March 27, 95

Vol. 10 , No. 09   

Strange Justice: The Selling of Clarence Thomas
MONDAY, MARCH 27, 1995

In Strange Justice The Selling of Clarence Thomas (1994), veteran Wall Street Journal investigative reporters Jane Mayer and Jill Abramson reveal that there was much to doubt about the character of Clarence Thomas and the veracity of his denials of Anita Hill's accusations. They also tell the full story of one of the most troubling episodes of our time: how the White House sold the Supreme Court justice nominee to the Congress, the media, and the American people.

Strange Justice documents the events of 1991 as the country's most private institution, its highest court of law, is set up for display and debate on national television. Abramson and Mayer have taken great pains to represent both sides of the issue. Drawing on hundreds of interviews and scores of previously unseen documents, Mayer and Abramson demonstrate that the political machinations that assured Thomas's ascension to the court went far beyond what emerged during the hearings. The authors also describe the results of their exhaustive investigation into Hill's allegations: the way they came to light, the Judiciary Committee's handling of them, and the allegations of others who were willing but not permitted to testify.

Jill Abramson visits the Athenaeum to explore aspects of the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings. As the Wall Street Journal's deputy bureau chief in Washington, D.C., Abramson supervises 40 reporters and editors and helps to direct the newspaper's coverage of an array of foreign policy and domestic issues. She joined the newspaper in 1988 as a reporter covering legal issues and, in 1990, moved to the Journal's political team as an investigative reporter covering money and politics. Two years later Abramson won the National Press Club's top prize for political reporting, the National Correspondence Award, for a series of articles about the role of money and prominent lobbyists in the Bush and Clinton campaigns.

Winemaking in California

The adobe archway, reminiscent of old Mexican missions, welcomes visitors to the Robert Mondavi Winery. The winery was founded by Robert Mondavi and his older son Michael in 1966. They were later joined by Robert Mondavi's second son, Timothy, and his daughter, Marcia, in the operations of the vineyard. It is the family's desire to build a facility dedicated to creating world-class wines. By implementing the newest technologies and maintaining the best that tradition has to offer, the Robert Mondavi Winery has subsequently won international acclaim. At the same time, the winery serves as an ambassador for California wines and the art of winemaking itself.

In the past thirty years the winery has expanded to include the production of California varietals under the label Woodbridge. The creation of Opus One in 1979 marked an unprecedented partnership with the renowned Baron Philippe de Rothschild joining the expertise of Bourdeaux and California winemaking. Since 1993, the winery has been publicly traded on NASDAQ.

Michael Mondavi is president of the Robert Mondavi Winery. An active community member, Mondavi serves with many organizations involved in the wine industry and devotes his time to the Queen of the Valley Hospital and Napa Valley Symphony Association. For services in the health and social aspects of wine, Mondavi received an American Heart Association award in 1993.

A special meal is being prepared using recipes from California Wine Country Cooking (1991). Reservations for the dinner are open to students, faculty, and staff from CMC only. The talk, which begins at 6:45 p.m., is open to all with no reservations required.

Making a Mark: The Psychology of Greatness

What do Madonna, Confucius, and Jackie Robinson have in common? What does it take to go down in history as a great political leader? Why do revolutions occur, riots break out, and lynch mobs assemble?

Dean Keith Simonton's book, Greatness: Who Makes History and Why (1994), offers a comprehensive examination of the important personalities and events that have influenced the course of history. It discusses whether people who go down in history are different from the rest of us; whether specific personality traits predispose certain people to become world leaders, movie stars, scientific geniuses, or athletes, while others are relegated to ordinary lives. Greatness embeds psychological topics in the larger contexts of science, art, politics, and history to essentially define a new interdisciplinary field of study: the psychology of history.

Simonton graduated Phi Beta Kappa and magna cum laude from Occidental College. After receiving his Ph.D. from Harvard, he joined the psychology faculty at UC Davis. He has published over 100 journal articles on psychology and leadership, as well as five books and 20 book chapters. In 1994 his professional dedication and accomplishments earned him the prestigious UC Davis Prize for Teaching and Scholarly Achievement.

Simonton visits the Athenaeum thanks to the sponsorship of the Kravis Leadership Institute and the department of psychology.

40,000 Year Plague: A Natural History of Human-Induced Extinction

Ross MacPhee has spent much of the last ten years studying global patterns of animal extinction. He uses the extinction histories of islands as test cases to forecast and explain the forces leading to global extinctions. As part of this work MacPhee has collaborated since 1990 with scientists from the Museo Nacional de Historia Natural in Havana, Cuba, on numerous projects that have provided new clues to the origin and extinction of much of the vertebrate biota of the West Indies. MacPhee specializes in studying the role that humans have played in inducing extinctions during the last 40,000 years and is considered an expert on this complex issue. MacPhee received his Ph.D. from the University of Alberta. Before he joined the American Museum of Natural History in 1988, he was associate professor in the department of anatomy at Duke. He was appointed chairman of the museum's department of mammalogy in 1994, and is an adjunct professor at both SUNY Stony Brook and the CUNY Graduate School.

This lecture is sponsored by the Robert's Environmental Center.

Seeing War Through Women's Eyes

It is a time of war. At the front lines in Bosnia and Afghanistan film is rolling, featuring a vital yet frequently overlooked aspect of battle: that is, the female component. In 1994 Shelley Saywell released No Man's Land: Women Frontline Journalists, a documentary film that follows women journalists, their perspectives, and their war experiences. The documentary won a 1994 Golden Sheaf Award and will open this year's Rocky Mountain Women's Festival.

A native of Toronto, Saywell first became interested in women at war while she worked on the internationally acclaimed 13-hour series "Vietnam: The Ten-Thousand-Day War (1980)." A book soon followed titled Women in War: First-Hand Accounts from World War II to El Salvador (1985). Two years after the release of her book in 1985, Saywell teamed up with a close friend and cinematographer, Deborah Parks, to produce and direct her first independent documentary film, Shaira (1987). They subsequently formed Bishari Film productions. Saywell has produced and field-directed over 50 hours of Canadian independent-documentary productions. She has been a contributing author on a number of books, including Ourselves Among Others (1989) and Women in the Military (1982).

Saywell will introduce her documentary film No Man's Land and lead discussion after the viewing.

Political and Economic Reforms in Mexico

An intriguing political system presides over much of national life in Mexico. It has helped to create both triumphs and difficulties (some would say disasters), the effects of which reach deeply into the lives of most Mexicans. As a political adviser to President Ernesto Zedillo, Federico Estevez is well acquainted with the workings of that political system. He works with Zedillo's advisory staff during a time when struggles have arisen inside the dominant political party (PRI) over whether policies for the selection of candidates, the administration of elections, and the use of presidential power will be drastically changed. These struggles are related in important ways to the far-reaching economic reforms of the last six years which, in turn, are related to the emergence of NAFTA in which Mexico is a partner with the United States and Canada. Many believe that the ongoing rebellion in southern Mexico, the free-fall of the peso, and large street demonstrations are part of the fallout from the ways in which the political system has handled deep economic reforms.

Federico Estevez is a political scientist trained at Stanford and UCLA. Since 1983, he has been professor of social sciences at ITAM, the Instituto Technologico Autonomo de Mexico in Mexico City. Before that he taught at the University of the Americas in Puebla and held advisory positions in the ministries of finance and of programming and budget. His principal research affiliation has been with the Center for Economic Analysis and Research in Mexico City, and he publishes regularly on Mexican politics and other domestic issues in the Center's Monthly Report on the Mexican Economy and in other Mexican journals. He recently completed a year as visiting fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C., where he worked on issues related to the politics of NAFTA.

This visit to the Athenaeum by Professor Estevez is sponsored by the Keck Center for International and Strategic Studies.

Dinner Theater
Play On! by Rick Abbot
Thursday-Saturday, April 6-8, 1995

A Special Notice to the CMC Community

Claremont McKenna College's theater group Under the Lights presents its seventh foray into dinner theater at the Marian Miner Cook Athenaeum. Join the cast and crew of Rick Abbot's Play On! (1980) as they attempt to perform "Murder Most Foul," a conspicuously funny murder mystery by an overzealous local author. Through last minute rewrites, missed cues, and an overly aggressive crew, the cast battles to even reach the hilarious final curtain. Don't miss this opportunity to see the unpolished side of theater-it may not be what you expect!

Claremont Colleges students, faculty, and staff No Charge
Community guests $13.50 per person

Seating will be festival style and is limited. Sign up as soon as possible, circling your first, second, and third choice of date. You will be contacted if your first choice reservation date is unavailable.

McKenna Lecture on International Trade and Economics

The Economic Aspects of Democratization in Europe
MONDAY, APRIL 10, 1995

Jeffrey Sachs is described by The New York Times as "probably the most important economist in the world." By 1989, the year the Soviet bloc disintegrated, he was already helping Poland devise a plan for economic "shock therapy." Two years later, this unabashed purveyor of free-market capitalism was invited to lead a team into Russia to resuscitate an ailing economy. With former communist hardliners creeping back to power, Sachs recently resigned his position as adviser to President Boris Yeltsin.

Governments in Latin America, Eastern Europe, the former Soviet states, and Asia have employed Sachs's economic expertise, as have the IMF, the World Bank, the OECD, and the United Nations Development Program. In Time magazine's recent feature of 50 promising young leaders he was hailed as "the world's best-known economist," and for good reason. Sachs's role in the formation of the new world order is indisputable.

Sachs received his B.A. summa cum laude from Harvard, later earning an M.A. and Ph.D. He joined the Harvard faculty in 1982 and is the Galen L. Stone Professor of International Trade. His published works, including Economics of Worldwide Stagflation (1985), Peru 's Path to Recovery: A Plan for Economic Stabilization and Growth (1991), The Transition in Eastern Europe (1994), and Poland's Jump to the Market Economy (1994) solidify his position as the best-known economist at work today. His visit to the Athenaeum represents the first annual McKenna Lecture on International Trade and Economics sponsored by Donald McKenna and the Philip McKenna Foundation.

A Poet Reads from His Work


-When I die, I will see the lining of the world.
The other side, beyond bird, mountain, sunset.
The true meaning, ready to be decoded.
What never added up will add up,
What was incomprehensible will be comprehended.

-And if there is no lining to the world?
If a thrush on a branch is not a sign,
But just a thrush on the branch? If night and day
Make no sense following each other?
And on this earth there is nothing except this earth?

-Even if that is so, there will remain
A word wakened by lips that perish,
A tireless messenger who runs and runs
Through interstellar fields, through the revolving galaxies,
And calls out, protests, screams.

-Translated by the author and Robert Hass from Provinces, Ecco Press, 1991.

In 1978 Joseph Brodsky wrote: "I have no hesitation whatsoever in stating that Czeslaw Milosz is one of the greatest poets of our time, perhaps the greatest." Seventeen years later Brodsky's view has changed only in that he no longer says "perhaps." For Brodsky, his fellow Nobel Laureate "is absolutely unequaled by any writer in our civilization in the past half-century, a poet in whom the lyrical and the revelatory seamlessly combine-the rarest of occurrences in our line of work."

Milosz was born in 1911 in Szetejnie, Lithuania. His childhood world was broken by World War I when his father Alexander, a road engineer, was recruited by the Czar's army. Milosz and his mother accompanied his father on dangerous bridge-building expeditions near Russian battle zones. The family returned to Lithuania in 1918. Milosz had a rigorous formal education in Wilno, the capital of Polish Lithuania. In his early twenties he published his first volume of poems, A Poem on Frozen Time (1933).

The Soviet regime in Wilno eventually forced Milosz to flee the city of his youth to Nazi-occupied Warsaw, where he joined the resistance. Milosz's anthology of anti-Nazi poetry, The Invincible Song (1942), was published by underground presses in Warsaw, where he also wrote "The World (A Naive Poem) (1943)" and the cycle Voices of Poor People (1943).

The end of the war brought more dislocation. Milosz worked as a cultural attache of the Polish communist government, serving in both New York and Washington over a period of years. He broke with the Polish government in 1951 and sought political asylum in France, even though it meant virtual disconnection from Polish readers. His ten years in France found him at odds with the strongly pro-socialist and communist intellectual community. He wrote two novels during this period, Seizure of Power (1952) and The Issa Valley (1955), as well as his most famous book, The Captive Mind (1953), a study of the dangerous appeal of totalitarian thought, along with portraits of friends who had been seduced by it. Banned in Poland, Milosz's poetry was published in Paris by the Instytut Literacki.

Milosz moved yet further west when, in 1961, at age fifty, he became a professor of Slavic languages and literature at the University of California at Berkeley. Though an unknown member of a small department, he eventually became popular for his courses on Dostoyevsky and, to those outside the university, as a translator of the poems of Zbigniew Herbert. Milosz's Selected Poems (1968) were not published in English until 1973. In 1978 his collection Bells in Winter appeared, and Milosz was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature. In 1981 he visited Poland for the first time in thirty years and in 1992 saw his native Lithuania again after a fifty-two year absence.

Since winning the Nobel Prize, Milosz has published many volumes of prose and poetry. His prose collections include Visions from San Francisco Bay (1969), Beginning with My Streets (1973), The Land of Ulro (1977), and his Charles Eliot Norton lectures, The Witness of Poetry (1983). His Collected Poems, 1931-1987 appeared in 1988 and included portions of Unattainable Earth (1984). It was followed most recently by another collection, Provinces (1991). A diary of the year 1988, A Year of the Hunter, was published in 1994 and another volume of poetry, Facing the River (1995), has just appeared.

After the Wall: Germany, the Germans, and the Burdens of History

From a reporter's view of Germany after reunification, Marc Fisher focuses on the country's struggle with its history during a century of trauma and aggression. Fisher, staff writer in the style section of The Washington Post, is author of After the Wall: Germany, the Germans, and the Burdens of History (1995). This exploration of the new and lingering walls within German society stems from Fisher's four years as the Bonn and Berlin bureau chief of The Post, beginning with the dramatic events of autumn 1989.

Fisher has worked at The Post since 1987, when he covered D.C. city news. Previously, he was a staff writer at the Miami Herald, where he contributed reports in the local news and Sunday magazine sections. A former journalist in residence at the American Institute for Contemporary German Studies at Johns Hopkins University, Mr. Fisher also holds an honors degree in history from Princeton University.

Numerous journalism awards, including the 1993 Overseas Press Club award for best interpretation of foreign news and the Society of Professional Journalists award for best magazine writing, pay tribute to his mastery of foreign news coverage.

Stotsenberg Chamber Music Series

The Music of Henry Purcell and His Time

Nineteen ninety-five is "the Purcell year," commemorating the tercentenary of the death of England's musical genius Henry Purcell (1659-1695). During 20 active years Purcell composed five dramatic operas; music for more than 40 plays; over 20 odes and welcome songs for the courts; sacred songs; anthems and services; more than 100 solo songs; and assorted other vocal and instrumental music-all of the highest caliber.

Purcell grew up in the shadow of London's Westminster Abbey. Among his distinguished literary and musical neighbors were Dryden, Milton, Wren, and Pepys. His London also knew plague-Purcell was five when his father died and a few years later London was devastated by the Great Fire of 1666. With good connections, young Henry became a boy chorister at the Abbey. When his teacher-organist John Blow-resigned, Purcell became Abbey organist at the age of 17.

Nepotism and good luck worked hand-in-hand with talent as Purcell moved from steady job to steady job, even through successive and radically opposed monarchies. With a Catholic wife and court positions under Catholic sympathizer Charles II and confessed Catholic James II, he still kept his post at the Protestant Abbey. At the end of his life he held a post in the court of Protestants William III and Mary.

Music tumbled from Purcell-sacred or secular, political parody or personal tribute, elegant or bawdy-produced with style and flair, harmonic brilliance, and stunning inventiveness.

Cited as "a superstar among oratorio tenors" by the Wall Street Journal, Jeffrey Thomas's distinguished career includes performances as soloist or conductor throughout the United States, and in Austria, England, Mexico, Italy, Japan, and Germany. Thomas is the Artistic and Music Director of the American Bach Soloists, with whom he has recorded more than 25 cantatas, and several other major early music works. Currently Acting Music Director of the Dallas Bach Society and Director of the American Classical Soloists, he is also an instructor at UC Berkeley.

Director of the Musica Angelica Early Music Series, Michael Eagan has performed extensively throughout the United States and Europe. He performs and records with the American Bach Soloists and Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, and regularly appears with opera companies and chamber groups. Eagan composes for TV, stage, and film and was a recent recipient of the Henry Mancini Award for the Composition of Music for Motion Pictures and TV Films. The Los Angeles Guitar Quartet has recently recorded his first work for their ensemble.

A Claremont resident, Carol Herman teaches and performs in the Los Angeles area and on the West Coast on Baroque cello and viola da gamba. She has taught for USC, UCR, and CSLA, is a regular faculty member of early music workshops, and directs a yearly summer workshop for viols. She has performed and taught across the U.S., and in Canada, Mexico, England, Germany, Australia, and New Zealand. She has written two volumes of contemporary settings of Emily Dickinson poems, two method books for viols, and a booklet of humorous poems "of a musical nature."

This will be the final concert of the Stotsenberg Chamber Music Series.