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    Marian Miner Cook

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Welcome to The Athenaeum

COVID-19 Update:

Dear Friends,

Athenaeum programming during spring 2021 will stay online and generally feature two evening Ath events per week. Like the fall, events will begin at 5 pm PST. The 2020-21 Ath Fellows will introduce the program; speakers will make comments and/or be in engaged in a moderated conversation. There will be about 15 minutes for question and answer before the program concludes at 6 pm.

We hope you stay connected and follow us on our Instagram and at Facebook.

See you soon, stay safe and healthy.

Warm regards,

Priya Junnar

Tuesday, March 02, 2021 - Evening Program
Can the Republican Party be Saved?
Oren Cass, Mona Charen, and John Wood, Jr., panelists; Jon Shields, moderator
In the wake of the Capitol insurrection, a second impeachment of Trump, and losing control of the House, Senate, and White House, what will become of the Republican Party? Will it be convulsed from within for its soul? Will it become even more gripped by prejudice and conspiracy theory? Or can it transform into a multi-ethnic party of the working class? Leading a panel discussion on the future of the Republican Party, Jon Shields, professor of government at CMC, will be joined by Oren Cass, executive director of American Compass and former domestic policy advisor for Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign, Mona Charen, journalist and policy editor at The Bulwark and former speech writer for Nancy Reagan, and John Wood, Jr., national ambassador for Braver Angels and former vice chairman of the Republican Party of Los Angeles County. 

Oren Cass is the executive director of American Compass, whose mission is to restore an economic orthodoxy that emphasizes the importance of family, community, and industry to the nation’s liberty and prosperity. From 2015 to 2019, Cass was a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, where his work on strengthening the labor market addressed issues ranging from the social safety net and environmental regulation to trade and immigration to education and organized labor. Prior to his time at the Manhattan Institute, Cass held roles as the domestic policy director for Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign in 2012, as an editor of the Harvard Law Review, and as a management consultant in Bain & Company’s Boston and New Delhi offices.

Mona Charen is a columnist, journalist, political commentator, and writer. She often writes about foreign policy, terrorism, politics, poverty, family structure, public morality, and culture. Charen wrote for National Review magazine, where she was an editorial assistant starting in 1979. Later she joined the staff of First Lady Nancy Reagan as a speechwriter. She subsequently worked on President Ronald Reagan's staff, in the White House Office of Public Liaison and in the Office of Communications. She currently is the policy editor of The Bulwark, a nationally syndicated columnist, and host of The Bulwark’s Beg to Differ podcast. 

John Wood Jr. is a national ambassador for Braver Angels, whose mission it is reduce American political polarization and to promote productive conversation across ideological lines. A former vice-chairman of the Republican Party of Los Angeles County, Wood is a musical artist and a respected writer and speaker on subjects including racial and political reconciliation. In 2014, Wood ran against Maxine Waters for her seat in California's 43rd Congressional District.

Jon Shields, associate professor of government at CMC, will moderate the conversation.

This panel discussion is sponsored by the Salvatori Center for the Study of Individual Freedom in the Modern World at CMC.

Thursday, March 04, 2021 -
Reframing Sex Positivity in a Socially Isolated World
Kelly Neff
The anxiety, uncertainty and cancel-culture that has emerged in response to the pandemic has led to a resurgence of sex negative attitudes valuing judgement and fear over autonomy and self-expression. Kelly Neff, Ph.D., author of “Sex Positive,” explores how sex positivity can help us heal from the devastating effects of social isolation and loneliness brought on by this past year, and how we can cultivate resilience and positive attitudes even when our sexual needs and desires may have shifted dramatically or been put on hold indefinitely.

Kelly Neff, Ph.D., is a social psychologist, author, professor, futurist, and talk-radio personality who brings to the transformational media world her unique focus on the intersection of psychology, consciousness, and human sexuality. 

An academically trained research psychologist, she received her B.A. (2004) in Psychology magna sum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Georgetown University and her M.A. (2006) and Ph.D. (2010) in Social Psychology from Claremont Graduate University.
Committed to exploring the leading edge of psychology and technology, she wrote her first book, “Teaching Psychology Online in 2013,” and followed it up with articles on sex, consciousness, psychology, and futurism that have been read and shared tens of millions of times. Her hit show Lucid Planet Radio has attracted expert guests across the sciences, popular culture, and esoteric traditions and has been streamed to hundreds of thousands of listeners since it premiered in 2015. 

Neff’s newest effort, “Sex Positive” (2020), seeks to empower sexual freedom, inspire healing, and improve people’s relationships by fusing cutting-edge scientific findings with Eastern philosophies and her own insights. 


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