February 9, 98

Vol. 13 , No. 07   

Creating an Information Age Government

As the last presidential election indicated, the Internet is becoming a prominent venue for political speech and campaigns. Bob Dole announced the address for the Republican website during his television debate with Bill Clinton [although he did get the address wrong], and the sites of both parties garnered excellent reviews for their content and presentation. Even though few people received a significant amount of information on the candidates in the 1996 election through the Internet, Morley Winograd argues in Taking Control: Politics in the Information Age (1996) that a new constituency of "wired workers" will inevitably grow in strength and transform the electorate. His insights in this influential tract flowed directly from his own experience over the last twenty-five years in the worlds of information technology and politics.

Winograd recently joined the staff of the Vice-President as Senior Policy Advisor and Director of the National Performance Review. Prior to joining Al Gore's staff, Mr. Winograd served as the Western Region Sales Vice President for AT&T's Commercial Markets Division. He began his career in the communications industry in 1979 as an employee of Michigan Bell, and advanced through a series of jobs at Michigan Bell and AT&T. His innovative approach to sales and his creation of the AT&T University of Sales Excellence program won national recognition in Peter Block's book, Stewardship (1993), and Stan Davis and Jim Botkin's book, The Monster Under the Bed (1994). His method involves empowering sales teams to increase the success of each customer's business.

Prior to joining Michigan Bell, Winograd was chairman of the Michigan Democratic Party from 1973 to 1979, and president of the Association of State Democratic Chairs from 1979 to 1980. In 1996, Winograd helped to found the Institute for the New California, a think tank devoted to aligning the state's governing systems with the requirements of the information age.

Mr. Winograd combines broad experience in both politics and information technology to offer a unique and invaluable perspective on the future role of the Internet in public policy determination. His discussion at the Athenaeum will focus on these new trends and how federal, state, and local governments must adapt to take full advantage of these new technologies.

Extraterrestrial Environment: Mars Explorer Project

The Martian environment has much in common with that of earth: the day is about 24 hours long; the axial tilt of the planet is similar to that of earth, so the sun changes angles with the seasons in the same way; there are severe dust storms that can blot out the sun; and, like earth, the weather in the southern hemisphere is more extreme than in the northern one because Mars is closer to the sun during the southern summer and farther away from the sun during the southern winter. Unlike earth, though, 25% of the atmosphere falls as snow near the south pole each winter, and the gaseous layer is not nitrogen and oxygen and water-it's C02-and, of course, Mars is colder. All of this is crucial information for the designer of a Mars probe that relies on solar energy for power.

Dale Burger, a graduate of Caltech, has worked for 20 years at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena and is the engineer who determined the availability of solar energy for the Mars Pathfinder project. He then designed the systems to convert that energy into electric power to operate the highly successful exploratory vehicle and was in the control room on July 4, 1997 and for the ensuing month to troubleshoot problems.

Dale Burger comes to the Athenaeum as part of a short series on extraterrestrial environments sponsored by the Roberts Environmental Center of which he is a director. As part of this presentation, he will show 3-D slides of the surface of Mars. Glasses will be provided.

A Perspective on the Historiography of African Americans

0n the morning of June 28, 1839, La Amistad (Friendship) set sail from Havana, beginning an adventure of farreaching historical consequences. On board the little schooner were 53 Africans who had been abducted from West Africa and sold in violation of international law. Their intended fate was enslavement on plantations down the coast from Havana.

The Africans revolted and after two months, the ship was brought by northerly winds and currents to Long Island. The Africans were jailed and charged with piracy and murder. In New York City a group of Christian abolitionists, headed by Lewis Tappan, formed a defense committee. Roger Sherman Baldwin, with help from President John Quincy Adams, took the case to the U.S. Supreme Court, which ruled the Africans were free.

Professor Clifton Johnson, founder and Executive Director Emeritus of the Amistad Research Center at Tulane University, having researched and documented this seminal event in American history, served as historical consultant to Steven Spielberg's film Amistad (1997). Johnson has focused his scholarly research on the history of African Americans in general and abolitionism in particular and has made significant contributions to this area through his numerous professional publications and service on boards and special committees, including the National Urban League, the American Civil Liberties Union, NAACP, and the Organization of American Historians.

Johnson received his B.A. and Ph.D. in American history from the University of North Carolina and has taught at Fisk University, University of New Orleans, and Tulane University.

Professor Johnson will comment on the historical context of the DreamWorks film Amistad, as well as discuss the evolution of the study of African American history since the 1960s.

Year of the Tiger, Silk and Bamboo Music Ensemble

According to the Chinese zodiac, a person born in the Year of the Tiger is brave and courageous and is ready for any challenge. Nothing can tame his adventurous and rebellious spirit. He is a rebel against authority, often championing liberal causes. A supreme optimist, he pursues his goals with fierce intensity. He commands respect from those around him. He is a born leader, and although he suffers from bouts of indiscipline and is obstinate, stubborn, and a hot-head, he often displays overwhelming generosity and draws people with his irresistible magnetism. He is likable through his usually well-mannered behavior and has a vibrant and playful personality. The tiger, to the ancient Chinese, was the king of beasts. The ferocious animal was the first to be the mount of holy personages. Later, the Tiger Lord itself was worshipped-thought to impart protection and virility to adherents.

Please join the Athenaeum in greeting the new Year of the Tiger with a presentation by the Silk and Bamboo Music Ensemble. The ensemble, led by Dr. Shen Sin-yan, is a premier chamber music group based in Chicago and is internationally known for its classical repertoire and performances based on tonal interests and just intervals. Members of Silk and Bamboo have been invited to lecture and perform in China, Italy, Japan, and India. The ensemble is named after the ancient tradition of silk strings and bamboo winds, utilizing varied numbers of strands of silk fiber for lute and fiddle strings, and bamboo air columns for reeded winds.

Reservations for the traditional New Year meal are for CMC persons only. However, the concert at 6:45 p.m. is open to all.

Birth Order, Family Dynamics, and Creative Lives: From Darwinian Evolution to World History

Reaching a compromise between the two age-old opposing forces that would explain human behavior-environmental factors and factors innate from birth-Frank Sulloway shows that birth order is so fundamental to the development of personality that it transcends gender, social class, nationality, and time. At the heart of the inquiry is an elemental insight into human behavior: that individuals raised in the same family are often no more similar in personality than those from different families. Among the most important sibling differences, firstborns are inclined to defend the status quo, whereas laterborns tend to react against it. This finding provides a new way to examine scientific revolutions, as well as major episodes of political and social change. In conjunction with family niches, sibling competition is a primary engine that drives personality development as well as world history.

Frank Sulloway is a Research Scholar at MIT in the program in Science, Technology, and Society. He has a Ph.D. in the history of science from Harvard University and is a former MacArthur Fellow. His book Freud, Biologist of the Mind: Beyond the Psychoanalytic Legend (1979) provides a radical reanalysis of the origins and validity of psychoanalysis. It received the Pfizer Award of the History of Science Society. Dr. Sulloway has written about the nature of scientific creativity and, in this connection, has published extensively on the life and ideas of Charles Darwin. For the last two decades, Dr. Sulloway has also employed evolutionary theory to understand how family dynamics affect personality development, including that of creative geniuses. His most recent book is Born to Rebel: Birth Order, Family Dynamics, and Creative Lives (1996). Dr. Sulloway's findings in this book have been featured on a variety of national television shows including the ABC Evening News with Peter Jennins, Nightline with Ted Koppel, and the Today show.

The Enlargement of NATO and European Security

Central Europe's transition from communism to democracy provides one of the most intriguing and important examples of social change in the latter nineteenth century. While this tortuous transformation is all encompassing for the countries in Central Europe, its reverberations have been felt the world over, as the entire globe adjusts its foreign policy assumptions and objectives.

Jiri Dienstbier has had extensive personal experience with this transformation and its international effects. From 1989 to 1992 Dienstbier served as Czechoslovakia's Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister. He was among the first 250 signatories of Charter 77 and twice its spokesman. In 1979 he was sentenced to three years in prison together with Vaclav Havel and other members of the Committee for the Defense of the Unjustly Persecuted. During the 20 years from the Soviet occupation of 1968 until the fall of the Communist regime in 1989, he published journals in Samizdat and wrote articles and essays for the foreign press on domestic and especially foreign policy. He was one of the prominent Czech intellectuals who interpreted Charter 77 and who, under the leadership of Vaclav Havel, were preparing the political changes that led to the removal of the communist system in Czechoslovakia.

Among his many publications are the books, Indonesia: From Sukarno to Suharto (1967), Radio Against the Tanks: On Civil Defense Against the Soviet Occupation (1988), and Dreaming of Europe (1990). He is currently a visiting professor at Claremont Graduate University and guest lecturer at Claremont McKenna College.

Gospel Choirs: Psalms of Survival in an Alien Land Called Home

A prominent legal interpretive method, called Critical Race Theory, argues that as long as our legal system is premised upon the claim to knowledge of objective truths and the existence of neutral principles then the subjective truth for minorities, communicated through their own discourse, will continue to be ignored. Real justice, it is argued, cannot be achieved unless neutral principles are abandoned, and sociological data and realism are embraced. Professor Derrick Bell is a leading proponent of Critical Race Theory and has been unafraid to speak out on perceived injustices based upon his understanding of group rights.

In 1990, Professor Derrick Bell took a leave of absence without pay in protest over Harvard's failure to grant tenure to the law school's only African-American female law professor. Two years later, Harvard demanded that Professor Bell return or lose his post, and Bell, pointing out that Harvard had not yet given an African-American woman professor tenure, decided to remain at New York University Law School, where he is a visiting professor.

Derrick Bell's career includes work in the late fifties with the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department and work on the legal team at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, where he was recruited by Thurgood Marshall. Assigned to Mississippi in the midst of the civil rights movement, Bell represented blacks in hundreds of suits aimed at dismantling legal segregation in schools and public facilities.

In 1973, Bell authored Race, Racism and American Law, which is now in its third edition and has become a standard law school text. His book entitled Gospel Choirs: Psalms of Survival in an Alien Land Called Home (1953) is about the future of black people in a time of great, transformative economic change, change that has already done dramatic damage to black communities over the last two decades. In his Athenaeum appearance, Professor Bell will be reading excerpts from this book, interspersed with gospel songs sung by the First AME Church of Los Angeles. Among the gospel favorites to be performed are "Nobody Knows the Trouble I See," and "Jesus is the Center of My Joy."

Please join us at the Athenaeum for an evening of song and inspirational readings.


We have just concluded a very successful semester, as indicated by positive feedback and increased attendance by both students and faculty. These special events at the Athenaeum provide the opportunity for you to meet and speak with our distinguished guests. Feel free to introduce yourself during the reception or sign up for the head table to share conversation over dinner with fellow students and the speaker for the evening.

Advance Notice
FRIDAY, APRIL 10, 1998

Painters, poets, sculptors, photographers, budding film producers-all are invited to submit your work for display at this annual Athenaeum event. Please contact Jon Baarsch, John Nelson, or Bonnie Snorturn if you are interested in participating.