Marian Miner Cook

A distinctive
feature of social and
cultural life at CMC

Current Semester Schedule

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.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017 - 5:30pm
Class of 2021 Dinner (1)
Mary Gaitskill
Visiting professor of literature and acclaimed author Mary Gaitskill will address first-year student class in an exploration of literature as related to expression and social critique and will discuss the importance of writing and thinking with courage and honesty.  (All Class of 2021 students are automatically signed up for one of the two evenings based on WOA groups. The following WOA groups are scheduled for Tuesday, September 5: Alpine 1, Alpine 2, AR 2, AR 3, AR 4, Carpinteria, Doheny, Emma Wood, and El Capitan.)

Mary Gaitskill, visiting professor of literature at Claremont McKenna College is "among the most eloquent and perceptive of contemporary fiction writers," says The New York Times. She is the author of several novels including Two Girls, Fat and Thin (1998) and Veronica (2006), which was nominated for the National Book Award in 2005, as well as the story collections Don’t Cry (2010), Bad Behavior: Stories (1988), and Because They Wanted To (1998), which was nominated for the PEN/Faulkner in 1998.

Her story Secretary was the basis for the feature film of the same name. The film received the Special Jury Prize and was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival. Her stories and essays have appeared in The New Yorker, Harper’s, Granta, Best American Short Stories and The O. Henry Prize Stories. In 2002, she was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship for fiction; in 2010 she received a New York Public Library Cullman Center research grant.

A University of Michigan graduate, she has taught at U.C. Berkeley, the University of Houston, Claremont McKenna College, New York University, The New School, Brown University, and Syracuse University and she was the Writer-In-Residence at Hobart College William Smith College.

Her most recent novel,The Mare, was on the “Best Books of the Year" lists for The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The San Francisco Chronicle.

NOTE: Both on September 5 and 6, 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.

Photo credit: Derek Shapton

Wednesday, September 6, 2017 - 5:30pm
Class of 2021 Dinner (2)
Mary Gaitskill
Visiting professor of literature and acclaimed author Mary Gaitskill will address first-year student class in an exploration of literature as related to expression and social critique and will discuss the importance of writing and thinking with courage and honesty. (ll Class of 2021 students are automatically signed up for one of the two evenings based on WOA groups. The following WOA groups are scheduled for Wednesday, September 6: Idyllwild, Los Angeles, Leo Carillo, Ronald McDonald, San Clemente, San Diego, and San Onofre.) 

Mary Gaitskill, visiting professor of literature at Claremont McKenna College is "among the most eloquent and perceptive of contemporary fiction writers," says The New York Times. She is the author of several novels including Two Girls, Fat and Thin (1998) and Veronica (2006), which was nominated for the National Book Award in 2005, as well as the story collections Don’t Cry (2010), Bad Behavior: Stories (1988), and Because They Wanted To (1998), which was nominated for the PEN/Faulkner in 1998.

Her story Secretary was the basis for the feature film of the same name. The film received the Special Jury Prize and was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival. Her stories and essays have appeared in The New Yorker, Harper’s, Granta, Best American Short Stories and The O. Henry Prize Stories. In 2002, she was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship for fiction; in 2010 she received a New York Public Library Cullman Center research grant.

A University of Michigan graduate, she has taught at U.C. Berkeley, the University of Houston, Claremont McKenna College, New York University, The New School, Brown University, and Syracuse University and she was the Writer-In-Residence at Hobart College William Smith College.

Her most recent novel,The Mare, was on the “Best Books of the Year" lists for The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The San Francisco Chronicle.

NOTE: Both on September 5 and 6, 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.

Photo credit: Derek Shapton

Thursday, September 7, 2017 - 5:30pm
Sophomore Class Dinner: Expanding Your Story
Sharon Basso, facilitator
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!

The reception will begin at 5:30 pm in Flamson Plaza, dinner will be served at 6:00 pm and will include facilitated table discussions with faculty and staff.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017 - 5:30pm
The Rubin Report: An Evening of Free Speech with Dave Rubin
Dave Rubin
Host of The Rubin Report, Dave Rubin, is known for his political satire and commentary channeled through his stand-up comedy skills and chatty conversational style. A self-identified classical liberal, he tackles many topics including political correctness, free speech, politics, mass media, religion, foreign affairs, and the ideological split between liberalism and progressivism.

Dave Rubin is a talk show host, comedian, and TV personality. He is the host of The Rubin Report, a talk show about ideas and free speech, known for its open and direct approach—often deemed politically incorrect—to discussing complex issues and current events. Based on its unconventional style, the show has garnered a sizeable fan base from across the world.

Passionate and outspoken about the ideological split between liberals and the progressive movement, Rubin has been influential in popularizing the phrase "Regressive Left." A self-labeled former progressive, he identifies with classical liberalism and feels strongly about building a new center in the political landscape. 

Rubin was formerly an on-air host at The Young Turks Network, and prior to that was co-host of The Six Pack on SiriusXM satellite radio, also one of the top comedy podcasts on iTunes. His television credits include Comedy Central, Fox News, HLN, CNN, and PBS. He has defended LGBT rights on The O'Reilly Factor and debated Mike Huckabee on this topic.Rubin's comedy and commentary has been highlighted in The New York Times, New York Magazine, Entertainment Weekly, Time Magazine, and he has been nominated by L.A. Weekly for Funniest Twitter. 

Wednesday, September 13, 2017 - 5:30pm
How Do You Evaluate and Encourage Start-ups?
Steven N. Kaplan
Steven N. Kaplan, professor of finance and entrepreneurship at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, will talk about the framework he uses to evaluate start-ups and his related research on venture capital. Using this singular approach has helped spawn over one hundred companies and created over $4 billion in market value from companies including GrubHub and Braintree/Venmo.

Steven N. Kaplan is the Neubauer Family Distinguished Service Professor of Entrepreneurship and Finance at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and the Thomas Cole Distinguished Visiting Professor Chair at the University of Chicago Law School. He is also the faculty director of the University of Chicago’s Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation.

Kaplan is one of the world’s foremost researchers on private equity, venture capital, corporate governance, executive talent, and income inequality. His papers on private equity and venture capital are the standard references in the field. His findings and opinions regularly appear in the business media. Kaplan also serves as a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research. 

Kaplan teaches advanced MBA, law, and executive courses in entrepreneurial finance and private equity, corporate financial management, corporate governance, and wealth management. His course in entrepreneurial finance and private equity is consistently among the most popular at Chicago Booth and he is consistently ranked as one of the top teachers of entrepreneurship in the country. Kaplan has been awarded the Phoenix Award four times and the Arthur Kelly Prize twice for exhibiting exceptional dedication to his students outside of the classroom. 

Co-founder of the entrepreneurship program at Booth, he helped start Booth’s business plan competition, the New Venture Challenge (NVC). The NVC has spawned over one hundred companies which collectively have raised over $500 million from investors and have created over $4 billion in market value. Companies include GrubHub (market cap $3+ billion), Braintree/Venmo (sold to eBay for $800 million), Base CRM, Bump (sold to Google), MedSpeed, Rise Interactive, and Simple Mills. NVC was rated the top university accelerator program in the U.S. as well as one of the top eight accelerators of any kind in the U.S. in 2015, 2016 and 2017. Kaplan also helped start Hyde Park Angels which was named one of the top ten angel groups in the U.S. He serves on the boards of Morningstar (MORN) and Zayo Group (ZAYO). He also serves on the advisory boards of Correlation Ventures, Global eProcure, NextGen Growth Partners, Uptake and Vistria Group.

Kaplan earned his Ph.D. in business economics from Harvard University and received his AB, summa cum laude, in applied mathematics and economics from Harvard College.

Professor Kaplan’s Athenaeum talk is co-sponsored by the Financial Economics Institute (FEI) and the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE), both at CMC.

Thursday, September 14, 2017 - 5:30pm
Compassion and Confession
Leslie Jamison
Leslie Jamison, novelist and essayist, wonders about the moral complexities of writing other peoples’ lives. She will discuss her experiences writing about a variety of subjects, including long distance runners, prison inmates, whale fanatics, and medical patients—and the various ways she has purposefully and explicitly introduced subjectivity into these accounts of others’ lives. 

Born in Washington DC, Leslie Jamison grew up in Los Angeles. Since then, she has lived in Iowa, Nicaragua, New Haven, and New York. And she has worked as a baker, an office temp, an innkeeper, a tutor, and a medical actor. Worlds that are still in her and inform her writings.

She ponders: What does it mean to confess the self—in all its quandaries and questions—inside a piece of reportage? How does a piece work differently when it includes reported material alongside deeply personal reflections—when we sense the reporter as a deeply emotional presence with a story. And what obligations might a writer might feel towards her subjects—the interplay between guilt and the affection, between care and skepticism. 

Author of the novel, The Gin Closet, and a collection of essays, The Empathy Exams, her work has appeared in Harper's, Oxford American, A Public Space, Virginia Quarterly Review, and The Believer. She is a columnist for the New York Times Book Review, and an assistant professor at Columbia University.

Ms. Jamison’s Athenaeum presentation is co-sponsored by the Center for Writing and Public Discourse (CWPD) at CMC.

Photo credit: Michael Stenerson

Monday, September 18, 2017 - 5:30pm
The Constitution as a Coup Against Public Opinion
Michael Klarman
Michael Klarman, professor of law at Harvard University, will discuss the ways in which the U.S. Constitution was a more nationalizing and democracy-constraining document than most Americans anticipated; explain why the Philadelphia Convention did what it did; and how the Federalists managed to convince the country to ratify a constitution that constrained populist influence on the national government.

Michael J. Klarman is the Kirkland & Ellis Professor at Harvard Law School, where he joined the faculty in 2008. He received his B.A. and M.A. from the University of Pennsylvania in 1980, his J.D. from Stanford Law School in 1983, and his D. Phil. in legal history from the University of Oxford in 1988, where he was a Marshall Scholar. After law school, Klarman clerked for the Honorable Ruth Bader Ginsburg, then on the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. He joined the faculty at the University of Virginia School of Law in 1987 and served there until 2008 as the James Monroe Distinguished Professor of Law and Professor of History.

Klarman’s most recent book, The Framers’ Coup: The Making of the US Constitution (2016), was a finalist for both the George Washington Book Prize and the American Bar Association’s Silver Gavel Award. His first book, From Jim Crow to Civil Rights: The Supreme Court and the Struggle for Racial Equality (2004), received the 2005 Bancroft Prize in History. He is also the author of From the Closet to the Altar: Courts, Backlash, and the Struggle for Same-Sex Marriage​ (2012), Brown v. Board of Education and the Civil Rights Movement (2007), and Unfinished Business: Racial Equality in American History (2002), which is part of Oxford University Press’s Inalienable Rights series. 

Klarman has won numerous awards for his teaching and scholarship, which are primarily in the areas of constitutional law and constitutional history. In 2009, he was inducted into the American Academy of Arts & Sciences.

Professor Klarman will deliver the 2017 Salvatori Center’s Lofgren Lecture on American Constitutionalism. 

Tuesday, September 19, 2017 - 5:30pm
New Media Models for Civic Engagement: From Marconi to Snapchat
Tracy Westen
From Marconi and AM radio to email, Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat, each new medium has changed the nature of politics and civic engagement. Yet in many ways our political knowledge and civic participation has decreased. Tracy Westen, founder and director of the Center Governmental Studies, will talk about why this has happened, and how can we revitalize our democracy through new media models of civic engagement.  

Tracy Westen founded and directed the Center for Governmental Studies (CGS) and taught communications law and policy at the USC Annenberg School for Communications and UCLA Law School for over 30 years. He created four Blue Ribbon Commissions; built award-winning model websites to enhance civic education including The Democracy Network, Video Voter, California Channel, Digital Democracy and; litigated test cases on media in the federal courts; and authored or edited over 75 books and reports on media, democracy and judicial reforms. He was deputy director for consumer protection at the Federal Trade Commission and legal assistant to an FCC Commissioner.

He received degrees with high honors from U.C. Berkeley Law School (J.D.), University of Oxford (M.A.) and Pomona College (B.A.).

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

Tuesday, September 19, 2017 - 5:30pm
Why Buddhism is True
Robert Wright
Robert Wright, award-winning writer and teacher, draws on evolutionary psychology, philosophy, and neuroscience to show how and why meditation can serve as the foundation for spiritual life in a secular age and explores the role of Buddhist philosophy in leading the way.

Robert Wright is the New York Times bestselling author of The Evolution of God, a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize; Nonzero; The Moral Animal; and Three Scientists and Their Gods, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. He has taught at the University of Pennsylvania and at Princeton, where he also created the popular online course “Buddhism and Modern Psychology.”

In 2009, Foreign Policy named him one of its Top 100 Global Thinkers alongside Barack Obama, Bill Gates, and Anne-Marie Slaughter. He has written for a variety of publications, including The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Time, Slate, and The New Republic.

Mr. Wright’s Athenaeum presentation is co-sponsored by the Gould Center for Humanistic Studies.

Photo credit: Barry Munger

Wednesday, September 20, 2017 - 5:30pm
The Paradox of Choice
Barry Schwartz
Built into the DNA of the U.S. and other western societies is the conviction that freedom of choice is good, and more choice is always better than less. But Barry Schwartz, emeritus professor of psychology at Swarthmore College and visiting professor at Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, argues the opposite, making the case that the abundance of choice in western societies is actually making us miserable. 

Barry Schwartz’s research and writings address morality, decision-making, and the complex relationships between science and society and are applicable to not only individuals but diverse industries and organizations. A prolific author and speaker, Schwartz has published a dozen books and over 200 articles in scientific, professional, and academic publications. A frequent guest on television and radio, Schwartz has also spoken at TED multiple times. His TED talks have been viewed by over 12 million times.

Schwartz’s 2004 book The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less was named one of the top business books of that year by both Business Week and Forbes Magazine. It has since been translated into twenty-five languages. Schwartz’s also wrote Practical Wisdom: The Right Way to Do the Right Thing, with colleague Ken Sharpe. Most recently, Schwartz published Why We Work.

Schwartz is emeritus professor of psychology at Swarthmore College and is currently a visiting professor at Berkeley’s Haas School of Business.

Thursday, September 21, 2017 - 11:45am
Media Literacy 101: What Has Journalism Done For Me Lately? And Is Freedom of the Press Working Now?
Lori Kozlowski ’00
With all the talk about “fake news” and new questions arising about what to trust, Lori Kozlowski '00 will present an in-depth analysis of how the news business works, delve into journalism’s role in society, and consider how to defend freedom of the press.

Lori Kozlowski ’00 is a journalist, editor, producer, and media executive, exploring storytelling in all of its forms. 

She serves as producer for Project Empathy—a virtual reality series that combines reporting, documentary, and VR to explore social justice issues in the United States. 

Previously, she served as editorial director at entertainment company Atom Factory, leading the company’s news media division. She founded Smashd, a publication about culture and technology. She was a digital editor and columnist for Forbes, covering entrepreneurs and startups. Prior to Forbes, she served as senior editor at the Los Angeles Times. She has written for numerous national publications, has worked with MIT Media Lab startups on the merger of technology and story, and has served as adjunct faculty at Chapman University and at USC.

Kozlowski graduated with a dual major in government and literature from Claremont McKenna College in 2000. She also holds a Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Southern California.

Ms. Kozlowski's Athenaeum presentation is co-sponsored by the Center for Writing and Public Discourse (CWPD) at CMC.

Thursday, September 21, 2017 - 5:30pm
Don't Even Go There: How Misogyny Turns On Gaslighting
Kate Manne
Kate Manne, philosopher from Cornell University, will consider the ways misogyny is a self-masking phenomenon, in the sense that its nature and mechanisms counteract its own disclosure—and can even make someone who speaks out about misogyny liable to "eat her words." How is this possible and what is the role of gaslighting in this phenomenon? 

Kate Manne is an assistant professor of philosophy at the Sage School of Philosophy at Cornell University, where she has been teaching since 2013. She was previously a junior fellow at the Harvard Society of Fellows from 2011-2013. As an undergraduate student at her hometown university, University of Melbourne, she studied philosophy, logic, and computer science. Manne now works in moral (especially metaethics and moral psychology), social, and feminist philosophy. She frequently writes opinion pieces, essays, and reviews. Her book, Down Girl: The Logic of Misogyny (Oxford University Press) will be published in October 2017.

Gaslighting, according to Manne, may make a woman willing and able not only to disbelieve her former testimony, but even reject the very questions or concerns on which it was premised. Raising the sorts of issues to which a woman's story provided answers (e.g., “Was he abusive?”) is effectively billed as a symptom of rational breakdown (e.g., paranoia, being delusional) or, just as importantly, morally bad character (e.g., ingratitude, being insufficiently forgiving, or self-pityingly “playing the victim.”) Concepts and phrases like “playing the victim” and “fishing for sympathy” make merely raising the specter of moral wrongdoing done to oneself suspect and fraught. Manne will further interrogate, break down, and resist these concepts and beliefs.

Professor Manne’s Athenaeum presentation is one of two keynote addresses for the Gaslighting and Epistemic Injustice Conference organized by CMC’s philosophy department with support from the Gould Center for Humanistic Studies.



Thursday, September 21, 2017 - 5:30pm
Unleashing Your Inner Entrepreneur
Ben Hamlin '07
Ben Hamlin '07, who after years on Wall Street co-founded Localwise, will provide a 5-step framework for unleashing your inner entrepreneur. With experience in politics, banking, venture capital, and non-profit management, he will juxtapose more traditional career paths with entrepreneurship through the lens of his professional story and will provide strong opinions, contrarian viewpoints, and, most importantly, insights to help you navigate your career.

Ben Hamlin is a recovering finance professional turned entrepreneur. He is the founder & CEO of Localwise, a venture-backed startup bringing relationship-based hiring online for the uncollared workforce. 

From 2010 to 2015, Ben served on the board of directors for NYPACE, a non-profit that provides pro-bono consulting services to local business owners. He is now an Advisor to NYPACE and LiftEd, a startup that improves learning outcomes for students with disabilities.

Hamlin holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics with Honors from Claremont McKenna College ('07) and an MBA from Berkeley-Haas (’14).

Mr. Hamlin's Athenaeum presentation is co-sponsored by the Soll Center for Student Opportunities.

Monday, September 25, 2017 - 5:30pm
Education and Economic Empowerment in South Sudan
Valentino Achak Deng
Valentino Achack Deng, former Sudanese lost boy turned human rights and education activist, will highlight the educational and economic efforts underway in South Sudan to help counteract the impact of years of violence and conflict on a generation of youth. How will the newest country in the world, given its minimal financial foundation and political instability, create economic success and financial resilience for its citizens? 

Valentino Achack Deng was born in southern Sudan (now South Sudan), in the village of Marial Bai. He fled in the late 1980s during the second Sudanese civil war, when his village was destroyed by murahaleen—the same type of militia that currently terrorize the Darfur region of Sudan. Deng spent nine years in Ethiopian and Kenyan refugee camps, where he worked for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) as a social advocate and reproductive health educator. In 2001, he resettled in Atlanta, Georgia. Deng has toured the United States speaking about his life in South Sudan, his experience as a refugee, and his collaboration with author Dave Eggers on What Is the What, the novelized version of Deng’s life story.

As a leader in the South Sudanese diaspora, Deng advocates for the universal right to education. In 2006, Deng and Eggers established the VAD Foundation to help rebuild South Sudanese communities by increasing educational access, including vocational training, to promote youth economic empowerment. In 2015, he was appointed the minister of education for Northern Bahr el Ghazal, one of the ten states in South Sudan which gained its independence from Sudan in 2011, and now oversees more than 800 state run schools in addition to the VAD Foundation private secondary schools.

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

Photo credit: By Stoolhog - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Tuesday, September 26, 2017 - 5:30pm
Documenting China's Crony Capitalism: Why it Matters
Michael Forsythe
Choking air pollution. Poisoned soil. Ghost cities. Yawning income gaps. The problems with China's breakneck economic growth are well documented. But what is less known is how the confluence of money and unchecked power helped exacerbate them. Michael Forsythe of the New York Times will examine the corruption that threatens to undermine the seven-decade rule of China's Communist Party.

Mike Forsythe is a reporter for the New York Times. In February 2017, he joined the newspaper's investigative team in New York after working for three years in Hong Kong. For many years, Forsythe has been focused on reporting on the confluence of money and politics in China, first for Bloomberg News, where he worked in Beijing and Washington, and then with the New York Times. 

Forsythe was the lead reporter for Bloomberg News for its groundbreaking investigation in 2012 that documented the vast wealth accumulated by relatives of Chinese President Xi Jinping. Bloomberg's website has been blocked in China since then and Bloomberg has removed the article from its own website. That article was part of a series that won the George Polk Award for international reporting as well as many other honors. Since joining the New York Times, Forsythe has continued to write about the wealth of China's princelings and their financial ties to some of China's biggest companies.

Forsythe is a veteran of the United States Navy, serving on ships in the Pacific Ocean and making two tours to the Persian Gulf area. He is a graduate of Georgetown University and Harvard University.

Mr. Forsythe's Athenaeum presentation is co-sponsored by the Keck Institute for International and Strategic Studies.

Thursday, September 28, 2017 - 11:45am
Inclusiveness Panel and Workshop #1
7C Committee on Inclusive Excellence
The 7C Committee on Inclusive Excellence will hold the first of two workshops covering topics addressing diversity in the workplace. The workshop will offer attendees practical tools on inclusive practices. This session will be structured for staff without supervisory responsibilities.

The 7C Committee on Inclusive Excellence is a project-driven committee that seeks to engage the Claremont Colleges and the Consortium on topics of diversity, inclusion, and social justice. The committee provides space for its members to share work being done around these issues and to strategize effective methods of advocacy and support for underserved populations. Convened as the Diversity Practitioners Committee in 2015, the name changed to the Committee on Inclusive Excellence to better describe the group’s goals and aspirations around its work, and the conversations it aims to encourage on the campuses across the 7Cs and CUC.


Thursday, September 28, 2017 - 5:30pm
How to Tame a Fox and Build a Dog
Lee Alan Dugatkin
Imagine speeding up thousands of years of evolution into a few decades…. Lee Alan Dugatkin will recount such a tale: In the depths of Siberia, Soviet scientists jump-started the effort to evolve foxes into dogs to recreate the evolution of wolves into dogs and to witness, in real time, the process of domestication.

Lee Alan Dugatkin, professor and University Scholar in the department of biology at the University of Louisville, will tell a story of adventure, science, politics, and love that has propelled scientists isolated in Siberia to tame foxes and will take us inside this path-breaking experiment amid the brutal winters of Siberia to reveal how scientific history is made and continues to be made today.

Dugatkin has written several popular books, including How to Tame a Fox and Build a Dog (co-authored with Lyudmila Trut) (2017), Mr. Jefferson and the Giant Moose (2009), and The Altruism Equation (2006). He has also authored many technical books, text books, and other scholarly articles.

Dugatkin’s main areas of research interest are the evolution of social behavior and the history of science.

Monday, October 2, 2017 - 11:45am
Progress Towards a Game of Life Decision Support System
Harry Max Markowitz
Recipient of the Nobel Prize in Economics in 1990 for his work on portfolio theory, Harry Markowitz will discuss why household financial decisions for individuals and/or families should be considered part of the “Game of Life” that individuals and families play out. 

Harry Markowitz, adjunct professor at the Rady School of Management at UCSD, shared the 1990 the Nobel Prize in Economics for his work on portfolio theory. He also is the recipient of the John von Neumann Award from the Operations Research Society of America for his work in portfolio theory, sparse matrix techniques, and SIMSCRIPT. 

In an article published in 1952 and a subsequent book in 1959, he presented what is now referred to as MPT, “modern portfolio theory.”  This has become a standard topic in college courses and texts on investments, and is widely used by institutional investors and financial advisors for asset allocation, risk control, and attribution analysis. In other areas, Markowitz developed “sparse matrix” techniques for solving very large mathematical optimization problems. These techniques are now standard in production software for optimization programs. He also designed and supervised the development of the SIMSCRIPT programming language which has been widely used for programming computer simulations of systems like factories, transportation systems, and communication networks.

Professor Markowitz's Athenaeum presentation is co-sponsored by the Soll Center for Student Opportunities.

Monday, October 2, 2017 - 5:30pm
Blind Faith: The Hindi Poet Surdas and his Visual Legacy
John Stratton Hawley
The great 16th-century poet Hindi Surdas, a great devotee of Krishna, is said to have been blind. John “Jack” Stratton Hawley, professor of religion at Barnard College, Columbia University, wonders and explains how the poet could have seen what he saw and also addresses why he is seen so frequently in illustrated manuscripts.

John “Jack” Stratton Hawley is the Claire Tow Professor of Religion at Barnard College, Columbia University. His most recent books on India’s bhakti traditions are A Storm of Songs: India and the Idea of the Bhakti Movement (Harvard, 2015), Sur’s Ocean (with Kenneth Bryant, Harvard, 2015), and a poem-by-poem commentary called Into Sur’s Ocean (Harvard Oriental Series, 2016). A Storm of Songs received the Coomaraswamy Book Prize of the Association for Asian Studies in 2017.

Hawley has directed Columbia University’s South Asia Institute and has received multiple awards from NEH, the Smithsonian, and the AIIS. He has been a Guggenheim Fellow and was recently elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 2016-17 he was in India as a Fulbright-Nehru Fellow, working on a project called “The New Vrindavan.”

Professor Hawley’s Athenaeum presentation is part of the Devotion in South Asia series co-sponsored by the Kutten Lectureship in Religious Studies at CMC.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017 - 5:30pm
Dataclysm: Who We Are (When We Think No One’s Looking)
Christian Rudder
From the data we have gathered, can we learn something new about our behaviors and attitudes? Christian Rudder thinks so. As co-founder of the dating site OkCupid, he possesses one of the richest data sets in the world and uses it to illustrate the human behavior behind the numbers to peer into who we truly are when nobody is looking.

Christian Rudder is one of the founders of OKCupid, one of the largest dating sites in the world, which was sold to IAC in 2011. He still runs it day-to-day, while also heading a small data-mining team that scours the digital universe for meaningful trends on important sites. The original outlet for Rudder’s research took place on OKCupid’s blog, OKTrends, which was not only read by millions of people, but also changed the way companies approach data as a media-relations strategy. His research and findings have been featured in The New York Times, Harper’s, The Atlantic, and were the subject of a New Yorker feature.  

A native of Arkansas, Rudder graduated from Little Rock High School and attended Harvard College where he majored in mathematics. Rudder joined SparkNotes in October 1999, a few months after its founding. Rudder was the creative voice of, which was the viral content arm of SparkNotes during the site's early rise to popularity. He became TheSpark's creative director in March 2001. Soon after the site's sale to Barnes & Noble, Rudder and the SparkNotes founders left and began working on OkCupid, which launched in February 2004.

Photo credit: Victor G. Jeffreys II

Wednesday, October 4, 2017 - 5:30pm
Can Europe come back in the age of Trump, Merkel, and Macron?
Patrick A. Chamorel
Europe faces severe crisis after crisis: Anemic economic growth, the rise of anti-European sentiment, right and left-wing populism, the Euro and Greek crises, massive immigration, the refugee crisis along with the rise of Islam, Brexit, and Trump. Discredited Brussels institutions, controversial German leadership, and deepening fractures within Europe have precluded solutions. Patrick Chamorel, senior resident at Stanford in Washington, will address whether the new political landscape forged by Brexit, Trump, Merkel, and Marcon can reshape, for better or worse, Europe and transatlantic relations.

Patrick Chamorel is Senior Resident Scholar at Stanford in Washington, where he teaches international and comparative politics. Chamorel has written extensively on U.S. and European politics. His most recent research has focused on US strategic, political, and economic relations with Europe and the EU, American and European political and business elites, the impact of globalization on governments, business and civil society, Euro-skepticism in America, and U.S. and French presidential elections. He is a regular commentator in the international press, radio, and TV.

In addition to Stanford, he has taught at the University of California (Berkeley and Santa Cruz), George Washington University, and Claremont McKenna College where he was the Crown Visiting professor of Government from 2002-05.

In the 1990's, Chamorel was a senior advisor to the French Prime Minister among other advisory roles in the government. He is a graduate of Sciences-Po in Paris where he also earned his Ph.D. in political science. In addition, he holds a Master in Public Law from the University of Paris.

Professor Chamorel's Athenaeum presentation is sponsored by the Salvatori Center at CMC.

Thursday, October 5, 2017 - 11:45am
What We Know about Leadership from Science
David V. Day
Major myths and misconceptions abound on the topic of leadership. Despite such enduring misbeliefs, there is more than a century of scientific leadership research. David Day's talk will highlight what we know about leadership from a scientific evidence-based perspective, and which of the persistent leadership myths and misconceptions can now be safely retired.

David Day, professor of psychology and academic director of the Kravis Leadership Insitutute, will make a luncheon presentation during the program celebrating his formal installation as the inaugural Steven L. Eggert ’82 P’15 Professor of Leadership and George R. Roberts Fellow. Before coming to CMC in 2016, Day was a professor of organizational behavior and Woodside Chair in Leadership and Management at the University of Western Australia Business School.

Day is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association, Association for Psychological Science, International Association of Applied Psychology, and the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology and has core research interests in the areas of leadership, identity, and leadership development. In 2010 he was awarded the Walter F. Ulmer Research Award from the Center for Creative Leadership (USA) for outstanding, career-long contributions to applied leadership research.

Monday, October 9, 2017 - 5:30pm
Ordinary Jews: Choice and Survival during the Holocaust
Evgeny Finkel
Drawing from his most recent book, Ordinary Jews: Choice and Survival during the Holocaust, Evgeny Finkel, assistant professor of political science and international affairs at George Washington University, will focus on how and why ordinary Holocaust victims chose their survival strategies.

Evgeny Finkel studies political violence, East European, and Israeli politics. More specifically, he is interested in how institutions and individuals respond to violence, crisis, and rapid change and works extensively at the intersection of political science and history. He is the author of Ordinary Jews: Choice and Survival during the Holocaust (2017). He is currently working on a book project that focuses on Holocaust survivors who fought in the 1948 War in Israel/Palestine and simultaneously working on projects that analyze the causes and impact of political violence in Eastern Europe and Israel/Palestine. His articles have appeared in the American Political Science Review, Comparative Political Studies, Comparative Politics, East European Politics and Societies, Democratization, and several other journals and edited volumes.

An assistant professor of political science and international affairs at George Washington University, Finkel was born in the former Soviet Union and grew up in Israel where he received his B.A. in political science and international relations at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He went on to receive a  Ph.D. in political science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where his dissertation won the American Political Science Association 2013 Gabriel A. Almond Award for the best dissertation in comparative politics.

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

Tuesday, October 10, 2017 - 11:45am
Brazilian Agrigolpe: Brazil’s 2016 Parliamentary Coup and Challenge in Historical Perspective
Clifford Welch
Brazil’s crisis continues, supported by a powerful agribusiness lobby with deep historical roots. Clifford Welch, professor of contemporary Brazilian history, will detail the centrality of agribusiness support for the impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff in August 2016, and its opportunism in shaping the interim president’s policies. While the media has focused on corruption as cause of the crisis, he argues that historical perspective points toward the political opportunism of Brazil’s most traditional dominant class – the rural oligarchy – as it seeks to enhance its self-interest.

Clifford Welch is a professor of contemporary Brazilian history at the Universidade Federal de São Paulo.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017 - 5:30pm
Artificial Intelligence for Business
Jay Bellissimo P'20
Jay Bellissimo P’20, general manager and chief revenue office for of IBM Watson & Cloud Platform, will explore state-of-the-art developments in AI, including illustrations/case studies of how the cognitive potential of machines can transform our lives and industries. He will also discuss how AI can enhance consumer experiences across a broad range of applications.   

Jay Bellissimo P’20 is the general manager and chief revenue officer of the Watson & Cloud Platform at IBM where he has been since 1991. He is responsible for the go-to-market strategy across IBM’s core cognitive and cloud-based technologies, including large transformation engagements, channels, business partners and major client engagements.

Since he IBM in 1991, Bellissimo has held numerous management and leadership positions. Prior to his current role, he was the general manager for IBM Cognitive Solutions where he led the customer engagement and product strategy for IBM’s portfolio of cognitive-based solution technologies across 18 industries. He also served as the GM for customer experience for IBM Watson. He initiated the first wave of cognitive computing commercialization in key industries, such as healthcare, public sector and financial services, which would eventually be adopted by 36 countries and in five different languages and also led IBM’s Global SAP Consulting business. In this role, he led the strategy, sales and managed the client relationships, and operations. 

Bellissimo holds a B.A. in Political Science from St. Michael’s College.

Mr. Bellissimo’s Athenaeum presentation is co-sponsored by the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE).

Wednesday, October 11, 2017 - 5:30pm
Impolitic Politics: How We Lost the Ability to Speak Across our Differences, and How We Can Rediscover It
Jonathan Zimmerman P'18
American politics is in disarray. On our airwaves, talking heads and trolls shout past each other in a 24/7 stampede of snark and invective. And on college campuses, psychological theories of trauma dampen exchange and discussion. Jonathan Zimmerman P'18 talk will examine the origins of these patterns and suggest ways that our educational institutions can challenge them.

A former Peace Corps volunteer and public school social studies teacher, Jonathan Zimmerman P'18 is a professor of history of education at the University of Pennsylvania. His scholarship has focused broadly on the ways that different peoples have imagined and debated education across time and space. He has authored books about sex and alcohol education, history and religion in the curriculum, Americans who taught overseas, and historical memory in public schooling. His most recent work, co-authored with Emily Robertson, The Case for Contention: Teaching Controversial Issues in American Schools (University of Chicago Press), examines campus politics in the United States, including controversies over diversity, sexual assault, and “political correctness.”

Zimmerman’s academic work has appeared in the Journal of American History, the Teachers College Record, and History of Education Quarterly. He is a frequent contributor to the New York Times, the Washington Post, the New York Review of Books, and other newspapers and magazines. Before teaching at Penn, he taught for for 20 years at New York University, where he won NYU's Distinguished Teaching Award in 2008 and where he also served as chair of the department of Humanities and Social Sciences in NYU’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development. Zimmerman holds a Ph.D. in history from the Johns Hopkins University. 

Author of several books, he has received book and article prizes from the American Educational Research Association, the Society for Historians of the Gilded Age and the Progressive Era, and the History of Education Society, where he served as president in 2009–2010. 

Professor Zimmerman's Athenaeum presentation is co-sponsored by the President's Leadership Fund.

Thursday, October 12, 2017 - 5:30pm
Boy Meets Depression: Confessions of a Depressed Comic
Kevin Breel
Kevin Breel, author of “Boy Meets Depression,” openly and honestly shares real life experiences, including his own, to expose issues around mental health and provide a look inside the life and mind of a struggling young person. By sharing his own story, Breel hopes to break the stigma surrounding mental health and spark a productive conversation to address this difficult issue which so disproportionately affects young people.

At 24, Kevin Breel is a successful writer, comedian and activist.

And he suffers from depression.

His 2015 debut memoir “Boy Meets Depression” achieved critical acclaim. Forbes Magazine called it “a small book well worth reading” and NPR dubbed it “honest and compelling.” His TED Talk “Confessions of a Depressed Comic” has amassed over 4 million views world-wide making it one of the most viewed TED talks along with Steve Jobs and Bill Gates.

As a comedian, Breel has headlined theaters and colleges with his unique, story-telling style. As an activist for mental health, he has been a guest speaker colleges across North America, including Harvard University, Yale, and MIT and has also spoken at Fortune 500 companies and for the government of Canada.

A recipient of multiple awards for social activism around mental health, Breel has helped fundraise millions of dollars for mental health awareness campaigns, has helped to advise political reform around mental health issues, and is one of the National Ambassadors for the prestigious Bell LET’S TALK Campaign. 

Wednesday, October 18, 2017 - 5:30pm
Symmetric Polyhedra — From Platon to Modern Computational Mathematics
Achill Schürmann
Achill Schürmann, professor of mathematics, will discuss how polyhedras—beautiful geometric constructions pondered since ancient times by both mathematicians and philosophers—have turned over time into powerful computational tools for the digital age.  

Achill Schürmann is a professor of mathematics at one of Europe's oldest universities in Rostock. His research and teaching lie at the intersection of classical topics like algebra and geometry and modern applications of computational mathematics. He has held positions at Peking University (Bejing), University of Magdeburg (Germany), University of Bordeaux (France), and TU Delft (Netherlands), among others.

Among his areas of interest and research are polyhedras, geometrical objects in space, generalizing the notion of a polygon in the plane. The properties of polyhedra were studied by the ancient Greek mathematicians and philosophers, and include the famous Platonic solids—tetrahedron, cube, octahedron, dodecahedron, icosahedron, named for the numbers of their faces. In modern day mathematics, polyhedra are studied for their beautiful geometry, as well as for their numerous applications in the digital age.

During the Fall 2017 semester, Schürmann is visiting CMC as a Podlich Distinguished Fellow. His Athenaeum lecture is complemented by an introductory half-semester course at CMC on the mathematical theory of polyhedra and its applications in economics and social choice theory.

Thursday, October 19, 2017 - 5:30pm
The Ever-Changing Music Business
Ryan McMahon '08
Writer and producer of the 2016 hit song “Shut up and Dance,” Ryan McMahon ’08 will expose all sides of the ever-changing music industry, from writing and producing songs to recording contracts to music streaming services, and their effect on the bottom line for labels, songwriters, and everyone in between.

Ryan McMahon ’08 is a multi-platinum music producer and songwriter. After graduating from Claremont McKenna College with an economics-accounting degree, he went on to write and produce hit songs including “Shut Up & Dance” with Walk The Moon and “I Got You” with Bebe Rexha. He has also written songs for The Chainsmokers, Halsey, and Tove Lo, among others. In 2016, he signed a record deal with LA Reid at Epic Records as an artist with his group Captain Cuts.

At the 2016 Billboard Music Awards, McMahon’s "Shut up and Dance" won Top Rock Song, Top Radio Song, and Song of the Year.


Monday, October 23, 2017 - 11:45am
The Post-Election Politics of Identity
Zachary Courser '99
Defying all political expectations and conventional norms, Trump's vulgar pronouncements on race and gender and his signature lack of decorum did little to arrest his progress to the White House. CMC professor of government Zachary Courser '99 will analyze how an emerging white racial identity group—combined with a coarsening of political rhetoric—helped elect Trump, and how the new politics of white identity shape his agenda.

Zachary Courser '99 is the research director of the Dreier Roundtable and a visiting assistant professor of government at Claremont McKenna College. He has published articles on the emergence of the Tea Party movement, and is a contributor and editor of the forthcoming volume Parchment Barriers: Political Polarization and the Limits of Constitutional Order. Courser has taught political science courses at a number of institutions, including the University of Virginia, Claremont McKenna College, Boston College, and Washington and Lee University. In fall 2016, Courser established CMC's Policy Lab, an innovative new undergraduate course focused on public policy analysis of real world problems in coordination with a Washington DC think tank. He also has taught and researched internationally at Sciences Po Lyon in France, and worked as a senior program director and fellow for the Legatum Institute in London. He has experience working in Washington, DC, both on Capitol Hill and as the interim director of Claremont McKenna College’s Washington Program. He is a regular political commentator on NPR affiliate KPCC's AirTalk program in Los Angeles, and frequently gives talks on American politics.


Monday, October 23, 2017 - 5:30pm
Hymns of Wisdom: The Ismaili Ginans of South Asia
Ali Asani
Ali Asani, professor of Indo-Muslim and Islamic Religion and Cultures at Harvard University, will introduce the ginans, hymns of wisdom of the South Asia’s Ismaili communities, and their most important themes, including their ritual and performative contexts and the manner these have been impacted by a variety of political, social, and religious influences in colonial and postcolonial South Asia.

Ali Asani is professor of Indo-Muslim and Islamic Religion and Cultures at Harvard University where he was both an undergraduate and graduate student. A specialist of Islam in South Asia, Asani's research focuses on Shia and Sufi devotional literature and traditions in the region.

Asani served as the director of Harvard’s Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Islamic Studies Program from 2010-2016. He serves on the faculty of the departments of South Asian Studies and African and African-American Studies. He teaches a range of courses covering South Asian and African languages and literatures as well as courses on various aspects of the Islamic tradition including “Understanding Islam and Contemporary Muslim Societies” and “Religion, Literature, and the Arts in Muslim Cultures,” among others. He also teaches about Muslim communities in the West.

Asani is recipient of the Harvard Foundation medal for his outstanding contributions to improving intercultural and race relations. He is also the recipient of Harvard's Petra C. Shattuck prize for excellence in teaching.

Professor Asani's Athenaeum presentation is part of the "Devotion in South Asia" series co-sponsored by a curricular development grant from the Dean of Faculty's Office at CMC.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017 - 5:30pm
Work's Provocative Future
George Anders
As we head toward a world defined by self-driving cars, drone-powered warfare, and AI-based chat bots, what's left for humans to do? George Anders, writer and contributing editor at Forbes magazine, argues that the world's labor markets still need human creativity, curiosity and empathy. His talk will cover a variety of labor-market surprises, showing how the humanist's perspective is becoming more valuable, even as technology marches forward. 

George Anders is a contributing editor at Forbes magazine, and the author of five business book including The New York Times bestseller Perfect Enough. Earlier in his career, he spent two decades as a top feature writer for The Wall Street Journal, where he was part of a team that won a Pulitzer Prize for national reporting. In 2011, he served as a founding editor of Bloomberg View, writing editorials on a wide range of economic and social issues.

Anders is a frequent public speaker, including at colleges and corporations. He has spoken at Texas Tech, the University of Central Florida, Harvard, Stanford, and the London School of Economics. He also has been a guest speaker at Google, Microsoft, Rolls-Royce PLC, and various industry conferences in Arizona, Florida, California and Peru. He is prominent on digital-media platforms as a LinkedIn Influencer and a four-time top writer on Quora. 


Wednesday, October 25, 2017 - 11:45am
Mindful + Sexy Safer Sex
Kate McCombs
Kate McCombs has traveled the world teaching sex and relationship education as well as empathic communication skills. Committed to helping people feel more comfortable talking about sex and feelings, her presentation will offer tools required to make mindful choices around safer sex practices, and much more.

A renowned sex and relationship educator, Kate McCombs believes that meaningful conversations coupled with accurate information can help us create a healthier and more joy-filled world.

In her presentation, McCombs will focus not only mindful choices around safer sex practices, but also offer tips on how to build a sexy and safe toolkit without compromising health or personal boundaries.

McCombs earned a Master’s in Public Health from the University of Melbourne and a Bachelor’s in Anthropology from U.C. Berkeley. In her approach to healthy relationships, she combines, in her words, “ the upstream problem-prevention approach of public health with anthropology exploration of cultural context."

Ms. McCombs' Athenaeum presentation is co-sponsored by ASCMC, the Title IX Office, CARE, and the emPOWER Center and is part of the CMC Advocates' Safe Sex Week of programming.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017 - 5:30pm
Ecological Civilization: Is this the answer to fixing China's environment?
Christine Loh
China has raised the concept of "Ecological Civilization" to guide future development, which takes the country's ecological capacity and constraints into account. Christine Loh, former under-secretary for the Environment at the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSRA) Government, will discuss the concept itself and China’s implementation along with references to Hong Kong.  

Christine Loh is an adjunct professor at the Institute for the Environment, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. She was the under secretary for the Environment at the HKSAR Government (2012-17) focusing on policy covering air quality, energy, climate change, nature conservation, as well as green finance. Prior to that role, she was CEO of the public policy think tank, Civic Exchange; she has also been a legislator in Hong Kong. In her time at Civic Exchange and the HKSAR Government, she was instrumental in changing policy with respect to air quality, including working closely with Mainland Chinese counterparts in defining a new marine emissions control policy.

Loh is a lawyer by training, a commodities trader by profession, with a long history in politics and policy. She is a published author of many academic and popular works in the environment, history, and politics.

Professor Loh’s Athenaeum presentation is co-sponsored by the Keck Institute for International and Strategic Studies.

Thursday, October 26, 2017 - 11:45am
Why Free Speech Matters on Campus
Keith E. Whittington
Keith E. Whittington, professor of politics at Princeton University, will argue that robust protection of free speech and civil discourse is essential for universities to fulfill their distinct and important mission to assemble and nurture an open and diverse community of scholars, teachers, and students dedicated to the production and dissemination of knowledge. Understanding the relationship between the critical functions of the university and the principles of free speech can help provide guidance in resolving the difficult challenges that confront modern universities.

Keith E. Whittington is the William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Politics at Princeton University. He is the author of "Political Foundations of Judicial Supremacy: The Presidency, the Supreme Court, and Constitutional Leadership in U.S. History," "Constitutional Interpretation: Textual Meaning, Original Intent and Judicial Review," and "Constitutional Construction: Divided Powers and Constitutional Meaning," among others. He is also a co-editor of "Congress and the Constitution" and "The Oxford Handbook of Law and Politics."  He has published widely on American constitutional theory and development, judicial politics, the presidency, and federalism.

Whittington is currently working on a political history of the judicial review of federal statutes and preparing, with Howard Gillman and Mark Graber, a book of cases and materials on American constitutionalism. His work has won the C. Herman Pritchett Award for best book in law and courts and the J. David Greenstone Award for best book in politics and history.  He has been a John M. Olin Foundation Faculty Fellow, an American Council of Learned Societies Junior Faculty Fellow, a visiting scholar at the Social Philosophy and Policy Center, and a visiting professor at the University of Texas School of Law. He is a member of the American Academy of the Arts and Sciences. He received a Ph.D. in political science from Yale University. 

Professor Whittington will deliver the Salvatori Center’s Lofgren Lecture on American Constitutionalism. Along with the Salvatori Center, his talk is also co-sponsored by the Rose Institute of State and Local Government at CMC.

Thursday, October 26, 2017 - 5:30pm
American Shtetl: A Hasidic Town in Suburban New York
David N. Myers
David Myers, historian at UCLA, will explore the curious case of Kiryas Joel, a legally recognized municipality in the State of New York. Is this community's existence consistent with or is it a deviation from the American legal and political tradition?

David N. Myers is the Sady and Ludwig Kahn Professor of Jewish History at UCLA and is serving in 2017-18 as the inaugural director of the UCLA Luskin Center for History and Policy. He is also president and CEO of the Center for Jewish History in New York City.

Myers has written widely in the fields of Jewish intellectual and cultural history. His books include Re-Inventing the Jewish Past (Oxford, 1995), Resisting History: The Crisis of Historicism in German-Jewish Thought (Princeton, 2003), Between Jew and Arab: The Lost Voice of Simon Rawidowicz (Brandeis, 2008), and Jewish History: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford, 2017). He is the author of the forthcoming The Stakes of Jewish History: On the Use and Abuse of Jewish History for Life (Yale, 2017). He is also the editor or co-editor of numerous works. He is currently completing a monograph, with Nomi Stolzenberg, on the Satmar Hasidic community of Kiryas Joel, New York. 

An alumnus of Yale College, Myers completed his graduate studies at Tel-Aviv and Harvard Universities before receiving his Ph.D. with distinction in 1991 in Jewish history from Columbia University.

Friday, October 27, 2017 - 12:00pm
The Importance of Anticipation in Macroeconomics
Valerie Ramey
Valerie Ramey, professor of economics at the University of California, San Diego, will speak about how expectations, forecasts, and generalized anticipation affect the course of the macroeconomy and determine the impact of macroeconomic policy. The aggregated actions of individual firms and consumers determine the health and trajectory of the macroeconomy. These actions are directly correlated to how we formulate our view of the likely future. Understanding macroeconomic dynamics and designing macroeconomic policy crucially requires an understanding of how these expectations are formed, of how we anticipate. This complex feedback has been central to the field of macroeconomics for decades with Ramey at the forefront of scholarship in this area.

Valerie Ramey received her B.A. in Economics and Spanish from the University of Arizona, graduating summa cum laude, and went on to earn a Ph.D. in Economics from Stanford University. She is currently a professor of economics at the University of California, San Diego and a research associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research. She has served as co-editor of the American Economic Review, chair of the economics department at UCSD, and as a member of several National Science Foundation advisory panels and the Federal Economic Statistics Advisory Committee. She currently serves on the Panel of Economic Advisers for the Congressional Budget Office and on the NBER Business Cycle Dating Committee, and she is vice-president of the American Economic Association and an associate editor of the Quarterly Journal of Economics and the Journal of Political Economy.

Ramey has published numerous scholarly articles on the sources of business cycles, trends in wage inequality, the effects of monetary and fiscal policy, the impact of volatility on growth, and links between time use and educational outcomes. She has received research grants from the National Science Foundation, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, and the Bradley Foundation.

Professor Ramey's Athenaeum presentation is the keynote for the California Macroeconomics Conference, hosted by the Lowe Institute of Political Economy at CMC.

Monday, October 30, 2017 - 5:30pm
Taking Responsibility for Racial Violence: Shooting the Racist Imagination
José Medina
José Medina, professor of philosophy from Northwestern University, will analyze different kinds of complicity with racial violence and will defend a new paradigm of shared responsibility that goes beyond the bystander model. Working toward community responses that are both reparative and preventive, he will argue for a kind of political mobilization and resistance against racial violence that he terms “epistemic activism.”

José Medina is Walter Dill Scott Professor of Philosophy at Northwestern University where he teaches critical race theory, feminist and queer theory, political philosophy, and social epistemology. His most recent book is “The Epistemology of Resistance: Gender and Racial Oppression, Epistemic Injustice, and Resistant Imaginations” (Oxford University Press), which received the 2013 North-American Society for Social Philosophy Book Award. His current projects focus on how social perception and the social imagination contribute to the formation of vulnerabilities to different kinds of violence and oppression. These projects also explore the social movements and kinds of activism (including epistemic activism) that can be mobilized to resist racial and sexual violence and oppression in local and global contexts. In his Athenaeum talk, he will argue for a kind of political mobilization and resistance against racial violence that he terms “epistemic activism.”

Medina received his Ph.D. from Northwestern.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017 - 5:30pm
What was the Russian Revolution? What is a Revolution?
Steve Kotkin
Revolution in the Russian empire took place 100 years ago with its effects continuing to reverberate today. Steve Kotkin, an expert in Russian history and international affairs at Princeton University, will consider what we have learned about the Russian revolution and ponder its lessons for today.  

Steve Kotkin is the John P. Birkelund ’52 Professor in History and International Affairs in the Woodrow Wilson School and the history department of Princeton University, where he has taught since 1989. He is also a Fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University.

At Princeton, he teaches courses on modern authoritarianism, global history since the 1850s, and the Soviet empire; he has won Princeton’s highest awards for both undergraduate and graduate teaching. He served as vice dean of the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, member and then chair of the editorial board at Princeton University Press, director of the Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies, member of the editorial committee of the journal World Politics, and director of the Program in Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies. He has been the book reviewer for the New York Times Sunday Business section (2006-9), and a consultant in emerging markets for World Pension Forum and Conexus Financial as well as in higher education for the Open Society Foundations and others.

Kotkin received his Ph.D. from University of California at Berkeley (1988) and his undergraduate degree from the University of Rochester (1981).  

Professor Kotkin will deliver the Arthur Adams Family Distinguished Lecture on International Affairs which is administered by the Keck Center for International & Strategic Studies at CMC.

Thursday, November 2, 2017 - 11:45am
The Appel Scholarship: Writing Matters
From left to right: Isaiah Tulanda, Zoey Ryu, Taylor Hughes, Shreya Bhatnagar, Rebecca Chung, Jafar Daniel, and Nick Sage (not pictured, Gabe Gluskin-Braun): The Appel Fellowship provides first-year students with funding to engage in independent writing projects. Join us as the 2017-18 Fellows—all members of the class of 2020—read some of their work including journal entries, novels, newspaper articles and travel narratives, and reflect on their writing experiences. 
Friday, November 3, 2017 - 11:45am
Europe’s Refugee Crisis: Unprecedented Challenges for the EU
Pavel Černoch
Pavel Černoch, deputy spokesperson for the Czech Permanent Representation to the European Union, will address the challenges currently facing European leaders trying to work together to solve a humanitarian crisis at the EU level despite differing domestic political constraints, disproportionate impacts across communities, and varying resources across European member states.

Pavel Černoch is a Czech political scientist and diplomat, who is currently working in media and public relations at the European Parliament in Brussels. Černoch has taught at Grinnell College in Iowa and he has received a fellowships from the Open Society Institute (OSI) in Budapest and the European University Institute (EUI) in Florence, where he completed his Ph.D in European Studies. In 2002, Dr. Černoch entered the Czech Diplomatic Service and was appointed director of the Czech Centre in Brussels. He later joined the Czech Permanent Representation to the EU with the rank of counsellor as a public relations representative (deputy spokesperson). Since 2007, Černoch has worked as a staff member in the office of public relations and social media in the European Parliament. 

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

Monday, November 6, 2017 - 11:45am
Policy Research and Political Challenges
Deborah Gonzalez ’85 P'14
Think tanks play an important role in the U.S. policy process, attempting to improve lawmaking and governance by testing political assumptions through empirical research, and offering policy alternatives based on evidence. However, a think tank’s ability to influence policymaking rarely hinges on the strength of its claims or the quality of its findings. Deborah Gonzalez ’85, the director of government affairs at the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC), will discuss the divide between policy research and the policy process in California government, and ways in which the two can work better together to improve lawmaking.

Deborah Gonzalez ’85 spent over 25 years working in the California legislature (both in the Assembly and the Senate), serving as policy director to five different Republican leaders and representing legislative Republicans in negotiations involving the state budget, as well as welfare, education, health care, prison and tax reform. She now directs government affairs for the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC). Her experiences give Gonzalez a unique perspective that combines an intimate knowledge of process in Sacramento with the policy research environment of PPIC.

Gonzalez and her staff work to connect PPIC research with policymakers and community leaders to help think tanks understand what issues to focus on and how to effectively influence the policymaking process in an ever-changing political climate increasingly driven by public opinion, legislative politics, interest group lobbying, and a host of other challenging factors. 

A graduate of Claremont McKenna College, Gonzalez holds a law degree from the McGeorge School of Law, University of the Pacific.

Ms. Gonzalez’s talk is co-sponsored by the Dreier Roundtable and the Rose Institute for State and Local Government.

Monday, November 6, 2017 - 5:30pm
How Do We Know There Are Extra Dimensions
Lisa Randall
Author of "Dark Matters and the Dinosaurs" and "Knocking on Heavens Door" and professor of theoretical particle physics and cosmology at Harvard University, Lisa Randall will talk about her research and advances in extra dimensions of space and novel theories of dark matter. 

Lisa Randall's research connects theoretical insights to puzzles in our current understanding of the properties and interactions of matter. She has developed and studied a wide variety of models to address these questions, including extra dimensions of space and novel theories of dark matter. Much of her current research is focused on the Large Hadron Collider and dark matter searches and models.

Randall has also had a public presence through her writing, lectures, and radio and TV appearances. Randall’s books, Warped Passages: Unraveling the Mysteries of the Universe’s Hidden Dimensions and Knocking on Heaven’s Door: How Physics and Scientific Thinking Illuminate the Universe and the Modern World were both on the New York Times’ list of 100 Notable Books of the Year. ​Randall’s most recent book is titled Dark Matter and the Dinosaurs, about connected science in the universe.

Randall has also pursued art-science connections, writing a libretto for Hypermusic: A Projective Opera in Seven Planes that premiered in the Pompidou Center in Paris and co-curating an art exhibit for the Los Angeles Arts Association. 

Randall’s studies have made her among the most cited and influential theoretical physicists and she has received numerous awards and honors for her endeavors. She is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, was a fellow of the American Physical Society, and is a past winner of an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Research Fellowship, a National Science Foundation Young Investigator Award, a DOE Outstanding Junior Investigator Award, and the Westinghouse Science Talent Search. Randall is an honorary member of the Royal Irish Academy and an honorary fellow of the British Institute of Physics. In 2003, she received the Premio Caterina Tomassoni e Felice Pietro Chisesi Award, from the University of Rome, La Sapienza. In 2006, she received the Klopsteg Award from the American Society of Physics Teachers (AAPT) for her lectures and in 2007 she received the Julius Lilienfeld Prize from the American Physical Society for her work on elementary particle physics and cosmology and for communicating this work to the public. In 2012, she was the recipient of the Andrew Gemant Award from the American Institute of Physics, which is given annually for significant contributions to the cultural, artistic or humanistic dimension of physics.

Randall was on the list of Time Magazine's "100 Most Influential People" of 2007 and was one of 40 people featured in The Rolling Stone 40th anniversary issue that same year. Randall was featured in Newsweek's "Who's Next in 2006" as "one of the most promising theoretical physicists of her generation" and in Seed Magazine's "2005 Year in Science Icons." In 2008, Randall was among Esquire Magazine's “75 Most Influential People.”

Randall earned her Ph.D. from Harvard University and held professorships at MIT and Princeton University before returning to Harvard as a faculty member in 2001. She is also the recipient of honorary degrees from Brown University, Duke University, Bard College, and the University of Antwerp.

Professor Randall's Athenaeum talk is part of the Science and Skepticism series co-sponsored by the Gould Center for Humanistic Studies.

Photo credit: Rose Lincoln

Tuesday, November 7, 2017 - 11:45am
NAFTA Endangered: Mexico-U.S. Prosperity in the Trump Era
Roderic Camp, Carlos Garcia de Alba, and David Dreier, panelists
Bucking traditional Republican consensus favoring free trade and calling the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) the “worst trade deal maybe ever signed anywhere, but certainly ever signed in this country,” President Trump has made good on his campaign promise to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade pact, and is currently reconsidering America’s membership in NAFTA. Former U.S. Representative David Dreier, a leader in the 1993 creation of NAFTA, Ambassador Carlos Garcia de Alba, Mexico’s Consul General in Los Angeles, and Roderic Camp, professor of government at Claremont McKenna, will discuss the origins of the trade agreement, its contributions to North American prosperity, and its imperiled future under President Trump. 

Carlos García de Alba is the Consul General of Mexico in Los Angeles, and has served in the Mexican Foreign Service since 1987. He was promoted to ambassador in 2006, and was confirmed by the Mexican Senate as Consul General in April 2016. He served as executive director for the Institute for Mexicans Abroad from 2009 to 2011, and as Ambassador of Mexico to Ireland from 2011 to 2016. He previously served as Chargé d’Affaires at the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), as Consul General of Mexico in Dallas, and as Commercial Counselor at the Embassy of Mexico in Italy.

Ambassador de Alba has published numerous articles on foreign policy issues, youth, environment, agricultural economics and public administration. He has given over 300 lectures and courses on various subjects in several countries. de Alba has a BA in Economics from the Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana, Xochimilco, a Master’s Degree in Political Science and a PhD in Sociology from the University of Rome. 

David Dreier was first elected to the United States House of Representatives in 1980, where he served until January 2013. In Congress, he served as the youngest—and the first from California—chairman of the Rules Committee, playing a pivotal role in fashioning all legislation for debate in the House.

Dreier introduced the first NAFTA legislation in 1987, and worked closely with President Clinton to build the bipartisan support for passage in 1993. During his tenure in Congress, he was a strong ally of both Democratic and Republican administrations in support of passage of free trade agreements. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and serves on the board of the International Republican Institute. Dreier is the founding chairman of the bipartisan House Democracy Partnership, which works directly with legislatures in seventeen countries around the globe, helping to build institutions in new and re-emerging democracies. Additionally, he was the founding chair of the Congressional Trade Working Group that has built support for trade agreements for more than twenty years. He was recently awarded the Order of the Aztec Eagle, the Mexico’s highest honor for citizens of other nations.

Dreier received his B.A. from Claremont McKenna College in 1975 and his M.A. in American government from Claremont Graduate University the following year. 

Roderic Camp is the Philip McKenna Professor of the Pacific Rim at Claremont McKenna College. He serves as a founding member of the Advisory Board, Mexico Institute, Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars, Smithsonian Institution and is an elected member of the Council on Foreign Relations, New York City. Camp is a member of the Editorial Board of Mexican Studies and is an Advisory Editor, Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Latin America.

He is a frequent consultant to national and international media, including the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, National Public Radio, and BBC. He is the author of numerous articles and thirty books on Mexico, seven of which have been designated by Choice as outstanding academic books. His most recent publications include: Politics in Mexico, Democratic Consolidation or Decline? (Oxford University Press, 2013) and the Oxford Handbook of Mexican Politics (Oxford University Press, 2012). He is the recipient of an Honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters from St Olaf College for his scholarship and teaching on Mexico, and the Order of the Aztec Eagle from the Mexican government for his scholarly contributions to the study of Mexican politics.

He received a B.A. and M.A. from George Washington University, and a Ph.D. from the University of Arizona.

This panel is co-sponsored by the Dreier Roundtable.

Image credit: Alex Covarrubias, Wikimedia Commons

Tuesday, November 7, 2017 - 5:30pm
Digesting the Outcomes of the 19th Party Congress in China
Bruce Dickson
The Chinese Communist Party will hold its 19th Party Congress in mid-October. Outcomes will reveal whether norms of succession have been institutionalized or remain under the control of individual leaders, in particular CCP General Secretary Xi Jinping. Decisions on which leaders will be promoted, reappointed or retired will have a major impact on policy decisions in coming years. Bruce Dickson, expert on China and Chinese politics, will analyze the outcomes of the 19th Party Congress for both leadership succession and policy making in China.

Bruce Dickson received his B.A. in political science and English literature, his M.A. in Chinese Studies, and his Ph.D. in political science from the University of Michigan. He joined the faculty of The George Washington University and the Elliott School in 1993. 

Dickson's research and teaching focus on political dynamics in China, especially the adaptability of the Chinese Communist Party and the regime it governs. In addition to courses on China, he also teaches on comparative politics and authoritarianism.

His current research examines the political consequences of economic reform in China, the Chinese Communist Party’s evolving strategy for survival, and the changing relationship between state and society. His research has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the Smith Richardson Foundation, the US Institute of Peace, and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

Professor Dickson's Athenaeum presentation is co-sponsored by the Keck Institute for International and Strategic Studies at CMC.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017 - 5:30pm
The 2016 Election One Year Later
Andrew Busch, Jack Pitney, and Michael Nelson, panelists
Michael Nelson, editor of The Elections of 2016 (Sage/CQ), and CMC’s own Andrew Busch and Jack Pitney, professors and authors of "Defying the Odds: The 2016 Elections and American Politics" (Rowman & Littlefield), will join in a panel discussion to examine the 2016 elections. What have we learned about the reasons for the surprising victory of Donald Trump? What have the results of the election been so far? And, after one year, where are American politics headed?

Michael Nelson is the Fulmer Professor of Political Science at Rhodes College, a senior fellow at the University of Virginia’s Miller Center, and senior contributing editor and book editor of the Cook Political Report. John J. Pitney, Jr. is the Roy P. Crocker Professor of American Politics at Claremont McKenna College. Andrew E. Busch is the Crown Professor of Government and George R. Roberts Fellow at Claremont McKenna College.

This panel discussion is sponsored by the Rose Institute of State and Local Government.


Wednesday, November 8, 2017 - 5:30pm
"Mirabai speaks....": The Emergent Voice of Medieval Saint
Nancy A. Martin
Nancy Martin, chair and associate professor of Religious Studies at Chapman University, will explore how regular people participate in co-creating the voice of the immensely popular Hindu saint Mirabai, highlighting marginalized speech excluded from the Hindi literary canon of her works.

Nancy M. Martin is chair and associate professor of Religious Studies and director of Schweitzer Institute at Chapman University and Life Member of Clare Hall, University of Cambridge. Martin is recognized both for her expertise on devotional Hinduism and for her work in comparative religious ethics. A leading authority on the woman saint Mirabai, her publications also explore multiple dimensions of the bhakti path and address issues of gender, religious identity, and communal relations in India. As the co-founder and co-director of the Global Ethics and Religion Forum (2001-2009), she also organized a series of conferences and programs internationally, examining major ethical challenges from diverse religious perspectives, and she has edited of a series of volumes on related topics.

Martin received her MA from the University of Chicago and her Ph.D. in comparative religion from Graduate Theological Union. 

Professor Martin's Athenaeum presentation is co-sponsored by the Kutten Lectureship in Religious Studies at CMC.

Thursday, November 9, 2017 - 11:45am
Unconventional Leadership Story and Quest for Self
Gloria Walton
Rest and self-care are buzzwords proponents of wellness use to encourage balance in a busy life. If you are the leader of a grassroots nonprofit with a monumental mission, a million dollar budget, and hundreds of staff and volunteers, how do you create space and time for renewal? As the youngest recipient of the Durfee Sabbatical Fellowship, Gloria Walton will discuss her rather unconventional leadership story and quest for self.

Gloria Walton is president & CEO of Strategic Concepts in Organizing and Policy Education (SCOPE), a South LA-based community organization widely recognized as a leader in the development of cutting-edge strategies to ensure that everyone—regardless of race, socio-economic standing, gender, origin or orientation—has an equal voice in the democratic process.

Under Walton’s leadership, SCOPE has played a pivotal role in several significant campaigns, including serving as an anchor organization in winning statewide alliance efforts to pass California’s Proposition 30 (which increased taxes for upper income earners and restored $6 billion in education funding, temporarily ending budget cuts to education for the first time in years); and Proposition 47 (which reformed the three strikes law by reducing non-violent crimes from felonies to misdemeanors and put the cost savings into rehabilitation, social programs, and mental health services). Walton also led the organizing effort for SCOPE’s green jobs programs that couple entry level positions with job training to create career pathways into good, green jobs targeted for workers in low-income neighborhoods.

In 2016 Walton received the NAACP-LA’s Empowerment Award, the LA League of Conservation Voters Environmental Justice Champion Award, and the Center for Community Change’s Champion in Community Organizing Award. She was a recipient of the James Irvine Foundation Fund for Leadership Advancement grant award and was named one of Liberty Hill Foundation’s Leaders to Watch in 2011.

Walton currently serves on the board of directors of California Calls, the coordinating committee of the Black Worker Center, and is a founding advisory board member of a national collaborative known as BOLD (Black Organizing for Leadership & Dignity).

Additionally, Walton holds a Governor-appointed seat on the SB 246 Integrated Climate Adaptation and Resiliency Program Technical Advisory Council and sits on the Office of Planning and Research Advanced Energy Communities Project Technical Advisory Committee. She is also a member of the Safeguarding California Climate Justice Work Group convened by the Resources Legacy Fund.

Walton has authored multiple pieces for the Huffington Post, The Nation, and online blogs for the Center for Community Change, Equal Voice for America’s Families, and the Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy, covering topics ranging from environmental racism and clean energy jobs to voter engagement and racial justice.

Ms. Walton's Athenaeum presentation is part of the "Behind the Veil: Women, Race, Leadership, and Social Change in the Nonprofit Sector” (“BTV”) speaker series. BTV explores leadership models and perspectives by harnessing the power of first person narrative and storytelling by nonprofit CEOs on the front lines of social change.  

Thursday, November 9, 2017 - 5:30pm
Sorting of the Ways: An Evening of Live Poetry, Performance, and Music
Todd Mandel, Lisa Robins, and Don Preston
Poet and CMC professor emeritus Ricardo Quinones will be joined by actors and live music in a reading and discussion of his narrative and lyrical poems.

Following his first volume of poems, Through the Years (2010), and its successor, Roberta and Other Poems (2011), Ricardo Quinones, professor emeritus of literature at CMC, published A Sorting of the Ways: New and Selected Poems​ (2011). The newer collection both draws from his earlier volumes and adds to them. 

Redacting the poems will be Todd Mandel and Lisa Robins. Mandel is a former actor and former CMC advancement officer. Robins, who has enjoyed a lifelong career in theater, TV, and film, is a member of the Actors Studio and has recently received stellar reviews for her solo show, “The Blessing of a Broken Heart." Accompanying Mandel and Robins in the the reading will be rock and jazz icon, Don Preston, who is best known for his keyboard and ground-breaking synthesizer solos with Frank Zappa’s Mothers of Invention as well as countless film soundtracks including Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now.

Monday, November 13, 2017 - 11:45am
One Nation After Trump: The Challenge of Trump and Trumpism to Governance and Society
Norman Ornstein
Donald Trump’s election and his actions so far in office have dramatically changed our political landscape and have brought us to uncharted territory in terms of our society and its governance. Norman Ornstein, a longtime observer and analyst of American politics and the US Congress, will share his perspective on this new political frontier and outline prospects for our country’s future, including ways that we can avoid some of our past mistakes, and offer a framework with which to understand the “new sense of citizenship” that is developing in the US.  

Norman Ornstein is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) where he studies politics, elections, and the US Congress. He is a co-host of AEI’s Election Watch series, a contributing editor and columnist for National Journal and The Atlantic, a BBC News election analyst, and the chairman of the Campaign Legal Center. Ornstein previously served as co-director of the AEI-Brookings Election Reform Project and as senior counselor to the Continuity of Government Commission.

A longtime observer and analyst of American politics and the US Congress, he has been interviewed on C-SPAN’s Washington Journal, CBS, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, NPR, and the PBS NewsHour, among others. His articles and opinion pieces have been published widely, including in Politico, The New York Times, NY Daily News, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post.

Ornstein’s books include the bestsellers One Nation After Trump: A Guide for the Perplexed, the Disillusioned, the Desperate, and the Not-Yet Deported, with E. J. Dionne and Thomas E. Mann (St. Martin’s Press, 2017); and It’s Even Worse Than It Looks: How the American Constitutional System Collided with the New Politics of Extremism, and The Broken Branch: How Congress Is Failing America and How to Get It Back on Track, with Thomas E. Mann (Oxford University Press, 2006).

Ornstein has a Ph.D. and a master’s in political science from the University of Michigan and a B.A. from the University of Minnesota. 

Dr. Ornstein’s talk is co-sponsored by the Dreier Roundtable.

Monday, November 13, 2017 - 5:30pm
Allegory, Enchantment and the Origins of Modernity: A Discussion
Jason Crawford, John Farrell, Seth Lobis, Blandord Parker, and Ellen Rentz
What is modernity? Where are modernity's points of origin? Where are its boundaries? And what lies beyond those boundaries?  Professors Ellen Rentz, John Farrell, and Seth Lobis of the CMC Literature Department will join Jason Crawford of Union University and author of "Allegory and Enchantment: An Early Modern Poetics" (Oxford) and Blanford Parker, author of "The Triumph of Augustan Poetics" (Cambridge) for a lively discussion of how early modern English authors envisioned themselves breaking from the medieval.

What is modernity? Where are modernity's points of origin? Where are its boundaries? And what lies beyond those boundaries?  Professors Ellen Rentz, John Farrell, and Seth Lobis of the CMC Literature Department will join Jason Crawford of Union University and author of "Allegory and Enchantment: An Early Modern Poetics" (Oxford) and Blanford Parker, author of "The Triumph of Augustan Poetics" (Cambridge) for a lively discussion of how early modern English authors envisioned themselves breaking from the medieval.

The discussion is sponsored by the Gould Center for Humanistic Studies.

Monday, November 13, 2017 - 5:30pm
Artificial Intelligence, Jane Austen, and the Law
Apoorv Agarwal
Apoorv Agarwal, co-founder and CEO of Text IQ, is an expert in artificial intelligence and natural language processing whose doctoral research focused on applying these technologies to the field of literature. He will address the question of whether artificial intelligence can augment our understanding of literature and change the practice of law.

An expert in machine learning and natural language processing, Apoorv Agarwal is dedicated to understanding and improving how humans and machines benefit from working together. His work, which focuses on sentiment analysis, relation extraction, text summarization, and automated Q&A, has received more than 1,000 citations across the international research community. 

Agarwal received the IBM Ph.D. Fellowship award in recognition of his work as first author on two separate patents for IBM’s Watson. He received his M.S. and Ph.D. in Computer Science from Columbia University, and received the Andrew P. Kosoresow Memorial Award for Outstanding Performance in Teaching. Agarwal has published more than 30 academic papers in machine learning and natural language processing. In 2014, he was awarded a grant from the National Science Foundation’s Innovation Corps program, which allowed him to lay the foundation for founding his company, Text IQ.  

Beyond academia, Agarwal has been cited by American Banker, WIRED, Popular Science, New Scientist, and Science Magazine, among others. With Text IQ, he aspires to harness and channel the complementary strengths of humans and machines towards solving high-stakes enterprise data problems. Among other novels, his research focused on the work of C.S. Lewis and Jane Austen. He is one of the co-creators of the Ted Talk "Artificial IntelliDance," a performance which explains AI to a non-technical audience through dance. 

Tuesday, November 14, 2017 - 5:30pm
The 500th Anniversary of the Reformation in the Age of Global Christianity
Jonathan Strom
Jonathan Strom, professor of church history and associate dean of faculty and academic affairs at the Chandler School of Theology at Emory University, will examine the legacy of the Reformation from several key perspectives including scripture, freedom, tolerance, and the rise of global Protestantism and seek to contextualize this with the decline of confessional Protestantism in North America and the growth of Protestantism globally.

Jonathan Strom's work focuses on the history of religion in Germany, with particular attention to the interrelation of theology and culture, the emergence of the Protestant clergy, lay revival movements, and conversion. He is author most recently of German Pietism and the Problem of Conversion and was co-editor of the new Dictionary of Luther and the Lutheran Traditions. His current book project is a cultural history of the priesthood of all believers.

Strom’s research interests include pietism in continental Europe, the history of the Protestant clergy, and the emergence of modern forms of piety and religious practice. He has written widely on the clergy, lay religion, and reform movements in post-Reformation Germany, and is the author/editor of three books, most recently Pietism and Community in Europe and North America, 1650-1850 (Brill, 2010). Strom is currently at work on two projects, one on conversion narratives in German pietism and another on the history of the common priesthood.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017 - 5:30pm
Penguins, Antarctica, and Global Warming
Ron Naveen
Ron Naveen, president and founder of Oceanites which sees and tracks climate change through an Antarctic lens, is one of the world’s foremost experts on monitoring, detecting, and analyzing environmental changes, most particularly, regarding the impact of climate change on penguin populations in the vastly warmed Antarctic Peninsula.

Ron Naveen believes that penguins are indicators of ocean change and, ultimately, sentinels of change. Since 1994, the Oceanites’ Antarctic site inventory has been monitoring and analyzing penguin and seabird population changes across the vast Antarctic Peninsula, where it’s warming faster than anywhere else on earth except the Arctic. Working with collaborative partners, The Lynch Lab at Stony Brook University, Penguin Lifelines at the University of Oxford (UK), and One Oceans Expeditions (Canada), Oceanites represents the world’s only nonprofit, publicly supported Antarctic research program. Oceanites is the only project monitoring the entire Antarctic Peninsula region — analyzing change across the warming Antarctic Peninsula and  interpreting, translating, and decoding why what happens in Antarctica—to its penguins, wildlife, land, ice, and surrounding Southern Ocean—affects all of us.

Mr. Naveen's Athenaeum talk is co-sponsored by the Roberts Environmental Center and the Gould Center for Humanistic Studies, both at CMC.


Wednesday, November 15, 2017 - 5:30pm
Beyond Bhangra: Punjabi Drumming in Devotional Contexts
Gibb Schreffler
Punjabi drummers are heard globally through the vehicle of hedonistic bhangra music. Yet, as Gibb Schreffler, assistant professor of music and director of ethnomusicology at Pomona College will demonstrate with unfamiliar and surprising examples, much of the playing Punjabi drummers do in their local communities occurs in the context of religious devotion.

Gibb Schreffler is assistant professor of music and director of ethnomusicology at Pomona College. A scholar engaged in both the contemporary ethnographic and historical study of musical culture, his diverse areas of expertise include the vernacular music and dance of South Asia’s Punjab region, the work-songs of 19th-century American sailors, and the aesthetic practices of Jamaican DJs. His work related to traditional Punjabi drummers appears in numerous journals including Asian Music, South Asian History & Culture, Popular Music & Society, Sikh Formations, and Journal of Punjab Studies.

Professor Schreffler’s Athenaeum performance and presentation is co-sponsored by the Sikh Studies Fund.

Thursday, November 16, 2017 - 5:30pm
Crime and Punishment: The Collaboration of Richard Avedon and James Baldwin
Hilton Als
It is 1964, and the Civil Rights Act has just passed. "Nothing Personal," a much anticipated photo-book that combined the talents of photographer Richard Avedon and writer James Baldwin, appears with much fanfare. But the major issue of the day—the struggle toward integration—is nowhere mentioned in it. New Yorker theater critic Hilton Als will explore the dimensions of this complicated, nearly dismissed work. 

Hilton Als began contributing to The New Yorker in 1989, and became a staff writer in 1994, theater critic in 2002, and lead theater critic in 2012 and brings a rigorous, sharp, and lyrical perspective on acting, playwriting, and directing. With his deep knowledge of the history of performance—not only in theater but in dance, music, and visual art—he demonstrates how to view a production, how to place its director, its author, and its performers in the ongoing continuum of dramatic art. His reviews are provocative contributions to the discourse on theater, race, class, sexuality, and identity in America.

Before coming to The New Yorker, Als was a staff writer for the Village Voice and an editor-at-large at Vibe. Als edited the catalogue for the 1994-95 Whitney Museum of American Art exhibition “Black Male: Representations of Masculinity in Contemporary American Art.” His first book, The Women, was published in 1996. His most recent book, White Girls, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in 2014 and winner of the 2014 Lambda Literary Award for Non-fiction, discusses various narratives of race and gender. He also wrote the introduction to the Penguin Classics edition of The Early Stories of Truman Capote.

Among numerous accolades, the New York Association of Black Journalists awarded Als first prize in both Magazine Critique/Review and Magazine Arts and Entertainment in 1997. He was awarded a Guggenheim for creative writing in 2000 and the George Jean Nathan Award for Dramatic Criticism for 2002-03. In 2016, he received Lambda Literary’s Trustee Award for Excellence in Literature. In 2017, Als won the Pulitzer Prize for Criticism.

Als is an associate professor of writing at Columbia University’s School of the Arts and has taught at Yale University, Wesleyan, and Smith College. 

Professor Hilton Als’ Athenaeum presentation is co-sponsored by the Gould Center for Humanistic Studies at CMC.

Photo credit: Brigitte Lacombe

Wednesday, November 29, 2017 - 5:30pm
Intuition: What is it really and what role should it play in your leadership toolkit?
Holly Mitchell
Intuition is often credited as the secret sauce to effectiveness and success both in personal and professional settings. Is this true? If so, can it be learned or cultivated? State Senator Holly Mitchell, who represents California's 30th senate district, believes that intuition is critical and should be an integral part of any leader's toolkit. 

First elected to the Legislature in 2010, Senator Holly Mitchell represents nearly one million residents of the 30th Senate District, which ranges from Century City to South Los Angeles and takes in Culver City, Cheviot Hills, Crenshaw District, USC, downtown L.A. and a portion of Inglewood.

A third-generation native Angeleno, Mitchell sits on the Senate Health Committee; the Joint Committee on Rules; the Public Safety Committee; the Labor and Industrial Relations Committee; and the Insurance, Banking and Financial Institutions Committee. She also chairs the Senate Select Committee on Women and Inequality, which she founded. Additionally, she is chair of the Senate Budget Committee. Mitchell previously headed California’s largest child and family development organization, Crystal Stairs, and worked for the Western Center for Law and Poverty.

Frequently cited for her leadership and advocacy on behalf of children, families, the elderly, and the disabled, Mitchell was named the 2017 Lois DeBerry Scholar by Women in Government Leadership and this year received the first Willie L. Brown Jr. Advocacy Award from the California Black Lawyers Association. The National Conference of State Legislatures last summer elected her to its national executive committee. Her advocacy on behalf of the expansion of mental health services earned her the Legislator-of-the-Year Award from the National Alliance on Mental Illness California. 

Senator Mitchell’s Athenaeum presentation is part of the "Behind the Veil: Women, Race, Leadership, and Social Change in the Nonprofit Sector” (“BTV”) speaker series. BTV explores leadership models and perspectives by harnessing the power of first person narrative and storytelling by nonprofit CEOs on the front lines of social change.  

Thursday, November 30, 2017 - 5:30pm
They Call Me Q
Qurrat Ann Kadwani 
They Call Me Q, a one-woman show performed by award winning actress and writer Qurrat Kadwani, is the story of a girl from Bombay growing up in the Boogie Down Bronx who gracefully seeks balance between cultural pressure and wanting acceptance into the American culture. Along the journey, Kadwani transforms into 13 characters that have shaped her life including her parents, Caucasian teachers, Puerto Rican classmates, Indian and African-American friends. In her performance, she speaks to the universal search for identity experienced by immigrants of all nationalities.

Qurrat Ann Kadwani is an actress, producer, MC, TV host, and philanthropist. A graduate of Bronx High School of Science and a theater graduate of SUNY Geneseo, she is the founding artistic director of eyeBLINK (  

A frequent guest on television programs including Law and Order: SVU, The Blacklist, Mr. Robot, Falling Water, and more, Kadwani teaches monologue writing and performance workshops, monologue prep, and audition prep classes. Her film credits include Antigone 5000, The Tailor, One Night Stand, Last Saturday with Morli, among others. 

Kadwani’s one-woman show They Call Me Q played off-Broadway in 2014 for seven months at St. Luke's Theatre in New York City. In addition to performing on multiple campus and at cultural venues, in December 2013, United Nations Unicef also invited Kadwani to perform.

In reviewing her show, the Village Voice says Kadwani “delivers a winning tale.” NY Theatre Guide wrote, “Filled with charm, humor and heart… They Call Me Q is comedic without seeming over the top, and thought provoking without being preachy.” Broadway World wrote, "In some rare cases, the decision to share tales of one's past can give the audience a theatrical experience that it will remember far after the last show."

The recipient of many service awards, Kadwani has been the host for Chase the Race 2016, MC of events for non-profit organizations such as World Women’s Global Council at the United Nations, Sapna NYC, Your Dil, Lend A Hand India, and SOS Children's Villages India, among others.

Kadwani also coordinates an annual philanthropic project A Slice of Hope as well as the annual Echoes of Love, a suicide prevention fundraiser with music. 

Ms. Kadwani’s Athenaeum performance is co-sponsored by ASCMC’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee. 

Monday, December 4, 2017 - 5:30pm
Holiday Concert 2017
Claremont Chamber Choir
Join us for the much anticipated annual holiday tradition, the Claremont Chamber Choir in concert. A complete playbill will be available at the concert.

The Claremont Chamber Choir will perform its celebrated, annual holiday celebration. The Choir, part of the Joint Music Program of Claremont McKenna, Harvey Mudd, Pitzer, and Scripps Colleges, is an auditioned, mixed ensemble of about two dozen students and will be led by conductor Charles W. Kamm, associate professor of music at Scripps College and director of choirs in the Joint Music Program. The Choir will sing the music of Palestrina, Molly Ijames, and Eric Whitacre, plus holiday music by Jonathan Dove, Caroline Malonee, and traditional favorites.



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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.