though he found immediate political differences, he observed surprising similarities related to how both groups make meaning of race and whiteness. His talk will examine these similarities to illuminate not just the many ways of being white, but how these actors make meaning of whiteness in ways that collectively reproduce both white identity and, ultimately, white supremacy.

For more information contact Dr. William Force, Department of Criminal Justice and Sociology, at 413-782-1714.

Luxton News

Law and Society Major Sophia Castillo Named Third Annual Luxton Paper Competition Winner 

Western New England University sophomore, Sophia Castillo, a Law and Society major from Easton, PA enrolled in the accelerated 3+3 Law Program, was this year’s winner of the Luxton Paper Competition. Read More!

Past Lectures


March 5

Dr. Elizabeth Miller
Westchester Community College, SUNY

"A 'Home' Away from Home? Surrogate Family between Immigrant Service Workers and Their Native-born Customers"

Tribeca, a neighborhood in New York City, is home mainly to wealthy, white, and native-born people, while most of the personal service workers, such as nannies, restaurant workers, and parking attendants, are immigrants. This talk explored the unexpected relationships that develop between immigrants and natives in Tribeca. While we might assume their relations to be characterized by neutral, apathetic, or even hostile feelings, local history, culture, and social structure create a sense of community between immigrant workers and residents. This leads many immigrants to feel as though they belong in the neighborhood, many of whom refer to it as their home and their clients and customers as family. 


November 20

Bet Power
Curator of the Sexual Minorities Archives
Executive Director of the Sexual Minorities Educational Foundation, Inc.

TRANS 101: An Introduction to Trans Issues and History

February 27 

Craig Cullinane
Program Manager, Rehabilitation Through the Arts

Title: Examining the Prison-industrial Complex Through a Social Justice Lens

The Prison-Industrial Complex in the United States houses more prisoners than any other corrections system in the world. In this discussion, participants  explored their unexamined thoughts and beliefs about prisoners while also learning about the complexities of this system. Using a social justice perspective, this workshop helped to clarify the intersections of race, privatization, and social control that inform the Prison-Industrial Complex in the US.


November 14

Dr. Ann Marie Mires
Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice, Anna Maria College
Dr. Ann Marie Mires is a professor and researcher who served for over 10 years in the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Boston. She also recently testified as a state’s witness against the notorious Boston mobster, James “Whitey” Bulger. Dr. Mires' talk will offer an overview of her work as a forensic anthropologist on high profile cases such as Whitey Bulger and Molly Bish.

October 17 
Dr. Albert DiChiara
Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Hartford

Title: Locked Out:  Communities Face the Aftermath of Mass Incarceration

America’s incarceration binge is proving to be too expensive to state and local government during the Great Recession. To save money scores of prisoners are being released back into the community with few resources, skills, or possibilities of legitimate success. This presentation focused on the challenges faced by former prisoners and the communities they return to using two high crime neighborhoods in Hartford, CT as a case study.

March 7
HIV/AIDS from a Human Rights Perspective: A Panel Discussion

The panel discussed the HIV/AIDS crisis with Ashley Membrino, the winner of the 2013 Social Sciences Student Paper Competition. Ms. Membrino was joined by an interdisciplinary panel of faculty, including Assistant Professor of Political Science and director of the Law and Society program Alexander Rosas, Assistant Professor of Psychology Jason Seacat, and Assistant Professor of SociologyWilliam Ryan Force.

April 4

Dr. Jennifer Denbow
Assistant Professor of Political Science
University of New England

Title: Informed Consent Laws: Autonomy, Surveillance, and Reproductive Rights

Description: In the past year, there has been a sharp increase in the passage of informed consent laws, many of which mandate ultrasounds before an abortion. Although they increase surveillance of women's bodies, these laws are framed in terms of informed consent and autonomy. This talk placed these laws in the context of other trends in American politics and examine the logic behind them.


November 15

Dr. Timothy Black
Associate Professor of Sociology
Case Western Reserve University

Title: When a Heart Turns Rock Solid.

Description: Dr. Black's talk drew upon his 18-year study of three streetwise brothers from Springfield, MA. This project focuses on the social and economic marginalization of Puerto Ricans and their struggle to survive in an era of precarious work and mass incarceration. This lecture explored how jobs, schools, the streets, and prisons have each shaped the lives and choices of the urban poor.

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