Marian Miner Cook

A distinctive
feature of social and
cultural life at CMC

February, 2019

Friday, February 01, 2019 - Lunch Program
Green Careers: How a Liberal Arts Education Prepared me for a Career in Renewable Energy
Carolyn Campbell '11

Carolyn Campbell ‘11, the renewable energy manager at Facebook, will reflect on her experience working in renewable energy and climate mitigation consulting and in leveraging her renewable energy background to help Facebook reduce its carbon footprint. She will highlight new advances in the industry, while reflecting on how her liberal arts degree has gotten her to where she is today.

Carolyn Campbell ’11 is a member of Facebook's Global Energy Team. In this role, she is responsible for sourcing renewable energy to power the company's U.S. data centers. Prior to joining Facebook, Campbell specialized in power purchase agreements (PPAs), most recently in advising companies on clean energy purchases as part of 3Degrees' Energy & Climate Practice and previously in marketing power for Recurrent Energy, a utility-scale solar project developer. She started her in career as a market research analyst for Greentech Media's solar research division. 

Campbell received a Bachelor of Arts in Environment, Economics, & Politics from Claremont McKenna College in 2011. She also served as student manager at the Robert's Environmental Center.

Ms. Campbell’s Athenaeum presentation is the keynote address for the 2019 Green Careers Conference sponsored by the Roberts Environmental Center. 

Monday, February 04, 2019 - Special Program
Literature and Utopia
John Farrell

However the story ends, most literary works dwell on chaos, crisis, confusion, disruption, and change. Utopian literary works evoke the alternative—the possibility of stability, equity, and balance provided by a rational social order. Utopia is an image of secular happiness. What does it say that our imagination prefers visions of chaos to dreams of order, and that the most compelling visions of utopia turn out to be nightmares? John Farrell, the Waldo W. Neikirk Professor of Literature at Claremont McKenna College, will pose this question with reference to Thomas More’s Utopia, Francis Bacon’s New Atlantis, and Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World.

John Farrell grew up in Cranston, R.I., and attended Brown University and Harvard, where he wrote a doctoral dissertation on the early novels of the American author Thomas Pynchon. He is a specialist in literary theory and the author of three books on the subject, “Freud’s Paranoid Quest: Psychoanalysis and Modern Suspicion” (1996), “Paranoia and Modernity: Cervantes to Rousseau” (2006), and, most recently, “The Varieties of Authorial Intention: Literary Theory Beyond the Intentional Fallacy” (2017). As the titles of these books suggest, Farrell is a critic of the dominant theoretical trends in literary study in the American academy since the 1970s; much of his work has been devoted to uncovering the historical origins of these trends as well as explaining their weakness and drawbacks.

Farrell has been teaching in the department of Literature at CMC since 1990, where he offers such courses as Literary Theory from Plato to the Present, Love Poetry of the English Renaissance, European Modernist Fiction, The Novel Since World War Two, News from the Delphic Oracle: Introduction to Ancient Greek Literature and Culture, and Utopia/Dystopia. He is currently chairing the CMC Committee on Writing as it directs the new Summer Book Program for First Year Students.

Professor Farrell's Athenaeum presentation celebrates his installation ceremony as the Waldo W. Neikirk Professor of Literature at CMC.

View Video: YouTube with John Farrell

Monday, February 04, 2019 - Evening Program
Counterculture Faith
Erick Erickson

Erick Erickson, editor of The Resurgent and conservative commentator, will explore how people of faith navigate the waters of American politics that increasingly call on those of faith to make sacrifices and to compromise their beliefs to advance a political agenda.

Noted a one of the most influential conservatives in America, Erick Erickson is the editor of The Resurgent, a Fox News contributor, and host of his own radio program on the nation's most listened to news/talk station, WSB Radio out of Atlanta. Erickson is also working on his Master of Divinity Degree at Reformed Theology Seminary. He is frequently read and cited by leaders of both political parties.

In his latest book, “Before You Wake”, Erickson leaves politics behind and addresses his near-death experience during the height of the 2016 campaign season. Writing letters to his children, he focuses on what they and others should know about faith, family, and friendship, in addition to all his family's favorite recipes. Erickson regularly travels the world speaking on American politics, faith issues, and the intersection of faith and politics in America today. In addition to speaking, Erickson occasionally preaches drawing on his seminary education. Erickson is also the author of “You Will Be Made to Care,” a book about "rising Christian persecution" in America.

For six years, Erickson practiced law focused on corporate transactions and estates, with side focuses in both election law and indigent criminal defense. For three years Erickson was a political commentator for CNN and was editor of for more than a decade prior to starting The Resurgent.

View Video: YouTube with Erick Erickson

Food for Thought: Podcast with Erick Erickson

Tuesday, February 05, 2019 - Evening Program
Is ISIS Over?
Mark Juergensmeyer

Mark Juergensmeyer, professor of sociology and global studies at U.C. Santa Barbara, will give an illustrated analysis of the rise of ISIS and its current state of regional and global influence, based on site visits to the region, interviews, and surveillance of jihadi chat rooms online. 

Mark Juergensmeyer is distinguished professor of sociology and global studies, and affiliate professor of religious 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 his co-edited “Oxford Handbook of Global Studies” (Oxford University Press, 2018).

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

View Video: YouTube with Mark Juergensmeyer

Wednesday, February 06, 2019 - Evening Program
Serial: Murder Case of State vs. Adnan Syed
Rabia Chaudry

Made immensely popular through the global phenomenon of the podcast Serial, this case examined the 1999 murder of Hae Min Lee and the subsequent conviction of her classmate, Adnan Syed. Rabia Chaudry, who took Syed’s case to Serial producer and host, has been Syed’s public advocate and friend for the past 17 years and has now written “Adnan’s Story” in collaboration with Syed, documenting the twists and turns of this dramatic story.

Rabia Chaudry is an attorney, podcaster, and recent Jennings Randolph Senior Fellow at the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) where she researched the intersection of religion and violent extremism. She is the co-host and co-producer of the hit criminal justice podcast “Undisclosed,” with nearly 250 million downloads, and the author of the New York Times bestselling book, “Adnan’s Story.”  She is also the co-producer and co-host of the weekly podcast “The 45th,” which examines the politics and policies of the Trump administration.

Prior to her work with USIP, Chaudry served as an International Security Fellow at the New America Foundation (NAF), where she led a countering violent extremism (CVE) community project in partnership with Google, Facebook, and Twitter. Her work at NAF focused on the empowerment of American Muslim communities in social media advocacy. Chaudry also is the founder of the Safe Nation Collaborative, a CVE training firm. Safe Nation Collaborative worked on two fronts: providing CVE and cultural competency training to law enforcement, correctional, and homeland security officials, and providing national security and CVE training to Muslim communities and institutions.

Chaudry is a fellow of the Truman National Security Project, a fellow of the American Muslim Civic Leadership Institute, a fellow of the Shalom Hartman Institute, a member of the national Muslim-Jewish Advisory Committee, and a member of the Vanguard Board of the Aspen Institute’s Society of Fellows. She is a frequent writer and public speaker on issues of social and criminal justice, faith and gender, and national security.

She is the recipient of the Truman National Security Project’s 2015 Harry S. Truman Award for Communications & Media Influence, a 2015 Carnegie Corporation Great Immigrant, and the recipient of the 2015 Healing & Hope award by the Campaign for the Fair Sentencing of Youth.

Chaudry received her Juris Doctorate from the George Mason School of Law and practiced immigration and civil rights law for over a decade before moving into the CVE policy sphere.

Ms. Chaudry’s Athenaeum presentation is co-sponsored by the Center for Public Writing and Discourse and the Gould Center for Humanistic Studies, both at CMC.

View Video: YouTube with Rabia Chaudry

Food for Thought: Podcast with Rabia Chaudry

Thursday, February 07, 2019 - Lunch Program
A Foreigner and a Stranger: The Life, Death, and Legacy of a Jewish Woman Writer in 20th-Century France
Susan Rubin Suleiman

Irène Némirovsky was a Russian Jewish immigrant to France who achieved a brilliant career as a novelist during the 1930s but was deported as a “foreign Jew” in 1942 and died in Auschwitz. Like many deported "foreign Jews" in France during the war, she was forgotten for many years. Her two daughters, who survived the war as hidden children, were instrumental in reviving their mother’s name. Némirovky became famous in 2004, when her posthumous book "Suite Française" was published and became an international bestseller. Susan Rubin Suleiman, professor of French literature and comparative literature at Harvard University and author of "The Némirovsky Question: The Life, Death, and Legacy of a Jewish Writer in 20th Century France," will discuss Némirovsky’s life and works in the context of modern European history and literature.

Susan Rubin Suleiman was born in Budapest and emigrated to the U.S. as a child with her parents. She has been a professor of French literature and comparative literature at Harvard University since 1981. Her books include “Authoritarian Fictions: The Ideological Novel as a Literary Genre” (1983); “Subversive Intent: Gender, Politics, and the Avant-Garde” (1990); “Crises of Memory and the Second World War” (2006); and the mémoire “Budapest Diary: In Search of the Motherbook” (1996). Her latest book is “The Némirovsky Question: The Life, Death, and Legacy of a Jewish Writer in 20th Century France” (2016).

Suleiman has won many honors, including fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Radcliffe Institute, and the Central European University. In 1990, she received the Radcliffe Medal for Distinguished Achievement, and in 1992 she was decorated by the French Government as an Officer of the Order of Academic Palms (Palmes Académiques). In April 2018 she was awarded France’s highest honor, the Légion d’Honneur.

Professor Suleiman’s talk is co-sponsored by the Mgrublian Center for Human Rights at Claremont McKenna College and the French Studies Department at Scripps College.

View Video: YouTube with Susan Rubin Suleiman

Thursday, February 07, 2019 - Evening Program
Apollo in the Age of Aquarius: How Grassroots Politics Grounded the Space Race
Neil Maher

Neil Maher, professor of environmental and political history at the New Jersey Institute of Technology and Rutgers University, will explore the interrelationship between the space race to the moon and the grassroots struggles of the 1960s era, including, in particular, those of the civil rights, environmental, and feminist movements.

Neil M. Maher is a professor of history at the New Jersey Institute of Technology and Rutgers University at Newark, where he teaches American environmental and political history. He has published articles in many academic journals including Social History, Environmental History, the Western Historical Quarterly, and most recently, Modern American History. His first book, “Nature’s New Deal: The Civilian Conservation Corps and the Roots of the American Environmental Movement” (Oxford University Press, 2008), received the Charles A. Weyerhaeuser Book Award for the best monograph in conservation history.

Maher’s most recent book, “Apollo in the Age of Aquarius” (Harvard University Press, 2017), examines the interrelationship between the space race and the grassroots political struggles of the 1960s era, including the civil rights, anti-Vietnam war, environmental, feminist, counterculture, and conservative movements. The book was named a Choice Outstanding Academic Title (2017) and a Bloomberg View Must Read Book (2017), and recently received the Eugene M. Emme best book award from the American Astronautical Society (2017).

Professor Maher will deliver the Gould Center for Humanistic Studies' 2019 Lerner Lecture in the 1960s in our Time.

Monday, February 11, 2019 - Evening Program
Mathematics and Culture: Geometry and Everything Else
Judith V. Grabiner

Geometric ideas are used in many cultures, both to give order to the cosmos and to build bridges, military emplacements, and houses of worship. In the West, geometry had an especially amazing trajectory. Euclid’s geometry for many centuries was the epitome of certainty: It trained the mind, drew the soul from the ephemeral to the real, described art and architecture, upheld the natural and social order, supported Newtonian science and embodied Leibniz’s Principle of Sufficient Reason. Yet it had a tragic flaw. Mathematicians, ancient and Enlightenment, Christian, Muslim, and Jewish, worked in vain to fix things. The ideal blew up in everyone’s faces in the nineteenth century, producing new ideas of space, destroying the unchallengeable authority of mathematics, revolutionizing art, making relativity physics possible, and helping create modernism. Judith Grabiner, professor of mathematics at Pitzer College, will show how. 

Judith V. Grabiner, the Flora Sanborn Pitzer Professor Emerita of Mathematics at Pitzer College, is a mathematician and historian of mathematics. Her main interest is of mathematics in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

Grabiner majored in mathematics at the University of Chicago and received her M.A. and Ph.D. in the history of science from Harvard. She taught at Harvard, U. C. Santa Barbara, Cal State L. A., Cal State Dominguez Hills, UCLA, the University of Leeds in England, before settling in at Pitzer College in 1985 where she taught for 31 years.

A Fellow of the American Mathematical Society, Grabiner has won many awards including the Mathematical Association of America's Haimo Award for College or University teaching, the Beckenbach prize for the best book published by the MAA, Allendoerfer Award on three occasions for the best article in the Mathematics Magazine, Lester Ford Award on four occasions for best article in the American Mathematical Monthly, among others.

Grabiner is most proud of being able to teach mathematics to students who start out actually disliking the subject and, though retired, she continues to serve as a math resource tutor for the Claremont After-School Programs

Tuesday, February 12, 2019 - Lunch Program
Seau v. The NFL – The Concussion litigation
Steven Strauss '78

Steven Strauss '78 represented the family of NFL player Junior Seau in their wrongful death litigation against the National Football League. Seau committed suicide at the age of 43 by shooting himself in the chest and thereby preserving his brain and sending a message to the world about the serious mental health risks confronting NFL players. Strauss will discuss the family’s efforts to confirm that Seau had chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), the NIH sponsored study of his brain, the lawsuit against the NFL, the reasons the family opted out of the class settlement, and the severe challenges that athletes with CTE face in the future. 

Steven Strauss '78 is a first chair trial lawyer in Cooley's global litigation department with 35 years of experience achieving trial verdicts and settlements in excess of $10 billion. Strauss is one of the country's most sought after trial lawyers for complex commercial litigation, including business, intellectual property, environmental and real estate matters.

Strauss graduated magna cum laude from CMC in political science and literature. 

View Video: YouTube with Steven Strauss '78


Tuesday, February 12, 2019 - Evening Program
Why is Rama Still (All) Around?
Philip Lutgendorf

Why has the ancient tale of Rama, Sita, and their companions remained (so to speak) a “bestseller” in the realm of South Asian popular narrative for more than two millennia, and why does it continue to have traction in the rapidly changing India of the early 21st century? Philip Lutgendorf, professor of Hindi and modern Indian studies at the University of Iowa, will explore four dimensions of the epic story that have long resonated in the cultural imagination of the subcontinent, emphasizing both their positive appeal and accommodation of a surprising diversity of viewpoints, as well as their deployment as ideological sites of debate, controversy, and conflict. He will also consider whether and why the traditional multi-vocality of the Rama narrative is under threat in India today.

Philip Lutgendorf retired in 2018 as professor of Hindi and Modern Indian Studies in the University of Iowa’s Department of Asian and Slavic Languages and Literature, where he had taught since 1985.

His book on the performance of the Hindi Ramayana, "The Life of a Text" (1991) won the A. K. Coomaraswamy Prize of the Association for Asian Studies. He received a Guggenheim Fellowship for research on the popular Hindu deity Hanuman, which appeared as "Hanuman’s Tale, The Messages of a Divine Monkey" (2007). His interests include epic performance traditions, folklore, and popular culture. He is presently translating the Ramcharitmanas of Tulsidas, in seven dual-language volumes, for the Murty Classical Library of India.

He maintains a website devoted to Hindi popular cinema, a.k.a. “Bollywood” ( ). His research on the cultural history of “chai” was supported by a Fulbright-Hays Senior Overseas Research Fellowship (2010-11). He served from 2010-2018 as President of the American Institute of Indian Studies and continues to chair its board of trustees.

(Parents Dining)