• Marian Miner Cook
    Athenaeum

    A distinctive
    feature of social and
    cultural life at CMC

  • Marian Miner Cook
    Athenaeum

    A distinctive
    feature of social and
    cultural life at CMC

  • Marian Miner Cook
    Athenaeum

    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 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
Director

Monday, September 17, 2018 - Evening Program
Art as Transformation: Using Photography for Social Change
LaToya Ruby Frazier
A 2015 MacArthur Genius Award recipient, Latoya Ruby Frazier will discuss how she has used photography to visually capture the consequences of postindustrial decline for disenfranchised communities and illustrate how photography can promote dialogue about historical change and social responsibility. Drawing from her book The Notion of Family as well as from works of art by Frederick Douglass, August Sander, Julia Margaret Cameron, and Langston Hughes, she relates her conscious approach to photography, opens up more authentic ways to talk about family, inheritance, and place, and celebrates the inspirational, transformative power of images.

LaToya Ruby Frazier is a photographer and video artist who uses visual autobiographies to capture social inequality and historical change in the postindustrial age. Informed by documentary practices from the turn of the last century, Frazier explores identities of place, race, and family in work that is a hybrid of self-portraiture and social narrative. It was the crumbling landscape of her own home town, Braddock, Pennsylvania, a once-thriving steel town, that forms the backdrop of her images and—capturing the attention of the McArthur Foundation—make manifest both the environmental and infrastructural decay caused by postindustrial decline and the lives of those who continue—largely by necessity—to live amongst it.

Frazier received a B.F.A. from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania and an M.F.A. from Syracuse University. She held artist residencies at the Lower Manhattan Culture Council and the Whitney Museum of American Art Independent Study Program and was the Guna S. Mundheim Fellow at the American Academy in Berlin before assuming her current position as assistant professor in the department of Photography at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Frazier’s work has appeared in numerous exhibitions, including solo shows at the Brooklyn Museum, the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, the Seattle Art Museum, and the Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston. The Notion of Family, Frazier’s first book, was published in 2014.

Ms. Frazier's Athenaeum presentation is co-sponsored by the President's Leadership Fund.

Photo: Courtesy of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

Meal reservations for this event are not yet available.
Tuesday, September 18, 2018 - Evening Program
The AI Delusion
Gary Smith
Arguably the computer revolution may be even more life-changing than the industrial revolution, and indeed many fear that super-intelligent machines will protect themselves by enslaving or even eliminating humans. Gary Smith, professor of economics at Pomona College argues that the real danger however is not that computers are smarter than us, but that we think computers are smarter than us and therefore trust computers to make important decisions for us.  

Gary Smith is the Fletcher Jones Professor of Economics at Pomona College. He received his Ph.D. in Economics from Yale University and was an assistant professor there for seven years. He has won two teaching awards and written (or co-authored) more than eighty academic papers and thirteen books. His Standard Deviation: Flawed Assumptions, Tortured Data, and Other Ways to Lie with Statistics was a London Times Book of the Week and debunks a variety of dubious and misleading statistical practices. His most recent book, The AI Delusion, extols the value of human judgement in a world where big decisions are more and more frequently left to computers. His statistical and financial research has been featured in various media, including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, CNBC, WYNC, WBBR Bloomberg Radio, Motley Fool, Scientific American, Forbes, MarketWatch, MoneyCentral.msn, NewsWeek and BusinessWeek.

Smith’s research interests lie in financial markets, especially the stock market, and the application of statistical analysis to finance and sports.

 

Meal reservations for this event are not yet available.
Wednesday, September 19, 2018 - Evening Program
Black Professionals in a 'Post-Racial' Era
Adia Harvey Wingfield
With technological advances, declining support for labor, and increasing income inequality, work has changed dramatically over the past half century. Adia Harvey Wingfield, professor of sociology at Washington University in St. Louis, will examine specifically how blacks in professional jobs navigate work in this new economy. 

Adia Harvey Wingfield is professor of sociology at Washington University in St. Louis. Her research examines racial and gender inequality in professional occupations. A graduate of Spelman College, Wingfield earned both her masters and doctorate in sociology from Johns Hopkins University.

Wingfield has lectured internationally on her research and she has been published in numerous peer-reviewed journals including Social Problems, Ethnic and Racial Studies, Gender & Society, and American Behavioral Scientist. She is currently serving as president of Sociologists for Women in Society, a national organization that encourages feminist sociology in research, teaching, and activism. Wingfield is a regular contributor to Inside Higher Ed, The Atlantic, and other popular outlets. Her most recent book is the award-winning No More Invisible Man: Race and Gender in Men's Work. She is the recipient of the 2018 Public Understanding of Sociology award from the American Sociological Association. 

Professor Wingfield’s Athenaeum presentation is co-sponsored by the Berger Institute for Work and Family.

Meal reservations for this event are not yet available.
Thursday, September 20, 2018 -
Against Empathy: The Case for Rational Compassion
Paul Bloom
Empathy, generally viewed as a universally desired trait, is actually one of the leading motivators of inequality and immorality in society maintains Yale University professor of psychology Paul Bloom. A capricious and irrational emotion that appeals to narrow human prejudices, Bloom will argue that we are at our best when we are smart enough not to rely on empathy, but to draw instead upon a more distanced compassion.

Paul Bloom is the Brooks and Suzanne Ragen Professor of Psychology at Yale University. His research explores how children and adults understand the physical and social world, with special focus on morality, religion, fiction, and art. He has won numerous awards for his research and is considered one of Yale’s most-renowned teachers, known for both his award-winning lectures to large audiences — as in his 500-person course "Introduction to Psychology" — and his more intimate seminars, such as his first-year class on the seven deadly sins.

Bloom is past-president of the Society for Philosophy and Psychology, and co-editor of Behavioral and Brain Sciences, one of the major journals in the field. He has written for scientific journals such as Nature and Science, and for popular outlets such as The New York Times, The Guardian, The New Yorker, and The Atlantic Monthly. He is the author or editor of seven books, including his most recent book, Against Empathy: The Case for Rational Compassion, in which he argues that empathy is a bad thing—that it makes the world worse. While we've been taught that putting yourself in another's shoes cultivates compassion, it actually blinds you to the long-term consequences of your actions.

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

Photo Credit: Sigrid Estrada

Meal reservations for this event are not yet available.
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.

Meal reservations for this event are not yet available.
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).

Meal reservations for this event are not yet available.
Wednesday, September 26, 2018 - Evening Program
"Frankenstein" and the Anxieties of Modernity
Jerrald E. Hogle
  Jerrald 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 <em>Frankenstein</em>.

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

Meal reservations for this event are not yet available.
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.

Meal reservations for this event are not yet available.
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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.