• Student at the Athenaeum

    Marian Miner Cook

    A distinctive
    feature of social and
    cultural life at CMC

Welcome to The Athenaeum

Welcome to Athenaeum and the fall 2018 speaker program.

Unique in American higher education, the Marian Miner Cook Athenaeum (the “Ath”) is a signature program of Claremont McKenna College. Four nights a week during the school year, the Ath brings scholars, public figures, thought leaders, artists, and innovators to engage with the CMC and Claremont College community in the Eggert Dining Room. In addition, the Ath also hosts lunch speakers, roundtables, and smaller presentations in its two auxiliary dining rooms.

For decades, the Ath has hosted a spectrum of luminaries with expertise and insight on a wide range of topics, both historical and contemporary. In the Ath’s intimate yet stimulating setting, students, faculty, staff, and other community members gather to hear the speaker, pose questions, and also to build community and exchange ideas over a shared meal.

At the core of the Ath is a longstanding commitment to student growth and learning. Central to the Ath are its two student Fellows, selected annually to host, introduce, and moderate discussion with the featured speaker. Priority is given to students in attendance during the question-and-answer session following every presentation. Moreover, speakers often take extra time to visit a class, meet with student interest groups, or give an interview to the student press and podcast team.

We look forward to seeing you at the Ath.

Priya Junnar

Wednesday, October 24, 2018 - Evening Program
Sustainability Approaches to Environmental Justice and Social Power
Julie Sze
Sustainability and social justice remain elusive though inexorably linked and, across the world, unsustainable practices and social inequities exacerbate one another. Julie Sze, professor of American Studies at U.C. Davis, will discuss how social justice and sustainability connect, what sustainability actually means, and how to achieve it with justice. By placing social justice and interdisciplinary approaches at the center of efforts for a more sustainable world, Sze argues that sustainability can help to shape better and more robust solutions to the world’s most pressing problems.

Julie Sze is a professor of American Studies at UC Davis. She is also the founding director of the Environmental Justice Project for UC Davis’ John Muir Institute for the Environment. Sze's research investigates environmental justice and environmental inequality; culture and environment; race, gender and power; and urban/community health and activism 

Sze has published two books and over 45 journal articles and book chapters on a wide range of topics, primarily in the fields of environmental studies and the environmental humanities, geography, and public policy. She works in collaboration with environmental scientists, engineers, social scientists, humanists and community-based organizers on a wide range of research projects in California, New York, and China.

Sze has received a number of grants for her individual research, from the UC Humanities Institute, the American Studies Association, and the American Association of University Women (AAUW)​. As founding director of the Environmental Justice Institute, she received two large grants to support the project from the Ford Foundation and smaller grants related to specific research projects which have had public policy impact in the State of California.

Professor Sze's Athenaeum presentation is co-sponsored by CMC's Crown Special Events Fund, CMC's Women and Gender Leadership Fund, CMC's Roberts Environmental Center, Pitzer's Robert Redford Conservancy, and Pomona's Office of Sustainability. 

Meal reservations now open to everyone in the Claremont Colleges
Thursday, October 25, 2018 - Lunch Program
Half Past Trump: The 2018 Midterm Elections
Jack Pitney
John J. Pitney, professor of government at Claremont McKenna College, will offer an overview of the 2018 congressional and state elections and will consider the prospects for a shift in party balance in Congress, and the possible impact on public policy in 2018 and beyond.    

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) and The Politics of Autism: Navigating The Contested Spectrum (2015). He is currently writing a book on the 1988 presidential campaign. 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. 

Meal reservations now open to everyone in the Claremont Colleges
Thursday, October 25, 2018 - Evening Program
From Buckley to Trump: Making American Conservatism Great Again
Charles Kesler
Bill Buckley and his magazine, National Review, helped to invent the modern American conservative movement in the 1950s and 1960s. Charles Kesler, professor of government at CMC, will discuss how Buckley managed to turn a small intellectual movement of traditionalists, libertarians, and anti-Communists into the dominating spirit of the Republican Party, and of mainstream American politics, in the 1980s and beyond. He will also address whether the rise of Donald Trump signals the end of Buckley’s and Reagan’s conservative movement, or its evolution into a new form for a new day.  

Charles Kesler is the Dengler-Dykema Distinguished Professor of Government at CMC, and for almost two decades served as director of the College's Henry Salvatori Center for the Study of Individual Freedom in the Modern World. He is the editor of the Claremont Review of Books and a senior fellow of the Claremont Institute. In 2017, he was named to the POLITICO 50, Politico magazine’s annual list of the fifty most influential “dreamers, doers, and thinkers who are reshaping American politics.”  In May, Kesler was awarded a 2018 Bradley Prize by the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation. His edition of The Federalist Papers is the best-selling one in the country. His most recent book is I Am the Change: Barack Obama and the Future of American Liberalism.


This event is full. If you would like to be put on a waiting list, please contact the Athenaeum.
Thursday, October 25, 2018 - Evening Program
Fascist Politics
Jason Stanley
Fascism has a definite historical and conceptual structure that belies its use as a mere pejorative. Jason Stanley, professor of philosophy at Yale University and author of "How Fascism Works: The Politics of Us and Them" will discuss what is fascist politics, why, across time and place, is it so attractive, and who are its victims.

Jason Stanley is the Jacob Urowsky Professor of Philosophy at Yale University. Before coming to Yale in 2013, he was Distinguished Professor in the department of philosophy at Rutgers University. He has also been a professor at the University of Michigan (2000-4) and Cornell University (1995-2000). He earned his Ph.D in 1995 from the department of linguistics and philosophy at MIT, and he received his B.A. from the State University of New York at Stony Brook in 1990.

Stanley has two forthcoming books: How Fascism Works: The Politics of Us and Them (Penguin Random House, September 11, 2018) and The Politics of Language, co-authored with David Beaver (Princeton University Press, 2019).

Stanley has four previously published books including Knowledge and Practical Interests published in 2005 by Oxford University Press won the 2007 American Philosophical Association book prize and How Propaganda Works, published by Princeton University Press in May, 2015, was the winner of the 2016 PROSE award for the subject area of philosophy.

Professor Stanley's Athenaeum presentation is the 2018 Golo Mann Lecture and is sponsored by the Gould Center for Humanistic Studies.

Meal reservations now open to everyone in the Claremont Colleges

Follow the Athenaeum


Unless otherwise noted, lunch begins at 11:45 a.m.; speaker presentations begin at 12:15 p.m.
Evening receptions begin at 5:30 p.m.; dinner is served at 6 p.m.; speaker presentations begin at 6:45 p.m.

The Athenaeum facilitates dynamic interactions and dialogue that underscore
the essence of a liberal arts education.