Marian Miner Cook

A distinctive
feature of social and
cultural life at CMC

Open Events

Here is a list of open events at the Ath. If no sign up button appears under the event, it is because the event is no longer accepting reservations.

Unless otherwise noted, lunch begins at 11:45 a.m.; speaker presentations begin at 12:15 p.m. Evening programs typically begin with a reception at 5:30 pm; dinner is served at 6 p.m; and the talk begins at 6:45 p.m. Reservations are required for the meals.

Unless otherwise noted, the talk itself is free and open to all, and no reservations are required to attend the talk only. Seating for only the talk itself is on a first-come basis.

Please click "Sign Up" under individual events to sign up for open events. If there is no button showing, registration is currently closed, but please check back later. When meal reservations are opened to members of the other Claremont Colleges, a note will be added to the event listing. An explanation of the reservation process and a list of frequently asked questions is available. Questions may also be directed to the Ath at


Tuesday, September 6, 2016 - Lunch Program
President Trump or President Clinton: Opportunities for Bipartisan Health Legislation in the 115th Congress
Katherine Hayes
Katherine Hayes will inaugurate the Policy Lab program with an overview of Republican and Democratic health priorities in the upcoming 2017-2018 congressional session. 

Katherine Hayes is the director of heath care policy at the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) in Washington, DC. She will discuss how pressing issues and campaign promises could put health care on a back burner, despite Congress's need to find common ground on “must pass” health legislation such as including extending funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program, expiring Medicare provisions, the looming “Cadillac” tax on high-cost health plans, and reauthorization of drug and device user fees that fund the FDA approval process. 

Prior to her work at BPC, Hayes was an associate research professor in the department of health policy at The George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services, and also served as vice president of health policy for Jennings Policy Strategies, Inc. Her government experience includes serving as legislative counsel to former Senator Evan Bayh, legislative assistant to former Senator John H. Chafee and former Representative Mickey Leland, and as a program consultant for the State of Missouri Medicaid agency. She also worked as a health and education policy advisor for the State of Texas, Office of State-Federal Relations.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016 - Special Program
Live All You Can: Freshman Class Dinner (Take 1)
Jay Martin
Professor Jay Martin, Edward S. Gould Professor of Humanities in the government department will pass along some sage advice for the newest members of our community. Come allay your fears, meet some fellow freshmen, and enjoy one of many marvelous Ath dinners to which you'll be treated at CMC.  

All Class of 2020 students are automatically signed up.

The reception will begin at 5:30 pm in Flamson Plaza, dinner will be served at 6:00 pm, and the talk will begin at 6:45 pm.

If you cannot attend and need to cancel, please contact the Athenaeum by email or phone (909-621-8244) by 9:00 am the day of the event. 

Note: This program will be repeated twice. The September 6 evening program is for students residing in the following buildings: Appleby, Beckett, Benson, Berger, Boswell, Claremont, Green, Phillips, and Wohlford.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016 - Special Program
Live All You Can: Freshman Class Dinner (Take 2)
Jay Martin
Professor Jay Martin, Edward S. Gould Professor of Humanities from the government department will pass along some sage advice for the newest members of our community. Come allay your fears, meet some fellow freshmen, and enjoy one of many marvelous Ath dinners to which you'll be treated at CMC.

All Class of 2020 students are automatically signed up. 

The reception will begin at 5:30 pm on Flamson Plaza, dinner will be served at 6:00 pm, and the talk will begin at 6:45 pm.

If you cannot attend and need to cancel, please contact the Athenaeum by email or phone (909-621-8244) by 9:00 am the day of the event. 

Note: This program will be repeated twice. The September 7 evening program is for students residing in the following buildings: Auen, Crown, Fawcett, Marks, Stark, and Off-Campus.

Thursday, September 8, 2016 - Special Program
Sophomore Class Dinner
What will you do your second year at CMC? How will you leverage the opportunities? Come discuss your many options with faculty, staff, and your peers ​at the Class of 2019 Dinner.

As you return to campus, no longer a new student, but perhaps not completely decided about your next three years at CMC, what new things will you try this year? What will you focus your energies on? Will you study abroad next year, or even this spring? What about internships? From determining your major to exploring opportunities away from CMC, how do those decisions shape who you are and where you want to go after CMC? Faculty and staff will be seated with you at dinner to help guide a discussion as you and your classmates consider some of these topics.

All attendees will receive a special class gift from the Dean of Students office. This event is for current sophomores only. Sophomores must sign up to attend this dinner. Space is limited, so don’t miss out!

Monday, September 12, 2016 - Evening Program
Race, Food and Who We Are
Eddie Huang
Next to religion, food is often the one thing immigrants can hang on to, even when language and history dissipate. Eddie Huang, for whom food was a gateway into his Chinese heritage, talks about food as politics and food as identity. 

Born in Washington D.C., Eddie Huang grew up in Orlando, Florida in an immigrant family from Taiwan. Growing up, he watched his mother cook at home and also learned techniques from chefs of different cultural backgrounds and cuisine styles working in his father’s restaurants.

Celebrated as a chef, restaurateur, food celebrity, and clothing designer, Huang is also a lawyer and writer. His memoir, Fresh Off the Boat, was reviewed by The New York Times as “... a surprisingly sophisticated memoir about race and assimilation in America ....” An ABC sitcom based on the memoir is the first Asian-American family-centric TV series in nearly 20 years.

A colorful figure, Huang is not without controversy. He speaks about appropriation of ethnic cuisines and yet has faced criticism for cultural appropriation himself, particularly of hip-hop culture. The New York Times described him January 2013 as “walking mix-tape of postmodern cultural appropriation.”

Huang’s new book, Double Cup Love: On the Trail of Family, Food, and Broken Hearts in China, was published in May 2016.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016 - Evening Program
The Case for Historical Originalism
Jack Rakove
Jack Rakove’s talk challenges “originalist” interpretations of the Constitution, such as those advanced by Justices Clarence Thomas and the late Antonin Scalia, which attempt to produce the best linguistic understanding of what the original text would have meant to an informed reader at the time of ratification. Against this view, Rakove argues that originalism should take political concerns and purposes much more seriously.

Jack Rakove is the William Robertson Coe Professor of History and American Studies and professor of political science at Stanford University. His principal areas of interest include the origins of the American Revolution and Constitution, the political theories and practices of James Madison, and the role of historical knowledge in constitutional litigation.

He is the author of four books, including Original Meanings: Politics and Ideas in the Making of the Constitution (1996), which won the Pulitzer Prize for History in 1997. In this work, Rakove argues that originalism, the practice of interpreting the Constitution by a fixed set of the original framers’ intentions, should not be the only approach to settling today's judicial questions.

Active supporters of "originalist" interpretations of the Constitution, like Justices Clarence Thomas and the late Antonin Scalia, hold that this mode of constitutional interpretation is essentially linguistic in nature. According to Rakove, the point of being an originalist is not to explain what the framers and ratifiers of the Constitution thought they were adopting, in political terms. Rather, the idea is to produce the best understanding of what the language in question would have meant to an informed reader. In his Athenaeum lecture, Rakove will challenge that point of view, and argue that the best form of originalism is one that should take political concerns and purposes much more seriously.

A graduate of Haverford College, Rakove earned his Ph.D. in 1975 from Harvard University. He taught at Colgate University from 1975 to 1980, and was a visiting professor at NYU School of Law. He joined the Stanford faculty in 1980.

Professor Rakove’s Athenaeum talk is co-sponsored by the Salvatori Center.

Photo Credit: Linda A. Cicero / Stanford News Service


Wednesday, September 14, 2016 - Evening Program
The Starry Road to Freedom
Darius Wallace
In this one-man show, Darius Wallace portrays 14 characters who influenced Frederick Douglass, reconstructing the complexity and radiance of Douglass’s spirit, leadership, and march toward freedom. 

Memphis actor/author Phil Darius Wallace, a native of Flint Michigan, began his acting career with the Michigan Shakespeare Festival as Caliban in the Tempest. He has traveled across the United States performing as Dr. Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, Langston Hughes, and Frederick Douglass as a solo performer. He is currently with the Tennessee Shakespeare Company and the Orpheum Theater in Memphis Tennessee.

His television credits include ABC's Nashville. His film credits include Nothing But The Truth. He is the voice of the documentary The Invaders, and his first Off-Broadway run with Self Made Man: The Frederick Douglass Story, received its world premiere at the ArcLight Theatre in New York.

Thursday, September 15, 2016 - Evening Program
Evolving Out Loud
Kyle Cease
Kyle Cease, Comedy Central's 2009 Comedian of the Year and winner of the Stand-Up Showdown, Cease is highly regarded for his unique ability to combine comedy and transformation. 

An inspirational speaker, Kyle Cease aims to transform audiences through his unique blend of comedy and motivation. Following his successful Comedy Central Hour special, Weirder, Blacker, Dimpler and a #1 ranking on the network's Standup Showdown, Cease began speaking at colleges, universities, summits and Fortune 500 conferences about his use of comedy to overcome life's obstacles. 

Cease speaks on ways to let go, get out of your head, end stage fright, enhance relationships, accomplish what you want, play, make money, have an impact, get into alignment with your own intention. He works on himself by speaking in public about what he is learning, as he is learning it right there. 

Monday, September 19, 2016 - Evening Program
For or Against: My Life as a Muslim in the West’s Gray Zone
Laila Lalami
Born and raised in Morocco, a place whose past and present permeate her writings, Laila Lalami is a novelist, short story writer and essayist with a unique and confident voice in the conversations about race and immigration that increasingly occupy our national attention.

Laila Lalami was born in Rabat and educated in Morocco, Great Britain, and the United States. She is the author of the novels Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits, which was a finalist for the Oregon Book Award; Secret Son, which was on the Orange Prize long list, and The Moor’s Account, which won the American Book Award, the Arab American Book Award, and the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award. It was on the Man Booker Prize long list and was also a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.

Her essays and opinion pieces have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, The Nation, the Guardian, the New York Times, and in many anthologies. A graduate of Université Mohammed-V in Rabat, she also attended University College in London, and the University of Southern California, where she earned a Ph.D. in linguistics. She is the recipient of a British Council Fellowship, a Fulbright Fellowship, and a Guggenheim Fellowship, and is currently a professor of creative writing at the University of California at Riverside.

Lalami speaks on immigration, the Middle East and North Africa, Islam, Muslim women, and Arab uprisings. She also discusses race in America, especially forgotten histories, exploration, and cross-cultural encounters.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016 - Evening Program
Black Masculinity in America: Context, History and Impact on Emotional Health
Yolo Robinson Akili
Yolo Akili will survey historical and cultural factors that have influenced the construction of what is currently understood to be black masculinities and potential evolution and vision.  

Yolo Akili Robinson known as (Yolo Akili) is a writer, organizer, and yoga teacher who has written extensively on emotional health and issues of gender, sexuality, and race. He has worked with black men and boys for over 10 years on issues such as violence, homophobia, and emotional health.

Akili is the author of Dear Universe: Letters of Affirmation & Empowerment for All Of Us and has written for the Huffington Post, Ebony, The Good Men Project,, The Atlanta Journal Constitution, and Everyday Feminism. His work has been featured on, Huffington Post Live, The Daily Princetonian, and The Feminist Wire. His most well known work is on gay men and sexism, African-Americans and emotional health, masculinity and emotional peace.

He has been awarded the Creative Leadership Award by the Feminist Women’s Health Center Atlanta, a ZAMI award, and the Unity in Community Award from Unity in Christ Fellowship Church.

Mr. Akili’s Athenaeum presentation is co-sponsored with the OBSA.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016 - Evening Program
Who suffers when a country locks up 1% of its adult population?
Peter Wagner
The United States locks up a larger share of its population than any nation. Peter Wagner will discuss the consequences and price paid by families, communities, and people who have never touched our criminal justice system.

Peter Wagner is an attorney and the executive director of the Prison Policy Initiative, based in Northampton, Massachusetts. He co-founded the Prison Policy Initiative in 2001 to spark a national discussion about the collateral effects of mass incarceration. From ending "prison gerrymandering," to taking on the exploitative prison and jail telephone industry, the Prison Policy Initiative strives to show how mass incarceration effects our entire society, not just those behind bars.

Read more about Peter Wagner and the Prison Policy Initiative

Thursday, September 22, 2016 - Evening Program
Middle East Challenges on the Next American President's Desk
Michael A. Wilner '11
Michael A. Wilner ’11 will review the many Middle East conflicts facing a President Trump or a President Clinton, whose administrations will have to manage a complex nuclear deal with Iran, reestablish trust with the governments of Israel and its Sunni Arab neighbors, confront expanding Russian influence in the region, and address the deterioration of Syria and Iraq.

Michael A. Wilner ‘11 is the Washington bureau chief and White House correspondent for The Jerusalem Post, and coordinates coverage of U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East from the White House, State Department, Pentagon and Congress. He was formerly the New York and United Nations correspondent also for The Jerusalem Post.

Wilner leads coverage of the Iran nuclear deal, the US-Israel relationship, and the rise of Islamic State. A native New Yorker, he has reported from Europe, Africa, Asia and the Middle East on business, cultural, and international affairs.

At the age of 23, Wilner joined the White House press corps as its youngest member and as the only representative of an Israeli news organization in its foreign corps. He traveled with the U.S. delegation negotiating with Iran through Switzerland and Austria, and has filed from the field on the 2016 US presidential campaign, on the Syrian refugee crisis, and on the Gaza war during Operation Protective Edge.

In 2011, Wilner earned his bachelor's degree in philosophy, politics and economics (PPE) from Claremont McKenna College as a McKenna Scholar; he then attended Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism as a Hindery Fellow, graduating in 2012.

Michael Wilner's Athenaeum presentation is co-sponsored by CMC's Student Opportunity Center.


Follow the Athenaeum


Unless otherwise noted, lunch begins at 11:45 a.m.; speaker presentations begin at 12:15 p.m.
Evening receptions begin at 5:30 p.m.; dinner is served at 6 p.m.; speaker presentations begin at 6:45 p.m.