Marian Miner Cook
Athenaeum

A distinctive
feature of social and
cultural life at CMC

 

Current Semester Schedule

 

Tue, February 8, 2022
Dinner Program
Cynthia Dewi Oka

In her third collection, award-winning Indonesian American poet Cynthia Dewi Oka dives into the implications of being parents, children, workers, and unwanted human beings under the reign of global capitalism and resurgent nativism. With a voice bound and wrestled apart by multiple histories, Fire Is Not a Country claims the spaces between here and there, then and now, us and not us. This collection is for anyone interested in what it means to engage the multitudes within ourselves.

Ms. Oka's Athenaeum presentation is co-sponsored by the Center for Writing and Public Discourse at CMC.

Photo credit: Jose Quintana

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Author of Fire Is Not a Country (2021) and Salvage (2017) published by Northwestern University Press, and Nomad of Salt and Hard Water, first published by Dinah Press in 2012, with a second edition of new and revised poems published by Thread Makes Blanket in 2016, Cynthia Dewi Oka currently serves as a poetry editor at Kweli Journal and has performed in various venues across the US and internationally.

A 2021-2022 Poet in Residence at the Amy Clampitt House in Lenox, Massachusetts, she has been awarded the Leeway Foundation’s Transformation Award, the Tupelo Quarterly Poetry Prize, and the Fifth Wednesday Journal Editor’s Prize in Poetry. She is an alum of the Voices of Our Nations (VONA) Workshop and the Vermont Studio Center and earned her MFA as a Holden Minority Scholar at Warren Wilson College.

As a creative facilitator, she has offered workshops for a wide range of organizations and has also worked with young poets in high schools across New Jersey as a Geraldine R. Dodge Poet. In 2021, she led a week-long intensive workshop for emerging Indonesian writers in collaboration with the Ubud Writers and Readers Festival (UWRF) and the International Writing Program of the University of Iowa.

For fifteen years, Oka worked as an organizer, trainer, and fundraiser in social movements for gender, racial, economic, and migrant justice. In 2020, she transitioned out of the nonprofit sector to focus on her artistic practice. As an immigrant and former young single mother with working-class roots, her aesthetics are guided by her core values: self-determination, collaboration, and attention to the peripheral.

(Adapted from https://www.cynthiadewioka.com/about)

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Wed, February 9, 2022
Dinner Program
Ragen Chastain

Ragen Chastain, an internationally recognized thought leader in the fields of health at every size and weight stigma, will explore how capitalism, weight stigma, and diet culture intersect to create marginalization, alienation, and harm to people of all sizes and will offer strategies to mitigate and transform the status quo around body size culture.

Photo credit: Lindley Ashline

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Ragen Chastain is a speaker, writer, dancer, marathoner, ACE Certified Health Coach and functional fitness specialist, activist, and is training to be an iron-distance triathlete. Her blog, “Dances with Fat” explores the intersections of health, fatness, goodness, beauty norms, and body acceptances. Her blog’s tagline, and the theme at the center of her work, reads. “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness Are for All Sizes.”

Chastain is a self-described “fathlete,” as well as a dancer. She has performed at Carnegie Hall, won three National Dance Championships, and holds the Guinness World Record for Heaviest Woman to Complete a Marathon. In 2011 she left a successful consulting career to speak and write full-time about size acceptance and health at every size. She has also published a book on navigating life and health, titled, “Fat: The Owner's Manual – Navigating a Thin-Obsessed World with Your Health, Happiness and Sense of Humor Intact.”

She also hosts monthly workshops on health, body neutrality, and self-love. She has spoken at numerous conferences and colleges, including nearby Pitzer College, CalTech, and USC.

Ms. Chastain is the featured speaker for recognizing February as the disorderly eating awareness month. 

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Thu, February 10, 2022
Dinner Program
Barry Eichengreen

THIS EVENT HAS BEEN CANCELLED. IT WILL BE RESCHEDULED FOR THE FALL.

The financial sector is currently in one of those periods of exceptionally rapid change that punctuate history. From the adoption of cloud computing to store and process financial data, artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms to analyze it, and blockchain to secure it, the future will surely see additional movement in these directions. But it is uncertain whether digital currencies will be part of that future. Plain vanilla cryptocurrency like bitcoin lack the essential attributes of money and are likely to remain no more than niche investment products. Stablecoins have more of the attributes of money but are expensive to operate. Central bank digital currencies are more obviously viable, but they are a solution in search of a problem. It’s thus not clear, argues Barry Eichengreen, professor of economics at U.C. Berkeley, what economic and social problems they can solve that can’t also be solved by suitably regulated private sector entities.

Professor Eichengreen's Athenaeum presentation is co-sponsored by the Keck Center for International and Strategic Studies at CMC.

Photo credit: U.C. Berkeley

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Barry Eichengreen is the George C. Pardee and Helen N. Pardee Professor of Economics and Professor of Political Science at the University of California, Berkeley, where he has taught since 1987. He is a research associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research (Cambridge, Massachusetts) and research fellow of the Centre for Economic Policy Research (London, England). In 1997-98, he was senior policy advisor at the International Monetary Fund. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (class of 1997).

Eichengreen has held Guggenheim and Fulbright Fellowships and been a fellow of the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences (Palo Alto) and the Institute for Advanced Study (Berlin). From 2004 to 2020 he served as convener of the Bellagio Group of academics and officials. He is a regular monthly columnist for Project Syndicate.

His most recent books are In Defense of Public Debt with Asmaa El-Ganainy, Rui Esteves and Kris Mitchener (Oxford University Press 2021), The Populist Temptation: Economic Grievance and Political Reaction in the Modern Era (Oxford University Press, 2018), How Global Currencies Work: Past, Present, and Future with Livia Chitu and Arnaud Mehl (November 2017), The Korean Economy: From a Miraculous Past to a Sustainable Future with Wonhyuk Lim, Yung Chul Park and Dwight H. Perkins (March 2015), Renminbi Internationalization: Achievements, Prospects, and Challenges, with Masahiro Kawai (February 2015), Hall of Mirrors: The Great Depression, The Great Recession, and the Uses--and Misuses--of History (January 2015), From Miracle to Maturity: The Growth of the Korean Economy with Dwight H. Perkins and Kwanho Shin (2012) and Exorbitant Privilege: The Rise and Fall of the Dollar and the Future of the International Monetary System (2011) (shortlisted for the Financial Times and Goldman Sachs Business Book of the Year Award in 2011).

Eichengreen was awarded the Economic History Association's Jonathan R.T. Hughes Prize for Excellence in Teaching in 2002 and the University of California at Berkeley Social Science Division's Distinguished Teaching Award in 2004. He is the recipient of a doctor honoris causa from the American University in Paris, and the 2010 recipient of the Schumpeter Prize from the International Schumpeter Society. He was named one of Foreign Policy Magazine 's 100 Leading Global Thinkers in 2011. He is a past president of the Economic History Association (2010-11 academic year).

Professor Eichengreen's Athenaeum presentation is co-sponsored by the Keck Center for International and Strategic Studies at CMC.

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Wed, February 16, 2022
Dinner Program
Scott Ellsworth P'24

The 1921 Tulsa race massacre was the single worst incident of racial violence in American history. Scott Ellsworth, faculty in the Afroamerican and African Studies department at the University of Michigan and author of The Ground Breaking: An American City and Its Search for Justice, will discuss why the tragedy happened, how it was covered up for a half century, and current efforts to win restitution for survivors and their descendants.

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Scott Ellsworth P'24 is an award-winning writer and historian. His most recent book, The Ground Breaking: The Tulsa Race Massacre and an American City's Search for Justice, was longlisted for the 2021 National Book Award. His previous book, The Secret Game, which tells the true story of a clandestine integrated college basketball contest that took place in 1940s North Carolina, won the 2016 PEN/ESPN Book Award for Literary Sports Writing, while The World Beneath Their Feet, which details the deadly race to summit the highest peaks of the Himalayas during the 1930s, won a 2020 National Outdoor Book Award.

Ellsworth and his work have been featured on the TODAY Show, NPR, the BBC, Fox News, MSNBC, CNN, PBS, Voice of America, The History Channel, and in the pages of the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, and the Times of London. Praised for his “elegant” and “riveting” prose, a reviewer once described him as “a historian with the soul of a poet.”

Oklahoma born and bred, Ellsworth published his first book, Death in a Promised Land, while he was a graduate student at Duke. Formerly a historian at the Smithsonian Institution, he currently teaches courses on African American history, Southern literature, race and sports, and crime and justice in contemporary U.S. society in the department of Afroamerican and African Studies at the University of Michigan.

 

View Video: YouTube with Scott Ellsworth P'24

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Thu, February 17, 2022
Dinner Program
Annette Gordon-Reed

Weaving together American history, family chronicle, and personal memoir in her most recent book On Juneteenth, Annette Gordon-Reed, the Carl M. Loeb University Professor at Harvard University, provides a historian’s view of the country’s long road to Juneteenth, recounting both its origins in Texas and the enormous hardships that African-Americans have endured in the century since, from Reconstruction through Jim Crow and beyond. 

Professor Gordon-Reed will deliver the Gould Center for Humanistic Studies' 2022 Lerner Lecture on Hinge Moments in History; her Athenaeum presentation is co-sponsored by CMC's Presidential Initiative on Anti-Racism and the Black Experience in America.

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Annette Gordon-Reed is the Carl M. Loeb University Professor at Harvard University where she holds appointments in the history department and the Law School. She is the award-winning author of six books. Her latest book, On Juneteenth, sets out to capture the integral importance of the holiday to American history. It quickly became a New York Times bestseller, was featured on the magazine’s 100 Notable Books list, and chosen as one of its the top five non-fiction books of the year. 

A Texas native and the descendent of enslaved people brought to Texas as early as the 1820s, Gordon-Reed is also the author of The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family, which won the Pulitzer Prize in history and the National Book Award for nonfiction—along with fourteen other awards. It explores the inconsistencies of Jefferson’s stance on slavery and his relationship with enslaved woman Sally Hemings, and has been called “the best study of a slave family ever written” by noted Jefferson scholar Joseph Ellis. Her other books include Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings: An American Controversy—a rich examination of scholarly writing on the relationships between Jefferson and Hemings, which exposes the possibility that scholars were misguided by their own biases and may even have contorted evidence to preserve their preexisting opinions of Jefferson. Her other book, "Most Blessed of the Patriarchs”: Thomas Jefferson and the Empire of the Imagination, presents a provocative character study of Jefferson that challenges much of the scholarly status quo on his portrayal throughout history. Gordon-Reed’s upcoming title, A Jefferson Reader on Race, is set to be published in 2022.

Her honors include the National Humanities Medal, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and a MacArthur Fellowship. Gordon-Reed was also elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and is a member of the Academy’s Commission on the Humanities and Social Sciences. In 2019, she was elected a Member of the American Philosophical Society.

Professor Gordon-Reed will deliver the Gould Center for Humanistic Studies' 2022 Lerner Lecture on Hinge Moments in History; her Athenaeum presentation is co-sponsored by CMC's Presidential Initiative on Anti-Racism and the Black Experience in America.

 

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Fri, February 18, 2022
Dinner Program
John Shrewsberry ’87 P’24 

John Shrewsberry ’87 P’24  will draw on his 25 years in financial services to provide a summary and take questions covering elements of the current state of fintech and what it means for various players in legacy financial services. He will assess what seems to be working best and what seems to be making the greatest difference for entrepreneurs, customers and competitors and he will address the larger universe of activities with an emphasis on fintech lenders, infrastructure providers, payments providers,  and DLT.  

Mr. Shrewsberry is the keynote speaker for the 2022 Claremont Finance Conference. Hosted by the CMC Student Investment Fund, the conference is co-sponsored by the Financial Economics Institute and the Robert Day Scholars Program. 

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John Shrewsberry ’87 P’24 was previously the Chief Financial Officer of Wells Fargo Bank. In that capacity, he oversaw the financial management functions including accounting and control, financial planning and analysis, line of business finance functions, asset-liability management, treasury, tax management, corporate development, investor relations, and the company’s investment portfolios.

Over the course of his career at Wells Fargo, Shrewsberry held multiple critical roles. He was responsible for Wells Fargo’s information technology team and a range of enterprise operations functions. He served on the Wells Fargo Operating, Management, and Market Risk Committees. As head of Wells Fargo Securities, he was responsible for investment banking, capital markets, securities and derivatives sales and trading, investment research, and a credit-intensive principal investment portfolio. He also led the Wells Fargo Commercial Capital group, the successor to a commercial finance company he co-founded that was acquired by Wells Fargo in 2001.

Before joining Wells Fargo, Shrewsberry worked at Goldman Sachs and Credit Suisse First Boston in the principal finance areas. He started his career as a CPA at Coopers & Lybrand. He served more than ten years on the board for the Committee on Capital Markets Regulation, which is a 501(c) research organization that focuses on economic and financial policy.

A graduate of Claremont McKenna College where he studied economics, Shrewsbury earned an MBA from the Yale School of Management. A CMC trustee, he also serves on the advisory board of the Yale School of Management and the Yale University Endowment Investment Committee.

Mr. Shrewsberry is the keynote speaker for the 2022 Claremont Finance Conference. Hosted by the CMC Student Investment Fund, the conference is co-sponsored by the Financial Economics Institute and the Robert Day Scholars Program. 

Special note: The reception for this program begins at 5 pm. The talk will begin at 5:45 pm. Dinner will be served after the talk at approximately 7 pm. 

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Mon, February 21, 2022
Dinner Program
Erik Anderson '80 P'23

Erik Anderson ’80 P'23 is founder and CEO of WestRiver Group, a global innovation investment platform, and Chief Executive Officer of the DCRB+ Special Purpose Acquisition Companies (SPACs), which seek to identify impactful companies with scalable solutions to decarbonize the global economy. In this talk he will discuss market-driven approaches to decarbonizing our world through entrepreneurship and capital investment. 

Mr. Anderson is the featured parent speaker for Family Weekend 2022.

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Erik Anderson '80 P'23 is a leader in global innovation recognized throughout his career for his business acumen and leadership. As the founder and CEO of WestRiver Group (WRG), Anderson is redefining the paradigm of capital allocation with a transformative business model. The equity platform is led by gender-balanced teams, which empirical evidence suggests is correlated with better returns. 

Anderson is a dynamic entrepreneur who challenges and disrupts industries. He has received the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award, was named by Goldman Sachs as one of the Top 100 Most Intriguing Entrepreneurs and was awarded the Transformative CEO Award by The CEO Forum Group. Early in his career, Seattles Puget Sound Business Journal recognized Anderson as one of the Top 40 under 40” young achievers and emerging leaders.  

Anderson is CEO of several special purpose acquisition companies (Decarbonization Plus Acquisition Corporations) which seek to identify an impactful company with scalable solutions to decarbonize the global economy.

In March 2021, Anderson became vice chairman of Callaway Golf Company (NYSE:ELY). Prior to Callaway, he served as the executive chairman of Topgolf Entertainment Group. Under his leadership, Topgolf became one of the fastest-growing sports and entertainment brands in the world. In 2020, he was ranked by Golf Inc. as the No. 4 Most Powerful Person in the Golf Industry and was No. 3 in 2019 and 2018. 

In November 2020, Anderson joined Silicon Valley Bank (SVB)as the executive chairman of the SVB Capital Credit Platform and serves as chair of the SVB capital advisory committee.

Anderson also serves as executive chairman of Singularity University, a global community using exponential technologies to tackle the worlds biggest challenges. He is also vice chairman of ONEHOPE, a cause-centric consumer brand and technology company, known for their award-winning wine and world-class vineyard in Napa, Calif. He is also co-chairman of TOCA, the world's first technology-enabled soccer experience company. Additionally, Anderson is the founder of Americas Foundation for Chess, currently serving 160,000 children in the United States with its First Move curriculum. For more than ten years he served on the Board of Play Magnus, an interactive chess app inspired by Magnus Carlsen, the reigning World Chess Champion.

Anderson was on the board of Avista Corp (NYSE:AVA), an energy management company for more than sixteen years, and served as chairman of the Finance Committee for most of his tenure. His investment experience includes being partner at Frazier Healthcare Partners, CEO of Matthew G. Norton Co., and vice president at Goldman, Sachs & Co.

He holds a masters and bachelors degree in Industrial Engineering from Stanford University and graduated cum laude with a bachelors degree in Management Engineering from Claremont McKenna College.

Mr. Anderson is the featured parent speaker for Family Weekend 2022.

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Tue, February 22, 2022
Dinner Program
Datta Dave '02 and Matt Pyken '83

Join Matt Pyken ’83, writer and executive producer, for an in-depth discussion with Datta Dave ’02, about Dave’s unorthodox path from a CMC econ/accounting major, to founding the largest and most prestigious talent, writers, and directors agency in Mumbai, India. Datta’s company, Tulsea, represents some of the world’s top talent, who are currently creating projects worldwide for companies like Apple, Netflix, Amazon and Disney+. Datta will take us through the highs, lows, and detours on his professional journey, with an emphasis on how CMC prepared him for taking risks, and provided the essential building blocks for success, post-graduation to combine commerce with passion, and create a happy, successful, and fulfilling career.

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Matt Pyken ’83 moved to Washington, D.C. after graduation from Claremont McKenna College to begin what he thought would be a long career as a political consultant, White House speechwriter, and campaign manager.

He soon returned to Los Angeles, to co-found a software company, where he co-created the hit video games “National Lampoon’s Blind Date,” and “Fox Hunt,” and after adapting the latter into a television pilot, Matt began a 30-year career in television as a writer and executive producer on a wide range of TV dramas—from the groundbreaking “Queer as Folk,” to the Emmy-winning Fox hit, “Empire,” to the critically acclaimed Golden Globe winning “Mr. Robot,” for which he also won the Writers Guild Award in 2016.

Datta Dave ’02 is the co-founder of Tulsea, a strategic talent and content management company which represents and advises India's leading content creators. Tulsea's clients work across platforms including motion pictures, television, new media, and publishing. The company is dedicated to identifying emerging creative talent that will be tomorrow's premier storytellers.

Tulsea's approach to its advisory services and talent management focuses on ensuring stakeholders across the value chain benefit equitably. Dave works with individual talent and corporate clients from a strategic perspective. He has deep relationships within the Indian and global entertainment industries, and advises several media and entertainment companies during various stages of their growth.

Prior to starting Tulsea, Dave was business manager to international filmmaker Shekhar Kapur. Previously, Dave was also a management and sales strategy consultant to various domestic and international corporations. 

He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics-Accounting from Claremont McKenna College.

Matt Pyken and Datta Dave's Athenaeum event is co-sponsored by the Gould Center for Humanistic Studies at CMC.

 

View Video: YouTube with Matt Pyken '83 and Datta Dave '02

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Wed, February 23, 2022
Dinner Program
Vivan Marwaha '17

India is one of the youngest countries in the world and its generation of millennials make up for over 400 million people. This is the largest generation of people in the world. So, asks Vivan Marwaha '17, the author of What Millennials Want: What do Indian millennials want? What are their economic aspirations and their social views? Most importantly, what makes them tick? Their choices and answers will not only determine the local, regional, and national trajectory of India, but also cast pivotal consequences on global economics. 

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In his debut book, What Millennials Want, Vivan Marwaha ’17, documents the aspirations and anxieties of 400 million young people scattered across more than 30,000 kilometers in 13 Indian states. Combining an expansive dataset along with personal anecdotes, he narrates an intimate biography of India's millennials, investigating their attitudes towards sex, marriage, employment, religion, and politics.

A 2017 graduate of Claremont McKenna College, Marwaha is a user researcher who works on technology projects in emerging markets. A millennial himself, he cares deeply about understanding India and its future through its youth.

He has lived and worked in New Delhi, Los Angeles, Washington DC, and Buenos Aires, and has written for the Washington Post, New Statesman, Mint, and Times of India, among other publications.

 

View Video: YouTube with Vivan Marwaha '17

 

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Thu, February 24, 2022
Dinner Program
Ray Mentzer

French Reformed Protestants, commonly known as Huguenots, were fundamentally a religious minority. Accordingly, they sought to distinguish themselves from Catholics. Two prominent liturgical events – the Lord’s Supper and the sermon service – became critical in constructing confessional identity. Ray Mentzer, the Daniel J. Krumm Family Chair in Reformation Studies at the University of Iowa, will discuss this history and the introduction of related material objects, above all communion tokens and benches, that further accentuated their sense of being Protestant.

Professor Mentzer will deliver the keynote for the CMC Reformation Conference: Religion, Politics and Society.

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Raymond Mentzer holds the Daniel J. Krumm Family Chair in Reformation Studies at the University of Iowa. His research focuses on the French Reformed community during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. He is especially interested in the manner whereby Protestant church leaders as well as ordinary members of the congregation translated new theological insights into a system of approved moral conduct and a set of everyday devotional habits.

He has published a series of books and journal articles on the prosecution of French Protestants for heresy, the family and its role in the formation of confessional identity in early modern France, the application of Reformed church discipline, and the development of the French Reformed liturgy. Among his recent books are an inventory of the extant ecclesiastical disciplinary records for the French Reformed Churches during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries and an edited volume focusing on the Huguenots from the sixteenth through the eighteenth centuries.

Professor Mentzer will deliver the keynote for the CMC Reformation Conference: Religion, Politics and Society.

 

View Video: YouTube with Raymond Mentzer

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Mon, February 28, 2022
Dinner Program
Eric Avila

Eric Avila, professor of history, Chicana/o Studies and urban planning at UCLA, historian of Los Angeles and author of The Folklore of the Freeway: Race and Revolt in the Modernist City, will discuss the history of highway construction in post World War II Los Angeles and how it widened socio-economic and cultural divides across the city's racial geography.

Professor Avila's Athenaeum presentation is part of the "Race Across Disciplines" series which explores how different academic disciplines approach research, insights, and findings around race.

Photo credit: UCLA

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Eric Avila is professor of history and Chicana/o Studies at UCLA and holds a courtesy appointment in the Department of Urban Planning. He is a twentieth-century U.S. urban historian, whose research and teaching emphasizes race and ethnicity, cultural expression, and the built environment. He earned a B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. in history from U.C. Berkeley and is the author of three books, including Popular Culture in the Age of White Flight: Fear and Fantasy in Suburban Los Angeles (California, 2004), The Folklore of the Freeway: Race and Revolt in the Modernist City (Minnesota, 2014), and American Cultural History: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford, 2018). He is currently beginning two new book projects, both focused on the social and cultural history of Los Angeles. 

Avila is a national expert in the history of American culture and his research has fueled the national conversation about the historical relationship between race, urbanization and infrastructural development. He interviews frequently for national news outlets like the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, the New York Times, USA Today and he recently appeared in a four-part documentary series for CNN, The History of American Style.

Professor Avila's Athenaeum presentation is part of the "Race Across Disciplines" series which explores how different academic disciplines approach research, insights, and findings around race.

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Tue, March 1, 2022
Dinner Program
Stacey Vanek Smith

In her new book, "Machiavelli For Women," NPR host of  The Indicator from Planet Money Stacey Vanek Smith looks at how women can apply the principles of the 16th-century philosopher Niccolò Machiavelli to their 21st-century work lives and shatter the glass ceiling once and for all. Using Machiavelli’s "The Prince" as a guide to understanding behavior and power in Renaissance politics, Smith demonstrates how women can use those same principles today to take and maintain power in careers where they have long been cast as second-best.

Ms. Vanek Smith is the featured speaker for the 2022 Women and Leadership Alliance program at CMC; her Athenaeum presentation is co-sponsored by the Open Academy at CMC.

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Stacey Vanek Smith is a longtime public radio reporter and host, highly regarded for her insight and journalism on work, business, and economics. Previously she served as a correspondent and host for NPR’s Planet Money as well as the NPR show Marketplace. She is the host of NPR’s daily podcast, The Indicator from Planet Money. Her work has appeared on All things Considered, Consider This, Morning Edition, Up First, Weekend All Things Considered, It’s Been A Minute, with Sam Sanders, How I Built This, and Rough Translation, as well as in Time Magazine, The New York Times, The Awl and People Magazine.

A native of Idaho, Vanek Smith grew up in Boise and on her parents' cattle ranch in western Idaho. She is a graduate of Princeton University and holds a master’s in broadcast journalism from Columbia University. She was awarded the Ferris Teaching Grant from Princeton University in 2019 and taught a course in audio journalism.

She lives in Brooklyn where she spends most of her time broadcasting out of her broom closet, hiking, cooking, rock climbing, and watching Netflix.

Ms. Vanek Smith is the featured speaker for the 2022 Women and Leadership Alliance program at CMC; her Athenaeum presentation is co-sponsored by the Open Academy at CMC.

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Wed, March 2, 2022
Dinner Program
Jennifer Burns

Historian and biographer Jennifer Burns, associate professor of history at Stanford University and research fellow at the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution, and Peace, will draw on original research to explore the ideas and lives of two American icons of capitalism, the novelist Ayn Rand and the economist Milton Friedman. Both supporters of free market capitalism, Rand and Friedman came to different answers on the same perennial questions: What is the morality of capitalism? How can markets be ethically justified?

As one of CMC’s 75th Anniversary Distinguished Speakers, Professor Burns will highlight issues in “Civilization and Commerce,” one of the three academic collaboration themes of our special 75th Anniversary celebration. Her lecture is co-sponsored by the Salvatori Center at CMC.

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Jennifer Burns is an associate professor of history at Stanford University where she teaches courses on American political, cultural, and intellectual history. She is also a research fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institution on War, Revolution, and Peace. Burns graduated from Harvard University magna cum laude majoring in history, and received her Masters and Ph.D. in history from the University of California at Berkeley. From 2007-2012, she was an assistant professor of history at the University of Virginia.

Burns is the author of Goddess of the Market: Ayn Rand and the American Right (Oxford University Press 2009), an intellectual biography of the controversial novelist and philosopher. Based on exclusive access to Rand’s personal papers, Goddess of the Market is the only book to draw upon Rand’s unedited letters and journals. It has been favorably reviewed by numerous publications including the New York Times, Washington Post, Time, Newsweek, the Economist, and the New Yorker.

Currently, Burns is completing an intellectual biography of the Nobel prize-winning economist Milton Friedman, relying upon his papers housed at the Hoover Institution.

A popular guest on radio and television programs, Burns has been interviewed on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, The Colbert Report, C-Span’s Book TV, NPR’s Weekend America, and Here & Now. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Harvard Magazine, Foreign Policy, the Christian Science Monitor, and numerous academic journals. 

Burns enjoys speaking before academic and professional organizations. She has been a guest lecturer at Harvard, Columbia Business School, U.C. Berkeley, U.C. Santa Barbara, Rice University, and the Cato Institute.

 

View Video: YouTube with Jennifer Burns

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Thu, March 3, 2022
Dinner Program
Erik Larson

In The Splendid and the Vile, renowned author Erik Larson shows, in cinematic detail, how Winston Churchill taught the British people “the art of being fearless.” It is a story of political brinksmanship but also an intimate domestic drama. Drawing on a wealth of untapped sources, including recently declassified files, intelligence reports, and personal diaries only recently available, Larson provides a new lens on London’s darkest year through the day-to-day experience of Churchill and his family: his wife; three daughters; son and unhappy daughter-in-law; her illicit lover, a dashing American emissary; and the cadre of close advisors who comprised Churchill’s “Secret Circle,” including his dangerously observant private secretary, John Colville; newspaper baron Lord Beaverbrook; and the Rasputin-like Federick Lindemann.

Mr. Larson will deliver the Gould Center for Humanistic Studies’ 2022 Golo Mann Lecture, also co-sponsored by by the Keck Center for International and Strategic Studies and Alumni and Parent Engagement at CMC.

Photo credit: Benjamin Benschneider 

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Erik Larson is the author of eight books, six of which became New York Times bestsellers. His latest books, The Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family and Defiance During the Blitz and Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania, both hit number 1 on the list soon after launch. His saga of the Chicago World’s Fair of 1893, The Devil in the White City, was a finalist for the National Book Award, and won an Edgar Award for fact-crime writing; it remained on various Times bestseller lists for the better part of a decade. Hulu plans to adapt the book for a limited TV series, with Leonardo DiCaprio and Martin Scorsese as executive producers. Larson’s In the Garden of Beasts, about how America’s first ambassador to Nazi Germany and his daughter experienced the rising terror of Hitler’s rule, has been optioned by Tom Hanks for development as a feature film.

Larson’s first book of narrative nonfiction, Isaac’s Storm, about the giant hurricane that destroyed Galveston, Texas, in 1900, won the American Meteorology Society’s prestigious Louis J. Battan Author’s Award. The Washington Post called it the “Jaws of hurricane yarns.”

Larson graduated summa cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania, where he studied Russian history, language, and culture; he received a masters in journalism from Columbia University. After a brief stint at the Bucks County Courier Times, Erik became a staff writer for The Wall Street Journal, and later a contributing writer for Time Magazine. His magazine stories have appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, Harper’s, and other publications.

He has taught non-fiction writing at San Francisco State, the Johns Hopkins Writing Seminars, the University of Oregon, and the Chuckanut Writers Conference in Bellingham, Wash., and has spoken to audiences from coast to coast.

Mr. Larson will deliver the Gould Center for Humanistic Studies’ 2022 Golo Mann Lecture, also co-sponsored by by the Keck Center for International and Strategic Studies and Alumni and Parent Engagement at CMC.

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Mon, March 7, 2022
Dinner Program
Louise Glück

Awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2020 for her "unmistakable poetic voice that with austere beauty makes individual existence universal," Louise Glück is considered by many to be one of America’s most talented contemporary poets. Known for her poetry’s technical precision, sensitivity, and insight into loneliness, family relationships, divorce, and death, Glück will offer her reflections her work and read from her vast collection.

Ms. Glück’s Athenaeum appearance is co-sponsored by the President's Leadership Fund.

Photo credit: Gasper-Tringale

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In awarding her the Nobel Prize in Literature, the Nobel committee cited that "Personal experiences have always been an important touchstone for Louise Glück’s poetry. Childhood, family life, relationships and death are recurring themes in her collections. Glück seeks out the universal. Myths and classical motifs are found in most of her work. In addition to classical mythology, the rich English-language poetry tradition is her primary literary source of inspiration. Glück’s language is characterized by clarity and precision and is free of poetic formalities; she often uses daily spoken language."

From her first book of poetry, Firstborn (1968), through her later works, Glück has become internationally recognized as a skilled, perceptive author who pulls the reader into her poetry and shares the poetic experience equally with her audience. Glück’s poems in books such as Firstborn, The House on Marshland (1975), The Garden (1976), Descending Figure (1980), The Triumph of Achilles (1985), Ararat (1990), and the Pulitzer Prize-winning The Wild Iris (1992) take readers on an inner journey by exploring their deepest, most intimate feelings. “Glück has a gift for getting the reader to imagine with her, drawing on the power of her audience to be amazed,” observed Anna Wooten in the American Poetry Review, and Stephen Dobyns maintained in The New York Times Book Review that “no American poet writes better than Louise Glück, perhaps none can lead us so deeply into our own nature.”

Among numerous prestigious awards and honors, including the Nobel, Glück was the recipient of National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry in 1985 and the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1993.

Ms. Glück’s Athenaeum appearance is co-sponsored by the President's Leadership Fund.

(Text adapted from the websites poetryfoundation.org and biography.com)

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