Marian Miner Cook

A distinctive
feature of social and
cultural life at CMC

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

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
How a Civil War Era Law Changed the Way We Eat
Heidi Zoerb '95

Legislation passed during the height of the Civil War established a network of public universities focused on "agriculture and mechanic arts." As Heidi Zoerb '95 of the University of Wisconsin will argue, these universities not only shaped higher education in the U.S., they also created a backbone for an agricultural research and development system that still drives our economy—and our diets—today.

Heidi Zoerb '95 is the associate dean for external relations and advancement in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS) at the University of Wisconsin. She oversees the college’s external relations efforts, leads the CALS communications team, works with the university’s foundation to advance the college’s development priorities, and advises the dean on matters related to the college’s public image and relationships with stakeholders.

Zoerb holds an undergraduate degree in government and literature from Claremont McKenna College and a master’s degree in journalism and mass communications from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

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)