• 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

Monday, September 24, 2018 - Evening Program
An Evening of Poetry with Richard Blanco
Richard Blanco
Whether speaking as the Cuban Blanco or the American Richard, the homebody or the world traveler, the shy boy or the openly gay man, the civil engineer or the civic-minded poet, presidential inaugural poet Richard Blanco’s writings possess a story-rich quality that illuminates the human spirit. His work asks those universal questions we all ask ourselves on our own journeys: Where am I from? Where do I belong? Who am I in this world?

Selected by President Obama as the fifth inaugural poet in U.S. history, Richard Blanco is the youngest and the first Latino, immigrant, and gay person to serve in such a role. His inaugural poem “One Today” was later published as a children’s book.

Born in Madrid to Cuban exile parents and raised in Miami, the negotiation of cultural identity characterizes his four collections of poetry: How to Love a Country; City of a Hundred Fires, which received the Agnes Starrett Poetry Prize from the University of Pittsburgh Press; Directions to The Beach of the Dead, recipient of the Beyond Margins Award from the PEN American Center; and Looking for The Gulf Motel, recipient of the Paterson Poetry Prize and the Thom Gunn Award. He has also authored the memoirs For All of Us, One Today: An Inaugural Poet’s Journey and The Prince of Los Cocuyos: A Miami Childhood, winner of the Lambda Literary Prize.

His latest book, Boundaries, a collaboration with photographer Jacob Hessler, challenges the physical and psychological dividing lines that shadow the United States. Blanco has written occasional poems for the re-opening of the U.S. Embassy in Cuba, Freedom to Marry, the Tech Awards of Silicon Valley, and the Boston Strong benefit concert following the Boston Marathon bombings. He is a Woodrow Wilson Fellow and has received numerous honorary doctorates. He has taught at Georgetown University, American University, and Wesleyan University. He serves as the first Education Ambassador for The Academy of American Poets.

Mr. Blanco’s Athenaeum presentation is co-sponsored by the Center for Writing and Public Discourse, the Chicano-Latino Student Affairs, and the CARE Center.

The window for making meal reservations has passed. Contact the Athenaeum to inquire whether spaces are available.
Tuesday, September 25, 2018 - Lunch Program
Legalizing Marijuana: Lessons from Colorado
Tony Mecia
Five years after Colorado legalized recreational marijuana—with many other states taking its lead—data shows mixed effects in the state. While legalization has created jobs, spurred tourism, and raised millions in new tax revenue, as Tony Mecia of The Weekly Standard will discuss, data also shows that legal weed has also attracted vagrants and cartels from out-of-state, contributed to spikes in crime, and caused doctors to worry about the effect on public health.

Tony Mecia is a senior writer at The Weekly Standard. Previously, he spent more than a decade as a business reporter and editor at the Charlotte Observer in North Carolina. He is a graduate of Duke University and has a master’s in journalism from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Mr. Mecia will be the first speaker in a series on the public policy implications of marijuana legalization sponsored by the Rose Institute of State and Local Government.

Meal reservations now open to everyone in the Claremont Colleges
Tuesday, September 25, 2018 - Evening Program
The Future and Past of Conservatism
Jonah Goldberg
As contradictory as it may sound, Jonah Goldberg of the American Enterprise Institute believes that the conservative movement is constantly changing. Maintaining that the Bush years changed conservatism in profound ways, mostly for the worse, he will examine how Trump's presidency will further these changes. What does the future of conservatism look like? And does conservatism’s failure necessarily mean liberalism’s success?

Jonah Goldberg is a fellow and Asness Chair in Applied Liberty at the American Enterprise Institute, where he writes about political and cultural issues. He is concurrently a senior editor at National Review. A bestselling author, he writes a nationally syndicated column that appears regularly in more than 100 newspapers across the United States. He is also a weekly columnist for the Los Angeles Times, a member of the board of contributors to USA Today, a Fox News contributor, and a regular member of the Fox News All-Stars panel on “Special Report with Bret Baier.” He is the author of two New York Times bestsellers, "The Tyranny of Clichés” (Sentinel HC, 2012) and “Liberal Fascism” (Doubleday, 2008).

The founding editor of National Review Online, Goldberg is the recipient of many awards. He was named by The Atlantic magazine as one of the top 50 political commentators in America. In 2011, he was chosen as the Robert J. Novak Journalist of the Year at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).

This event is full. If you would like to be put on a waiting list, please contact the Athenaeum.
Wednesday, September 26, 2018 - Evening Program
"Frankenstein" and the Anxieties of Modernity
Jerrold E. Hogle
Jerrold E. Hogle, professor emeritus and University Distinguished Professor of English at the University of Arizona, is an expert in English Romantic literature, literary and cultural theory, and the many different forms of the Gothic. His talk will show how many deep-seated cultural quandaries about the coming of the modern world—anxieties very much still with us—are symbolized in Mary Shelley's 1818 novel, particularly in the Creature who has be come its most lasting image.

Jerrold E. Hogle, won the Howard Mumford Jones Thesis Prize at Harvard University from where he received his Ph.D. After teaching in the English department at the University of Arizona for 44 years, he is now professor emeritus and University Distinguished Professor at Arizona. The winner of Guggenheim, Mellon, and other fellowships for research including the Distinguished Scholar Award of the Keats—Shelley Association of America, he has published extensively on English Romantic literature, literary and cultural theory, and the many different forms of the Gothic.

His books include, among others, Shelley’s Process from the Oxford University Press, The Undergrounds of The Phantom of the Opera from Palgrave Macmillan, and The Cambridge Companion to Gothic Fiction from the Cambridge University Press, which has recently been succeeded by a follow-up volume, The Cambridge Companion to the Modern Gothic. A dedicated public servant to the University of Arizona, he has served in many diverse administrative roles at the university while also earning multiple teaching awards for his classroom work, advising, and mentoring of students, both undergraduate and graduate.

Currently, Hogle is a Reader at the Huntington Library in Pasadena, and just completed co-chairing a conference on the 200th anniversary of Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein."

Professor Hogle’s Athenaeum talk is co-sponsored by the Gould Center for Humanistic Studies at CMC.

Meal reservations now open to everyone in the Claremont Colleges
Thursday, September 27, 2018 - Evening Program
Lawyers and Law in India: A View from Bollywood—Screening and Discussion of JOLLY L.L.B.
Nita Kumar and Aseema Sinha, moderators
While Indian (Bollywood) movies typically show courts as unreal and dramatic, Jolly L.L.B. (2013), directed by Subhash Kapoor, is a satirical rendition of the reality of courtroom procedure in India, as well as on big money, corruption, and gritty ambition. Acclaimed by reviewers and audiences alike as well-acted and entertaining, the movie delivers a sharp sentence on Indian law. Professors Aseema Sinha and Nita Kumar, both at CMC, will lead a discussion on justice, corruption, and Bollywood.

Jolly L.L.B. tells the story of a small-town lawyer, Jolly, who files a public interest litigation against a rich young man who seems to have gotten away with murder. Defending the young man is Tejinder Rajpal, the most prominent advocate of the city, able to reduce Jolly to dust in the court. Yet, Jolly works hard, gathers evidence, and—learns to argue. In charge of the proceedings is Justice Tripathi, a curious, familiar mix of self-aggrandizement, idiosyncrasy, and—commitment to justice.

For those new to Bollywood, Jolly L.L.B. offers an introduction to the genre without the stereotypical slapstick, violence, and melodrama. 

For those familiar with the genre, Jolly L.L.B. offers solid direction, casting, script, comedy, and a serious plot line.

Movie screening will begin promptly at 5:30 pm.

(Parents Dining Room)

Meal reservations now open to everyone in the Claremont Colleges
Thursday, September 27, 2018 - Evening Program
Live From the Dumpster Fire: The Challenges of Journalism in the Trump Era
Tina Nguyen '11
In an era of dwindling resources and increasing hostility towards the press, how does one cover a president and administration obsessed with alternative facts and dramatic twists, a populist base that will follow no matter what, and an internet easily manipulated by foreign influences and fake news memes? Tina Nguyen ’11, who follows Trump for Vanity Fair's Hive, will reflect on how the 2016 election fundamentally shook up journalism, the challenges the media faces in covering politics in an era of extreme polarization and uncertain truth, and her own personal, quasi-bizarre experiences in the trenches of reporting on fake news.

Tina Nguyen ‘11 is a staff reporter at The Hive, Vanity Fair's news vertical covering the power players of Silicon Valley, Washington, and Wall Street. She covers American politics, the conservative movement, and the media.

Prior to Vanity Fair, Nguyen worked at Mediaite, The Daily Caller, and The Braiser, where she was nominated for a James Beard Award. Nguyen graduated from Claremont McKenna College in 2011, with an honors degree in government. While at CMC, she was the news editor for the Claremont Independent, a fellow at the Salvatori Center, and occasional cartoonist/columnist for The Forum.

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

Monday, October 01, 2018 - Evening Program
Mistreated: Why We think We’re Getting Good Healthcare—And Why We’re Usually Wrong
Robert Pearl
The U.S. healthcare system ranks 37 in the world in outcomes, uses technology from the last century and causes hundreds of thousands of deaths each year from medical error. Yet we believe it is the best in the world. Robert Pearl, professor at both Stanford Graduate School of Business and Stanford Medical School, will explain this contradiction and offer a road map for the future, based on four powerful pillars.

Robert Pearl, M.D., is the former CEO of The Permanente Medical Group (1999-2017), the nation’s largest medical group, and former president of The Mid-Atlantic Permanente Medical Group (2009-2017). In these roles he led 10,000 physicians, 38,000 staff and was responsible for the nationally recognized medical care of 5 million Kaiser Permanente members on the west and east coasts. Recently named one of Modern Healthcare’s 50 most influential physician leaders, Pearl is an advocate for the power of integrated, prepaid, technologically advanced and physician-led healthcare delivery.

Pearl serves as a clinical professor of plastic surgery at Stanford University School of Medicine and is on the faculty of the Stanford Graduate School of Business, where he teaches courses on strategy and leadership, and lectures on information technology and health care policy.

In 2017 he authored “Mistreated: Why We think We’re Getting Good Healthcare—And Why We’re Usually Wrong” a Washington Post bestseller that offers a roadmap for transforming American healthcare. All proceeds from the book go to Doctors Without Borders. 

As a regular contributor to Forbes, Pearl covers the business of healthcare and the culture of medicine. He’s the host of a new podcast called “Fixing Healthcare,” which debuted in the iTunes top 100 list of science and medicine programs. He has been featured on CBS This Morning, CNBC, NPR, and in TIME, USA Today and Bloomberg News. He has published more than 100 articles in various medical journals and contributed to numerous books. He is a frequent keynote speaker at healthcare and medical technology conferences. Pearl has addressed the Commonwealth Club, the World Healthcare Congress, and the Institute for Healthcare Improvement’s National Quality Forum.

Board certified in plastic and reconstructive surgery, Pearl received his medical degree from the Yale University School of Medicine, followed by a residency in plastic and reconstructive surgery at Stanford University. From 2012 to 2017, Pearl served as chairman of the Council of Accountable Physician Practices (CAPP), which includes the nation’s largest and best multispecialty medical groups, and participated in the Bipartisan Congressional Task Force on Delivery System Reform and Health IT in Washington, D.C.


Monday, October 01, 2018 - Evening Program
Hidden Lives of Brahman: Brāhmin Insight Practices from the Upanisads
Joel Dubois
The Upanishads, ancient Sanskrit texts that contain some of the central philosophical concepts and ideas of Hinduism, are often treated as expressions of Vedānta philosophy focused on brahman, the ultimate reality transcending all particular manifestations, words, and ideas. However, the Upanishads reflect familiarity with concrete practices that engage brahman as an active force. With a focus on these ancient texts, Joël Dubois, professor of Asian religions and cultures at California State University in Sacramento, will bring to light the hidden lives of brahman.

Joël Dubois received masters and doctorate degrees in Comparative Religion from the Harvard Divinity School. The book documenting his research in South India, Hidden Lives of Brahman, was published in 2013 by State University of New York Press. He is currently a professor of Asian religions and cultures at California State University in Sacramento, California.

Professor Dubois' Athenaeum presentation is co-sponsored by the Kutten Lectureship in Religious Studies at CMC.  

(Parents Dining Room)

Meal reservations now open to everyone in the Claremont Colleges
Tuesday, October 02, 2018 - Evening Program
Intimate Violence: Anti-Jewish Pogroms on the Eve of the Holocaust
Jeffrey S. Kopstein
Why do pogroms occur in some localities and not in others? Jeffrey S. Kopstein, professor and chair of political science at University of California, Irvine examines a particularly brutal wave of violence that occurred across hundreds of predominantly Polish and Ukrainian communities in the aftermath of the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union and notes that while some communities erupted in anti-Jewish violence, most others remained quiescent. 

Jeffrey S. Kopstein is professor and chair of political science at University of California, Irvine. His books include The Politics of Economic Decline in East Germany, 1945–1989 and Growing Apart?: America and Europe in the 21st Century. His newest book, co-authored with Jason Wittenberg​,Intimate Violence is a novel social-scientific explanation of ethnic violence and the Holocaust. It locates the roots of violence in efforts to maintain Polish and Ukrainian dominance rather than in anti-Semitic hatred or revenge for communism. In doing so, it cuts through painful debates about relative victim-hood that are driven more by metaphysical beliefs in Jewish culpability than empirical evidence of perpetrators and victims. Along with his co-author, Kopstein concludes that pogroms were difficult to start, and local conditions in most places prevented their outbreak despite general anti-Semitism and the collapse of the central state. In fact, fewer than 10 percent of communities saw pogroms in 1941, and most ordinary gentiles never attacked Jews.Kopstein and Wittenberg shed new light on the sources of mass ethnic violence and the ways in which such gruesome acts might be avoided.

Professor Kopstein's Athenaeum presentation is co-sponsored by the Mgrublian Center for Human Rights at CMC.

Wednesday, October 03, 2018 - Evening Program
Environmental Policy Solutions Must Be Powered By People and Equity
Eduardo Garcia
While California has led the charge to act on climate change with its groundbreaking environmental advocacy, people at the frontlines of environmental impact can still be left behind. Assembly Eduardo Garcia, representing California's 56th Assembly District, will discuss his mission to help shift the perspective from melting ice caps to the human health impacts of climate change on communities across the state. He will argue that bringing people to the forefront, particularly those from underserved areas that have been uniquely burdened by pollution, is critical to ensuring that equity can prevail in the environmental policy solutions California enacts. 

Eduardo Garcia represents California's 56th Assembly District, which includes cities and unincorporated communities in eastern Riverside County and Imperial County. Elected in 2014, Garcia is the current chair of Water, Parks and Wildlife. In this capacity he oversees some of the state’s most pressing issues, such as drought conditions, and the implementation of the multi-billion dollar Proposition 1, Water Bond passed by voters in 2014. He also serves on the Assembly Committees on Appropriations, Communications and Conveyance, Governmental Organization and Utilities and Energy.

In March of 2015 Garcia was appointed to chair the Select Committee on Renewable Energy Development and Restoration of the Salton Sea to examine the opportunities and challenges surrounding development of renewable energy projects and the implementation of environmental restoration plans of the Salton Sea area.

A graduate of local public schools, Garcia attended Coachella Valley High School and the University of California, Riverside. He also completed the "Senior Executives in State and Local Government" Public Administration program from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and earned a master’s Degree from the University of Southern California School of Policy, Planning and Development.

A life-long resident of the Coachella Valley, Garcia was first elected to the Coachella City Council in November 2004. In 2006, at the age of 29, he became Coachella's first elected Mayor. 

Meal reservations now open to everyone in the Claremont Colleges

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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.