February 10, 2014

Vol. 29 , No. 08   

Tzigane by Maurice Ravel (1875-1937)
Quatour pour la fin du temps (Quartet for the End of Time) by Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
JONAH KIM, cello

Ensemble San Francisco (ESF) was founded in early 2013 by clarinetist Roman Fukshansky and pianist Christine McLeavey Payne. This group of acclaimed musicians is committed to creating a fresh and exciting classical music concert style and expanding the love of classical music to new audiences. Athenaeum guests will now have a rare and wonderful opportunity to experience a performance of Quartet for the End of Time by Olivier Messiaen, as well as Tzigane for violin and piano by Maurice Ravel.

Completed in 1941 the Quartet for the End of Time was written during Messiaen’s imprisonment at the German prisoner-of-war camp “Stalag VIII-A.” With 3 fellow professional musicians finding themselves captive at the same camp, Messiaen orchestrated it for clarinet, violin, cello, and piano. It was premiered at the camp on January 15th, 1941 with Messiaen himself at the piano, and attended by approximately 400 prisoners and guards. The four prisoners took the stage, unveiling one of the greatest masterpieces of 20th century classical music. “Never have I been listened to with such attention and comprehension” writes Messiaen about the performance. Corinna Da Fonseca-Wollheim, a classical music correspondent for the Wall Street Journal, writes that Quartet for the End of Time is a “work of transcending beauty with moments of archangel-like severity…a compositional tour-de-force that encompasses medieval modes and Indian rhythmic cycles, birdsong transcriptions and bold orchestrations.”

Dedicated to and commissioned by the Hungarian violinist Jelly d’Aranyi, Tzigane had its premiere in London on April 26, 1924. The title Tzigane refers to a common European term for “gypsy.”

Selflessness versus Self-Realization: Motherhood Debates in the Twentieth Century
LUNCHEON 11:30 a.m.; PROGRAM 12:00 p.m.

Today, the debate over motherhood in U.S. seems inexhaustible. Commentators anxiously note women’s growing tendency to delay childbearing until they reach “advanced maternal age.” Journalists and bloggers write hyperbolically of “mommy wars” between stay-at-home mothers and those employed outside the home. Feminists decry the “motherhood penalty” that women with children suffer in the workplace, while conservatives argue that mothers’ lower wages reflect their own individual choices. Meanwhile, an endless stream of maternal memoirs contribute to the widespread sense that motherhood and childrearing have become highly vexed issues.

Yet heated debates over motherhood are by no means a new phenomenon. In Selflessness versus Self-Realization: Motherhood Debates in Twentieth-Century America, Rebecca Jo Plant will look back to the period prior to the mid-twentieth century, an era that many Americans now envision as a simpler time, when familial roles were more clearly defined. In fact, the cultural ideal of motherhood underwent a major shift in these decades, as Americans rethought some of their fundamental assumptions about what it meant to be a good mother. Previously imagined as an all-encompassing, life-long identity rooted in self-sacrifice, motherhood increasingly came to be seen as one component of a more multifaceted self – a source of personal fulfillment rather than suffering. In surprising ways, this new conception of motherhood helped to facilitate the rise of liberal feminism in the 1960s.

An associate professor in the History Department at the University of California, San Diego, Rebecca Jo Plant is the author of Mom: The Transformation of Motherhood in Modern America and the co-editor of Maternalism Reconsidered: Motherhood, Welfare, and Social Policies in the Twentieth Century.

Tragic Ethics

Paul Woodruf is a world-renowned classicist and philosopher, best known for his influential work on Socrates and Plato. As the Darrell K. Royal Professor in Ethics and American Society at the University of Texas, Austin, Professor Woodruff has written a number of acclaimed and fascinating books that apply the wisdom of the ancients to modern life. In The Ajax Dilemma (2011), Woodruff uses the legendary conflict between Ajax and Odysseus as an analytical lens to assess the fairness of lavish compensation granted to top executives in American culture. In The Necessity of Theatre: The Art of Watching and Being Watched (2008), Woodruff defined theatre (including sporting events and social rituals) in the broad terms of its fundamental necessity in society based on the culture of “spectacle” in the ancient world.

For his Athenaeum lecture, Professor Woodruff examines a particular strand of ethics in ancient Greek thought. The wisdom literature of ancient Greece developed over a period of four centuries, disseminating from epic poetry (such as Homer) to variant forms of literature such as tragedy, lyric poetry and the prose histories of Classical Greece. Despite its dispersion in a variety of literature, this tradition for explaining ethics to a wider audience maintained a common understanding of what constituted “the good life”. Plato, on the other hand, rejected this common approach to explaining ethics and Professor Woodruff’s lecture will tease both what tragedy taught a Greek audience about ethics and how and why Plato rejected this tradition.

Gender, Competition, and Leadership: America's Unusual Experiment
LUNCHEON 11:30 a.m.; PROGRAM 12:00 p.m.

Over the course of a long career in sports and education, Kathy DeBoer has seen numerous changes in the attitudes of men and women toward both athletic competition and workplace pursuits. In her talk at the Athenaeum, she will identify how the genders look at competitive activities in contrasting ways and offer insights into new paradigms for leadership.

Kathy DeBoer is the author of the book, Gender and Competition: How men and Women Approach Work and Play Differently, which examines detailed suggestions on how men and women can communicate and understand their non-physical differences. James Baker Hall, a Professor of English at the University of Kentucky writes that, "Gender and Competition has some fine storytelling — crisp, dramatic, intense, deeply felt and understood. It's a very readable book, written from long experience and with keen intelligence."

DeBoer is a frequent speaker on campuses, as well as, to business and industry groups about keys to effective communication across and within groups of women and men. DeBoer is currently the executive director of the American Volleyball Coaches Association, a position she has held since 2006. She has also worked as a college coach, a fund raising professional, and a government appointee. DeBoer served as an advisor to the USA National Team from 1988 to 1996 and assisted with the 1996 Olympic Volleyball Team. She was also a member of the NCAA Management Council and served for 10 years as the chief fund raising officer of the University of Kentucky Athletics Association.

Ms. DeBoer’s visit is sponsored by members of the Women and Leadership Alliance including: Applied Women’s Studies at Claremont Graduate University, The Berger Institute for Work, Family, and Children, the Center for Writing and Public Discourse, CMS Athletics, the Dean of Students Office, Kravis Leadership Institute, Intercollegiate Feminist Center for Teaching, Research, and Engagement, the Marian Miner Cook Athenaeum, and the Robert Day School of Economics and Finance.

What Makes Great Art Great?

Steven Falk P’14 is a notable painter whose work has appeared in juried exhibitions and galleries throughout California, in New York City, and internationally at the United States Embassy in Uruguay. He is currently the city manager of Lafayette, CA, where he has served for twenty-five years. From his experience as an artist and public official, Falk has a unique perspective on the role of public art instillations should play in society. Falk received a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Reed College, and a Masters in Public Policy from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard.br As this year’s annual Parents Weekend guest speaker, Falk will discuss what makes great art great, where inspiration comes from, and what this means for artists and the creatively inspired. The artists that Falk discusses will range from Michelangelo to Eminem.

Balancing Environmental Sustainability, Costs and Politics – Water and Power for Los Angeles
LUNCHEON 11:30 a.m.; PROGRAM 12:00 p.m.

Ron Nichols stepped down as General Manager of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power at the end of January 2014. For the past three years, Nichols has managed the utility in providing reliable and competitively priced water and electricity while continuing to expand and implement environmentally conscious policies and priorities. Nichols has guided a major transformation at LADWP to more strategic and sustainable water and power supplies to meet the needs of the 4 million residents, businesses and governmental organizations in Los Angeles. In the next 2 decades, LADWP will cut its reliance on imported purchased water in half through increased conservation, reclaiming contaminated ground water, more storm water capture and expanded recycled water projects.

Nichols’ Athenaeum presentation is the first in a series on Environmental Leadership sponsored by the Roberts Environmental Center and the Kravis Leadership Institute. Subsequent lunch speakers include Felicia Marcus, Chair, State Water Resources Control Board on March 11th, Mary Nichols, Chair, California Air Resources Board on April 15th and Thomas Steyer, Climate Change Activist on April 22nd.

An Odyssey: A Father, a Son, and an Epic

Daniel Mendelsohn is an award-winning writer, critic, author, and professor. Most recently, he is the author of the international bestseller The Lost: A Search for Six of Six Million, which won the National Books Critics Circle Award and the National Jewish Book Award in the United States, the Prix Médicis in France, among many other honors, and has been published in over fifteen languages. In a review for The New York Times, author Ron Rosenbaum writes of the book, “It is one story, and yes, “the Holocaust is so big.” But Daniel Mendelsohn has invented a unique way of making it, once again, all too real.”

Mendelsohn’s other books include a memoir entitled, The Elusive Embrace (1999), a New York Times Notable Book of the year and a Los Angeles Times Best Book of the Year; a collection of his reviews, How Beautiful It Is and How Easily It Can Be Broken (2008), a Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year; and an acclaimed two-volume translation of the poetry of C. P. Cavafy (2009), also a Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year. He is also the author of Waiting for the Barbarians: Essays from the Classics to Pop Culture (New York Review Collections), a collection of essays and reviews on everything from Avatar and the Titanic to Susan Sontag’s Journals.

Daniel Mendelsohn was born on Long Island and educated at the University of Virginia and at Princeton. Since 1991 his essays and reviews have appeared in many publications, most frequently in The New Yorker and The New York Review of Books. He has also been the weekly book critic for The New Yorker and a frequent contributor to The New York Times Book Review, and is presently a Contributing Editor at Travel + Leisure.

Daniel Mendelsohn’s honors include a Guggenheim Fellowship, the National Book Critics Circle Citation for Excellence in Book Reviewing, and the George Jean Nathan Prize for Drama Criticism. In 2008 he was named by The Economist as one of the best critics writing in the English language. Daniel Mendelsohn lives in New York City and teaches at Bard College.

Professor Mendelsohn is visiting CMC this semester as a Podlich Distinguished Fellow. The Podlich Distinguished Fellows Program was founded by Claremont McKenna College alumnus and trustee William F. Podlich in 1998 to enrich the College intellectually by bringing preeminent figures in scholarship, business, and public affairs to campus for extended visits.

Why is Climate Change Always 'Worse Than We Thought'?

Patrick Michaels is the director of the Center for the Study of Science at the Cato Institute. Throughout his career, Michaels has held many important roles in the field of climate science. Immediately prior to his work at the Cato institute, Michaels was the president of the American Association of State Climatologists. He was also a research professor of Environmental Sciences at the University of Virginia for thirty years, and was a contributing author to the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007. Much of Michaels’ work has been published in major climate science journals, and he is a regular contributor to Forbes, writing about the interface of public science and public policy.

Michaels is well known amongst established climatologists for his vocal criticism of the conventional scientific narrative on climate change and global warming. According to Michaels, the data behind climate change is not as conclusive as the majority of climatologists suggest. Michaels received A.B. and S.M. Degrees in biological sciences and plant ecology from the University of Chicago, and has a Ph.D. in ecological climatology from the University of Wisconsin Madison.

Dr. Michaels’ visit to campus is jointly sponsored by the Athenaeum and the Salvatori Center for Individual Freedom in the Modern World. His lecture is the first in a semester-long series of presentations focusing on environmental leadership. Included in this series will be a talk on Wednesday, March 12th, by Dr. Benjamin Santer, climate researcher at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

The Warrior State: Pakistan in the Contemporary World

Why, when countries across the developing world are experiencing rapid economic growth and building durable democratic institutions, has Pakistan been such a conspicuous failure? This is the central question of Professor T.V. Paul’s latest book, The Warrior State: Pakistan in the Contemporary World, in which the author draws on history, international relations, religious studies, and sociology to analyze Pakistan’s national security predicament. Paul argues that Pakistan’s role at the center of major geopolitical struggles such as, between the United States and the Soviet Union and in the post-9/11 War on Terror has prevented Pakistan’s progress in economic growth and democratic stability. According to Publisher’s Weekly, "Paul lucidly and comprehensively explains the historical circumstances that led to 'a dearth of strong political leaders or political parties with a deep democratic sense of commitment' and created incentives for Pakistan's elite to pursue irresponsible policies... This sobering study will appeal to anyone interested in the region."

T.V. Paul is James McGill Professor of International Relations in the Department of Political Science at McGill University, Montreal, and a leading scholar of international security, regional security, and South Asia. He was a founding director of the McGill/University of Montreal Center for International Peace and Security Studies (CIPSS) during 2009-12.

A prolific author prior to the publication of The Warrior State, Paul penned 14 books including: Status in World Politics (co-edited, Cambridge University Press, 2014); Globalization and the National Security State (co-authored, Oxford University Press, 2010); The Tradition of Non-use of Nuclear Weapons (Stanford University Press 2009); India in the World Order: Searching for Major Power Status (co-authored, Cambridge University Press 2002); The India-Pakistan Conflict: An Enduring Rivalry (Cambridge University Press, 2005); and South Asia’s Weak States: Understanding the Regional Insecurity Predicament (Stanford University Press 2010).


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