Marian Miner Cook
Athenaeum

A distinctive
feature of social and
cultural life at CMC

 

Welcome to The Athenaeum

Speaker programming will resume on Monday, September 12, 2022.

Unique in American higher education, the Marian Miner Cook Athenaeum (the “Ath”) is a signature program of Claremont McKenna College. Four nights a week during the school year, the Ath brings scholars, public figures, thought leaders, artists, and innovators to engage with the CMC and Claremont College community. In addition, the Ath also hosts lunch speakers, roundtables, and smaller presentations in its two auxiliary dining rooms.

For decades, the Ath has hosted a spectrum of luminaries with expertise and insight on a wide range of topics, both historical and contemporary. In the Ath’s intimate yet stimulating setting, students, faculty, staff, and other community members gather to hear the speaker, pose questions, and to build community and exchange ideas over a shared meal.

At the core of the Ath is a longstanding commitment to student growth and learning. Central to the Ath are its student fellows, selected annually to host, introduce, and moderate discussion with the featured speaker. Priority is given to students in attendance during the question-and-answer session following every presentation. Moreover, speakers often take extra time to visit a class, meet with student interest groups, or give an interview to the student press and podcast team.

Mon, October 3, 2022
Dinner Program
Donna Britt

Award-winning essayist and syndicated columnist Donna Britt had written extensively in The Washington Post about being black, female, and spiritual in a society that often devalues all three. How does one successfully negotiate writing authentically and open-heartedly about sensitive subjects in a divided and judgmental world?

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

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Former Washington Post columnist Donna Britt is the author of Brothers (and Me): A Memoir of Loving and Giving. Britt began her career as a city desk reporter and fashion writer at the Detroit Free Press. A stint as Los Angeles bureau chief and backup movie critic for USA Today led to her joining the Washington Post as a writer for the Style section.

After several powerful first-person pieces, including an award-winning essay on her older brother's killing by police, she was given a twice-weekly column in the paper's Metro section. Within weeks, Britt was getting sacks of mail, flowers, and hundreds of phone calls from readers applauding her courage, conviction and knack for addressing subjects no one else had touched. Her column, which was syndicated in more than 60 cities, won awards from organizations including the American Association of Sunday and Feature Editors, the American Society of Newspaper Editors' Distinguished Writing Award for commentary, and the National Association of Black Journalists.

Britt's 2011 memoir about the aftermath of her brother's killing, Brothers (& me): a Memoir of Loving and Giving, was honored by O: The Oprah Magazine as one of January 2012's "Ten Titles to Pick Up Now," and excerpted that same month by Essence magazine. More recently, she has written about a White man's obsession with saving a Black Lives Matter banner, what people got wrong in their judgments about Will Smith and The Slap, and finding gratitude during pandemic times.

A native of Gary, Indiana, Britt is a graduate of Hampton University and The University of Michigan.

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

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Wed, October 5, 2022
Dinner Program
Linda Sue Park

Today's young readers are tomorrow's problem-solvers, whose task, asserts Linda Sue Park, Newberry Medal award winning author of children’s books, is nothing less than saving the planet and human decency. She will talk about the importance of using a wide variety of lenses when writing, reading, and teaching literature and history to young students. While her own work focuses mainly on the Korean and Korean American experience, the attitude needed to nurture in young readers applies to all children's books—the awareness that the memories of individuals are all too often undervalued, distorted, or erased when history becomes canon.

Ms. Park's Athenaeum event is co-sponsored by the Center for Writing and Public Discourse, the Gould Center for Humanistic Studies, and the history department, all at CMC.

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Linda Sue Park is the author of many books for young readers, including the 2002 Newbery Medal winner,  A Single Shard, and the NYTimes bestseller, A Long Walk to WaterHer most recent title is The One Thing You’d Save, a collection of linked poems.

Park is the founder and curator of Allida Books, an imprint of HarperCollins. She serves on the advisory boards of We Need Diverse Books and the Rabbit hOle museum project, and created the kiBooka website to highlight children’s books created by the Korean diaspora. 

In addition to writing essays for numerous publications, Park has served as a panelist for the National Book Award, the Kirkus Prize, the PEN Naylor grant, and the SCBWI Golden Kite Award. In her travels to promote reading and writing, she has visited more than 30 countries and 49 states. She knows very well that she will never be able to read every great book ever written, but she keeps trying anyway. 

Ms. Park's Athenaeum event is co-sponsored by the Center for Writing and Public Discourse, the Gould Center for Humanistic Studies, and the history department, all at CMC.

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Thu, October 6, 2022
Dinner Program
Michelle Tusan

Michelle Tusan, professor of history at UNLV, explores the origins of the response to stateless refugees by international institutions and humanitarian organizations. It has its roots in one of the forgotten stories of World War I when forced migration began as a problem in its modern form. The internationalization of the refugee problem—the then highly publicized case of Armenian, Assyrian, and Greek Ottoman Christian minorities—created the dual solution of the refugee camp and resettlement. This became a utopian and ultimately unrealizable solution to the problem of mass displacement in a period of rising xenophobia and nationalism.

 
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Michelle Tusan is a professor of history at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) with expertise in the areas of modern British history, the British Empire, and women’s history. She received her Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley in 1999. Before coming to UNLV in 2001, she was a Fellow in the Humanities at Stanford. A British historian by training, her teaching and scholarship broadly engage the relationship between geopolitics, culture, and human rights.

Her current book project, The Last Treaty: The Middle Eastern Front and the End of the First World War, is supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities. In addition, she is the author of The British Empire and the Armenian Genocide: Humanitarianism and Imperial Politics from Gladstone to Churchill (2017/2019); Smyrna’s Ashes: Humanitarianism, Genocide and the Birth of the Middle East (2012); Women Making News: Gender and Journalism in Modern Britain (2005), and articles in the American Historical Review, The Journal of Modern History and Past and Present. She also has published a co-authored textbook, Britain Since 1688: A Nation in the World. She is the vice president/president elect of the North American Conference on British Studies. 

Professor Tusan’s Athenaeum presentation is co-sponsored by the Mgrublian Center for Human Rights at Claremont McKenna College.  

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Fri, October 7, 2022
Lunch Program
Connie Chiang, Ashanti Shih, Tamara Venit-Shelton, and Sarah Wald; panelists

Nature Unfurled asks how Asian Americans have engaged with non-human nature over time. The panelists—Connie Chiang, Ashanti Shih, Tamara Venit-Shelton, and Sarah Wald—will discuss research on Asian Americans in the intertwined movements for racial and environmental justice. By the 1970s, activists recognized that racial oppression was inextricably linked to the environment. To combat exclusion from certain natural resources and amenities or exposure to toxic environments, they forged alliances with other people of color and campaigned for environmental justice.

This panel discussion is a featured program of the Gould Center and EnviroLab Asia's mini-conference on Asian American Environmental Visions and Activism.

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Connie Chiang
Connie Chiang is the director of Environmental Studies Program and professor of history and environmental studies at Bowdoin College. She is the author of Shaping the Shoreline: Fisheries and Tourism on the Monterey Coast and has published articles in many journals, including the Journal of American History and Environmental History. Her latest book, Nature Behind Barbed Wire: An Environmental History of the Japanese American Incarceration, explores how the environment shaped the confinement of over 110,000 people of Japanese descent during World War II. 

Ashanti Shih
Ashanti Shih is an assistant professor of history at Vassar College. She earned a B.A. in history and art practice at the University of California, Berkeley (2011) and a Ph.D. in history from Yale University (2019). Her research focuses on Asian American environmental knowledges, Asian settler colonialism, and the history of environmental sciences in the twentieth-century Pacific and American West. She is the author of  "'The Most Perfect Natural Laboratory in the World’: Making and Knowing Hawaii National Park," History of Science (May 2019) and forthcoming book on the same topic.

Tamara Venit-Shelton
Tamara Venit-Shelton is a professor of history at Claremont McKenna College where she teaches classes on race/ethnicity, environment, and health. She is the author of two books including the award-winning Herbs and Roots: A History of Chinese Doctors in the American Medical Marketplace. She has also published research in both scholarly and popular journals and newspapers.

Sarah Wald
Sarah Wald is associate professor of environmental Studies and English at University of Oregon. She is the author of  The Nature of California; Race, Citizenship, and Farming since the Dust Bowl and co-editor of  Latinx Environmentalisms: Place, Justice, and the Decolonial. Her current research focuses on the Outdoor Equity Movement. 

This panel discussion is a featured program of the Gould Center and EnviroLab Asia's mini-conference on Asian American Environmental Visions and Activism.

 

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Mon, October 10, 2022
Lunch Program
Mark Juergensmeyer

In endorsing Putin’s war in Ukraine, the Russian Orthodox Patriarch he is not just blessing the troops, he is also supporting a significant aspect of Putin’s imagination: that there is an existential battle for the survival of Russian culture and civilization which they have been called to defend. Similarly, the Proud Boys and other rioters at the US Capitol on January 6, 2021, believe themselves as were protectors of a White American Christendom that was under assault not just by liberal politicians but also by a sea change in American society that imperiled an American culture that they imagined was their birthright. In his book, God at War: A Meditation on Religion and Warfare, Mark Juergensmeyer argues that both war and religion are alternative realities: War can use religion, religion can use war, and in unusual apocalyptic moments, the two can be fused in cosmic war. It is this latter, stark and troubling marriage of religion and warfare that is demonstrated in some of the most bellicose politics of today, including the militant Proud Boys and Putin’s battle for Ukraine.

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Mark Juergensmeyer is the William F Podlich Distinguished Fellow and Visiting Professor of Religious Studies at Claremont McKenna College and Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Sociology and Global Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he was the founding director of global studies and the Orfalea Center for Global and International Studies. He is a pioneer in the global studies field, focusing on global religion, religious violence, conflict resolution and South Asian religion and politics. He has published more than three hundred articles and twenty books, including the revised and expanded fourth edition of the award-winning Terror in the Mind of God (University of California Press, 2017), and the Oxford Handbook of Global Religion (Oxford University Press, 2014). His most recent books are God at War: A Meditation on Religion and Warfare (Oxford University Press 2020) and When God Stops Fighting: How Religious Violence Ends (University of California Press 2022).
 

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Tue, October 11, 2022
Dinner Program
Jane Hirshfield

Described by The Washington Post as belonging “among the modern masters” and by The New York Times as “passionate and radiant,” award-winning poet Jane Hirshfield work ranges from the political, ecological, and scientific to the metaphysical, personal, and passionate.

Photo credit: Curt Richter

Read more about the speaker

Author of nine poetry books including The Beauty, long-listed for the 2015 National Book Award; Given Sugar, Given Salt, a finalist for the 2001 National Book Critics Circle Award; After, short-listed for England’s T.S. Eliot Award; and Hirshfield’s ninth poetry collection Ledger.

Hirshfield’s other honors include The Poetry Center Book Award; fellowships from the Guggenheim and Rockefeller Foundations, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Academy of American Poets; Columbia University’s Translation Center Award; The California Book Award, Northern California Book Reviewers Award, and the Donald Hall-Jane Kenyon Prize in American Poetry. Her work appears in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The Times Literary Supplement, The New York Review of Books, Poetry, and ten editions of The Best American Poetry. 

In fall 2004, Hirshfield was awarded the 70th Academy Fellowship for distinguished poetic achievement by The Academy of American Poets, an honor formerly held by such poets as Robert Frost, Ezra Pound, William Carlos Williams, and Elizabeth Bishop. In 2012, she was elected a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets. In March 2019 she was voted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Hirshfield has taught at Stanford University, UC Berkeley, Duke University, Bennington College, and elsewhere. Her work has been translated into over a dozen languages and set by numerous composers, including John Adams and Philip Glass; her TED-ED animated introduction to metaphor has received over 875,000 views. An intimate and profound master of her art, her frequent appearances at universities, writers’ conferences and festivals in this country and abroad are highly acclaimed. 

Photo credit: Curt Richter

(This event was originally scheduled for March 30, 2020.)

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Wed, October 12, 2022
Dinner Program
Oriana Skylar Mastro

How do rising countries like China build influence in a world dominated by more established powers? Whereas most experts assume that China has sought to emulate the U.S., Oriana Skylar Mastro, Center Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, Stanford University, argues that China has become powerful mainly through doing things differently. Beijing has exploited U.S. blind spots, maneuvered in areas of uncertainty, and engaged in what she calls “entrepreneurial” foreign policy. These findings have significant implications for understanding China's unique strategic approach—a necessary pursuit if the U.S. is to successfully engage in great power competition.

Dr. Mastro’s Athenaeum presentation is co-sponsored by the Keck Center for International and Strategic Studies at CMC.

Read more about the speaker

Oriana Skylar Mastro is a Center Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, Stanford University where her research focuses on Chinese military and security policy, war termination, and coercive diplomacy. Mastro is also a Non-Resident Senior Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. She continues to serve in the United States Air Force Reserve as a strategic planner at United States Indo-Pacific Command.

Mastro holds a B.A. in East Asian Studies from Stanford University and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Politics from Princeton University.

Dr. Mastro’s Athenaeum presentation is co-sponsored by the Keck Center for International and Strategic Studies at CMC.

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Thu, October 13, 2022
Dinner Program
Aditya Pai '13 and Ilan Wurman ‘09; moderator, Nohl Patterson '22

In November 2016, Donald Trump defeated Hillary Clinton in the U.S. presidential election despite losing the popular vote by almost 2.9 million votes. The result spurred a national conversation about the Electoral College—a distinctively American mechanism for selecting a head of state and of government. While the system has roots in America's founding, many have called for a modern re-thinking and revision of what they see as an arcane, ineffective, and unjust electoral structure. Given both its storied constitutional history and evident shortcomings, should the United States abolish the Electoral College? Debating this issue are Aditya Pai '13, attorney at Rutan & Tucker, and Ilan Wurman '09, professor of law at Arizona State University and , both CMC and Rose Institute alumni. Event attendees will vote either in favor or against the resolution " This House should abolish the Electoral College" both before and after the debate.

This program is co-sponsored by the Dreier Roundtable whose mission it is to inspire public service with additional support from the Rose Institute of State and Local Government at CMC.

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Aditya Pai ’13
Aditya Pai ’13 is a trial attorney at Rutan & Tucker, LLP., where he represents owners, general contractors, and subcontractors in the construction industry as well as non-profits. He is an Urban Land Institute (ULI) under 35 Young Leader and serves in board advisory roles at Dev/Mission, a youth workforce development non-profit, and Habitat for Humanity Orange County. Prior to entering law practice, Pai interned for Montana Governor Steve Bullock and U.S. Senator Mark Warner. He earned a J.D. from Harvard, M. Phil. from Cambridge, and B.A. from Claremont McKenna College, where he served as manager of the Rose Institute of State and Local Government and student body president. 

Ilan Wurman '09
Ilan Wurman '09 is an associate professor at the Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law at Arizona State University, where he teaches administrative law and constitutional law. He writes on administrative law, separation of powers, and constitutionalism, and his academic writing has appeared in the Yale Law Journal, the Stanford Law Review, the University of Chicago Law Review, the University of Pennsylvania Law Review, the Duke Law Journal, and the Texas Law Review among other journals. He is also the author of A Debt Against the Living: An Introduction to Originalism (Cambridge 2017), and The Second Founding: An Introduction to the Fourteenth Amendment (Cambridge 2020). 

Prior to entering academia, Wurman clerked for the Honorable Jerry E. Smith on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit and practiced law for three-and-a-half years at Winston & Strawn in Washington, D.C. He also served as deputy general counsel on Rand Paul's U.S. presidential campaign in 2015 and as associate counsel on Tom Cotton's U.S. Senate campaign in 2014. He is a graduate of Stanford Law School and Claremont McKenna College.

This program is co-sponsored by the Dreier Roundtable whose mission it is to inspire public service with additional support from the Rose Institute of State and Local Government at CMC.

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Wed, October 19, 2022
Dinner Program
Elizabeth Ito

A Peabody Award winner for her Netflix series City of Ghosts and Emmy winning director for her work on Adventure Time, Elizabeth Ito will talk about the evolution of her creative process, share advice that has been instrumental to her personal creative journey and growth, and show how to adapt to changing times as a creative person.

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

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Elizabeth Ito has been working as a creator, writer, director, and storyboard artist in the animation industry since 2004 on TV, feature, and commercial projects. She has received an Emmy for her directing work on Adventure Time, and is the co-creator of the award-winning short, Welcome to My Life, the second-most viewed short in Cartoon Network History.

Her first series, City of Ghosts for Netflix premiered in 2021 and won a Peabody Award in 2022. She recently directed a music video for The Linda Linda's and is on an overall deal with Apple TV.

Currently, she is living in Los Angeles, working from home, and trying to stay hydrated.

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

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This event is not yet open for registration.

Thu, October 20, 2022
Dinner Program
Bari Weiss

Bari Weiss, an opinion writer and writer, and publisher of Common Sense with Bari Weiss, will explore the new founders America needs today, addressing the broken moment we are in as a culture and a country, and what is required of us to meet this moment.

Ms. Weiss’s Athenaeum talk is co-sponsored by the Open Academy at CMC.

 
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Bari Weiss is an opinion writer and editor. She is the author of How to Fight Anti-Semitism, which won a 2019 National Jewish Book Award and a Natan Notable Book Award.

In 2021, Bari launched the Common Sense with Bari Weiss Substack newsletter and Honestly with Bari Weiss podcast. From 2017 to 2020, Weiss Bari was an opinion writer and editor at The New York Times. Before that, she was an op-ed and book review editor at The Wall Street Journal and a senior editor at Tablet Magazine.

Weiss has won several awards, including the Daniel Pearl Award for Courage and Integrity in Journalism and Reason Foundation’s 2018 Bastiat Prize, which honors writing that “best demonstrates the importance of freedom with originality, wit, and eloquence.” In 2019, Vanity Fair called Weiss the Times's "star opinion writer" and The Jerusalem Post named her the seventh most influential Jew in the world.

A Pittsburgh native, Weiss ia a graduate of Columbia University. 

Ms. Weiss’s Athenaeum talk is co-sponsored by the Open Academy at CMC.

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This event is not yet open for registration.

Marian Miner Cook Athenaeum

Claremont McKenna College
385 E. Eighth Street
Claremont, CA 91711

Phone: (909) 607-8244
Email:

Contact

Phone: (909) 621-8244
Fax: (909) 621-8579
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