Athenaeum Location

Print Newsletter
Athenaeum Fortnightly Header Image
Global Politics After September 11, 2001: Is It Different?

In 1993 Harvard professor Samuel Huntington rocked the world of policy analysts and policy makers alike by predicting that global conflicts would likely return to old battles rooted in culture. With the end of the Cold War, conflict between competing civilizations would increasingly define the future, he said. Moreover, he named names, stating that western civilization, including America, was in decline and that Islamic and East Asian civilizations were resurgent. Now nearly a decade later, and after the terrorist attack on the Pentagon and World Trade Center, Huntington's thesis may be more relevant than ever.

Samuel P. Huntington is the Albert J. Weatherhead III University Professor at Harvard University, where he is also the director of' the John M. Olin Institute for Strategic Studies and the chairman of the Harvard Academy for International and Area Studies. He was the director of security planning for the National Security Council in the Carter administration, the founder and coeditor of Foreign Policy, and the president of the American Political Science Association. He is the author of many books and scholarly articles, including Political Order In Changing Societies: The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order (1996); American Politics: The Promise of Disharmony (1983); and The Third Wave: Democratization in the Late Twentieth Century (1991). Huntington Iives in Boston, Massachusetts.

The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: Ferocious yet Manageable

The violent scenes of the Second Palestinian Uprising dominate the screens and focus all attention on the occupied territories of the West Bank and Gaza. To some observers it resembles an anticolonial struggle, waged by occupied people fighting for freedom from their powerful occupier. To others it is a war of terror aimed at the total destruction of the Jewish State. Both sides feel that they are engaged in an existential conflict, a war of survival. One cannot view the present troubles in isolation and must be aware of the historical burden that both sides carry to this latest encounter in the 100-year conflict between Jews and Arabs over the Holy Land.

Dr. Benvenisti will trace the causes and describe the nature of this intercommunal conflict that involves issues of identity, absolute justice, clash of affinity to the same homeland, and conflicting myths. He will argue that such conflicts are insoluble but manageable, not necessarily because the sides can forgo their emotions but because otherwise they will destroy one another, and in such conflicts there are neither victors nor vanquished.

Meron Benvenisti has enjoyed a distinguished career as a scholar, politician, journalist, and administrator. He has served as Deputy Mayor of Jerusalem and twice as city councilor. Most recently he has been director of the Morning After project at the Truman Institute, Hebrew University. Dr. Benvenisti holds a Ph.D. in Public Administration from the John F. Kennedy School at Harvard University. He is the author of dozens of books and articles, among which are Conflicts and Contradictions (1986); Intimate Enemies: Jews and Arabs in a Shared Land (I995); Jerusalem, City of Stone (1996); and Sacred Landscape: The Buried History of the Holy Land 1948-1998 (2000).

Dr. Benvenisti's visit to Claremont McKenna College is sponsored by the Keck Center for International and Strategic Studies, the Dean of the Faculty, and the Marian Miner Cook Athenaeum.

Copyright and Academic Tradition: You Can Run but You Can't Hide

While we live in an academic community that values the free expression of ideas, we are surrounded by a world in which information has become a commodity-a piece of property with tangible value. Indeed, every page that you read, every web site that you visit, and every song that you hear is almost certainly protected by copyright, even if you do not find an accompanying copyright notice. More frightening still, the wider world appears to be moving rapidly to a "pay per view" model where each viewing of a protected work carries a fee. How we respond to these changes will determine much of the future of our classes and scholarship.

ln his Athenaeum talk James Hilton will examine some of the rights and responsibilities that copyright law bestows on both authors and users and will explore the forces driving information commodifcation and the implications they have for academic tradition and scholarship.

As Associate Provost for Academic, Information, and Instructional Technology Affairs at the University of Michigan, Hilton is responsible for activities related to instructional technology, academic computing, intellectual property, and copyright and the associated legal issues. "It is ironic," says Hilton, "that we have been calling the recent past the 'information age.' Information is what universities have always been about, creating and transporting it to students."

Hilton has been a member of the faculty at the University of Michigan in the psychology department and at the Institute for Social Research since 1985. He is an award-winning teacher whose classes are consistently in high demand.

Hilton received a B.A. in psychology from the University of Texas in 1981 and a PhD. from the social psychology program at Princeton University in 1985.

James Hilton's Athenaeum lecture is the first in the series Critical Issues in the Academy sponsored by the Teaching Resource Center and the Athenaeum.

Come With Me from Lebanon: An American Family Odyssey

Ann Kerr has spent more than 15 years living, studying, teaching, and traveling in the Middle East, starting as a Junior-Year-Abroad student at the American University of Beirut (AUB) in the mid-fifties and continuing to the present time. Last summer she taught summer school at AUB and once again lived in the women's dorms. Her book Come with Me from Lebanon: An American Family Odyssey (1996) chronicles the years that she and her husband and four children lived in the region. The story is set against the backdrop of the political events that ultimately led to the assassination of her husband in the 1984 when he was president of the American University of Beirut.

Her views on the Middle East reveal the opportunity she has had of personally witnessing the social, religious, and political changes occurring over the past half-century and the complex differences between the various Arab countries. Sabbatical leaves and summer travels have provided the chance to look at American and Middle Eastern culture reflectively and to lament the continuing lack of understanding between them. Ann's forthcoming book, Painting the Middle East (2002), is a collection of her watercolors and photographs done over many years that depict the beauty and peace that exist in a region despite violence and unrest.

A native of Santa Monica, California, Ann Kerr was educated at Occidental College, the American University of Beirut, and the American University of Cairo. She is currently at UCLA where she coordinates the Visiting Fulbright Scholar Enrichment Program for Southern California. She is a member of the Board of Trustees of the American University of Beirut, the Council on Foreign Relations, the President's Council of EARTH University in Costa Rica, and the Advisory Board of the RAND Center for Middle East Public Policy.

The Hidden Hitler

With more than 120,000 books having been written about Adolf Hitler since the Fuhrer's death, one might feel justified asking why we need another. Advocates of historian Lothar Machtan's controversial study, The Hidden Hitler, answer with the following argument: "What Hitler did in history has been amply documented in the monumental work of historians and biographers such as Alan Bullock, Joachim Fest, and Ian Kershaw. Who Hitler was, however, as a person, what anchored him emotionally, has either eluded or been of little interest to writers who often burden themselves with the search for the origin or his evil as the explanation for his life and its consequences. Drawing from a wealth of archival sources, much of which has been long overlooked by historians. The Hidden Hitler focuses on Hitler the man. Lothar Machtan's controversial thesis is that Adolf Hitler was homosexual, and that one cannot begin to understand him, his entry into politics, and the early Nazi movement without a clear understanding of this aspect of his identity."

Since its publication in 2001, The Hidden Hitler has been a lightning rod of controversy, drawing often vitriolic criticism from the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, fellow historians, and legions of lay readers. Even Machtan's severest detractors, however, cannot deny the resourcefulness, originality, and cogency with which he makes his arguments.

Lothar Machtan, associate professor of modern and current history at Bremen University, is also the author of the highly acclaimed Bismarcks Tod und Deutschlands Tranen (Bismarck's Death and Germany's Tears) (1998), as well as numerous publications on 19th- and 20th-century social history. Machtan is the Gould Center for Humanistic Studies' Scholar-In-Residence for Fall 2002.

Royals and the Reich: The Princes of Hesse in Nazi Germany

On the occasion of his installation as the first recipient of the John V. Croul chair in European History at Claremont McKenna College, Professor Jonathan Petropoulos will discuss his forthcoming book, Royals and the Reich: The Princes of Hesse in Nazi Germany (Oxford University Press 2004). This book will be the first-ever scholarly examination of pro-Nazi German aristocrats-members of the twenty-two Furtenhauser (royal houses) that remained after 1918. The post World War I political developments of an attempt at democracy, then fascism, threatened the weakened royal predominance in Germany. Specifically, Petropoulos's talk will focus on the lives of Philip and Christoph, Princes of Hesse. Both of the Princes provided considerable aid to the Nazis-Christoph as a top spy and Philip as a liaison between Hitler and Mussolini-before meeting untimely ends.

Other books by Petropoulos include The Faustian Bargain: The Art World in Nazi Germany (1999) and Art as Politics in the Third Reich (1996). A graduate of UCLA and Harvard, he is the director of the Gould Center for Humanistic Studies and a professor of history at Claremont McKenna College. This past year, Professor Petropoulos was the recipient of the G. David Huntoon Senior Teaching Award at CMC. He has also served as research director for art and cultural property on the Presidential Commission on Holocaust Assets in the United States and has helped to organize several art exhibitions, including Degenerate Art: The Fate of the Avant-Garde in Nazi Germany (Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1991).


The Athenaeum serves as a gathering place where ideas, inquiry, and fellowship bring students, faculty, staff, other scholars, and nationally prominent speakers together. Attendance at any event may be limited to persons associated with CMC, to the people who signed up for the dinner, or to the maximum number of people allowed by fire regulations. On some occasions the speaker may address the group in another forum or the College may set up a video feed to handle an overflow crowd. All programs at the Athenaeum are filmed. Individuals attending should understand that their image might appear on the videotape. House rules and common courtesy prohibit disruptive actions inside the building during an Athenaeum sponsored program. Time allowing, there will be a period set aside for questions. Students will have priority during this portion of the program. Guests are expected to dress appropriately in all dining rooms. Shorts, jeans, and t-shirts are not acceptable at dinner; more casual attire is acceptable for lunch and tea. No bare feet at any time.