Program Archive

Our past programs highlight the diversity of perspectives and contentious issues we strive to explore. Recently, our programs have featured discussions around the consequences of criminal justice reform, the costs of pornography, the place of slavery in the American founding, and the virtues and vices of neoliberalism, just to name a few. Learn more about these offerings in our archive below.

Fall Semester 2022

Sept. 7 & Sept. 8 – Open Academy First-Year Athenaeum Dinner

Athenaeum Dinner

The Open Academy hosted the first Athenaeum dinner for first-year students to introduce them to our values, such as, asking incisive questions, active listening, respectful disagreement, and finding common purpose.

Among the commitments several first-year students shared:

  • Opening up to new experiences and talking to people that I might have never considered to be entertaining or enlightening.
  • Sharing my truth, but also maintaining an open mind to the stories, experiences, and lessons that my peers and professors share with me to gain insight and respect for my community.
  • Opening up about my political beliefs while staying open-minded to other people’s thoughts and opinions.
  • Being more open to new ideas, perspectives, and experiences. I want to grow.

Oct. 8 – Whose America?

Saturday Salon

Jonathan Zimmerman, Professor at the University of Pennsylvania, discussed the impact of the culture wars on the American education system. He asked students to consider what American history is, who is included, and what this means. How do we continue in the classroom if common ground is lost?

Oct. 20 – Whose America?

Athenaeum Dinner Cosponsored by The Open Academy

Bari Weiss, an opinion writer and publisher of Common Sense with Bari Weiss, explored the new founders that America needs today, addressing the broken moment we are in as a culture and a country. What is required of us to meet this moment?

Oct. 29 – Testing the Efficacy of Our Human Rights Regime, The Crisis in Ukraine

Saturday Salon

Anna Romandash, a Ukrainian journalist that collects evidence and testimonies from victims, spoke about occupation and war crimes. She was joined by Mietek Pawel Boduszynski, a professor at Pomona College who is serving at the Pentagon in the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Policy. Boduszynski is focused on issues related to civilian protection as well as atrocities, war crimes, and accountability in Ukraine.

Nov. 5 – Promise and Limits of Neoliberalism?

Saturday Salon

Lily Geismer, a CMC history professor, argued that the Democratic Party needs to turn away from market-oriented solutions to American inequality and reinvest in the safety net. She was joined by Steve Teles, a professor at John Hopkins University, who argues that inequality has increased because the rich have been too sheltered from market forces and thus more needs to be done to deregulate the economy.

Nov. 8 – Behind the Scenes with History 119: Women and Politics in America

Athenaeum Tea

Diana Selig, a CMC history professor, talked about what motivated her to develop the course and addressed key topics/questions such as: how the women’s suffrage movement set the stage for women’s political participation; why empathy is critical to interpreting the past; the value of encountering multiple voices and perspectives; why thinking about gender means thinking about race; the complexities of historical memory; the evolution of Black women’s political thought; and how understanding history can help us join the political conversation today.

Nov. 15 – The War on Music—Reclaiming the Twentieth Century

Athenaeum Dinner Co-Sponsored by The Open Academy

John Mauceri, a Grammy, Tony, Olivier, and Emmy award-winning conductor and educator, argued for a re-evaluation of refugee composers who lost their place in the mainstream, only to be forgotten and discarded.


Spring Semester 2022

Jan. 28 – What does the rise of Cryptocurrency, Web3 Economies, and Decentralized Finance (DeFi) mean for the economy?

Saturday Salon

Nitin Daur, founder and director of IBM Digital Asset Labs and World Economic Forum Panelist on Crypto, joined Sage Young, a journalist at Coin Desk who reports on tech protocol.

Feb. 11 – Reexamining Great Power Politics: Russia, NATO and the War in Ukraine - What are the causes of the war in Ukraine?

Saturday Salon

Hilary Appel, a government professor at CMC who has published numerous books and articles on the politics of economic reform in Russia and Eastern Europe, joined Andrei Tsygankov, a professor at SFSU, and Igor Logvinenko, a professor at Occidental College, to discuss the region and their research expertise.

Feb. 18 – Is Pornography a Problem?

Saturday Salon

Elizabeth Nolan Brown, author and editor at Reason, joined Christine Emba of Princeton University. Both have written on a variety of topics related to sex and the federal government’s response to it.

Feb. 23 – Unsettling Climate Science

Flipped Ath

Steven Koonin, author of Unsettled: What Climate Science Tells Us, What It Doesn’t, and Why It Matters and a professor at NYU and senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, gave a careful reading of the research literature and government assessment reports.

March 1 – 1619? 1776? Race and the American Founding

Flipped Ath

1619 or 1776? When was the true founding of America? And what was the role of slavery in our nation’s birth? These thought-provoking questions were central to the intellectually engaging Claremont McKenna College faculty panel discussion of “The 1619 Project” and “The 1776 Report,” a respectful, constructive dialogue that reflected the divergent viewpoints of the panelists. Featuring: Charles Kesler (government), Daniel Livesay (history), Troy Mills (religious studies), and Andy Busch (government).

March 4 – Lived Experience: The Powers and Limits of the Lived Experience?

Saturday Salon

CMC professor Diana Selig (history), Michael Fortner (government), Jon Shields (government), and Heather Ferguson (history) convened for a conversation about the powers and limits of lived experience.

April 1 – How Should We Teach Race and Ethnicity in American High Schools?

Saturday Salon

Jose Gonzalez, an educator and activist featured in the documentary film Precious Knowledge, joined Adam Seagrave, a professor at Arizona State University. Gonzalez advocates for a culturally relevant and empowering education for students in Tucson. Seagrave is co-director of the Race and the American Story project and serves as Senior Fellow for Education with the Foundation Against Intolerance and Racism (FAIR).

April 12 – Will the Harvard/UNC Cases at the Supreme Court Transform U.S. Higher Education?

Flipped Ath

Richard Sander, a law and economics professor at UCLA, examined how restricting the use of race as an admissions factor in American higher education would affect universities and minority student outcomes.

April 15 – Has Criminal Justice Reform Made Us Less Safe?

Saturday Salon

Lara Bazelon, professor of law and director of the Criminal Juvenile Justice and Racial Justice Clinical Programs at the University of San Francisco School of Law, joined Rafael Mangual, Nick Ohnell Fellow and Head of Research for the Policing and Public Safety Initiative at the Manhattan Institute, to discuss criminal justice reform approaches and perspectives.