Marian Miner Cook

A distinctive
feature of social and
cultural life at CMC

April, 2018

Monday, April 02, 2018 - Evening Program
The Politics of Movie and TV Endings: A Screenwriter’s Perspective
David E. Tolchinsky P'20

What does the ending of a movie or television tell you about the politics of the storyteller, the intended audience, or the time period in which it was produced? Using diverse movie and television clips, screenwriter and Northwestern University department of radio-tv-film chairman David Tolchinsky P'20 will discuss how endings change not just based on the needs of a story, but also the prevailing zeitgeist. He will also discuss contemporary trends in endings and how to interpret their deeper meanings. Finally, he will reflect on the importance for authors to protect what they believe to be the right ending, even if unpopular.


David E. Tolchinsky P'20 is a screenwriter/playwright/director and the chair of Northwestern University's Department of Radio-TV-Film and Founder/Director of Northwestern's MFA in Writing for Screen+Stage.

Tolchinsky's work often centers on teen subcultures, psychological horror, mental illness, and the figure of the psychiatrist. Increasingly, he’s been interested in health and illness in the modern world, especially illnesses that are not easily explainable. He has been commissioned by such studios as Touchstone/Disney, MGM, Ivan Reitman's Montecito Pictures, USA Networks, among others, to write feature screenplays. 

He was  the recipient of a 2014 Illinois Arts Council Artist Fellowship in Literature (Poetry, Prose, Scriptworks) and was voted Best Director for the New York production of his play, an adaptation of his essay, Where's the Rest of Me?  Recently, he co-curated Sick by Seven (seven plays/films about mental illness) at A Red Orchid Theatre in Chicago, wrote and co-produced The Coming of Age, which received a Silver Medal from the Los Angeles Film Review, and he was number 7 on New City's Film 50 2017: Chicago Screen Gems. Currently, he is directing a psychological thriller, Cassandra, about the memory recovery movement in the '90s, and is working on a play about the rogue 1940’s psychologist Wilhelm Reich.  

Tolchinsky received his undergraduate degree from Yale College and an MFA from the USC School of Cinematic Arts.   

Photo credit: Joe Mazza/

Tuesday, April 03, 2018 - Evening Program
America's Role in a Changing World
William J. Burns

After years of war and international instability, Americans feel a profound sense of insecurity and fatigue about engagement with the world. Baffled and battered by the dislocating forces of globalization, Americans wonder whether we can—and whether we even should—continue to play a leadership role on an endlessly complicated international landscape. Ambassador William J. Burns, president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and former deputy secretary of state, will draw on his 33 years as an American diplomat to describe how he sees a changing world and America’s role in it, and why American diplomacy is in many ways more important and relevant than ever before.

Ambassador William J. Burns is president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, the oldest international affairs think tank in the United States. Burns retired from the U.S. Foreign Service in 2014 after a thirty-three-year diplomatic career. He holds the highest rank in the Foreign Service, career ambassador, and is only the second serving career diplomat in history to become deputy secretary of state.

Prior to his tenure as deputy secretary, Burns served from 2008 to 2011 as under secretary for political affairs. He was ambassador to Russia from 2005 to 2008, assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs from 2001 to 2005, and ambassador to Jordan from 1998 to 2001. His other posts in the Foreign Service include: executive secretary of the State Department and special assistant to former secretaries of state Warren Christopher and Madeleine Albright; minister-counselor for political affairs at the U.S. embassy in Moscow; acting director and principal deputy director of the State Department’s policy planning staff; and special assistant to the president and senior director for Near East and South Asian affairs at the National Security Council.

Burns speaks Russian, Arabic, and French, and he has been the recipient of three Presidential Distinguished Service Awards and a number of Department of State awards, including three Secretary’s Distinguished Service Awards, two Distinguished Honor Awards, the 2006 Charles E. Cobb, Jr. Ambassadorial Award for Initiative and Success in Trade Development, the 2005 Robert C. Frasure Memorial Award for Conflict Resolution and Peacemaking, and the James Clement Dunn Award for exemplary performance at the mid-career level. He has also received the highest civilian honors from the Department of Defense and the U.S. intelligence community. In 2013, Foreign Policy named him “Diplomat of the Year”.

Burns earned a bachelor’s in history from LaSalle University and master’s and doctoral degrees in international relations from Oxford University, where he studied as a Marshall Scholar. He is a recipient of four honorary doctoral degrees and is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Ambassador Burns is the author of Economic Aid and American Policy Toward Egypt, 1955-1981 (State University of New York Press, 1985). In 1994, he was named to Time magazine’s list of the “50 Most Promising American Leaders Under Age 40” and to its list of “100 Young Global Leaders.”

Ambassador Burns' Athenaeum presentation is co-sponsored by the Keck Center for International and Strategic Studies at CMC.

Wednesday, April 04, 2018 - Evening Program
"Tierra de Nadie": The Claremont Colleges and the Mexican Community
Matthew Garcia

Mexican people have contributed their lives to the development of the Claremont Colleges. The adjacent barrio, Arbol Verde, has been one source of that contribution and a home to the area’s earliest Mexican residents. While this relationship has produced more than a century of learning, it has also generated tensions over land and labor. Matthew J. Garcia, professor of Latin American, Latino & Caribbean Studies and History at Dartmouth College, shows why this relationship has been fraught but remains a potential source of pride for both communities.

Matthew J. Garcia is professor of Latin American, Latino & Caribbean Studies and History at Dartmouth College. He previously taught at Arizona State University, Brown University, University of Oregon, and the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. His book, A World of Its Own: Race, Labor and Citrus in the Making of Greater Los Angeles, 1900-1970 won the award for the best book in oral history by the Oral History Association in 2003. His most recent book, From the Jaws of Victory: The Triumph and Tragedy of Cesar Chavez and the Farm Worker Movement, won the Philip Taft Award for the Best Book in Labor History, 2013.  He is the co-editor of Food Across Borders with Melanie DuPuis and Don Mitchell published by Rutgers University Press in 2017. Garcia also served as the outreach director and co-primary investigator for the Bracero Archive Project, which received a National Endowment for the Humanities Grant in 2008, and was the recipient of the Best Public History Award by the National Council for Public History in 2009-2010. 

He was born in Upland, California and graduated from Damien High School in La Verne. He completed his Ph.D. in History at the Claremont Graduate University in 1997.

Professor Garcia's Athenaeum talk is co-sponsored by the history department at CMC.

Thursday, April 05, 2018 - Evening Program
HATE: Why We Should Resist it With Free Speech, Not Censorship
Nadine Strossen

We live in an era in which offensive speech is on the rise. Given its potential for harm, should this speech be banned? Nadine Strossen, professor of law at NYU School of Law and former president of the ACLU, dispels the many misunderstandings that have clouded the perpetual debates about "hate speech vs. free speech." She argues that an expansive approach to the First Amendment is most effective at promoting democracy, equality, and societal harmony and that anti-hate speech laws are not effective in reducing the feared harms, and worse yet, are likely counterproductive by giving enforcement officials the power to suppress vital expression and target minority viewpoints. The solution, maintains Strossen, instead is to promote equality and societal harmony through vibrant "counterspeech."


Nadine Strossen is the John Marshall Harlan II Professor of Law at New York Law School. She has written, taught, and advocated extensively in the areas of constitutional law and civil liberties, including through frequent media interviews. From 1991 through 2008, she served as president of the American Civil Liberties Union, the first woman to head the nation’s largest and oldest civil liberties organization. Strossen is currently a member of the ACLU’s National Advisory Council, as well as the advisory boards of EPIC (Electronic Privacy Information Center), FIRE (Foundation for Individual Rights in Education), and Heterodox Academy. When she stepped down as ACLU President in 2008, three Supreme Court Justices (Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Antonin Scalia, and David Souter) participated in her farewell and tribute luncheon.

Strossen is also a prolific author. Her latest book, HATE: Why We Should Resist it With Free Speech, Not Censorship, will be published in 2018. Her first two books are Defending Pornography: Free Speech, Sex and the Fight for Women’s Rights and Speaking of Race, Speaking of Sex: Hate Speech, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties. In addition, Strossen has written dozens of articles and book chapters.

Strossen is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School.

Professor Strossen's Athenaeum presentation is co-sponsored by the Rose Institute for State and Local Government.


Monday, April 09, 2018 - Evening Program
We Move As a Group: Uniting the Genders in the Fight Against Rape Culture
Alice Sebold

Alice Sebold, best selling author and memoirist, was raped while a student at Syracuse University and subsequently successfully prosecuted her assailant. She will draw from that personal experience to speak to the idea that it is not just the victims of sexual assault—found in every gender, ethnicity, age group, and social class—that suffer in a world where sex crimes are increasingly common place, but all of us. Though not shying away from the grim realities of the present, Sebold's goal is to provide hope by working to dismantle the antiquated and destructive divisions that still exist among us and to inspire a more open dialogue.

Despite its dark subjects of rape, child murder, and the dissolution of families, Alice Sebold's The Lovely Bones was one of the best-reviewed novels of the '00s. The book, which was later adapted for cinema, quickly became an unprecedented international bestseller, with translations in over 45 languages and American sales alone of over five million copies. Three months after the publication of The Lovely Bones, Sebold’s 1999 memoir Lucky, an account of her rape at the age of 18 and the trial that followed, also rose to number one on The New York Times bestseller list. 

The Almost Moon, Sebold's 2007 controversial second novel, another #1 bestseller, generated more critical discord—both laudatory and negative—as Sebold plunged into taboo territories of matricide, mental illness, and profound ambivalence about mother/daughter relationships.

Born in Madison, Wisconsin, Sebold grew up in the suburbs of Philadelphia and attended Syracuse University as well as the University of Houston and UC Irvine. She has contributed to numerous anthologies and edited The Best American Short Stories 2009

Ms. Sebold's Athenaeum presentation is co-sponsored by the Gould Center for Humanistic Studies at CMC.

Photo credit: Becky Sapp

Tuesday, April 10, 2018 - Evening Program
Is Nothing Private Anymore? Consenting to Government Searches and Sharing Information
Eve Brank

Eve Brank, associate professor of psychology and director of the Center on Children, Families, and the Law at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, will highlight legal and psychological issues important in 4th Amendment search or seizure situations. Using collaborative work (with Jennifer Grsocup of Scripps College) funded by the National Science Foundation, Brank will discuss social cognitive effects on people’s willingness to consent to government searches and also discuss new research that examines the role of technology in notions of privacy.

Eve Brank is an associate professor of psychology and courtesy professor of law at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, where she is the director of the Center on Children, Families, and the Law. She teaches classes on psychology and law, elder law, and the psychology of family law. Her research primarily focuses on the way the law intervenes (and sometimes interferes) in family and personal decision making. In particular, she studies the public support, implementation, and effectiveness of parental responsibility laws within the context of the juvenile justice system and the legal requirements of elder care giving. Dr. Brank also studies issues related to decision making in the context of government searches and plea negotiations. 

Brank received her J.D. (2000) and Ph.D (2001) from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in the Law-Psychology Program. She joined the UNL faculty in 2008 and is part of the law/psychology and social programs. Prior to joining the Nebraska faculty, Dr. Brank was on the faculty in the Department of Criminology, Law and Society at the University of Florida. 

Wednesday, April 11, 2018 - Evening Program
How to make the outdoors radically accessible to all?
Grace Anderson

With the record numbers of people from varying demographics and backgrounds finding ways to connect to the outdoors, Grace Anderson, outdoor educator at GirlVentures and National Outdoor Leadership Schools, will discuss how to diminish the onerous systems that promote exclusivity in outdoor spaces.

Grace Anderson is an outdoor educator and a freelancer for outdoor non-profits and business. Anderson, who currently calls Lander, Wyoming, home discovered the awe of nature on a college spring break trip with the Student Conservation Association to Joshua Tree National Park. Since then she’s been chasing wide-open spaces from Patagonia to the Yukon Territories to Wyoming.

Previously as the program manager for Sierra Club Outdoors’ Inspiring Connections Outdoors Program, she worked to connect communities with limited access to the outdoors. She currently works mostly in the field for National Outdoor Leadership Schools (NOLS) getting young people of color into the great outdoors and GirlVentures to empower adolescent girls to develop and express their strengths through outdoor adventure programs.

Thursday, April 12, 2018 - Evening Program
Human Rights Abuses and the Role of US Policy in the Middle East
Sarah Leah Whitson

Sarah Leah Whitson, executive director of the Middle East and North Africa Division at Human Rights Watch (HRW), will provide an analysis of current developments in the Middle East and how they tie into US foreign policy. Based on HRW's work in the region, her talk will focus primarily on the conflicts in the region in which the US is currently involved.  

Showcasing her current work in the Middle East, Sarah Leah Whitson will discuss the region and the role of US foreign policy and will highlight the particular ways in which these modern day conflict situations tie directly to Armenian Genocide remembrance. 

Whitson is the executive director of Human Rights Watch's Middle East and North Africa Division and oversees the work of the division in 19 countries, with staff located in 10 countries. She has led dozens of advocacy and investigative missions throughout the region, focusing on issues of armed conflict, accountability, legal reform, migrant workers, and political rights. She has published widely on human rights issues in the Middle East in international and regional media, including The New York Times, Foreign Policy, The Los Angeles Times, and CNN. She appears regularly on Al-Jazeera, BBC, NPR, and CNN. Before joining Human Rights Watch, Whitson worked in New York for Goldman, Sachs & Co. and Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton. Whitson is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. She speaks Armenian and Arabic.

Whitson graduated from the University of California, Berkeley and Harvard Law School. 

Ms. Whitson will deliver the Mgrublian Center for Human Rights’ Fourth Annual Lecture on Armenian Studies.


Monday, April 16, 2018 - Lunch Program
Authoritarian Consolidation and the Criminalization of Knowledge Production in the Middle East
Asli Ü. Bâli

Asli Bâli, professor at UCLA Law School, will examine the ways in which authoritarian consolidation in Turkey has produced new frameworks through which rule-of-law discourse is inverted and deployed to undermine rather than protect academic freedom. She will then examine the ways in which similar frameworks have been developed across a number of other contexts in the Middle East and conclude with some reflections on why incipient forms of populist authoritarianism across the region have come to treat knowledge production as a particularly dangerous threat.

Academic freedom is often thought of as something that depends upon and is protected by law—the rights of freedom of speech, freedom of opinion, and freedom of thought are understood to be core civil and political rights protected under the international human rights regime and the right to science is similarly seen as a fundamental economic, social, and cultural right. The centrality of the marketplace of ideas to the freedoms tied to self-government is a well-worn trope of liberal democratic practice. It is therefore unsurprising—though remarkably under-appreciated—that the rising tide of authoritarianism has been accompanied by global campaigns of repression targeting academics and universities. Nowhere is this more true than in the Middle East, where social scientific research and other forms of inquiry are increasingly heavily regulated and even prohibited by the state.

Bâli is faculty director of the Promise Institute for Human Rights, director of the UCLA Center for Near Eastern Studies, and professor of law at the UCLA School of Law where she teaches in the International and Comparative Law Program. Bâli’s scholarship has appeared in the American Journal of International Law Unbound, International Journal of Constitutional Law, UCLA Law Review, Yale Journal of International Law, Virginia Journal of International Law, as well as numerous edited volumes published by Cambridge University Press and Oxford University Press. Her edited volume,Constitution Writing, Religion and Democracy, was published by Cambridge in 2017. She also currently serves as co-chair of the Advisory Committee for Human Rights Watch-Middle East.

Professor Bâli's Athenaeum presentation is co-sponsored by the Mgrublian Center for Human Rights at CMC.

Monday, April 16, 2018 - Evening Program
Thomas Crow - Title Forthcoming
Thomas Crow

Thomas Crow is the Rosalie Solow Professor of Modern Art, and Associate Provost for the Arts at New York University. An art historian and art critic, he has served as the director of the Getty Research Institute, professor of art history at the University of Southern California, the Robert Lehman Professor of the History of Art at Yale University, and professor and chair in the history of art at the University of Sussex. He is best known for his influential writing on the role of art in modern society and culture.

Thomas Crow is the Rosalie Solow Professor of Modern Art, and Associate Provost for the Arts at New York University. An art historian and art critic, he has served as the director of the Getty Research Institute, professor of art history at the University of Southern California, the Robert Lehman Professor of the History of Art at Yale University, and professor and chair in the history of art at the University of Sussex. He is best known for his influential writing on the role of art in modern society and culture.

Professor Crow's Athenaeum presentation is the Ricardo J. Quinones Lecture co-sponsored by the Gould Center for Humanistic Studies at CMC.


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