Marian Miner Cook
Athenaeum

A distinctive
feature of social and
cultural life at CMC

March, 2020

Monday, March 02, 2020 - Evening Program
From Unlearning Liberty to "Coddling:" The Surprising Connection between Campus Free speech & Mental Health
Greg Lukianoff

Since 2001, Greg Lukianoff, now president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (“FIRE”) has been defending students and faculty across the political spectrum who have come under fire for their speech. After dealing with a personal serious depressive episode, Lukianoff came to realize that not only are young people today being taught the wrong lessons about free speech, but also the mental habits of the anxious and depressed. As he explored the issue further, he realized that these bad lessons had serious repercussions for everything from freedom of speech and mental health on campus to the health of democracy itself. Thus, in collaboration with NYU psychologist Jonathan Haidt, Lukianoff explored this idea and its many serious down-stream repercussions in “The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas Are Setting Up a Generation for Failure.”   

Greg Lukianoff is an attorney, New York Times best-selling author, and the President and CEO of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE). He is the author of “Unlearning Liberty: Campus Censorship and the End of American Debate,” “Freedom From Speech,” and FIRE’s “Guide to Free Speech on Campus.” Most recently, he co-authored “The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas Are Setting Up a Generation for Failure” with Jonathan Haidt. This New York Times best-seller expands on their September 2015 Atlantic cover story of the same name. Lukianoff is also an executive producer of "Can We Take a Joke?", a feature-length documentary that explores the collision between comedy, censorship, and outrage culture, both on and off campus.

Lukianoff has been published in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, The Boston Globe, and numerous other publications. He frequently appears on TV shows and radio programs, including the CBS Evening News, The Today Show, and NPR. In 2008, he became the first-ever recipient of the Playboy Foundation’s Freedom of Expression Award, and he has testified before both the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives about free speech issues on America’s college campuses.

Mr. Lukianoff’s Athenaeum presentation is co-sponsored with funding from CMC's Open Academy.

Photo credit: Pushnik Photography

Tuesday, March 03, 2020 - Evening Program
Celebrating Writing and Writers at CMC: An Evening with the 2019 Appel Fellows
2019 Appel Fellows

The 2019-20 Appel Fellows, recipients of summer funding to engage in independent writing projects, read some of their work—journal entries, zines, short stories, documentaries, podcasts, and travel narratives—and reflect on their experiences.

Funded by Joel Appel ‘87, the Appel Fellowship provides first-year students with funding to engage in independent writing projects including:

Axel Ahdritz (’22): A song album and journal inspired by the refugee population in Jordan and Germany.

T.J. Askew (’22): A series of essays inspired by travels along the Pacific Crest Trail to Fairbanks Alaska and based upon the experiences of Chris McCandless.

Raj Bhutoria (’22): Articles that examine the intersection of family history and national identity in India.

Alex Futterman (’22): Essays based on interviews held with extreme athletes in Chile, Peru, and New Zealand.

Maria Gutierrez-Vera (’22): Vignettes - inspired by the work of Sandra Cisneros - that capture the experiences of the author’s grandmother.

Madelyn Kwun (’22): A children's book that introduces young readers to Asian-American history and culture, based on travels through South Korea. Madison Menard (’22): A photojournalism series that represents the culture of "historic soccer" in rival Italian provinces.

Marisa Mestichella (’22): A documentary and "how-to" guide to street performance, based on travels to New York, New Orleans, and Nashville.

Serena Myjer (’22): Essays inspired by the work of John Muir created while the author walks the John Muir Trail.

Robin Peterson (’22): A short story collection that represents the experiences of refugees in Jordan.

Daenerys Pineda (’22): A series of short stories depicting heritage sites in Northern California.

Courtney Reed (’22): A documentary that represents the history of the hair industry in Atlanta, China, and India.

Toluwani Roberts (’22): A zine featuring essayettes, poetry, and interviews related to the expression of spirituality and the natural world in Equador.

Dorcas Saka (’22): Short stories that represent the experiences of Muslim communities in Chicago, New Jersey, Arkansas, and Arizona.

Sobechukwu Uwajeh (’22): A podcast series that examines the impact gentrification has had upon people of color in Chicago and New York.

Kyril Van Schendel (’22): A documentary film based on the author's experiences distance running in the South West U.S.

Laura Vences (’22): A zine that explores the connections between immigration, labor, and the Latinx community in several U.S. cities.

Kimberly Zamora-Delgado (’22): A collection of stories based on interviews with park rangers and visitors at National Parks on the west coast of the U.S.

Alison Marouk-Coe & Shania Sharna (’22): An experiment in immersive empathy based on travels to locations - such as Mumbai and Beijing - that are significant to the authors.

Note: Some Fellows are not pictured.

Wednesday, March 04, 2020 - Evening Program
An American Summer: Emerging from the Gun Violence of Our Cities
Alex Kotlowitz

In "An American Summer: Love and Death in Chicago," journalist and author Alex Kotlowitz returns a generation later to the scene of this 1991 book, “There Are No Children Here” and to some of Chicago’s most turbulent neighborhoods to offer a spellbinding collection of intimate profiles of people and communities touched by gun violence. Known for his immersive, deeply textured reporting, Kotlowitz investigates the impact of this violence on the spirit of individuals and community.

For forty years, Alex Kotlowitz has been telling stories from the heart of America, deeply intimate tales of struggle and perseverance. He is the author of four books, including his most recent, “An American Summer: Love and Death in Chicago.” His other books include the national bestseller “There Are No Children Here,” which the New York Public Library selected as one of the 150 most important books of the twentieth century. It received the Helen B. Bernstein Award and was adapted as a television movie produced by and starring Oprah Winfrey. It was selected by The New York Times as a Notable Book of the Year along with his second book, “The Other Side of the River” which also received The Chicago Tribune’s Heartland Prize for Nonfiction. His book on Chicago, “Never a City So Real,” was recently released in paperback.  

While Alex’s home is print, he has also worked in film and radio. His documentary, The Interrupters, a collaboration with Steve James, premiered at Sundance in January 2011 and aired as a two-hour special on PBS’s FRONTLINE. It was cited as one of the best films of the year by The New Yorker, The Chicago Tribune, Entertainment Weekly and The LA Times. For the film, Alex received an Emmy, a Cinema Eye Award and an Independent Spirit Award.

A former staff writer at The Wall Street Journal, Alex’s work has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine and on This American Life. His stories, which one reviewer wrote “inform the heart”, have also appeared in Granta, Rolling Stone, The Chicago Tribune, Slate and The Washington Post, as well as on PBS (Frontline, the MacNeil-Lehrer NewsHour and Media Matters) and on NPR’s All Things Considered and Morning Edition. His play, An Unobstructed View, written with Amy Drozdowska, premiered in Chicago in June 2005.

In 2016, Alex worked with inmates at Illinois’ Stateville prison on essays about their cells. The stories which ran on The New Yorker’s website and on The New Yorker’s Radio Hour became the basis for the podcast Written Inside. NPR’s Lauren Ober, who picked it as one of the top ten podcasts of the year, wrote: “It’s an intimate look at life behind bars that will likely change the way you think about incarceration.”

Alex has been honored in all three mediums, including two Peabodys, two Columbia duPonts, the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award and the George Polk Award. He’s also the recipient of eight honorary degrees, the John LaFarge Memorial Award for Interracial Justice given by New York’s Catholic Interracial Council and the 2019 Harold Washington Literary Award.

Alex regularly gives lectures and talks around the country. He’s been a writer-in-residence at the University of Chicago, a visiting professor for seven years at the University of Notre Dame, a Montgomery Fellow at Dartmouth College and a Distinguished Visitor at the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. He’s on faculty at Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism where he’s been teaching since 1999.

Alex grew up in New York City and attended Wesleyan University. After a year-long stint on a cattle ranch, he took his first journalism job at a small alternative weekly in Lansing, Michigan.   

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

(Source: Alex Kotlowitz website)

Photo credit: Kathy Richland


Food for Thought: Podcast with Alex Kotlowitz

Wednesday, March 04, 2020 - Evening Program
From 1989 to 1984: The Formation of China's High-Tech Totalitarianism
Biao Teng

Due to the marketization reform, entry to the WTO and the “low human rights disadvantage,” China has become the second-largest economy. But contrary to what most had presumed and predicted, the market economy and rapid growth didn’t lead China to transform into an open society. Instead, argues Biao Teng, Grove Human Rights Scholar at Hunter College, the Chinese Communist Party has tightened its one-party rule and utilized its political-economic-technological power to establish an unprecedented high-tech totalitarian system, which has been the biggest threat to global human rights and democracy.

Biao Teng is an academic lawyer, currently Grove Human Rights Scholar at Hunter College, and Pozen Visiting Professor at the University of Chicago. He had been a lecturer at the China University of Politic and Law (Beijing), a visiting scholar at Yale, Harvard, the Chinese University of Hong Kong, New York University, and the Institute for Advanced Study. Teng’s research focuses on criminal justice, human rights, social movements, and political transition in China. Teng defended cases involving freedom of expression, religious freedom, the death penalty, Tibetans and Uyghurs. He co-founded two human rights NGOs in Beijing – the Open Constitution Initiative, and China Against the Death Penalty, in 2003 and 2010, respectively. He is one of the earliest promoters of the Rights Defense Movement in China and the manifesto Charter 08, for which Dr. Liu Xiaobo was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Teng has received various international human rights awards including the Human Rights Prize of the French Republic (2007). 

Dr. Teng's Athenaeum lecture is co-sponsored by Keck Center for International and Strategic Studies at CMC.

(Parents Dining Room)

Monday, March 09, 2020 - Evening Program
Fighting on Two Fronts: The Hello Girls and America's First Women Soldiers
Elizabeth Cobbs

In 1918, the U.S. Army Signal Corps recruited 223 women at General Jack Pershing’s request. They were masters of the latest technology: the telephone switchboard. While suffragettes picketed the White House for the vote, the “Hello Girls” ran battlefield communications in France. Cobbs reveals the challenges they faced in a war where male soldiers wooed, mocked, and ultimately celebrated them. When the veterans sailed home, the Army discharged them without benefits. They began a sixty-year battle that a handful carried to triumph in 1979.

Elizabeth Cobbs is a prize-winning historian, novelist, and documentary filmmaker. She is the author of eight books, including "The Hello Girls: America’ First Women Soldiers" from Harvard Press and the New York Times’ bestseller, "The Hamilton Affair." Her most recent book is "The Tubman Command," a novel on the Civil War military service of Harriet Tubman. Cobbs has won four literary prizes and four film prizes, and written for the New York Times, Washington Post, Jerusalem Times, Los Angeles Times, Politico, and Reuters. She previously served on the State Department’s Historical Advisory Committee and jury for the Pulitzer Prize. Cobbs holds the Melbern Glasscock Chair in American History at Texas A&M and is a Senior Fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institution.

Professor Cobbs's Athenaeum presentation is part of the Women in Security series at the Athenaeum this spring.

Tuesday, March 10, 2020 - Evening Program
A Conversation with "Homeland's" Howard Gordon
Howard Gordon

Robert Faggen, the Barton Evans and H. Andrea Neves Professor of Literature at CMC, will moderate a conversation with award-winning creator and producer of Showtime's Homeland series, Howard Gordon.

Howard Gordon is an award-winning television writer, producer and author whose credits include some of TV’s most prolific series. Gordon co-created the breakout series Homeland, which is one of the biggest hits in Showtime’s history. The series has broken ratings records and won multiple awards, including the Emmy Awards for Best Drama Series and Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series, two Golden Globe Awards for Best Drama Series, Program of the Year at the AFI Awards, Best New Series at the Writers Guild Awards, Outstanding New Program at the Television Critics Association Awards, Outstanding Producer of Episodic Television Drama at the Producers Guild Awards and received the prestigious Peabody Award for Outstanding Achievement in Electronic Media. The final (and 8th) season of the series will premier in February 2020.

Gordon was a showrunner and executive producer of the long-running hit television series, 24, for which he received both the Golden Globe and the Emmy Award for Best Drama Series in 2006. He was also an executive producer on 24: Live Another Day and 24: Legacy. 

A twenty-five year industry veteran, Gordon first gained national attention for his award-winning work on Fox’s groundbreaking series The X-Files, for which he won multiple Golden Globes. His other credits include Tyrant, Legends, Angel, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Beauty and the Beast, Sisters and Spenser: For Hire. He created the innovative 1999 drama Strange World, and the Fox series, The Inside. 

Also an accomplished author, Gordon released his first novel, Gideon’s War in 2011 and quickly followed it up with the sequel, Hard Target, which was released in 2012. 

A graduate of Princeton University, he is an advisory board member of the RAND Center for Middle East Public Policy, and former board member and president of the Stroke Association of Southern California.

 

Wednesday, March 11, 2020 - Lunch Program
Proposition 13—Then and Now
Joel Fox (THIS EVENT IS CANCELLED.)

Proposition was appropriate for its time, is it appropriate for our time? Prop 13 passed 41 years ago. Despite California being a different place today—demographically, politically, ideologically—when pollsters ask voters if Proposition 13 is a good thing, the results are amazingly consistent. While the measure passed with almost two-thirds vote in 1978, it still enjoys that same two-to-one favorable margin in the polls. Yet, as Joel Fox, co-publisher and editor-in-chief of the website Fox and Hounds Daily, will outline, efforts to undo Prop 13 are heating up hoping to take advantage of the current political environment. 

Joel Fox is a co-publisher and editor-in-chief of the website Fox and Hounds Daily, which offers commentary and news on California business and politics. Fox and Hounds Daily was founded in 2008. The Washington Post twice named Fox and Hounds Daily one of the top California political websites.

Fox operates Joel Fox Consulting, a public affairs/political consulting firm.He served as founder and president of the Small Business Action Committee, from 2003 to 2017 battling for small business on important political issues. Prior to starting his own firm in January 1999, Fox worked for the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association for 19 years, serving as the association’s president from 1986 to 1998.

Fox has authored hundreds of opinion articles which have been published in the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, San Diego Union, Sacramento Bee, Indianapolis Star, National Review Online, and Manchester (NH) Union-Leader, as well as other newspapers and websites. He also wrote a piece for National Public Radio and had an essay published in a Time Warner-Baseball Hall of Fame sponsored book, What Baseball Means to Me.

Fox’s book, "The Legend of Proposition 13," was published in May 2003. He has written a chapter for an anthology, "After the Tax Revolt: California’s Proposition 13 Turns 30," published by the University of California Press, 2009. His essay appears in the book of essays on the state of California titled Taxifornia 2016. His first novel, "Lincoln’s Hand," a mystery/suspense was published in Summer 2010 by Echelon Press. His second and third novels published by Bronze Circle Press are FDR’s "Treasure" and "The Mark on Eve," for which he received many starred reviews.

Fox served as a senior research associate at the Rose Institute of State and Local Government at Claremont McKenna College; was on the Advisory Council of the Public Policy Institute of California; and was a member of the Board of Advisors at the Initiative and Referendum Institute at the University of Southern California. He has been an adjunct professor at the Graduate School of Public Policy, Pepperdine University, since 2006.

Mr. Fox’s Athenaeum presentation is co-sponsored by the Rose Institute of State and Local Government at CMC.

Wednesday, March 11, 2020
Revisiting the “Dark Ages” of Arabic Literature
Hilary Kilpatrick (THIS EVENT IS CANCELLED.)

The conventional account of Arabic literature in the 16th through 18th centuries is that it was repetitive, unoriginal, lacking vitality. Only in the 19th century, thanks to contacts with the West, did the spiral of continuous decline end. This account, which has no scholarly basis, has been refuted in recent research. Hilary Kilpatrick, scholar of Ottoman Arabic literature, will present some original “Dark Ages” texts in their social context.

Hilary Kilpatrick received her DPhil from Oxford for a thesis on the Egyptian novel up to 1970. She has taught at universities in the UK, the Netherlands and Switzerland and is now an independent scholar living in Lausanne. She has published a study of al-Isbahani’s Book of Songs (10th century) and many articles on modern, classical and most recently Ottoman Arabic literature. She has edited a volume on Arabic literature and music, co-edited with Glenda Abramson Religious Perspectives in Modern Muslim and Jewish Literatures, and co-edited and translated with Gerald J. Toomer  the letters of the Syrian copyist Niqūlāwus al-Ḥalabī to two 17th century Orientalists. She is a co-founder (1991) of the Swiss Society for Middle Eastern Studies.

Monday, March 23, 2020 - Evening Program
Meanwhile: Making California's Abolition Geographies
Ruth Wilson Gilmore (EVENT POSTPONED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE)

Ruth Wilson Gilmore, professor of earth & environmental sciences and director of the Center for Place, Culture, and Politics at the City University of New York Graduate Center and author of "Golden Gulag: Prisons, Surplus, Crisis, and Opposition in Globalizing California," explores how visions of abolition guide and connect organizing across a range of social justice struggles. Examples highlight environmental justice, public sector labor unions, farm workers, undocumented households, criminalized youth, and community based approaches to prevent and resolve gender and interpersonal violence. The vivid stories show that abolition is a practical program for urgent change based in the needs, talents, and dreams of vulnerable people.

 Ruth Wilson Gilmore is professor of earth & environmental sSciences and director of the Center for Place, Culture, and Politics at the City University of New York Graduate Center. A co-founder of many grassroots organizations including California Prison Moratorium Project, Critical Resistance, and the Central California Environmental Justice Network, she works on racial capitalism, organized violence, organized abandonment, changing state structure, criminalization, labor and social movements, and abolition. Current projects include a second edition of the prize-winning "Golden Gulag: Prisons, Surplus, Crisis, and Opposition in Globalizing California." Recent publications include “Beyond Bratton” (Policing the Planet, Camp and Heatherton, eds.), and “Abolition Geography and the Problem of Innocence” (Futures of Black Radicalism, Lubin and Johnson, eds.), a foreword to a new collection of work by Cedric Robinson.

Gilmore has lectured in Africa, Asia, Europe, and North America. Honors include the American Studies Association Angela Y. Davis Award for Public Scholarship (2012); the Association of American Geographers Harold Rose Award for Anti-Racist Research and Practice (2014); the SUNY-Purchase College Eugene V. Grant Distinguished Scholar Prize for Social and Environmental Justice (2015-16);  the American Studies Association Richard A Yarborough Mentorship Award (2017); and the Association of American Geographers Lifetime Achievement Award (2020). Novelist Rachel Kushner profiled Gilmore in a New York Times Magazine feature on abolition (April 2019).

Professor Gilmore's Athenaeum presentation is a part of the series highlighting the Justice Education Initiative at The Claremont Colleges.

Photo credit: Don Usner
 

Tuesday, March 24, 2020 - Evening Program
The Limits of Lessons
Jennifer Grossman (EVENT POSTPONED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE)

Jennifer Grossman, CEO of The Atlas Society, believes that facts alone are no match for the seductive moral appeal of socialism, which will fail as many times as it is pursued. She will make the case that the argument against the "social justice" version of fairness requires instead a moral case for fairness premised on the inviolability of individual rights, the virtues of independence, reason, and achievement, and the ethics of benevolent self-interest. Grounded in Ayn Rand's vision, she believes these tenets are more relevant than ever in a culture where envy, resentment, victimhood, and entitlement are on the rise—and being stoked and leveraged by politicians to increase government power in perpetuity.

Jennifer Anju Grossman, a former senior vice-president at Dole Food Company, has served as CEO of the Atlas Society since March 1, 2016. She has spent much of her career trying to help people to live freer, healthier lives. She launched the Dole Nutrition Institute—a research and education organization—at the behest of Dole Chairman David H. Murdock. She continued this agenda as Health Editor of Laura Ingraham's new lifestyle site, LifeZette. Previously Grossman served as director of education at the Cato Institute, and worked closely with the late philanthropist Theodore J. Forstmann to launch the Children's Scholarship Fund. A speechwriter for President George H. W. Bush, Grossman has written for both national and local publications.

She believes that "the principles of Objectivism, the philosophy rooted in reality, reason, and individualism, has never been more needed — nor more neglected,” and that “this is the perfect moment to help the public rediscover the moral vision of Ayn Rand."

Ms. Grossman's Athenaeum presentation is co-sponsored with funding from the Open Academy at CMC.

(Note: This event had previously been scheduled for February 6, 2020.)

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