Marian Miner Cook
Athenaeum

A distinctive
feature of social and
cultural life at CMC

 

Current Semester Schedule

 

Mon, September 12, 2022
Dinner Program
Amanda Little

In this fascinating look at the race to secure the global food supply, Amanda Little, environmental journalist and professor of journalism and science writing at Vanderbilt University, investigates how we will feed humanity sustainably and equitably in the coming decades. Weaving together stories from the world’s most creative and controversial innovators on the front lines of food science, agriculture, and climate change, she explores new and old approaches to food production while charting the growth of a movement that could redefine sustainable food on a grand scale.

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Amanda Little is a professor of journalism and science writing at Vanderbilt University and a columnist for Bloomberg, where she writes about the environment, agriculture and innovation. Professing a particular fondness for far-flung and hard-to-stomach reporting that takes her to ultradeep oil rigs, down manholes, into sewage plants, and inside monsoon clouds, Little spent three years traveling through a dozen countries and as many U.S. states in search of answers to the what we will eat in a bigger and hotter world.

Her recent TED Talk, based on the book, has more than one million views. She also wrote the book Power Trip: The Story of America's Love Affair With Energy. Little has published her reporting and commentary in the New York Times, Washington Post, Vanity Fair, Rolling Stone, Wired, New York Magazine, NewYorker.com, and elsewhere.

A former columnist for Outside magazine and Grist.org, she is a recipient of the Nautilus Book Award, a Rachel Carson Environment Book Award from the Society for Environmental Journalists, and the Jane Bagley Lehman Award for excellence in environmental journalism. 

A graduate of Brown University, Little is the founder and director of Kidizenship, a non-partisan youth civics platform for teens and tweens.

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Tue, September 13, 2022
Dinner Program
Sahil Kapur '09, Michael Shear '90, and Elise Viebeck '10

On January 6th, 2021, insurrectionists breached the U.S. Capitol building as citizens across the country followed the unfolding events on television, social media, and other news sources. Information about what happened in the Capitol on that day was—and still is—challenging to piece together. A panel of three journalists, all CMC alums, will discuss the events of January 6th from a journalist’s point of view. Elise Viebeck ’10, formerly of the Washington Post, will moderate a discussion with New York Times' Michael Shear ‘90 and NBC Universal’s Sahil Kapur ‘09, on what happened on that day, how different media outlets covered the events in real-time, and the challenges and opportunities journalists face in analyzing political events with constitutional implications. 

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Sahil Kapur ’09
Sahil Kapur ’09 is a senior national political reporter for NBC News covering Capitol Hill, elections, and Washington, DC. Having reported on American politics and public policy for more than a decade, he appears regularly on MSNBC and NBC News Now.

He has broken stories on a range of topics from the Obama-era health care legislation and the Trump tax cuts to the major Biden-era economic bills. He uncovered a rare Supreme Court error that led to a correction, covered the January 6 attack and its aftermath, delved deep into the politics and internal machinations of the Senate filibuster, and reported on strategy and stakes of countless campaigns for Congress and the presidency.

He previously worked for Bloomberg News, TPM Media, and Inside Washington Publishers, with beats ranging from the 2016 and 2020 presidential elections, the White House, Congress, and Supreme Court. He has appeared on CNN, Fox News, CBS, ABC, PBS and NPR to discuss his reporting.

Kapur has a B.A. in economics and government from Claremont McKenna College.

Michael Shear ’90
Michael Shear ’90 is a New York Times’ White House correspondent and two-time Pulitzer Prize winning reporter in the Washington bureau, where he covers President Biden, with a focus on domestic policy, the regulatory state, and life at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. A veteran political correspondent, he has covered the White House for 13 years, including the Trump and Obama presidencies. As with the Presidents Obama and Trump, Shear travels the world with President Biden.

Shear joined The Times in 2010 and has written extensively about national politics and policymaking in Washington. During 2020, Shear worked with investigative teams at New York Times to document the Trump administration's response to the Covid crisis. He was a leading member of the team that won the Pulitzer Public Service prize for the paper's coverage of the pandemic and its health and economic consequences.

Before coming to The Times, Shear spent 18 years at The Washington Post, writing about local communities, school districts, state politics, the 2008 presidential campaign, and the White House. A member of the Pulitzer Prize-winning team that covered the Virginia Tech shootings in 2007, Shear is a 1990 graduate of Claremont McKenna College and has a master’s in public policy from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.

Elise Viebeck ‘10
Elise Viebeck '10 is a former Washington Post investigative reporter whose work chronicled the movements and controversies that shaped American democracy during the Trump presidency. Covering the nexus of the administration, Capitol Hill, and the electoral system, Viebeck helped lead the Post’s efforts as the #MeToo movement hit the political world, including vetting and reporting on dozens of allegations of sexual misconduct against government leaders. She has written extensively about Donald Trump’s legal battles and first impeachment trial, as well as the legacy of Joe Biden’s Senate record. In her final, groundbreaking work for the Post, she directed a team monitoring hundreds of changes to voting rules during the Covid-19 pandemic and documented the unprecedented effort by Trump and his allies to restrict ballot access and overturn his election loss.

Viebeck majored in government at CMC and previously covered Congress and health care policy for The Hill newspaper. She now writes and consults independently from San Francisco.

This panel discussion is co-sponsored by the Salvatori Center at CMC.
 

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Wed, September 14, 2022
Dinner Program
Jared Diamond

Based on his 2019 book Upheaval, Jared Diamond reveals how successful nations recover from crisis through selective change. In an exhaustive comparative study, he shows how seven countries have survived upheavals in the recent past—from U.S. Commodore Perry’s arrival in Japan to the Soviet invasion of Finland to Pinochet’s regime in Chile—through a process of painful self-appraisal and adaptation, by  identifying patterns in the way that these distinct nations recovered from calamity. Looking ahead to the future, he investigates whether the United States, and the world, are squandering their natural advantages, on a path towards political conflict and decline. Or can we still learn from the lessons of the past?

As one of CMC’s 75th Anniversary Distinguished Speakers, Professor Diamond will highlight issues in "Civilization and Commerce” one of the three academic collaboration themes of our special 75th Anniversary celebration. (This event was previously scheduled for the spring semester of 2022.)

Photo credit: Reed Hutchinson

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Jared Diamond is a Pulitzer-prize-winning author of five best-selling books, translated into 38 languages, about human societies and human evolution: Guns, Germs, and Steel, Collapse, Why Is Sex Fun?, The Third Chimpanzee, The World until Yesterday, and Upheaval.

As a professor of geography at the University of California at Los Angeles, he is known for his breadth of interests, which includes conducting research and teaching in three other fields: the biology of New Guinea birds, digestive physiology, and conservation biology.

He is a director of World Wildlife Fund/U.S. and of Conservation International. As a biological explorer, his most widely publicized finding was his rediscovery, at the top of New Guinea’s remote Foja Mountains, of the long-lost Golden-fronted Bowerbird, previously known only from four specimens found in a Paris feather shop in 1895.

His prizes and honors include the U.S. National Medal of Science (America's highest civilian award in science), the Pulitzer Prize for Non-fiction, the Tyler Prize for Environmental Science, the MacArthur Genius Award, the Dickson Prize in Science, and election to the U.S. National Academy of Sciences.

As one of CMC’s 75th Anniversary Distinguished Speakers, Professor Diamond will highlight issues in "Civilization and Commerce” one of the three academic collaboration themes of our special 75th Anniversary celebration. (This event was previously scheduled for the spring semester of 2022.)

Professor Diamond's Athenaeum Presentation is co-sponsored by the Salvatori Center at CMC.
 

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Thu, September 15, 2022
Dinner Program
Sanjib Kalita

Fintech has disrupted industries globally, driving trillion-dollar value creation and destruction. Having been on the frontiers of fintech growth over the last two decades working on a PayPal competitor and Google Wallet, Sanjib Kalita, the current CEO of Guppy and Editor-in-Chief of the leading fintech conference Money20/20, takes us behind-the-scenes to explore the fables, fallacies, and futures of fintech.

Mr. Kalita's Athenaeum presentation is co-sponsored by the Financial Economics Institute at CMC.

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Sanjib Kalita is CEO of Guppy—the Web3 credit bureau—and editor in chief of Money20/20—the world’s leading fintech event series. A leader in fintech for over two decades, Kalita has also worked at large organizations like Google, Intel, and Citi as well several startups with successful exits.

In his early career, Kalita was at Citi where he launched several products and led the turnaround of a multibillion-dollar credit card business. He worked at Intel, where he was one of the founding engineers of Intel’s graphics accelerator business and helped drive the fastest new business ramp at Intel at the time. He designed a programming language that is still used at Intel, over 25 years later. 

Kalita is an independent board member of Gigworks, a publicly listed technology development company. He also serves as an advisor to the following diverse entities: TripleBlind, a privacy-preserving data sharing technology; American Pacific Bancorp; MPOWER Financing, an alternative lender providing student loans for international students; Impact Analytics, a data science consulting company; and SXSW Accelerator.

Kalita has an M.B.A. from the Kellogg School of Management, as well as bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electrical engineering from Cornell University.

Mr. Kalita's Athenaeum presentation is co-sponsored by the Financial Economics Institute at CMC.

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Mon, September 19, 2022
Dinner Program
Imani Perry

We all think we know the South. Even those who have never lived there can rattle off a list of signifiers: the Civil War, Gone with the Wind, the Ku Klux Klan, plantations, football, Jim Crow, slavery. But the idiosyncrasies, dispositions, and habits of the region are stranger and more complex than much of the country tends to acknowledge. In South to America, Imani Perry, professor of African American Studies at Princeton University, shows that the meaning of American is inextricably linked with the South, and that our understanding of its history and culture is the key to understanding the nation as a whole.

Professor Perry will deliver the Gould Center for Humanistic Studies' 2022-23 Golo Mann Lecture; her Athenaeum presentation is also supported by CMC's Presidential Initiative on Anti-Racism and the Black Experience in America.

Photo credit: Sameer Khan

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Imani Perry is the Hughes-Rogers Professor of African American Studies at Princeton University and a faculty associate with the Programs in Law and Public Affairs, Gender and Sexuality Studies, and Jazz Studies.

She is the author of six books, including Looking for Lorraine: The Radiant and Radical Life of Lorraine Hansberry and Breathe: A Letter to My Sons (Beacon Press, 2019) which was a finalist for the 2020 Chautauqua Prize and a finalist for the NAACP Image Award for Excellence in Nonfiction.

Perry is a scholar of law, literary and cultural studies, and an author of creative nonfiction. Her writing and scholarship primarily focuses on the history of Black thought, art, and imagination crafted in response to, and resistance against, the social, political, and legal realities of domination in the West. She seeks to understand the processes of retrenchment after moments of social progress, and how freedom dreams are nevertheless sustained.

She earned her Ph.D. in American Studies from Harvard University, a J.D. from Harvard Law School, an LLM from Georgetown University Law Center and a B.A. from Yale College in Literature and American Studies.

Professor Perry will deliver the Gould Center for Humanistic Studies' 2022-23 Golo Mann Lecture; her Athenaeum presentation is also supported by CMC's Presidential Initiative on Anti-Racism and the Black Experience in America.

Photo credit: Sameer Khan

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Tue, September 20, 2022
Dinner Program
Ran Libeskind-Hadas

Charles Darwin wrote in The Origin of Species that he could imagine how flowers and bees might evolve in tandem to adapt to one another. In this talk, Ran Libeskind-Hadas, Founding Chair of the Integrated Sciences Department at CMC, will describe how computational techniques have been used to unravel the mysteries of the coevolution of pairs of species with applications ranging from combatting crop disease to understanding the evolutionary histories of viruses like the one responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Ran “RON” Libeskind-Hadas is the Founding Chair of the Department of Integrated Sciences. Prior to joining CMC in July 2021, he was on the faculty at Harvey Mudd College for 28 years where he served as the chair of the department of computer science and associate dean of faculty. Libeskind-Hadas works, teaches, and writes in the field of computational biology and has developed a number of algorithms and software tools that are widely-used by other researchers in the life sciences. 

When he’s not teaching and doing research, he enjoys cooking and walking with his wife, Laura, mountain biking with his son, Noah, and talking politics with his son, Ben.

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Wed, September 21, 2022
Dinner Program
Mary Ziegler

The reversal of Roe v. Wade is about much more than reproductive rightsso argues Mary Ziegler, a professor of law at U.C. Davis and an expert on the law, history, and politics of reproduction, health care, and conservatism in the United States from 1945 to the present. Understanding what happened to Roe v. Wade shines a light on broader issues of partisanship, the transformation of Supreme Court nominations, and the erosion of democratic norms in the United States.

Professor Ziegler will deliver the Salvatori Center's 2022-23 Lofgren Lecture on American Constitutionalism. 

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U.C. Davis Law faculty member Professor Mary Ziegler, one of the world’s leading historians of the U.S. abortion debate, has weighed in for many national and international media outlets since a leaked Supreme Court draft opinion reversing Roe v. Wade came to light in early May 2022.

Ziegler is the author of four books on social movement struggles around reproduction, autonomy, and the law, including Abortion and the Law in America: A Legal History, Roe v. Wade to the Present (Cambridge University Press, 2020), Beyond Abortion: Roe v. Wade and the Fight for Privacy (Harvard University Press, 2018), the award-winning After Roe: The Lost History of the Abortion Debate (Harvard University Press, 2015), which won the Harvard University Press Thomas J. Wilson Prize for best first manuscript in any discipline, and Reproduction and the Constitution (Routledge, 2022). Her new book, Dollars for Life: The Anti-Abortion Movement and the Fall of the Republican Establishment, is appearing with Yale University Press in 2022.  

Ziegler is currently working on a history of the nation’s fixation with Roe v. Wade for Yale University Press and editing a comparative volume on the laws of abortion around the world for Elgar Press. 

Ziegler is a graduate of Harvard College (2004) and Harvard Law School (2007). Before coming to U.C. Davis, she was a professor at Florida State University College of Law, where she won several teaching awards. She also was the Daniel P.S. Paul Visiting Professor of Constitutional Law at Harvard Law School.

Professor Ziegler will deliver the Salvatori Center's 2022-23 Lofgren Lecture on American Constitutionalism. 

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Thu, September 22, 2022
Lunch Program
Guillermo Douglass-Jaimes, Joana Grande, Sarah Sarzynski, and Norman Valencia, panelists

Incumbent President Jair Bolsonaro’s support is waning in the polls against his rival, former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. Bolsonaro, dubbed by the media as “Trump of the Tropics,” threatens to ignore the results of the October 2 election and in political rallies, he claims to have the army on his side. Join four Brazil experts for a discussion about what is at stake in these elections. Panelists will offer updates from Brazil, providing commentary about grassroots activism, shortcomings of the Bolsonaro administration, context about the allegations of corruption against Lula, and historical precedents of threats to democracy in Brazil such as the 1964 military coup. 

 

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Guillermo Douglass-Jaimes
Guillermo Douglass-Jaimes is an assistant professor of environmental analysis at Pomona College. His research focuses on the social and spatial determinants of health with special attention to place and neighborhood effects on health. Douglass-Jaimes uses geospatial analysis and qualitative research methods to highlight localized health disparities often masked when narrow constructions of place are considered. His work is situated in global health equity and is driven by an interest and inquiry in how conceptions of place and identity can be products of social marginalization as well as sources for community resilience. He has collaborated with environmental health scientists, social scientists, and epidemiologists as well as community-based organizations working on environmental health and environmental justice issues.

Joana Grande
Joana Grande is a Fulbright language teaching assistant. She graduated from the Federal Technological University of Paraná, in Letras (Literature and Linguistics of the Portuguese and English languages) in 2020.

Sarah Sarzynski
Sarah Sarzynski is an associate professor of history, an associate professor of Latin American history, and co-faculty advisor of the Gender and Sexuality Studies Sequence at Claremont McKenna College. Author of Revolution in the Terra do Sol: The Cold War in Brazil (Stanford University Press, May 2018), which examines how entrenched beliefs about Brazil’s Northeast region as backwards, barbaric, and violent influenced the trajectory of projects intended to solve the problem of rural poverty during the Cold War. She is currently conducting research on a book tentatively titled, The Spaces Between Genocide and Ecocide: Amazonian Borderlands, 1922-1970, focusing on how indigenous and borderlands peoples engaged in the process of creating borderlands spaces in the three borders region of Peru, Colombia and Brazil.  

Norman Valencia
Norman Valencia is associate professor of Spanish and Portuguese in the Modern Languages and Literatures Department at Claremont McKenna College. Valencia is a Colombian professor whose work has focused on comparative approaches between Brazilian and Hispanic American literatures and cultures. He is interested in the relationships between literature, culture, and politics in Latin America. He is author of Retóricas del poder y nombres del padre en la literatura latinoamericana paternalismo, política y forma literaria en Graciliano Ramos, Juan Rulfo, João Guimarães Rosa y José Lezama Lima, co-author of Pensar el Brasil hoy: Teorías literarias y crítica cultural en el Brasil contemporáneo, and translator of Dante’s The Divine Comedy

 

 

 

 

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Thu, September 22, 2022
Dinner Program
Lynda Barry

Why do people wish they could write, sing, dance, and draw, long after they’ve given up on these things? Does creative activity have a biological function? Is there something common to everything we call the arts? What is it? This ancient ‘it’ has been around at least as long as we have had hands, and the state of mind it brings about is not plain old ‘thinking’. Lynda Barry, renowned cartoonist, author, and teacher will discuss human innate creative ability to work with images and what the biological function of this thing we call ‘the arts’ may be. Please note: There will be swear words, party tricks, and jokes about balls.

Professor Barry's Athenaeum presentation is co-sponsored by the Center for Writing and Public Discourse and the Gould Center for Humanistic Studies, both at CMC.

Photo credit: Lynda Barry

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Lynda Barry has worked as a painter, cartoonist, writer, illustrator, playwright, editor, commentator and teacher and found they are very much alike. The New York Times has described Barry as "among this country’s greatest conjoiners of words and images, known for plumbing all kinds of touchy subjects in cartoons, comic strips and novels, both graphic and illustrated." Barry is widely credited with expanding the literary, thematic, and emotional range of American comics, namely her seminal comic strip, “Ernie Pook’s Comeek,” which ran in weekly alternative newspapers for two decades.

Barry has authored 21 books and an album-length spoken-word collection, been a commentator for National Public Radio (NPR), had a regular monthly feature in magazines such as Esquire and Mother Jones, and appeared as a frequent guest on the Late Show with David Letterman. She adapted her first novel, The Good Times are Killing Me, into a long running, award-winning play. Her book, Making Comics, was awarded the 2020 Eisner Award for Best Comics-Related Book + Best Publication Design. 

Her 2022 books are reissues of Come Over, Come Over (Drawn & Quarterly, January 4, 2022), My Perfect Life (Drawn & Quarterly, July 5, 2022), and It's So Magic (Drawn & Quarterly, September 20, 2022).

Barry is an associate professor in Interdisciplinary Creativity at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the Chazen Family Distinguished Chair in Art. She has received numerous awards and honors for her work, including lifetime achievement awards from both the Museum of Wisconsin Arts and the National Cartoonists Society. In 2019, Lynda Barry was honored as a MacArthur Fellow for “enabling artists and non-artists alike to take creative risks,” in her professorship, workshops, and public talks.

Barry earned a degree from Evergreen State College during its early experimental period (1974-78), studying with painter and writing teacher Marilyn Frasca.

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

Photo credit: Lynda Barry

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Mon, September 26, 2022
Dinner Program
Mary Ruefle

In describing Mary Ruefle’s poems, the poet Tony Hoagland said, “Her work combines the spiritual desperation of Dickinson with the rhetorical virtuosity of Wallace Stevens. The result (for those with ears to hear) is a poetry at once ornate and intense; linguistically marvelous, yes, but also as visceral as anything you are likely to encounter.” Drawing from these depths, Mary Ruefle will read and reflect on her poetry.

Ms. Ruefle’s Athenaeum presentation is co-sponsored by the Gould Center for Humanistic Studies at CMC.

Source: https://poets.org/poet/mary-ruefle)

Photo credit: Matt Valentine and the Poetry Foundation

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Raised both in United States and Europe with her military family, Mary Ruefle has published over a dozen books of poetry, including Dunce (2019), which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, My Private Property (2016), Indeed I Was Pleased with the World (2007), and The Adamant (1989), which won the Iowa Poetry Prize. She is also the author of the essay collection Madness, Rack, and Honey (2012) and the work of fiction The Most of It (2008). A Little White Shadow (2006), her book of erasures uses found texts in which all but a few words have been erased from the page.

Ruefle earned a BA from Bennington College. She has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation, as well as a Whiting Writers’ Award, and an Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Her work has been anthologized in Best American PoetryGreat American Prose Poems (2003), American Alphabets: 25 Contemporary Poets (2006), and The Next American Essay (2002).

Ruefle has taught at Vermont College and the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop.

Ms. Ruefle’s Athenaeum presentation is co-sponsored by the Gould Center for Humanistic Studies at CMC.

Source: https://poets.org/poet/mary-ruefle)

Photo credit: Matt Valentine and the Poetry Foundation

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Wed, September 28, 2022
Dinner Program
Ken Miller and Nicolas Heidorn '06

Exercising the power to determine important policy issues by direct popular vote, this fall Californians will vote on seven ballot measures covering a broad range of subjects including a measure to change the California Constitution to expressly include existing rights to reproductive freedom, two measures on sports betting, and a measure to increase the income tax on high earners. Nicolas Heidorn '06, former policy director for California Common Cause, and Ken Miller, professor of government at CMC and director of the Rose Institute, will provide expert analysis of these consequential choices and will also present the Video Voter series of informational videos produced by Rose Institute students.

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Nicolas Heidorn '06
Nicolas Heidorn '06 is the founder of Heidorn Consulting, a firm that specializes in state and local policy and advocacy. He was formerly the policy director for California Common Cause, where he led the organization’s legislative advocacy in Sacramento. He was also the founder and director of the California Local Redistricting Project, which was a joint Common Cause-McGeorge School of Law effort to promote local redistricting best practices. With over a decade of experience advocating for voting and governance reforms, particularly in local government, Heidorn drafted Senate Bill 1108 (Allen, 2016), which for the first time authorized all California general law cities and counties to adopt independent citizens redistricting commissions. He has assisted several jurisdictions in setting up their own local commissions. Representing Common Cause, he was also part of the coalition that passed Assembly Bill 849 (Bonta, 2019), which adopted new criteria and public engagement requirements for city and county redistricting. 

Prior to joining Common Cause, Heidorn served as assistant general counsel at the California Environmental Protection Agency, a position he was appointed to by Governor Brown in 2013. Before that, he worked in the State Legislature for State Senator Mark Ridley-Thomas and on the Proposition 11 campaign, which established California’s state Citizens Redistricting Commission. 

A former fellow with New America California, Heidorn received his B.A. from Claremont McKenna College and his J.D. from Harvard Law School.

Ken Miller
Ken Miller is the Don H. and Edessa Rose Professor of State and Local Government at Claremont McKenna College and director of the Rose Institute of State and Local Government. Miller’s research focuses on state government institutions, with an emphasis on direct democracy and the interaction between law and politics. His publications include Texas vs. California: A History of Their Struggle for the Future of America (Oxford University Press, 2020), Direct Democracy and the Courts (Cambridge University Press, 2009), and co-edited volumes Parchment Barriers: Political Polarization and the Limits of Constitutional Order (University Press of Kansas, 2018) and The New Political Geography of California (Berkeley Public Policy Press, 2008). 

Miller was the Ann and Herbert Vaughan Fellow in the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions at Princeton University (2011-2012) and a visiting scholar at the John Goodwin Tower Center for Political Studies at Southern Methodist University (2017-2018). 

Professor Miller and Mr. Heidorn's Athenaeum event is co-sponsored by the Rose Institute of State and Local Government.

Miller is a graduate of Pomona College, Harvard Law School, and University of California, Berkeley.

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This event is no longer open for registrations.

Mon, October 3, 2022
Dinner Program
Donna Britt

Award-winning essayist and syndicated columnist Donna Britt had written extensively in The Washington Post about being black, female, and spiritual in a society that often devalues all three. How does one successfully negotiate writing authentically and open-heartedly about sensitive subjects in a divided and judgmental world?

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

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Former Washington Post columnist Donna Britt is the author of Brothers (and Me): A Memoir of Loving and Giving. Britt began her career as a city desk reporter and fashion writer at the Detroit Free Press. A stint as Los Angeles bureau chief and backup movie critic for USA Today led to her joining the Washington Post as a writer for the Style section.

After several powerful first-person pieces, including an award-winning essay on her older brother's killing by police, she was given a twice-weekly column in the paper's Metro section. Within weeks, Britt was getting sacks of mail, flowers, and hundreds of phone calls from readers applauding her courage, conviction and knack for addressing subjects no one else had touched. Her column, which was syndicated in more than 60 cities, won awards from organizations including the American Association of Sunday and Feature Editors, the American Society of Newspaper Editors' Distinguished Writing Award for commentary, and the National Association of Black Journalists.

Britt's 2011 memoir about the aftermath of her brother's killing, Brothers (& me): a Memoir of Loving and Giving, was honored by O: The Oprah Magazine as one of January 2012's "Ten Titles to Pick Up Now," and excerpted that same month by Essence magazine. More recently, she has written about a White man's obsession with saving a Black Lives Matter banner, what people got wrong in their judgments about Will Smith and The Slap, and finding gratitude during pandemic times.

A native of Gary, Indiana, Britt is a graduate of Hampton University and The University of Michigan.

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

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Wed, October 5, 2022
Dinner Program
Linda Sue Park

Today's young readers are tomorrow's problem-solvers, whose task, asserts Linda Sue Park, Newberry Medal award winning author of children’s books, is nothing less than saving the planet and human decency. She will talk about the importance of using a wide variety of lenses when writing, reading, and teaching literature and history to young students. While her own work focuses mainly on the Korean and Korean American experience, the attitude needed to nurture in young readers applies to all children's books—the awareness that the memories of individuals are all too often undervalued, distorted, or erased when history becomes canon.

Ms. Park's Athenaeum event is co-sponsored by the Center for Writing and Public Discourse, the Gould Center for Humanistic Studies, and the history department, all at CMC.

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Linda Sue Park is the author of many books for young readers, including the 2002 Newbery Medal winner,  A Single Shard, and the NYTimes bestseller, A Long Walk to WaterHer most recent title is The One Thing You’d Save, a collection of linked poems.

Park is the founder and curator of Allida Books, an imprint of HarperCollins. She serves on the advisory boards of We Need Diverse Books and the Rabbit hOle museum project, and created the kiBooka website to highlight children’s books created by the Korean diaspora. 

In addition to writing essays for numerous publications, Park has served as a panelist for the National Book Award, the Kirkus Prize, the PEN Naylor grant, and the SCBWI Golden Kite Award. In her travels to promote reading and writing, she has visited more than 30 countries and 49 states. She knows very well that she will never be able to read every great book ever written, but she keeps trying anyway. 

Ms. Park's Athenaeum event is co-sponsored by the Center for Writing and Public Discourse, the Gould Center for Humanistic Studies, and the history department, all at CMC.

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Thu, October 6, 2022
Dinner Program
Michelle Tusan

Michelle Tusan, professor of history at UNLV, explores the origins of the response to stateless refugees by international institutions and humanitarian organizations. It has its roots in one of the forgotten stories of World War I when forced migration began as a problem in its modern form. The internationalization of the refugee problem—the then highly publicized case of Armenian, Assyrian, and Greek Ottoman Christian minorities—created the dual solution of the refugee camp and resettlement. This became a utopian and ultimately unrealizable solution to the problem of mass displacement in a period of rising xenophobia and nationalism.

 
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Michelle Tusan is a professor of history at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) with expertise in the areas of modern British history, the British Empire, and women’s history. She received her Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley in 1999. Before coming to UNLV in 2001, she was a Fellow in the Humanities at Stanford. A British historian by training, her teaching and scholarship broadly engage the relationship between geopolitics, culture, and human rights.

Her current book project, The Last Treaty: The Middle Eastern Front and the End of the First World War, is supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities. In addition, she is the author of The British Empire and the Armenian Genocide: Humanitarianism and Imperial Politics from Gladstone to Churchill (2017/2019); Smyrna’s Ashes: Humanitarianism, Genocide and the Birth of the Middle East (2012); Women Making News: Gender and Journalism in Modern Britain (2005), and articles in the American Historical Review, The Journal of Modern History and Past and Present. She also has published a co-authored textbook, Britain Since 1688: A Nation in the World. She is the vice president/president elect of the North American Conference on British Studies. 

Professor Tusan’s Athenaeum presentation is co-sponsored by the Mgrublian Center for Human Rights at Claremont McKenna College.  

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Fri, October 7, 2022
Lunch Program
Connie Chiang, Ashanti Shih, Tamara Venit-Shelton, and Sarah Wald; panelists

Nature Unfurled asks how Asian Americans have engaged with non-human nature over time. The panelists—Connie Chiang, Ashanti Shih, Tamara Venit-Shelton, and Sarah Wald—will discuss research on Asian Americans in the intertwined movements for racial and environmental justice. By the 1970s, activists recognized that racial oppression was inextricably linked to the environment. To combat exclusion from certain natural resources and amenities or exposure to toxic environments, they forged alliances with other people of color and campaigned for environmental justice.

This panel discussion is a featured program of the Gould Center and EnviroLab Asia's mini-conference on Asian American Environmental Visions and Activism.

Read more about the speaker

Connie Chiang
Connie Chiang is the director of Environmental Studies Program and professor of history and environmental studies at Bowdoin College. She is the author of Shaping the Shoreline: Fisheries and Tourism on the Monterey Coast and has published articles in many journals, including the Journal of American History and Environmental History. Her latest book, Nature Behind Barbed Wire: An Environmental History of the Japanese American Incarceration, explores how the environment shaped the confinement of over 110,000 people of Japanese descent during World War II. 

Ashanti Shih
Ashanti Shih is an assistant professor of history at Vassar College. She earned a B.A. in history and art practice at the University of California, Berkeley (2011) and a Ph.D. in history from Yale University (2019). Her research focuses on Asian American environmental knowledges, Asian settler colonialism, and the history of environmental sciences in the twentieth-century Pacific and American West. She is the author of  "'The Most Perfect Natural Laboratory in the World’: Making and Knowing Hawaii National Park," History of Science (May 2019) and forthcoming book on the same topic.

Tamara Venit-Shelton
Tamara Venit-Shelton is a professor of history at Claremont McKenna College where she teaches classes on race/ethnicity, environment, and health. She is the author of two books including the award-winning Herbs and Roots: A History of Chinese Doctors in the American Medical Marketplace. She has also published research in both scholarly and popular journals and newspapers.

Sarah Wald
Sarah Wald is associate professor of environmental Studies and English at University of Oregon. She is the author of  The Nature of California; Race, Citizenship, and Farming since the Dust Bowl and co-editor of  Latinx Environmentalisms: Place, Justice, and the Decolonial. Her current research focuses on the Outdoor Equity Movement. 

This panel discussion is a featured program of the Gould Center and EnviroLab Asia's mini-conference on Asian American Environmental Visions and Activism.

 

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