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.

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, is this year’s winner of the Luxton Paper Competition. Read More!

Upcoming Lectures

“TRANS 101: An Introduction to Trans Issues and History”
Bet Power
Curator of the Sexual Minorities Archives
Executive Director of the Sexual Minorities Educational Foundation, Inc.
Thursday, November 20
4:00-5:30 p.m.
D'Amour Library, Room 319

  • Part of Western New England University’s observation of Transgender Day of Remembrance
  • Free and open to the public
  • Light refreshments will be provided
  • ADA accessible

    Cosponsored by the Department of  Criminal Justice and Sociology and the Athenæum series 

Past Lectures


February 27 

Craig Cullinane
Program Manager, Rehabilitation Through the Arts

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 will explore 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

"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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