Marian Miner Cook
Athenaeum

A distinctive
feature of social and
cultural life at CMC

 

Welcome to The Athenaeum

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.

Tue, April 16, 2024
Lunch Program
Andrew Busch, Michael Fortner, Lily Geismer, Emily Pears, and Sharda Umanath

Please join us for lunch at the Athenaeum Part Two of the presentations from recipients of funds from the Presidential Initiative on Anti-Racism and the Black Experience. These faculty members will present their projects in anti-racist pedagogy, professional development, and community building across the disciplines. Audience members will be invited to reflect and share their thoughts in table conversations.

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Andrew Busch is the Crown Professor of Government and George R. Roberts Fellow

Michael Fortner is the Pamela B. Gann Associate Professor of Government and George R. Roberts Fellow

Lily Geismer is a Professor of History

Emily Pears is an Associate Professor of Government

Sharda Umanath is an Associate Professor of Psychological Sciences and Director of the Umanath Memory and Aging Lab (UMA Lab).

This panel is co-sponsored by the Presidential Initiative on Anti-Racism and the Black Experience in America.

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Tue, April 16, 2024
Lunch Program
Ari Moore '22

Learn about the Elbaz Family Post-Graduate Fellowship program and Ari Moore’s experience working with a human rights NGO in São Paulo, Brazil: Conectas Direitos Humanos (Connected Human Rights). Conectas focuses on preventing state violence, strengthening democratic spaces in Brazil, and ensuring socio-environmental rights.

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Ari Moore '22 graduated from CMC with a degree in International Relations and the Human Rights, Genocide & Holocaust Studies sequence. He recently moved back from São Paulo, Brazil, where he was working at Conectas Direitos Humanos as an Elbaz Post-Graduate Fellow. Ari’s work with Conectas was largely focused on the defense of socio-environmental rights. With indigenous people under constant threat and the climate crisis growing, his work at Conectas focused on advocating for the strengthening of indigenous rights in Brazil, demanding accountability for environmentally destructive development projects, and spotlighting the gaps between Brazilian environmental protections and standards set by relevant international organizations. Since moving back to the US, he's been working as an educational director and teacher in Los Angeles, with plans of returning to Brazil to pursue a masters in international development. He also tap dances, and is involved with local peace activism.

Ari’s presentation is co-sponsored by the Mgrublian Center for Human Rights and the Elbaz Family Post-Graduate Fellowship Program. 

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Tue, April 16, 2024
Dinner Program
Peter Balakian

Pulitzer Prize winning poet Peter Balakian will discuss how he has worked through filaments of Armenian history to create an inventive body of literature. He will explore how his work has moved across generations in his writing of both poetry and a memoir about the Armenian Genocide. How can a past historical event be transformed by the linguistic frequencies of literary imagination in the American present? Balakian will discuss how various family figures and ancestors have provided a grounding for his work; his great-great uncle Krikoris Balakian (Bishop in the Armenian Church), was one of the 250 cultural leaders arrested on April 25, 1915 at the onset of the Genocide, and his grandmother Nafina Aroosian who was a death march survivor along with her two young daughters, enduring a harrowing death march into the Syrian desert. 

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Pulitzer Prize-winner Peter Balakian is the author of eight books of poems, four books of prose, and two translations. His poems have been critically acclaimed in the US and abroad for over four decades and his memoir was a best book of the year for the New York Times, the LA Times, and Publisher’s Weekly. Working from a form of poetics he calls “writing horizontal,” Balakian’s poetry engages a wide range of realities including genocide, war, terrorism, climate change, AIDS epidemic, historical trauma and memory as well as the personal domains of love, death, art, and culture. His is a sensuous language: personal and cosmopolitan, elliptical and cadence-jolted, sharp and textured, such that the language itself becomes its own force of discovery and meaning. 

Balakian’s work has appeared widely in American magazines and journals such as The Nation, The New Republic, Antaeus, Partisan Review, Poetry, and The Kenyon Review and his essays on poetry, culture, art, and social thought have appeared in many publications including the New York Times Magazine, The Guardian, Slate, LA Times, Art in America, American Poetry Review, The Chronicle of Higher Education, and Poetry. The Burning Tigris: The Armenian Genocide and America’s Response received the 2005 Raphael Lemkin Prize and was a New York Times and National Bestseller as well as a New York Times Notable Book.  As well, his translation with Aris Sevag of Grigoris Balakian’s Armenian Golgotha: A Memoir of the Armenian Genocide was a Washington Post book of the year.

In 2016, the Republic of Armenia awarded Balakian with the 2016 Presidential Medal and, in 2007 the Movses Khorenatsi Medal. Other prizes and awards and civic citations include a Guggenheim Fellowship; National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship; Virginia Quarterly Review; PEN/Martha Albrand Prize for Memoir; the Raphael Lemkin Prize for the best book in English on the subject of genocide and human rights’ and the Spendlove Prize for Social Justice, Tolerance, and Diplomacy (recipients include President Carter).

Peter Balakian was born in Teaneck, New Jersey where he attended Tenafly public schools and graduated from Englewood School for Boys (now Dwight-Englewood School) before earning his B.A. from Bucknell University, an M.A. from New York University, and a Ph.D. from Brown University in American Civilization. He has taught at Colgate University since 1980 where he is currently Donald M. and Constance H. Rebar Professor of the Humanities in the department of English, and Director of Creative Writing.

Dr. Balakian’s presentation is supported by the Mgrublian Center’s Annual Lecture on Armenian Studies.

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Wed, April 17, 2024
Dinner Program
Jennifer M Morton

It's common to set out on a challenging pursuit without knowing whether you will succeed. As we confront hurdles and setbacks, we face a crucial decision: give up, or persevere? Optimism about our chances can help us avoid giving into premature despair. But Jennifer M. Morton argues that "grit"—striving in the face of adversity—can be rational only when it doesn't turn into Pollyannaish optimism. To strive rationally, we also need to pay close attention to our abilities and strengths, as well as to whether our circumstances will be conducive to our success. In this talk, Morton will develop a model of striving that aims to capture the multifaceted nature of this critical capacity of agents.
 

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Jennifer M. Morton is Presidential Penn Compact Associate Professor of Philosophy with a secondary appointment at the School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania. She is currently a SAGE Sara Miller McCune Fellowship at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University. Morton is interested in how poverty and social class affect our agency. She is currently working on a book on striving in the face of adversity with Sarah Paul (NYU Abu Dhabi) and a series of papers on precarity and poverty. Her book Moving Up Without Losing Your Way: The Ethical Costs of Upward Mobility (Princeton University Press, 2019) was awarded the Grawemeyer Award in Education and the Frederic W. Ness Book Award by the Association of American Colleges and Universities. Her work has been featured in The Nation, The Atlantic, Vox, The Chronicle of Higher Education, and the podcast Hidden Brain. She has received a Guggenheim fellowship, a SAGE Sara Miller McCune Fellowship at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University, and a Laurance S. Rockefeller Faculty Fellowship at the Princeton Center for Human Values.

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Mon, April 22, 2024
Lunch Program
Julio Garín

The underlying question behind my talk is why I am here. Along with discussing my research, I will share a narrative of how it has evolved, and, more importantly, of what salient features of my life brought me to this position – I will not shy away from sharing what is common to all of us experiencing life: my jealousy, failures, struggles, and my insecurities. Moreover, I will share my thoughts about the importance of promoting research and what I have learned about role models.  Paraphrasing Borges, I am more proud of the things I learned than the ones I have taught and, like Kierkegaard, I believe first we must find what to do, then what to know. My talk will reflect those attributes, while implicitly arguing that social science in general, and economics in particular, provide us with a path to true empathy.

Professor Garín's Athenaeum presentation celebrates his installation ceremony as the Peter K. Barker ’70 P’01 Associate Professor of Economics and George R. Roberts Fellow at Claremont McKenna College.

TO REGISTER FOR THIS EVENT, PLEASE GO TO https://events.cmc.edu/e/faculty-installation-of-julio-garin/ - REGISTRATIONS ARE NOT ACCEPTED ON THE ATHENAEUM WEBSITE. 

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Julio Garín, the Peter K. Barker ’70 P’01 Associate Professor of Economics and George R. Roberts Fellow at Claremont McKenna College, joined the CMC faculty in 2017. He holds a Ph.D. and master’s degree in economics from the University of Notre Dame and a bachelor’s degree in economics from Universidad ORT, Uruguay. 

Professor Garín has been widely published in academic journals, including the Review of Economics and Statistics; the American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics; Journal of Money, Credit and Banking; and European Economic Review, and has been a visiting scholar of several central banks, including the Federal Reserve.

He is particularly interested in understanding the role of frictions and market imperfections, measuring well-being, and the extent to which policy interventions may help to ameliorate undesirable outcomes.  “In terms of labels, I have worked in the areas of monetary and fiscal policy, financial frictions, labor markets, and identifying the role of expectations on a variety of economic outcomes. Digging deeper, I am interested in the elusive task of understanding human behavior.”

Professor Garín grew up Cuaró, a neighborhood of Rivera, a city split between Uruguay and Brazil. “That place and their people, together with the parents I had and the ones I did not, gave me both roots and wings,” he shared.

“The role of an economist may not seem like a romantic task—or the role of a social scientist for that matter—but I argue that, when honestly pursued, provides extraordinary tools for creating a meaningful chronicle of human behavior and is crucial for piercing the veil of ignorance that conceals true understanding and prevents genuine empathy,” he said.

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Marian Miner Cook Athenaeum

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

Contact

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