Marian Miner Cook

A distinctive
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cultural life at CMC

Current Semester Schedule

All Fall 2020 events will be held via Zoom webinar. All guests must be registered for each event.

CMC students, faculty, and staff can register using the sign-up links below. This will generate a confirmation email that requires a Zoom registration. You are not registered for the event until you complete this additional step. Once you have completed this registration, you will receive a unique registration link via email from Zoom. Please keep this link handy, or add to your calendar, as you will need it to log into the event.

CMC alumni and families are welcome to all fall programming! Please refer to your weekly email from Alumni & Parent Engagement, which is sent each Sunday. The email will contain a direct link to sign up for available programming via Zoom. Alumni and families are not able to register via the Athenaeum website. Once you have registered, you will receive a unique registration link via email from Zoom. Please keep this link handy, or add to your calendar, as you will need it to log into the event.

Wednesday, September 9, 2020 - 5:00pm
The Science of Lockdown: What Happens to Our Brains in Isolation?
David Eagleman
Our brain spends years building a model of the outside world—and that’s what allows it to operate so effectively. But what happens when our model breaks down—like when we unable to make good predictions about what tomorrow will bring. Acclaimed neuroscientist David Eagleman answers the questions we are all wondering during self-isolation. Why we are having such a hard time thinking into the distant future? Why is it so difficult to keep track of how much time has actually passed? Eagleman even reveals the surprising ways the pandemic is actually good for our brain plasticity, as well as some practical tips for how to manage these uncertain times from a neuroscience point of view. Photo credit: Stephanie Berger

David Eagleman is a neuroscientist and a bestselling author. He heads the Center for Science and Law, a national non-profit institute, and serves as an adjunct professor at Stanford University. He is best known for his work on sensory substitution, time perception, brain plasticity, synesthesia, and neurolaw.

Scientific advisor on HBO’s Westworld, host of the documentary The Creative Brain, now streaming on Netflix, and host of PBS’ Emmy-nominated series The Brain, Eagleman has published over 100 academic publications and many popular books. His bestselling book Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain, explores the neuroscience "under the hood" of the conscious mind: all the aspects of neural function to which we have no awareness or access. His work of fiction, SUM, is an international bestseller published in 28 languages and turned into two operas.

Among many accolades, Eagleman is a TED speaker, a Guggenheim Fellow, a winner of the McGovern Award for Excellence in Biomedical Communication, a Next Generation Texas Fellow, vice-chair on the World Economic Forum's Global Agenda Council on Neuroscience & Behavior, a research fellow in the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies, chief scientific advisor for the Mind Science Foundation, and a board member of The Long Now Foundation. He has served as an academic editor for several scientific journals and was named science educator of the year by the Society for Neuroscience. 

View Dr. Eagleman's video.

Photo credit: Stephanie Berger

Monday, September 14, 2020 - 5:00pm
How To Be An Antiracist: A Conversation with Dr. Ibram X. Kendi
Ibram X. Kendi
"Like fighting an addiction, being an anti-racist requires persistent self-awareness, constant self-criticism, and regular self-examination,” affirms Ibram X. Kendi, author of the award-winning book How to Be An Antiracist. In conversation with the Athenaeum Fellows, Kendi will lay out his thoughts and ideas on the elements of an antiracist society—how to build it, how to engage with it, and how to live it. Photo credit: Stephen Voss

Ibram X. Kendi is one of America’s foremost historians and leading antiracist voices. An award winning author, Kendi is the Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities and the founding director of the Boston University Center for Antiracist Research. He is a contributor writer at The Atlantic and a CBS News correspondent. In 2020-2021, he is the Frances B. Cashin Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for the Advanced Study at Harvard University.

Kendi’s book The Black Campus Movement, won the W.E.B. Du Bois Book Prize, and Stamped From The Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America, won the National Book Award for Nonfiction in 2016. At 34 years old, Kendi was the youngest ever winner of the National Book Award for Nonfiction.

Kendi is also the author of three #1 New York Times bestsellers, How to be An Antiracist, an international bestseller that has been translated in several languages; Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You, co-authored with Jason Reynolds; and Antiracist Baby, a picture book for children and care-givers, illustrated by Ashley Lukashevsky. How to be An Antiracist made several best books of 2019 lists and was described by the New York Times as “the most courageous book to date on the problem of race in the Western mind.”

Kendi has published fourteen academic essays in books and academic journals, including The Journal of African American History, Journal of Social History, Journal of Black Studies, Journal of African American Studies, and The Sixties: A Journal of History, Politics and Culture. He has published op-eds in numerous periodicals, including The New York Times, The Guardian, Washington Post, London Review, Time, Salon, Diverse: Issues in Higher Education, Paris Review, Black Perspectives, and The Chronicle of Higher Education. He comments on multiple international, national, and local media outlets, such as CNN, MSNBC, NPR, Al Jazeerah, PBS, BBC, Democracy Now, OWN, and Sirius XM. A sought-after public speaker, Kendi has delivered hundreds of addresses over the years at colleges and universities, bookstores, festivals, conferences, libraries, churches, and other institutions in the United States and abroad.

Recipient of many national awards and international accolades, Kendi has taught at universities around the country. Kendi majored in journalism and African American Studies at Florida A & M University; he earned his Ph.D. in African American Studies from Temple University.  

Professor Kendi’s Athenaeum presentation is co-sponsored by the President’s Leadership Fund.

Photo credit: Stephen Voss

Text adapted from

Thursday, September 17, 2020 - 5:00pm
Should we Interpret the Constitution Based on its Original Meaning?
Akhil Amar and Steven Calabresi
The idea that we should interpret the Constitution based on the original understanding of those who ratified it was long championed by the late Justice Antonin Scalia. Yet originalism has moved far beyond Justice Scalia, as important a figure as he remains. Originalism has not only become more visible on the Supreme Court and in the federal judiciary, it’s prevalent—pervasive even—in law schools. And originalist approaches to constitutional interpretation are advocated across the political spectrum—including by liberal and progressives, not just by conservatives. In conversation with CMC's George Thomas, Yale Law School's Akhil Amar and Northwestern Law School's Steven Calabresi, will discuss important remaining and emerging questions about originalism: What are we speaking of when we seek to understand the original meaning? Why should we be bound by original meaning? How concretely or abstractly do we apply original meaning to current issues? What if original meaning is indeterminate? What are the differences between originalism as practiced by judges and originalism as argued for by academics? And if everyone is an originalist today, does originalism have a core meaning?

Akhil Reed Amar is Sterling Professor of Law and Political Science at Yale University, where he teaches constitutional law in both Yale College and Yale Law School. After graduating from Yale College, summa cum laude, in 1980 and from Yale Law School in 1984, and clerking for then Judge (now Justice) Stephen Breyer, Amar joined the Yale faculty in 1985 at the age of 26. His work has won awards from both the American Bar Association and the Federalist Society, and he has been cited by Supreme Court justices across the spectrum in more than three dozen cases. He regularly testifies before Congress at the invitation of both parties and ranks among America’s five most-cited mid-career legal scholars. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a recipient of the American Bar Foundation’s Outstanding Scholar Award. A frequent contributor to news outlets, both printed and televised, he is the author of dozens of law review articles and several books, including among other award winning books, “America’s Unwritten Constitution” (2012—named one of the year’s 100 best nonfiction books by The Washington Post), “The Law of the Land” (2015), and “The Constitution Today” (2016—named one of the year’s top ten nonfiction books by Time magazine). He is Yale’s only currently active professor to have won the University’s unofficial triple crown—the Sterling Chair for scholarship, the DeVane Medal for teaching, and the Lamar Award for alumni service. (Source: Yale Law School)

Steven G. Calabresi is the Clayton J. & Henry R. Barber Professor of Law at Northwestern Pritzker School of Law.  He is also a Visiting Professor of Law at Yale Law School, Fall 2013-2016; a Visiting Professor of Political Theory at Brown University for 2016-2017; and the Chairman since 1986 of the Federalist Society's Board of Directors. Professor worked in the West Wing of President Ronald Reagan’s White House; was a special assistant for Attorney General Edwin Meese III; and clerked for Justice Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court and for Judges Robert H. Bork and Ralph K. Winter on the federal courts of appeals. Calabresi has written over seventy law review articles and essays.  He is a co-author on three books: “The Unitary Executive: Presidential Power from Washington to Bush;” “The Constitution of the United States” (3rd edition); and “The U.S. Constitution and Comparative Constitutional Law: Texts, Cases and Materials.” Calabresi has taught constitutional law, comparative constitutional law, federal jurisdiction, administrative law, state constitutional law, and the separation of powers. He is a graduate of both Yale College and Yale Law School. (Source: Northwestern Pritzker School of Law)

George Thomas, Wohlford Professor of American Political Institutions at Claremont McKenna College and director of the Salvatori Center for the Study of Individual Freedom in the Modern World, will moderate the conversation.

Professors Amar and Calabresi's Athenaeum conversation is sponsored by the Salvatori Center’s Lofgren Program in American Constitutionalism.

View the conversation with Akhil Amar and Steven Calabresi

Monday, September 21, 2020 - 5:00pm
The How of Happiness During COVID-19 and Beyond: Boosting Well-Being Through Kindness and Connection
Sonja Lyubomirsky
The majority of Sonja Lyubomirsky's research career has been devoted to studying human happiness. During both normal times and challenging circumstances like today, happiness not only feels good; it is good. Fortunately, experiments have shown that people can intentionally increase their happiness. Lyubomirsky, distinguished professor of psychology at University of California, Riverside, will introduce a model that explains when and why boosting connection and practicing kindness can promote well-being and other positive outcomes. Photo credit: Josh Blanchard

Sonja Lyubomirsky is Distinguished Professor and Vice Chair of Psychology at U.C. Riverside and author of “The How of Happiness and The Myths of Happiness” (published in 36 countries). Lyubomirsky and her research on the science of happiness have been the recipients of many grants and honors, including the Diener Award for Outstanding Midcareer Contributions in Personality Psychology, the Christopher Peterson Gold Medal, and a Positive Psychology Prize.

The majority of her research career has been devoted to studying human happiness. Lyubomirsky asserts that human happiness is an important area of scientific study because most people believe that happiness is meaningful, desirable, and an important, worthy goal; that happiness is one of the most salient and significant dimensions of human experience and emotional life; that happiness yields numerous rewards for the individual; and that happiness makes for a better, healthier, stronger society. Along these lines, her current research addresses three critical questions: 1) What makes people happy? 2) Is happiness a good thing? and 3) How and why can people learn to lead happier and more flourishing lives?

Lyubomirsky is a graduate of Harvard College; she earned her Ph.D. at Stanford University.

Professor Lyubomirsky's Athenaeum presentation is co-sponsored by the Berger Institute at CMC.

Photo credit: Josh Blanchard

Wednesday, September 23, 2020 - 5:00pm
A Conversation with Peter Rice, Chairman of Walt Disney Television
Peter Rice
Peter Rice, chairman of Walt Disney Television, will discuss the television business, trends over time, and his own career path, including nearly 30 years at Fox where he began as an intern before rising to the head of Fox Searchlight and, eventually, to president of 21st Century Fox before joining Disney in 2019 when Disney acquired 21st Century Fox.

Peter Rice, chairman of Walt Disney Television, oversees The ABC Network, Disney Television Studios, the Disney Channel, Freeform, FX Networks, National Geographic Partners and Hulu Originals. During his tenure, Walt Disney Television has produced, “Devs”, “Dave,” “Little Fires Everywhere,” “Mrs. America,” “The Great”, The Owl House,” and “High School Musical: The Musical: The Series.” Rice also oversees The Walt Disney Company’s equity interest in A+E Networks.

Prior to his current role, Rice served as president of 21st Century Fox, and chairman and CEO of Fox Networks Group (FNG), where he was instrumental in driving the growth of FNG’s television business across linear and digital platforms. During his tenure, FNG’s revenue doubled as its portfolio was reorganized and aligned around four key brands reaching more than 2 billion subscribers worldwide. At FNG, Rice oversaw long-term sports rights deals with the NFL, MLB, the UFC, FIFA, WWE and dozens of professional sports leagues and teams. He was a driving force in the formation of National Geographic Partners and the launch of FS1 and FS2. He was responsible for realigning its international channels business in Europe, Asia and Latin America, and integrating the company’s advertising divisions into a single, data-driven enterprise. He oversaw the launch of its Digital Consumer Group; its participation in Hulu; and the establishment of FoxNext Games. Under Rice’s leadership, FNG was home to shows including “The Simpsons,” “American Idol,” “Glee,” “The Americans,” “Genius,” “Modern Family,” “Homeland,” “This Is Us” and “Empire,” the World Series, the World Cup and the Super Bowl. During his tenure, FNG earned more than 600 Primetime Emmy® nominations, 68 Golden Globe® nominations and more than 200 Sports Emmy nominations.

In 2010, Rice served for two years as chairman, Entertainment, for FNG. He also served as chairman, Entertainment for Fox Broadcasting Company, helping to lead FOX to three seasons as the No. 1 network and extend its streak to eight seasons as the top-rated broadcaster. Before transitioning to Fox’s television business, Rice served as president, Fox Searchlight Pictures. During his tenure, Fox Searchlight generated 51 Academy Award® and 42 Golden Globe Award nominations. The films released under his leadership include “Slumdog Millionaire,” “Juno,” “Napoleon Dynamite,” “Little Miss Sunshine,” “The Last King of Scotland” and “Sideways.” Prior to leading Fox Searchlight, Rice was executive vice president of Production for Twentieth Century Fox, where he worked with director Baz Luhrmann in the development and production of Oscar® Best Picture nominee “Moulin Rouge” and “William Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet.” He also served as the supervising creative executive on “X-Men.”

Rice serves on the board of directors for National Geographic Partners and Southern California Public Radio. He also sits on the Motion Picture & Television Fund’s Board of Governors.

Rice began his career in the marketing department at Twentieth Century Fox in 1989 after graduating from the University of Nottingham.

Source: The Walt Disney Company

Tuesday, September 29, 2020 - 5:00pm
The Craving Mind: From Cigarettes to Cupcakes to Anxiety to Smartphones, the Mechanisms Underlying How Mindfulness Helps Change Habits
Jud Brewer
We are creatures of habit. Driven by biological processes set up to help us survive, our minds are constantly craving experiences and substances—from smartphones to romance to alcohol—and this craving leads to habit formation. Using examples from his clinical experience and laboratory research, Jud Brewer, associate professor at Brown University's Mindfulness Center will explore the behavioral and mental processes that foster craving and consequent habit formation, the impact these have on individual and societal health, and how we can “hack” our own neurobiological reward circuitry using practices such as mindfulness, to foster greater health and wellbeing.

Jud Brewer, M.D. Ph.D., is an associate professor and the director of research and innovation at the Mindfulness Center at Brown University’s Schools of Medicine and Public Health; he also serves as a research affiliate at MIT.

A psychiatrist and internationally known expert in mindfulness training for addictions, Brewer has developed clinically proven app-based mindfulness trainings including to help people quit smoking, stop overeating, and reduce anxiety. He is the author of “The Craving Mind: From Cigarettes to Smartphones to Love–Why We Get Hooked and How We Can Break Bad Habits.”

Brewer is a thought leader in the field of habit change and the “science of self-mastery,” having combined over 20 years of experience with mindfulness training with his own scientific research therein. He has developed and tested novel mindfulness programs for habit change, including both in-person and app-based treatments for smoking, emotional eating, and anxiety. He has also studied the underlying neural mechanisms of mindfulness using standard and real-time fMRI and EEG neurofeedback. He has trained U.S. Olympic athletes and coaches, foreign government ministers, and his work has been featured on 60 Minutes, TED, the New York Times, Time magazine, Forbes, BBC, NPR, Al Jazeera, Businessweek and others. His work has been funded by the National Institutes of Health and the American Heart Association, among others.

Dr. Brewer founded MindSciences to move his discoveries of clinical evidence behind mindfulness for anxiety, eating, smoking and other behavior change into the hands of consumers.

View Dr. Brewer's video.

Wednesday, September 30, 2020 - 5:00pm
Why It's OK Not To Vote
Katherine Mangu-Ward
Voting is widely thought to be one of the most important things a person can do. But Katherine Mangu-Ward, Editor in Chief of Reason magazine, will argue that the reasons people give for why they vote (and why everyone else should too) are flawed, unconvincing, and sometimes even dangerous. Conceding that there are some good reasons for some people to vote some of the time, Mangu-Ward contends that there are many more bad reasons to vote, and the bad ones are more popular.

Katherine Mangu-Ward is Editor in Chief of Reason, the magazine of “free minds and free markets.” She started as Reason intern in 2000 and has worked at The Weekly Standard and The New York Times. Mangu-Ward is a graduate of Yale University, where she received a B.A. in philosophy and political science.

At Reason, she leads a publication that covers issues important to libertarian values. Her writing has included commentary on the ethics of (non-)voting, job automation, and plastic bag bans. She is a co-host of “The Reason Roundtable” podcast.

Mangu-Ward’s writing has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, Slate, and numerous other publications. She is a frequent commentator on radio and television networks such as National Public Radio, CNBC, C-SPAN, Fox Business, Fox News Channel, and MSNBC. She is a Future Tense Fellow at New America.

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

Monday, October 5, 2020 - 5:00pm
The Misinformation Age
Cailin O'Connor
Misinformation is rampant. Cailin O’Connor, associate professor of logic and philosophy of science at the University of California, Irvine, will address how the social aspects of human learning contribute to what some are calling an "infodemic." Aspects of how humans decide who to trust, and who to conform with, crucially contribute to patterns of information sharing and enable propagandists in both politics and industry to use these facts about human relationships to influence public belief and public behavior.  

Cailin O’Connor is a philosopher of science and applied mathematician specializing in models of social interaction. She is an associate professor of logic and philosophy of science and a member of the Institute for Mathematical Behavioral Science at the University of California, Irvine. O’Connor’s specialties include the philosophy of science, game theory and evolutionary game theory, and agent based modeling.

She is co-administering the NSF Grant Consensus, Democracy, and the Public Understanding of Science. Her book "The Misinformation Age," co-authored with James Owen Weatherall, was published in 2019 with Yale Press, and her book "The Origins of Unfairness" was also published in 2019 with Oxford University Press.

Professor O'Connor's Athenaeum's presentation is co-sponsored with funding from the Open Academy at CMC.

Wednesday, October 7, 2020 - 5:00pm
Monumental Debates: Academic Perspectives on Global Movements to Topple Historical Monuments
Ana Lucia Araujo, Daniela Blei, and Cynthia Culver Prescott, panelists
This summer, protesters throughout the United States and around the globe demanded the removal of statues memorializing historical figures such as Confederate General Robert E. Lee. Experts who study the meaning behind memorials offer a discussion on why people took to the streets to argue for or against the preservation of certain historical monuments. Drawing from research on the public memory of the Atlantic slave trade, Pioneer Mother monuments, and Nazi monuments after WWII, panelists Ana Lucia Araujo, professor of history at Howard University, Cynthia Culver Prescott, associate professor of history at the University of North Dakota, and writer and editor Daniela Blei provide an engaged discussion of present battles over the past. 

Ana Lucia Araujo is a full professor of history at the historically black Howard University in Washington D.C. She has authored seven books, including “Slavery in the Age of Memory: Engaging the Past” (Bloomsbury Academic, 2020), “Reparations for Slavery and the Slave Trade: A Transnational and Comparative History” (Bloomsbury Academic, 2017), “Brazil Through French Eyes: A Nineteenth-Century Artist in the Tropics” (University of New Mexico Press, 2015), “Shadows of the Slave Past: Heritage, Memory, and Slavery” (Routledge, 2014), and “Public Memory of Slavery: Victims and Perpetrators in the South Atlantic” (Cambria Press, 2010). She has also edited or coedited five books and published dozens of refereed articles in journals and chapters in edited books on topics related to the history and memory of slavery. In 2017, she joined the International Scientific Committee of the UNESCO Slave Route Project. She also serves on the board of editors of the American Historical Review (the journal of the American Historical Association) and the editorial board of the British journal Slavery and Abolition. In addition, she is a member of the executive board of the Association for the Study of the Worldwide Diaspora (ASWAD), the editorial review board of the African Studies Review, and the board of the blog Black Perspectives maintained by the African American Intellectual History Society. 

Cynthia Culver Prescott, associate professor of history at the University of North Dakota, is a historian of gender in the American West and the author of "Pioneer Mother Monuments: Constructing Cultural Memory" (University of Oklahoma Press, 2019), which won the 2020 Gita Chaudhuri Prize. She is also building a companion website for this book, Pioneer Monuments in the American West, that features interactive maps and timelines, and provides images and information about the 200 monuments included in her study. 

Daniela Blei is a writer and editor based in San Francisco. She is a frequent contributor to The Atlantic Monthly, The Smithsonian Magazine, and New York Magazine among other magazines and newspapers. Blei holds a Ph.D. in German history from Stanford University. Her recent research on Nazi and Communist Monuments in post-World War II Berlin has appeared in both German and English-language publications.

Sarah Sarzynski and Tamara Venit-Shelton, professors of history at Claremont McKenna College will moderate the panel.

Monday, October 12, 2020 - 5:00pm
An Evening of Poetry with Henri Cole
Henri Cole
Henri Cole, award winning poet and professor of literature at Claremont McKenna College, reads from his newest collection of poems, BLIZZARD.

Henri Cole, the Josephine Olp Weeks Professor of Literature at Claremont McKenna College, was born in Fukuoka, Japan. He has published ten collections of poetry, including "Middle Earth," a finalist for the Pulitzer, and received many awards for his work, including the Jackson Prize, the Kingsley Tufts Award, the Berlin Prize, the Rome Prize, the Lenore Marshall Award, and the Medal in Poetry from American Academy of Arts and Letters.  Cole was inducted in the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2017. He has also published a memoir, Orphic Paris.  His most recent book is Blizzard, was published in summer 2020 by Farrar, Straus & Giroux.

Tuesday, October 13, 2020 - 4:45pm
Contemporary Issues in Russian Politics and US-Russia Relations: A Conversation with Ambassador Michael McFaul
Michael McFaul
Ambassador Michael McFaul, who served as U.S. Ambassador to Russia from 2012 to 2014 and now teaches at Stanford University, “visited” Professor Hilary Appel’s comparative politics class on October 13, 2020. Along with students in the class, Professor Appel, who teaches in the government department and serves as director of the Keck Center for International and Strategic Studies at CMC, engaged Ambassador McFaul in a range of critical issues about the state of Russian politics today and contemporary U.S.-Russia relations. This incisive program with Ambassador McFaul is viewable. Access is limited to CMC students, faculty, and staff and requires sign-in. Ambassador McFaul’s program was sponsored by the Keck Center for International and Strategic Studies at CMC.

Ambassador Michael McFaul, who served as U.S. Ambassador to Russia from 2012 to 2014 and now teaches at Stanford University, “visited” Professor Hilary Appel’s comparative politics class on October 13, 2020. Along with students in the class, Professor Appel, who teaches in the government department and serves as director of the Keck Center for International and Strategic Studies at CMC, engaged Ambassador McFaul in a range of critical issues about the state of Russian politics today and contemporary U.S.-Russia relations.

This incisive program with Ambassador McFaul is viewable. Access is limited to CMC students, faculty, and staff and requires sign-in.

Ambassador McFaul’s program was sponsored by the Keck Center for International and Strategic Studies at CMC.

Wednesday, October 14, 2020 - 5:00pm
Half of Oklahoma Is Now Indian Country: What Does That Mean for Criminal Justice There?
Cary Aspinwall
Cary Aspinwall, a Dallas-based staff writer for The Marshall Project, has reported extensively on the impact of the criminal justice system on minorities, women and children in Oklahoma, Texas and rural America. She will discuss the impact of the recent McGirt v Oklahoma Supreme Court ruling, as well as the history and legacy of how the criminal justice system has affected tribal citizens in Oklahoma and elsewhere.

Cary Aspinwall is a Dallas-based staff writer for The Marshall Project. Previously, she was an investigative reporter at The Dallas Morning News, where she reported on the impact of the criminal justice system on women and children, and deaths in police custody. She won the Gerald Loeb Award for reporting on a Texas company's history of deadly natural gas explosions and is a past Pulitzer finalist for her work exposing flaws in Oklahoma's execution process. She is a co-founder of The Frontier, a nonprofit devoted to investigative journalism in Oklahoma.

Thursday, October 15, 2020 - 5:00pm
The 100th Anniversary of the 19th Amendment and the Future of Gender Equality
Elizabeth Beaumont PO '93 and Elizabeth Wydra '98
The 19th Amendment to the Constitution was ratified 100 years ago in 1920. The text of the amendment prohibited denying the right to vote “on account of sex.” With the amendment, the voting population of the United States effectively doubled. But was the 19th Amendment about more than the right to vote? What other changes in the constitutional order did the 19th Amendment bring about? How does the 19th Amendment relate to gender equality? How did it relate to civil liberties more generally? Did the 19th Amendment change how we think of politics and the public sphere? In conversation with CMC's Diana Selig, Elizabeth Beaumont PO '93 and Elizabeth Wydra '98, will look back over the 100 years since its ratification and reflect on how we should think about gender equality in American democracy.

Elizabeth Wydra ’98 is president of the Constitutional Accountability Center (CAC). From 2008-2016, she served as CAC’s chief counsel. Throughout her tenure she has filed more than 200 briefs on behalf of CAC and clients, which include preeminent constitutional scholars and historians, state and local government organizations, groups such as the League of Women Voters and the AARP, and members of Congress.

Wydra has also argued several important cases in the federal courts of appeals on a range of issues, including immigration law, habeas corpus, and sovereign immunity. She joined CAC from private practice at Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan in San Francisco, where she was an attorney working with former Stanford Law School Dean Kathleen Sullivan in the firm’s Supreme Court/appellate practice. Previously, Wydra was a supervising attorney and teaching fellow at the Georgetown University Law Center appellate litigation clinic, a law clerk for Judge James R. Browning of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, and a lawyer at Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, a law firm in Washington.

Wydra has appeared as a legal expert on multiple television and radio stations and has been frequently quoted in the print media. Her writings have also appeared in many print and online outlets and on numerous political and legal blogs, such as Huffington Post, SCOTUSblog, and ACSblog. She has also published in the UCLA Journal of Environmental Law & Policy, Syracuse Law Review, The Cato Institute’s Supreme Court Review, and the Yale Journal of International Law.

Wyrda received her J.D. from Yale Law School and her B.A. from Claremont McKenna College.

Elizabeth Beaumont PO '93 is an associate professor of politics and director of Legal Studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Her research focuses on constitutionalism and democracy, as well as civic engagement and education. She is particularly interested in problems of unequal citizenship, the relation between citizenship, democracy, and education, and how civic actors seek to shape rights, law, and political power and policy. Beaumont teaches and advises students in the areas of public law and legal studies, political theory, and American political and constitutional development.

Her book, “The Civic Constitution: Civic Visions and Struggles in the Path Toward Constitutional Democracy” (Oxford University Press, 2014), focuses on the role of several major civic groups and social movements in shaping American constitutional creation and change. She examines groups such as 18th century revolutionaries, anti-Federalists, abolitionists, and woman suffragists as "civic founders" who profoundly influenced the Constitution's text, allocations of power, definitions of citizenship, and the meanings of rights. Her writing has appeared in a range of publications, including The Journal of Politics, Political Theory, Perspectives on Politics, the Stanford Law Review, Hypatia: A Journal of Feminist Philosophy, and HA: The Journal of the Hannah Arendt Center.

From 2000-2005, Beaumont was a research scholar at the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, where she helped lead the foundation's work on civic education and engagement, including serving as co-principal investigator and director of the national Political Engagement Project. These interdisciplinary, multi-method research projects are the basis of two co-authored books: “Educating for Democracy” (Wiley 2007) and “Educating Citizens” (Jossey-Bass 2003). The books are resource texts for the American Democracy Project, an AASCU partnership including more than 240 state college campuses, and helped inform the national report, A Crucible Moment: College Learning and Democracy’s Future (National Task Force on Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement, 2012). Her current research project is titled: Unruly Citizens and the Rule of Law: Civic Dissent, Disobedience, and Protest.

Beaumont is a graduate of Pomona College; she earned her Ph.D. from Stanford University.

Diana Selig, Kingsley Croul Professor of History and George R. Roberts Fellow at Claremont McKenna College, will moderate the conversation.

Ms. Wydra and Professor Beaumont’s Athenaeum conversation is sponsored by the Salvatori Center’s Lofgren Program in American Constitutionalism.

Tuesday, October 20, 2020 - 5:00pm
A View from Inside the "Techlash"
Dan Crowley '10
The tech companies that were once considered among the best corporate citizens in the world, praised for expanding access to information, lowering barriers to education, and generally using innovation to create a better, cheaper world, now face increasing hostility from legislators, regulators, and the public. Dan Crowley '10, Global Head of Trust & Safety at Quizlet, Inc., offers a look from inside the growing backlash against technology companies. What's fair, what isn't, and where does tech go from here?

Dan Crowley is the Global Head of Trust & Safety and Data Protection at Quizlet, an online learning platform serving over 50 million students and teachers around the world each month. In his role, he oversees all public policy, privacy, data protection, compliance, user safety and content moderation programs. Mr. Crowley develops tools, policies and processes that maintain Quizlet as an appropriate platform for all audiences and works to ensure the responsible use of data across all of Quizlet’s products and throughout engineering, product development, design and other business processes.

A government major at CMC, Crowley graduated in 2010. Before joining Quizlet, he spent almost seven years at Google and Facebook. He joined Google directly after graduation, and spent almost three years there as part of a team managing global law enforcement compliance and 3rd party requests in civil matters. He also served as Privacy Program Manager at Google for three years before joining Facebook in the same capacity.

Thursday, October 22, 2020 - 5:00pm
The Limits of Lessons
Jennifer Grossman
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, 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.)

Tuesday, October 27, 2020 - 5:00pm
Destroy the Suburbs! The Democratic Party’s Long Relationship to Suburban Voters
Lily Geismer
As a key element of his re-election campaign, President Trump has made the claim that Democrats are trying to destroy the suburbs. Yet winning the suburbs have been a focal point of the Democratic Party’s electoral strategy since the 1960s. Drawing on her research on suburban liberal politics, Lily Geismer, associate professor of history at Claremont McKenna College, will discuss suburban strategies of both parties over the last fifty years and discuss the possibilities and drawbacks of appealing to suburban voters, especially for the Democrats.  

Lily Geismer, associate professor of history at Claremont McKenna College, focuses her research and teaching on 20th century political and urban history in the United States, especially liberalism. Her book "Don’t Blame Us: Suburban Liberals and the Transformation of the Democratic Party" (Princeton University Press, 2015) traces the reorientation of modern liberalism and the Democratic Party away from their roots in labor union halls of northern cities to white-collar professionals in postindustrial high-tech suburbs by focusing on the Route 128 corridor around Boston.

Geismer is currently working on a book project entitled "Doing Good: The Democrats and Neoliberalism from the War on Poverty to the Clinton Foundation," which explores the Democratic Party’s promotion of market-based solutions to problems of social inequality. She is also co-editor of "Shaped by the State: Toward a New Political History of the Twentieth Century" (University of Chicago Press, 2019). In 2018, she was named an Andrew Carnegie Fellow by the Carnegie Foundation. Her work has also been supported by the American Council for Learned Societies and the Charles Warren Center at Harvard University.

Thursday, October 29, 2020 - 5:00pm
The Weirdest Election Ever
Jack Pitney
Pandemic. Economic collapse. Virtual conventions. Protests. Riots. And maybe even a meteoroid. Yet the polls in the presidential election are close and the gap is narrowing. As we conclude this most surreal election cycle, CMC’s own Jack Pitney will offer his insights on the presidential race, other important election battles around the country, and also whether this portends a new normal in politics.

John J. Pitney, Jr. is Roy P. Crocker Professor of American History and Politics at Claremont McKenna College where he teaches courses on Congress, interest groups, political parties, and mass media. A leading expert on the structure and practice of American politics, Pitney is a widely published author or co-author of six books on American politics, including "The Art of Political Warfare" (2001), "The Politics of Autism: Navigating The Contested Spectrum" (2015), and "After Reagan: Bush, Dukakis, and the 1988 Election" (2019). With Professor Andrew Busch, also of CMC, he is currently writing a book on the 2020 election. In addition to his books, Pitney has published numerous scholarly articles and short essays, and is a regular contributor to newspapers and magazines. He is routinely featured on NPR and other television and radio programs. 

Pitney has not only shaped the study of government at Claremont McKenna College for nearly 30 years, he has also helped shape government itself through his many roles, including as the acting director for the Research Department of the Republican National Committee (1990-1991) and as the Senior Domestic Policy Analyst for the US House Republican Research Committee, among other important appointments. 

Pitney holds a B.A. in political science from Union College, where he was co-valedictorian, and a Ph.D. in political science from Yale, where he was a National Science Foundation Fellow. He received the CMC Presidential Award in 2013 and was named one of the 300 best professors in the United States by the Princeton Review in 2012. 


Monday, November 2, 2020 - 5:00pm
Preview: Election Night 2020
Zachary Courser, Jack Pitney, Sara Sadhwani, and Andrew Sinclair, panelists
Please join Virtual Athenaeum for a preview of Election Night 2020. CMC’s Zachary Courser, Jack Pitney, and Andrew Sinclair, all professors in the government department, will be joined by Sara Sadhwani, professor of politics at Pomona College. As the unprecedented 2020 election draws to a close, the panel will offer insights and analysis on the presidential race as well as on other important election battles around the country.   Image credit: <a href="">Flag photo created by freepik -</a>

Please join Virtual Athenaeum for a preview of Election Night 2020. CMC’s Zachary Courser, Jack Pitney, and Andrew Sinclair, all professors in the government department, will be joined by Sara Sadhwani, professor of politics at Pomona College. As the unprecedented 2020 election draws to a close, the panel will offer insights and analysis on the presidential race as well as on other important election battles around the country.


Image credit: <a href="">Flag photo created by freepik -</a>

Tuesday, November 10, 2020 - 5:00pm
A Conversation with Charles W. Mills
Charles W. Mills
Philosopher Charles Mills has spent his career addressing issues of social class, gender, and race in moral, social, and political philosophy. From theorizing about foundations of the white supremacist state to liberalism to the metaphysics of race, Mills explores the biases that underlie western philosophy and the erasure of Black voices. In conversation with members from CMC's philosophy department, Mills will lay out his thoughts on liberalism, Marxism, racism, the state of philosophy, and more. Photo credit: CUNY Graduate Center

Charles W. Mills works in the general area of social and political philosophy, particularly in oppositional political theory as centered on class, gender, and race. In recent years he has focused on race. He is the author of numerous journal articles and book chapters, as well as five books. His first book, "The Racial Contract" (1997), won a Gustavus Myers Outstanding Book Award for the study of bigotry and human rights in America. It has been adopted widely in hundreds of courses across the United States, not just in philosophy, but also in political science, sociology, anthropology, literature, African-American, American Studies, and other subjects. His sixth book, "Black Rights/White Wrongs: The Critique of Racial Liberalism", is forthcoming from Oxford University Press. Mills is also the co-editor of "Philosophy: The Big Questions" (2003) with Ruth Sample and James Sterba, a special issue of the Du Bois Review on “Race in a ‘Postracial’ Epoch” (Spring 2014) with Robert Gooding-Williams, and Simianization: Apes, Gender, Class and Race (2015) with Wulf D. Hund and Silvia Sebastiani.  

Mills received his Ph.D. from the University of Toronto. Before joining the Graduate Center at CUNY, he taught at the University of Oklahoma, the University of Illinois at Chicago, and Northwestern University.

Photo credit: CUNY Graduate Center

Wednesday, November 11, 2020 - 5:00pm
US-China Relations After November 3
Minxin Pei
The U.S. and China have entered a period of intense mutual antagonism across the full spectrum of their relationship. Whether their rivalry will escalate in the short term critically depends on the outcomes of the U.S. presidential election to be held on November 3. Based on the election outcome, Minxin Pei, the Tom and Margot Pritzker ‘72 Professor of Government and George R. Roberts Fellow at Claremont McKenna College, will examine where this relationship will go in the next four years with particular focus on security, trade, and human rights issues vital to the interests of both countries.

Professor Minxin Pei is the Tom and Margot Pritzker ‘72 Professor of Government and George R. Roberts Fellow, chair of the government department, and former director of the Keck Center for International and Strategic Studies at Claremont McKenna College. In addition, he is an adjunct senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington, D.C, where he has worked since 1999 and served as director of the China Program from 2004 to 2008. His research focuses on democratization in developing countries, economic reform and governance in China, and U.S.-China relations. The author of “From Reform to Revolution: The Demise of Communism in China and the Soviet Union” (1994), “China’s Trapped Transition: The Limits of Developmental Autocracy” (2006), and most recently, “China’s Crony Capitalism” (2016), his work has also been published in magazines and journals such as Foreign Policy, Foreign Affairs, The National Interest, Modern China, China Quarterly and The Journal of Democracy. He is frequently heard on BBC News and National Public Radio.

Wednesday, November 18, 2020 - 5:00pm
A Romance Gone Bad: The Chinese-American Economic Relationship
Lingling Wei
The unraveling of the commercial relationship between the U.S. and China was once thought unthinkable, but is now unfolding with relentless speed. Lingling Wei, senior China correspondent for the Wall Street Journal, in conversation with CMC's Minxin Pei, will explore the factors that triggered the U.S.-China economic decoupling, the likely economic and geopolitical impact and consequences, and China’s evolving response to the trade war and the tech war.

Lingling Wei is an award-winning senior China correspondent, who was based in the Wall Street Journal’s Beijing bureau from 2011 until China expelled WSJ reporters in the spring of 2020. Hailing from a farm province in southeastern China, she came of age as a journalist in New York and then returned to China in early 2011 to report on changes in her homeland. She is now based in New York and focuses on the intersection of Chinese politics and the economy.

Ms. Wei's Athenaeum visit is co-sponsored by the Keck Center for International and Strategic Studies at CMC.

Thursday, November 19, 2020 - 5:00pm
The Right to a Fair Trial in the Age of COVID: A Panel Discussion with San Bernardino County’s District Attorney and Public Defender
Jason Anderson and Chris Gardner, panelists
On March 30, 2020, California’s Chief Justice issued a sweeping emergency order suspending jury trials and implementing other changes to criminal procedure in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Since then, counties have been struggling to uphold the due process rights of the accused while simultaneously protecting defendants, jury members, and court staff from contracting the coronavirus. In conversation, Jason Anderson, 36th District Attorney of San Bernardino County, and Chris Gardner, the county’s Head Public Defender, will speak to these unprecedented challenges and highlight the collaborative work among the many actors in the criminal justice system to ensure the right to a fair trial in the age of a pandemic.

Jason Anderson is the 36th District Attorney of San Bernardino County. After graduating from Regent University of Law in Virginia in 1996 and becoming a member of the California State Bar in 1997, Anderson served as a deputy district attorney for the County of San Bernardino from 1998-2014 where he worked as a prosecutor handling a variety of serious cases. Anderson has been an adjunct professor of law at the University of La Verne College of Law since 2004 where he currently teaches a criminal procedure and trial advocacy class. Anderson was named Jennifer Brooks Lawyer of the Year from the western San Bernardino County Bar Association and he received the Above and Beyond Award from the National Crime Survivors Organization for his work on behalf of victims of crime. Most recently, he received the George W. Porter Criminal Trial Attorney Award from the San Bernardino County Bar Association in 2018.

G. Christopher Gardner was appointed Public Defender for San Bernardino County in 2018. Prior to his appointment he served as the Assistant Public Defender, and as a Chief Deputy Public Defender. Before joining the Public Defender’s Office, Gardner was a partner in a San Bernardino law firm practicing criminal defense and juvenile delinquency and dependency law. Gardner currently sits on the Board of Directors of the National Legal Aid & Defender Association and the Pacific Juvenile Defender Center; he recently was appointed by the California Chief Justice to the Judicial Council of California. A graduate of University of Redlands and the University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law, Gardner has lectured and taught at defender conferences throughout the country.


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