Creating Capitalism in Eastern Europe: The Czech Case
THURSDAY, JANUARY 18, 2001
Vaclav Klaus is one of the most influential politicians in Eastern Europe, if not the most important
politician in the area of post-communist economic
transition. After two successful years as the first
non-Communist finance minister, Vaclav Klaus was elected
the Prime Minister of the Czech Republic and served until
1997. Although his center-right Civic Democratic Party did
not win as many votes as the Social Democratic Party in the
1998 parliamentary elections, Klaus nevertheless was appointed
Speaker of the Parliament, a position he holds to this day. In
addition, since March of 1996, he has been vice-chairman of
the European Democratic Union.
An anticommunist and a pro-market advocate for decades,
Klaus is well known for his application of neoliberal strategies
of economic reform to transition countries. Since Klaus has
remained in office longer than any of his counterparts in other
countries, he has been able to implement an aggressive strategy
of capitalist transformation, a strategy that for many years made
the Czech Republic the model case of postcommunist reform.
He was responsible for drafting the model of mass privatization
that was employed in one form or another in a dozen postcommunist countries.
A graduate of the Prague School of Economics in 1963,
Klaus studied international economic relations and international
trade. He has also worked for the Institute of Economics of
the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences and the Czechoslovak
Central Bank. Dr. Klaus is a member of the Mon Pelerin Society
and is the recipient of 19 international awards and 16 honorary
doctorates. He continues to be widely published in both his
homeland and around the world.
Vaclav Klaus's visit to CMC is cosponsored by the Res Publica
Society of Claremont McKenna College and the Marian Miner
Discovery of Earth's Earliest Fossils: Solution to Darwin's Dilemma
J. WILLIAM SCHOPF
MONDAY, JANUARY 22, 2001
In his magnus opus On the Origin of Species (1859),
Charles Darwin broached what he regarded to
be the most vexing problem facing his theory of
evolution: the complete lack of any fossil record
of life prior to the rise of shelly invertebrate animals that marks
the beginning of the Cambrian Period of geologic time (approximately 550 million years ago). This absence he described as
"inexplicable" and could be "truly urged as a valid
argument" against his all-embracing synthesis. For more than
100 years, the missing Precambrian history of life stood out as
one of the greatest unsolved mysteries in natural science. After
a century of trial and error, search and eventual discovery, life's
ancient roots have finally been uncovered. The documented
record of life has been extended to 3500 million years
ago, an age more than three-quarters that of the planet itself.
An immense early fossil record, unknown and assumed
unknowable, has been unearthed to reveal a microbe-dominated
evolutionary progression that stretches seven times farther into
the geologic past than had previously been thought. Life began
far earlier, and evidently evolved initially much farther and faster
than anyone had imagined.
Director of UCLA's Center for the Study of Evolution and
the Origin of Life and a member of the department of Earth
and Space Sciences, J. William Schopf received his undergraduate
training in geology at Oberlin College, Ohio, and in 1968 his
Ph.D. in biology from Harvard University. Discoverer of the
oldest fossils known, author of two books and editor of seven
volumes-including two prize-winning benchmark monographs
on early evolution as well as Cradle of Life (1999), selected by Phi Beta
Kappa as the outstanding science book of 1999-Schopf has
been honored at UCLA as a Distinguished Teacher, Faculty
Research Lecturer, and recipient of the university-wide Gold
Shield Prize for Academic Excellence. Professor Schopf is a
member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American
Philosophical Society and a fellow of the American Academy
of Sciences. Listed by Los Angeles Times Magazine as among
Southern California's most outstanding scientists of the 20th
century, he has twice been awarded Guggenheim Fellowships.
The David E. French Lectureship Fund sponsors Professor
Schopf's visit to CMC and lecture at the Athenaeum.
Development Lessons From the Past in a Non-Ergodic World
TUESDAY, JANUARY 23, 2001
How is it that, since Renaissance Europe, some
nations of the world managed to grow and
maintain great wealth while other countries
remained poor? Among the many economists,
social historians, and other social scientists who have tried to
explain the forces and conditions that precipitated the economic
emergence of the West are four who have addressed one or
another variant of this question for the better part of their lives:
Douglass North, Alfred Crosby, Nathan Rosenberg, and Robert
Higgs, who this spring will comprise an Athenaeum speakers
series entitled How the West Grew Rich. The series is sponsored
by the Family of Benjamin Z. Gould Center for Humanistic
Douglass C. North, corecipient of the 1993 Nobel Prize in
Economic Science, has, over a distinguished career spanning
more than 50 years, concentrated on the formation of political
and economic institutions, the consequences of these institutions,
and the performance of economies through time. Professor
North has taught at the University of Washington in Seattle,
where he spent 33 years; at Rice University, where he was
the Peterkin Professor of Political Economics; at Cambridge
University, as Pitt Professor of American Institutions; and at
Stanford, as Visiting Fellow of the Center for Advanced Studies
in the Behavioral Sciences and (currently) Senior Fellow at the
The author of more than 50 articles and eight books (including Economic Growth of the United States, 1790 to 1860 (1961), Growth
and Welfare in the American Past: A New Economic History (1966), and Structure and Change in
Economic History (1981)) , North has garnered virtually all of the
economic profession's major awards. In addition to winning the
Nobel Prize with colleague R.W. Fogel, North's honors include
election to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and
to the Fellowship of the British Academy. In 1992 he became
the first economic historian ever to win the highly prestigious
John R. Commons Award, and in 1996 was installed as the first
Spencer T. Olin Professor in the Arts and Sciences at Washington
University in St. Louis.
Conserving Endangered Species in the Era of Genomics
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 24, 2001
Emerging technologies in genomic sciences will
forever change the way biologists collect information and view the world. Information derived from
comparative genomics of diverse species, including
endangered species, will enrich our understanding of our own
human genetic makeup and its origins. Similarly, studies of
DNA sequences and gene expression can contribute to the
conservation effort for endangered species.
Oliver Ryder was among the first geneticists who, dedicated
to protecting endangered animals, pioneered the links now
bridging zoological parks and those working in the field to
conserve natural populations. In addition to his involvement
in preservation efforts involving such well-known species as
the California condor, giant panda, African rhino, and mountain
gorilla, Ryder has studied endangered species of the Southern
California bioregion, including the bighorn sheep, arroyo toads,
and the pronghorn antelope of the California peninsula.
Ryder completed his Ph.D. in biology at the University
of California, San Diego. Beginning his scientific career as a
research fellow with the Zoological Society of San Diego, he
advanced to the position of geneticist and subsequently was
awarded the Kleberg Chair in Genetics. Ryder manages a highly
productive genetics program that includes the Frozen Zoo-an
ever-expanding collection of fibroblast cells and DNA specimens-as well as the Zoological Society's efforts in molecular
genetic research and the genomic biology of endangered species.
The David E. French Lectureship Fund sponsors Dr.
Ryder's visit to CMC and lecture at the Athenaeum.
Year of the Snake, Draco Arts Golden Dragon Team
LUNAR NEW YEAR CELEBRATION
THURSDAY, JANUARY 25, 2001
Would you say that you were "born charming
and popular?" Do you consider yourself
a "spotlight magnet...(who) will not be ignored" and someone most people
are secretly or hopelessly in love with?" You snake, you!
Individuals born in 1917, 1929, 1941, 1953, 1965, 1977, 1989,
or 2001 are blessed with profound wisdom , elegance,
and charm. Diplomatic and popular, they are lucky with
money and will always have more than enough to survive.
Some famous Snakes include Oprah Winfrey, Bob Dylan, Reverend Jesse Jackson, Charles Darwin, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Pablo Picasso, Maya Angelou, Howard Stern, and Brad Pitt.
The Athenaeum will again host its annual Lunar New Year Celebration to recognize and celebrate the upcoming Year of
the Snake. The evening will include a multiple-
course meal, not only tasty but also rife with symbolic
meaning. There will be dishes to symbolize health, wealth,
and good fortune, and like the decorations, it is because
they are homophones with lucky words. For example, fish
symbolizes prosperity because the word for fish sounds the
same as the word for surplus (or profit) in Chinese. The
mustard green, which is known as chang-nian-cai "long-
year-vegetable" in some dialects naturally symbolizes longevity.
Members of the Draco Arts Golden Dragon Team will entertain dinner guests between courses with performances of the traditional Lion Dance as well as folk dances and songs.
Due to the popularity of this annual event, reservations are for CMC persons only.
How American National Identity Heralds a Post-National Age
MONDAY, JANUARY 29, 2001
In the early 1990s, when Rudolph Giuliani was
running against David Dinkins, New York's first
African-American mayor, Jim Sleeper's Daily News column was required reading for anyone curious
about the "post-rainbow" alliance that would drive Giuliani's
victory and others like it nationwide. Sleeper's landmark book,
The Closest of Strangers (1990), offered a sharp critique of New
York's mishandling of race-and did so from the left flank, not
the right. One review of his second book, Liberal Racism (1998),
credits him with "lifting the curtain on liberal racism's inconsistencies and hypocrisies."
Jim Sleeper attended Yale University and holds a doctorate
in education from Harvard. His writings on politics and civic
culture have appeared in The New Republic, The New Yorker,
The Washington Monthly, Harper's, and many other publications.
He appears frequently on The News Hour with Jim Lehrer,
Charlie Rose, and NPR's All Things Considered and Talk of
Since 1999 Sleeper has taught seminars at Yale on "new
conceptions of American national identity." Previously, he
taught urban studies and writing at Harvard and Queens
Colleges, New York University, and the Cooper Union, He
has served on numerous boards, including that of New York
Newsday, Dissent, and the New York Civil Rights Coalition.
Sleeper's lecture will focus on nationalism in the emerging
global order of the twenty-first century. It is not going to
disappear, but what will it mean? Will America provide a
model of civic nationalism that is classically liberal enough
to protect individual rights, yet capable of inspiring deep loyalty
and public trust?
Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith
TUESDAY, JANUARY 30, 2001
Anne Lamott writes, "I think a lot of us felt saved
by the written word when we were young. We
were redeemed by literature. So a lot of people
write, or dream of writing, because books have
been such a gigantic help, such a source of illumination and
pleasure." Through her words, both written and spoken, Lamott
has connected with people worldwide concerning subjects as
important as alcoholism, motherhood, and the search for faith.
All of Lamott's works take a very honest, humorous look at
the subject in question. She gives a real perspective that helps
people see humanity in all of its sadness, frustrations, joy, and
compassion. Her works both inspire and provoke people to
contemplate their own values. Lamott is the author of five
novels: Hard Laughter (1981), Rosie: A Novel (1983), Joe Jones (1985), All New People: A Novel (1989), and
Crooked Little Heart (1997). She has also written three bestselling works
of nonfiction: Operating Instructions: A Journal of My Son's First Year (1993), an account of life as a single
mother during her son's first year; Bird by Bird: Some Instruction
on Writing and Life (1995), a guide to writing and the challenge of a
writer's life; and Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith (2000), a collection of autobiographical essays on faith.
Lamott has been honored with a Guggenheim Fellowship and has taught at UC Davis and at writing conferences
across the country. Lamott's biweekly Salon Magazine online
diary "Word by Word" was voted The Best of the Web by
Time. Moreover, filmmaker Freida Mock has made
a documentary on Lamott entitled "Bird by Bird with
Annie" (1999). Lamott appears at the Athenaeum as part of the
series Women and Spirituality sponsored by the Gould Center for Humanistic Studies.
Celebrating the Birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: His Work, Implications for Our Time
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 31, 2001
Legendary civil rights leader Dorothy Cotton was the educational director for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) from 1960 to 1972 and a close associate of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.-accompanying King when he received the Nobel Prize for Peace in Norway. She helped orchestrate the SCLC's expanding protest activities including the Freedom Rides of 1961, voter registration drives and the Poor People's Campaign of 1968. In 1963 she became director of SCLC's Citizenship Education Program (CEP) which sought to increase literacy among black southerners in order to encourage them to register to vote and to participate in the political life of their communities. The program also trained local leaders in the ideology of nonviolent protest.
Currently Dorothy Cotton is a key partner with Civic Organizing Inc., through which she launched the National Citizenship School for the 21st century. Cotton serves as a valuable consultant to many organizations, schools and corporations on a variety of topics and projects addressing women's issues, race relations, nonviolence and multiculturalism. Honors she has received for her public work include a Doctor of Humane Letters from the University of New England an a Doctor of Humane Letters from Spelman College.
As a speaker, Cotton translates years of thought, learning, and experience into words and songs which bear messages of struggle and hope. With the gift of a storyteller, she breathes life into history, a history of which she was a vital part. She synthesizes the lessons from our history into a working vision for the future.
Dorothy Cotton is the Athenaeum's 14th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. speaker. Distinguished speakers participating in past celebrations have included Reverend Jesse Jackson, Myrlie Evers, James Farmer, Julian Bond, Reverend Wyatt Tee Walker, and Judge Constance Baker Motley.
The Campaign of 2000: Voting Behavior and Campaign Effects
in Mexico's Watershed Presidential Election
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 1, 2001
Mexico's presidential election of July 2, 2000
brought about the definitive end of the world's
oldest one-party regime. The outcome of this
momentous contest, however, was not inevitable.
Instead, the election turned on campaign influences such as
perceptions of the main candididates, debates, media coverage,
political advertisements, and get-out-the-vote drives. The result
was a decisive-and largely unexpected-victory by opposition
candidate Vicente Fox.
Professor Lawson, author of the forthcoming book Building
the Fourth Estate: Democratization and the Rise of a Free Press in Mexico
(University of California 2002), pioneered the use of panel survey
research in Mexico, a process of repeatedly interviewing the
same voters during and immediately following the 2000 presidential campaign.
Lawson directed a distinguished group of international
specialists in this innovative project, funded by a major grant
from the National Science Foundation in 1999. The initial
findings were presented at Harvard University in December, but
Lawson's Athenaeum talk is the first time these finding will be
presented in a general, public forum.
Professor Lawson, a graduate of Stanford University, served
as director of Inter-American Affairs on the National Security
Council before joining the MIT faculty.