Arts & Culture briefs: UMass Amherst professor debuts new book

  • UMass Amherst economics professor Isabella Weber discusses her new book, on China’s economy, in a May 27 virtual event. Submitted photo

Published: 5/20/2021 1:08:30 PM
UMass Amherst professor debuts new book

Isabella Weber, assistant professor of economics at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, will speak Thursday, May 27, about her new book, “How China Escaped Shock Therapy: The Market Reform Debate,” an examination of how China transformed into the world’s second-largest economy, even as the Communist Party kept its hold on power.

The online discussion and book launch, which is free and takes place at 2 p.m., will include a number of other panelists, including James K. Galbraith, former chief technical adviser to China’s State Planning Commission for macroeconomic reform. Register for the event at

Weber’s book argues that China, one of the world’s poorest nations at the time of the 1976 death of its longtime leader, Mao Zedong, rejected the advice of prominent Western economists for the kind of economic “shock therapy” that led to chaos in former Communist countries like Russia.

Instead, Weber writes, China’s leaders instituted more gradual, unique economic reforms beginning in the 1980s that lifted hundreds of millions of Chinese from poverty and produced annual growth rates exceeding 10 percent.

The May 27 event is hosted by the UMass Department of Economics and the UMass Amherst Political Economy Research Institute.


Submissions sought for virtual exhibit at Hosmer

NORTHAMPTON — Forbes Library in Northampton is looking for contributions from artists and writers for an online exhibit this summer that’s designed to highlight the “interconnectedness of planetary and human health.”

The exhibit, at the library’s Hosmer Gallery, intends to host a range of work that will engage a number of issues, including the pandemic, the climate crisis, sustainability and environmental justice. As exhibit organizers put it, “How has the past year impacted how we relate to the environment and to each other? Have our priorities changed?”

Visual art, including photos, digital designs, and videos up to 5 minutes in length can be submitted, as can poetry and short prose pieces or excerpts (up to 500 words) that fit the theme.

Submissions, with a limit of five per person, are due by 5 p.m. on June 19. Residents of western Massachusetts and Five College students are eligible to submit work; BIPOC artists, LGBTQIA artists and women artists are strongly encouraged to apply. For visual art, include a brief artist’s statement to be displayed with the work.

For more information, visit and scroll down on the left of the page to “Virtual Hosmer Gallery.

Sunderland library willhost ‘Big Read’ event

SUNDERLAND — On Monday, May 24, at 6:30 p.m., the Sunderland Public Library will host a virtual event featuring David B, Schwartz, an author, psychotherapist, and expert in community studies, who will lead a discussion about this year’s Big Read book, “Station Eleven,” by Emily St. John Mandel.

The Big Read is sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts, in partnership with Arts Midwest and Libraries in the Woods. The idea behind the Big Read is that many people in a community — or, in this case, more than 20 communities — read the same book and hold a wide variety of events and discussions connected to the themes it raises.

“Station Eleven” is a dystopian, post-apocalyptic novel that follows a group of actors and musicians who survive a devastating global pandemic (much worse than our current one). Schwartz has titled his presentation, “Station Eleven: The Collapse of Systems and the Reemergence of Neighborliness.”

Reading “Station Eleven” is certainly helpful, though not absolutely necessary, to gain insights from Schwartz’s presentation. To obtain the Zoom link to this event, visit the Sunderland Public Library’s website,

Pascommuck trust holding plant sale May 29

EASTHAMPTON — The Pascommuck Conservation Trust is holding its annual Spring Plant Sale May 29 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the 50 Payson Ave. parking lot.

The sale will include perennials, ornamental grasses, trees, shrubs and more. The trust is a volunteer Easthampton nonprofit that preserves land and builds trails for public use.

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