Marian Miner Cook

A distinctive
feature of social and
cultural life at CMC

Open Events

Welcome to the registration page for all open events at the Athenaeum for the Spring 2018.

​Please note that this registration page is the only recognized mechanism for signing up for meals associated with Athenaeum events. Alternative registrations provided by third parties (such as Eventbrite) are not managed or controlled by the College, and unfortunately such registrations cannot be honored to allow dining with us in advance of the talk. 

Events generally open for registration on a rolling basis every two weeks over the course of the semester. The CMC community has priority for dinner reservations. Space permitting, when meal spots are available for members of the other Claremont Colleges, a note is added to the event listing and registration is open for all others. 

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, the registration is currently closed either because the event is full or the reservation window has passed. Please check back later or contact the Ath at

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 p.m.; dinner is served at 6 p.m; and the talk begins at 6:45 p.m. Reservations are required for all meals.

An explanation of the reservation process and a list of frequently asked questions is available. Additional questions may also be directed to the Ath at

Monday, January 22, 2018 - 5:30pm
From Marching to Kneeling: The Evolution of Civil Rights
Jelani Cobb
Jelani Cobb, staff writer at the New Yorker and professor of journalism at Columbia University, writes about race, politics, and culture. He will deliver the 2018 MLK Commemorative Lecture.

Jelani Cobb, staff writer at the New Yorker and professor of journalism at Columbia University, writes about the enormous complexity of race in America. In 2015, he received the Sidney Hillman Prize for Opinion & Analysis Journalism for his New Yorker columns for combining “the strengths of an on-the-scene reporter, a public intellectual, a teacher, a vivid writer, a subtle moralist, and an accomplished professional historian." He is also the recipient of the 2017 Walter Bernstein Award from the Writer’s Guild of America for his investigative series Policing the Police, which aired on PBS Frontline in 2016.

Cobb was formerly associate professor of history at the University of Connecticut, where he was director of the Africana Studies Institute. He has received fellowships from the Fulbright and Ford Foundations. He is the author of Substance of Hope: Barack Obama and the Paradox of ProgressTo the Break of Dawn: A Freestyle on the Hip Hop Aesthetic, and The Devil & Dave Chappelle and Other Essays. His forthcoming book is Antidote to Revolution: African American Anticommunism and the Struggle for Civil Rights, 1931.   

Mr. Cobb is CMC's 2018 MLK Commemorative Speaker and his talk is co-sponsored by the President's Leadership Fund.

Meal reservations now open to everyone in The Claremont Colleges.
Tuesday, January 23, 2018 - 5:30pm
The Closest of Enemies: The United States and Cuba
Lars Schoultz
In the history of U.S. foreign policy, no relationship has been more dysfunctional than the one with nearby Cuba. Lars Schoultz, professor emeritus of political science at University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, will explore the U.S. side of this abnormal relationship, focusing on the recent efforts to normalize—and now roll back—relations with a country that is often referred to as the "closest of enemies".

Lars Schoultz, William Rand Kenan, Jr., Professor Emeritus of Political Science, received his B.A. and M.A. from Stanford University and his Ph.D. from University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. His area of special interest is inter‑American relations.

Schoultz has held a Fulbright‑Hays Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship in Buenos Aires to study Argentine electoral behavior, two postdoctoral research grants from the Social Science Research Council to study United States policy toward Latin America, and a Ford Foundation grant to study U.S. immigration policy. He has been a MacArthur Fellow in International Peace and Security and held residential fellowships at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and at the National Humanities Center. Schoultz is the recipient of the Tanner Award (1982), the Class of 1994 Award (1994), and the William Friday Award (2006), all for teaching excellence, and he is a member of the Order of the Golden Fleece and the Order of the Grail/Valkyries, both student honoraries.

A prolific author, his books include Human Rights and United States Policy Toward Latin America (1981), The Populist Challenge: Argentine Electoral Behavior in the Postwar Era (1983), National Security and United States Policy Toward Latin America (1987), Beneath the United States: A History of U.S. Policy Toward Latin America (1998), That Infernal Little Cuban Republic: The United States and the Cuban Revolution (2009), and In Their Own Best Interests: A History of the U.S. Effort to Improve Latin Americans (forthcoming 2018). Other scholarly writings have appeared in The American Political Science Review, The American Journal of Political Science, Comparative Politics, International Organization, The Journal of Politics, The Journal of Latin American Studies, The Latin American Research Review, and Political Science Quarterly.


Meal reservations now open to everyone in The Claremont Colleges.
Wednesday, January 24, 2018 - 5:30pm
Spoken Word with Slam Poet Amal Kassir
Amal Kassir
Watching the news, it seems like ethnic divides are ever-deepening. But how can we solve these complicated problems when each side lives in fear of the other? The answer is evident, argues Syrian-American poet Amal Kassir – it starts with, “What’s your name?” 

Amal Kassir is a Syrian-American spoken word poet and artist. Born in Denver, Colorado, she comes from a "dinner table of tabouleh and meat loaf, Syrian father and Iowan-German mother, best meals of both worlds."

As a university student, Kassir designed her own undergraduate degree called ‘Community Programming in Social Psychology’ which combines child psychology, writing, and education to develop curricula for refugee children with trauma. A strong proponent for education, she is dedicated to building individual agency particularly in under-served and vulnerable populations by emphasizing the power of writing.

Kassir has performed in 10 countries and over 45 cities and has conducted workshops, given lectures, and recited her poetry in venues ranging from youth prisons to orphanages, from refugee camps to universities, from churches to community spaces. She hopes to take part in the global effort for literacy in war-struck areas and refugee camps and runs a project called More than Metaphors that focuses on the education initiative for displaced Syrian children.

Recipient of multiple awards including as winner of the Grand Slam at the Brave New Voices International Youth Competition, Kassir has performed on the TED stage and been featured on the PBS NewsHour.

When she is not studying or performing, she waitresses at her family’s Syrian restaurant in Denver.

Meal reservations now open to everyone in The Claremont Colleges.
Thursday, January 25, 2018 - 5:30pm
Cases and Controversies: Pivotal Legal Questions of Our Times
Jeffrey Toobin
From the travel ban to the Colorado baker, from location data to the Wisconsin gerrymandering case, among many others, the Supreme Court’s 2017-18 docket is loaded with pivotal cases concerning national security, religious freedom, privacy in the digital age, and voting rights. The Court’s decisions on these and other matters will shape the American landscape for decades to come. Jeffrey Toobin, senior legal analyst for CNN, staff writer for The New Yorker, Supreme Court scholar, and author, will address some of the important issues fermenting in the U.S. legal system and the intricate judicial doctrine that shapes our legal, political, and social lives.

A senior analyst for CNN and staff writer for The New Yorker, Jeffrey Toobin is noted as one of the country’s most esteemed experts on politics, media, and the law. The author of critically acclaimed best sellers, Toobin delved into the historical, political and personal inner workings of the Supreme Court and its justices in his books The Nine: Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court and The Oath: The Obama White House and the Supreme Court. His recent book, American Heiress: The Wild Saga of the Kidnapping, Crimes and Trial of Patty Hearst, was released in August 2016, and examines the 1974 kidnapping of Patty Hearst.

After a six-year tenure at ABC News, where he covered the country’s highest-profile cases and received a 2000 Emmy Award for his coverage of the Elian Gonzales custody saga, Toobin joined CNN as a legal analyst in 2002 where he now serves as the senior legal analyst. Also a staff writer for The New Yorker since 1993, he has written articles on such subjects as the Bernie Madoff scandal, the case of Roman Polanski, and penned profiles of Justices Clarence Thomas, Steve Breyer, John Paul Stevens, and Chief Justice John Roberts. Prior to joining The New Yorker, Toobin served as an assistant United States Attorney in Brooklyn, New York. He also served as an associate counsel in the Office of Independent Counsel Lawrence E. Walsh.

Toobin received his bachelor’s degree from Harvard College and graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law School, where he was an editor of the Harvard Law Review.

Mr. Toobin is the Spring 2018 speaker for the Res Publica Society Speaker Series.

Photo credit: Great Talent Network


Meal reservations are at capacity for this event. If you would like to be put on a waiting list, please contact the Athenaeum.
Monday, January 29, 2018 - 5:30pm
Racial Bias and Discretion in Policing
Jack Glaser
Jack Glaser, professor of psychology at U.C. Berkeley, will describe the psychological science on intergroup bias that helps to explain racial disparities in police stops, searches, arrests, and use of force, and the promise of changing the decision-making landscape in order to reduce disparities.

Jack Glaser is a social psychologist who studies racial bias in criminal justice. His research on implicit bias, motivation to control prejudice, and racial profiling reside at the nexus of psychological science and policing. In particular, he investigates the unconscious operation of stereotypes and prejudice using computerized reaction time methods, and is investigating the implications of such subtle forms of bias in law enforcement and he is interested in racial profiling, especially as it relates to the psychology of stereotyping, and the self-fulfilling effects of such stereotype-based discrimination. 

Glaser received his Ph.D. in psychology from Yale University in 1999 and joined the faculty of UC.. Berkeley's Goldman School of Public Policy in 2000. In addition to teaching and research, he is currently serving as the associate dean at the Goldman School. He is also a principal investigator on the National Justice Database, funded by NSF and and the author of Suspect Race: Causes and Consequences of Racial Profiling (Oxford, 2015).

Tuesday, January 30, 2018 - 5:30pm
First Responders: Women as Witnesses to Mass Violence
Jo Scott-Coe
People say we are having a “moment” for women’s testimony. But listening is the labor of generations, not seconds. Although public violence is often preceded by attacks or murders in the home, private crimes continue to be treated separately in the public imagination, avoided or even erased by repeated narratives. Making room for women's voices, contends associate professor of English at Riverside City College Jo Scott-Coe, can expand and transform the narrative "canon" on mass violence.

Jo Scott-Coe is an associate professor of English composition, literature, and creative writing at Riverside City College. She is also an independent researcher on themes of gender, sexuality, and violence–in education and elsewhere. Her writing about an 8-year legal case of student-on-teacher sexual bullying and harassment appears in (Re)Interpretations: The Shapes of Justice in Women’s Experience (Cambridge Scholars Press).

Scott-Coe is also the author of Teacher at Point Blank (Aunt Lute) and MASS: A Sniper, a Father, and a Priest (forthcoming in April 2018). Her first-ever portrait of Kathy Leissner Whitman, “Listening to Kathy” (Catapult), received a Notable listing in Best American Essays. Scott-Coe's nonfiction has appeared in American Studies Journal, Pacific Coast Philology, Tahoma Literary Review, Talking Writing, Cultural Weekly, Superstition Review, Fourth Genre, Salon, and many other publications.

Professor Scott-Coe's Athenaeum presentation is co-sponsored by the Center for Writing and Public Discourse and Gender and Sexuality Studies.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018 - 5:30pm
What Nonfiction Narratives Reveal
Lynn Novick
One of the country’s most accomplished documentary filmmakers, Lynn Novick will discuss the creative process and the search for authenticity in her work, including her latest collaboration for PBS with Ken Burns, The Vietnam War, and her upcoming documentary College Behind Bars.

Lynn Novick is an Emmy and Peabody Award-winning documentary filmmaker. For nearly 30 years, she has been producing and directing films about American history and culture, among them some of the most acclaimed and top-rated documentaries to have aired on PBS. Her works include Prohibition, Baseball, Jazz, Frank Lloyd Wright and The War, a seven part, 15-hour exploration of ordinary Americans’ experiences in World War II.

The Vietnam War, Novick’s newest project co-directed by long-time partner Ken Burns, first aired on PBS in September 2017. An immersive, 10-part, 18-hour epic, it is the first major documentary assessment in a generation of one of the most divisive and consequential events in American history. A groundbreaking 360-degree exploration of the war, the series features testimony from nearly 100 witnesses, including many Americans who fought in the war and others who opposed it, as well as Vietnamese combatants and civilians from all sides of the issue.

Novick is currently working on a two-part biography of Ernest Hemingway, co-directed by Burns and slated for completion in 2020, and College Behind Bars, a feature length documentary produced by Sarah Botstein, about a group of men and women imprisoned in New York State for serious crimes, struggling to earn degrees in a rigorous liberal arts college program, the Bard Prison Initiative. College Behind Bars asks several essential questions: What is prison for? Who in America has access to educational opportunity? Can we have justice without redemption? The film will air on PBS in 2018.

Ms. Novick's Athenaeum presentation is co-sponsored by the Gould Center for Humanistic Studies' Lerner Lectureship in 1960s' Culture Fund. 

Thursday, February 1, 2018 - 5:30pm
Where is U.S. Foreign Policy Headed?
Stephen Walt
During the campaign, President Trump described U.S. foreign policy as “a complete and total disaster.” (Indeed, when Bernie Sanders made similar complaints from the left, many Americans nodded their heads in agreement, indicating a bi-partisan dissatisfaction with U.S. foreign policy.) Trump promised to “shake the rust off” and chart a new course; but his policies as president soon reverted to the familiar status quo. His bellicose tweets notwithstanding, Trump is gradually being captured, co-opted, and constrained by the foreign policy establishment. Stephen Walt, professor of international relations at Harvard University, will explore the future of U.S. foreign policy and argue that under Trump, U.S. foreign policy is likely to be an even more inept version of our recent follies.

Stephen M. Walt is the Robert and Renee Belfer Professor of International Affairs at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. Walt previously taught at Princeton University and the University of Chicago, where he served as master of the Social Science Collegiate Division and deputy dean of Social Sciences. He has been a resident associate of the Carnegie Endowment for Peace and a guest scholar at the Brookings Institution. He has also served as a consultant for the Institute of Defense Analyses, the Center for Naval Analyses, and the National Defense University. He presently serves on the editorial boards of Foreign Policy, Security Studies, International Relations, and Journal of Cold War Studies, and serves as co-editor of the Cornell Studies in Security Affairs, published by Cornell University Press. Additionally, he was elected as a Fellow in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in May 2005.

Walt is the author of The Origins of Alliances (1987), which received the 1988 Edgar S. Furniss National Security Book Award. He is also the author of Revolution and War (1996), Taming American Power: The Global Response to U.S. Primacy (2005), and, with co-author J.J. Mearsheimer, The Israel Lobby (2007). He is currently working on a book about why U.S. foreign policy keeps failing.

Professor Walt is the 2018 Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar and his Athenaeum presentation is co-sponsored by the Phi Beta Kappa Society.

Friday, February 2, 2018 - 11:45am
Stepping Stones to Sustainability: The Landscape of Green Jobs
Lauren Faber O'Connor
Lauren Faber O'Connor, the chief sustainability officer for the City of Los Angeles, will reflect on her experience working at the Environmental Defense Fund, the California EPA, and the U.S. Department of Energy State Energy Advisory Board and discuss environmental careers at different levels of governance, as well as in the public and private sectors. Her talk will detail the current and future landscape of jobs in environment and sustainability. 

Lauren Faber O’Connor is the chief sustainability officer for the City of Los Angeles. In this role, she is driving the implementation of LA’s landmark Sustainable City pLAn, released in April 2015, which puts forth an actionable vision for transforming LA's environment, economy, and equity. Working with every city department and outside stakeholders, O'Connor focuses on strategic integration of the pLAn's pillars in order to achieve the city's short and long-term goals, ensure benefits accrue to all communities in LA, and pursue regional and international collaborations including Climate Mayors, a coalition of nearly 400 US mayors committed to US leadership on climate change.

Prior to joining the Garcetti Administration, O'Connor served for four years as the West Coast political director for the Environmental Defense Fund ("EDF") in San Francisco. At EDF, she worked on building successful strategies and constructive partnerships to win support on innovative approaches to protecting and promoting climate, clean energy, land, water, and wildlife. In 2010 O'Connor was appointed to assistant secretary for Climate Change Programs at the California Environmental Protection Agency, where she was dedicated to the design and implementation of California’s landmark Global Warming Solutions Act, AB 32. Prior to her work at CalEPA, she served as senior director for Lighthouse Consulting Group in Washington, D.C., where she advised on comprehensive national climate change and energy strategies for domestic and international companies, and non-government organizations, and in particular, the U.S. Climate Action Partnership. From 2005-2009, she served at the British Embassy as senior policy advisor for climate change and energy.

O'Connor serves on the Board of the California League of Conservation Voters and the U.S. Department of Energy State Energy Advisory Board. She is a member of the Catto Fellowship for environmental leadership at the Aspen Institute and of the Truman National Security Project. She holds a bachelor’s degree in earth systems and economics from Stanford University, and master’s degree in Climate and Society from Columbia University.

Ms. O'Connor is the keynote speaker for CMC's fourth annual Green Careers Conference sponsored by the Roberts Environmental Center.

Meal reservations now open to everyone in The Claremont Colleges.

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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.