Interdisciplinary studies presents public lecture series

The interdisciplinary studies department at Salem State will present two public lectures as part of a new series entitled “American Stories and Universal Concerns in the Public Sphere.”

James Kalustian, president of the Armenian Heritage Foundation, will deliver the first lecture, “Public Art and Civic Spaces as Sites of History and Social Change: The Armenian Heritage Park at the Rose Kennedy Greenway, Boston,” on Tuesday, February 22, at 3:15 pm. His presentation will discuss the ways in which the new park and its art memorialize the Armenian genocide and pay tribute to the large numbers of Armenians who immigrated to Boston, while also promoting peace, healing and understanding among all those who immerse themselves in the park’s space. Mr. Kalustians’ presentation will take place in Salem State’s Meier Hall 238, located on Lafayette Street.

The series’ second presentation, co-sponsored by Salem State’s sociology department, screens the trailer of “Left on Pearl: Women take over 888 Memorial Drive, Cambridge,” followed by a public discussion of the film with director Suzie Rivo and producer and takeover participant Rochelle Ruthchild. Salem State faculty member Elizabeth Duclos-Orsello, who served as a consultant on the film, will facilitate the follow-up discussion highlighting gender, race, class, power, and social change.

Employing multiple perspectives, the documentary tells the story of a little-known but highly significant event in the history of the Second Wave of the women's movement—the March 6, 1971, takeover of a Harvard University building at the end of that year’s International Woman’s Day march. The occupation of 888 Memorial Drive by hundreds of women for ten days was one of few such takeovers by women for women and proved transformative for the participants. It also led directly to the establishment of the longest continually operating women's center in the United States and sparked the development of many other feminist and community organizations in the Boston area and nationally.

The series’ second lecture will take place Thursday, March 24, at 3:15 pm, in room 238 of Salem State’s Meier Hall, located on Lafayette Street.

Both events are free and open to the public. Those wishing to bring classes, please contact Professor Elizabeth Duclos-Orsello at 978.542.7210 or via email at in advance.