Gould Center

Visiting Fellows & Speakers


Walesa: Man of Hope
Film Screening: Walesa: Man of Hope

Introduction by Mariusz Brymora, Consulate General of Poland
Wednesday, September 17
6:45 p.m.
Marian Miner Cook Athenaeum

Film Screening with Introduction by Mariusz Brymora, Consulate General of Poland

Please join us as we celebrate the 25th anniversary of the democratic revolution in Poland with a screening of the 2013 biographical film, Walesa: Man of Hope, directed by Academy Award winner Andrjez Wajda.

Lech Walesa was an electrician at the Gdansk Shipyards in the 1970s (then the Lenin Shipyards) who transformed into a trade-union activist, which earned him persecution by the Communist authorities at the time, termination, and, eventually, the co-founding of the Solidarity trade-union movement. In 1983 he was awarded the Nobel Peace prize, but did not accept it upon fear he would not be allowed back into his country. After multiple arrests under Martial law in Poland—which included banning of the Solidarity movement—Walesa was instrumental to the creation of the 1989 Round Table Agreement leading to Parliamentary elections in June of that year. In 1990, under the slogan, “I don’t want to, but I have no choice,” Walesa became the first democratically elected president of Poland. As president he oversaw privatization, Poland’s shift to a free market economy, and the removal of Soviet troops from Polish soil.

Walesa: Man of Hope chronicles the rise of a man whose leadership in the Polish democratic revolution sent ripples across the Iron Curtain, leading to the reunification of Germany and the dissolution of Yugoslavia. It follows a presidency marred by resentment of the privileges of Walesa’s position and fear that an uneducated electrician was not dignified enough to lead a country. The Guardian cites the film’s “terrific force and irresistible storytelling gusto,” and The Birmingham Mail calls it “the kind of superior biopic which actually makes you feel like you are there.”

The screening will be introduced by Mariusz Brymora, Consulate General of Poland.

Synopsis of the upcoming poster exhibition on September 17.


August Kleinzahler Book Cover
August Kleinzahler Reading

Thursday, September 18
6:45 p.m.
Marian Miner Cook Athenaeum

The Poet Reads from His Work

Please join us to hear August Kleinzahler read from his new book of poetry, The Hotel Oneira. From Publisher's Weekly: “Kleinzahler’s first since his new-and-selected Sleeping It Off in Rapid City (2008) finds the peripatetic, polymathic, and sometimes dyspeptic poet in terrific form . . . What stays, and what ought to impress any reader, are the range and the command that Kleinzahler has over so many flavors and kinds of American English.”

Kleinzahler was born in Jersey City, New Jersey, in 1949, and raised in Fort Lee, New Jersey. After graduating from the University of Victoria, he wrote a music column for the San Diego Reader before starting his career as an author, essayist, and poet. He is the author of ten books of poetry, including: The Strange Hours Travelers Keep (2004), winner of the International Griffin Poetry Prize; Live from the Hong Kong Nile Club: Poems: 1975-1990 (2000); Green Sees Things in Waves (1999); and Red Sauce, Whiskey and Snow (1995). He is also the author of the meditative memoir Cutty, One Rock: Low Characters and Strange Places, Gently Explained (2004).

His reputation as a divisive, opinionated figure was confirmed in 2004 when he wrote a scathing response to Garrison Keillor’s poetic taste on his NPR segment in Poetry Magazine. He critiqued Keillor for his persistent selection of only “anecdotal” and “wistful” poems.

Kleinzahler’s honors include a fellowship from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Lila Acheson-Reader’s Digest Award for Poetry, an Academy Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a Berlin Prize Fellowship, the Griffin International Poetry Prize, and the post of poet laureate in Fort Lee, New Jersey.

August Kleinzahler is a visiting lecturer in the department of literature as well as a Gould Fellow and Podlich Fellow.


Adam Michnik and Jonathan Bolton
Dissidents, Then and Now
A Conversation with Adam Michnik and Jonathan Bolton, Harvard University

Tuesday, October 28
12:00 p.m.
Parents Dining Room
Marian Miner Cook Athenaeum

During the Cold War, the dissident movements of Poland, Czechoslovakia, and Hungary helped shape the Western understanding of political protest in a closed society. Dissidents like Adam Michnik, Václav Havel, and György Konrád developed fundamental concepts of civil society, “living in truth,” and anti-politics, as well as perfecting mechanisms of underground publishing and building clandestine international networks with journalists, academics, and human rights activists.

How have “dissidents” and “dissent” changed since the fall of Communism in 1989? Does the history of Poland’s Solidarity movement or Czechoslovakia’s Charter 77 have anything to tell us about modern-day dissidents such as Pussy Riot or Ai Weiwei? Could the experience of East European dissidents in the 1970s and 1980s be relevant to opposition intellectuals today in China, Russia, or Iran? How have the Internet, social media, and the increasing prominence of global human-rights organizations changed the landscape of dissent in today’s world? Jonathan Bolton will lead a discussion with Adam Michnik on these and other issues, exploring the relevance of Cold War dissent to political opposition in the world today.

Adam Michnik is the founder and editor-in-chief of Gazeta Wyborcza, a daily often referred to as “The New York Times of Eastern Europe.” He is among Poland’s most prominent public figures, as a distinctive voice dedicated to dialogue, tolerance, and freedom. He was a leading figure in the 1968 student movement in Warsaw, a co-founder of KOR (Committee for the Defense of Workers) in 1976, and a prominent “Solidarity” activist in the 1980s.

Repeatedly detained by the Polish communist regime for his dissident activities, he spent a total of six years in prison between 1965 and 1986. In 1989, he participated in the Round Table Talks, which resulted in Poland’s nonviolent transition to democracy, and he served as a deputy in Poland’s first non-communist parliament (1989-1991).

Czech playwright and dissident Vaclav Havel first encountered Michnik in 1978 at a clandestine meeting on a mountaintop along the Polish-Czechoslovak border. The initial meeting of these two extraordinary thinkers who "plotted" democracy, and designed an effective peaceful strategy for dismantling authoritarian regimes in Central and Eastern Europe, resulted in a lifelong friendship and an extraordinary set of bold conversations conducted over the next two post-revolutionary decades. Yale University Press has just published a record of these conversations: "An Uncanny Era: Conversations Between Vaclav Havel & Adam Michnik."

Michnik is the author of several books and essays, analyses, and interviews (his selected works comprise 10 volumes). His articles have been translated into many languages and appeared in major international newspapers and periodicals. He has published five books in English, Letters from Prison (1987), The Church and the Left (1993), Letters from Freedom (1998), In Search of Lost Meaning (2011), and The Trouble with History (2013).

Michnik is the recipient of many prizes, honors, and honorary doctorates, including the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award, The Erasmus Prize, The Francisco Cerecedo Journalist Prize, The Goethe Medal, The Grand Prince Giedymin Order, Chevalier de la Legion d'Honneur, and the Order of the White Eagle – the highest distinction attainable in Poland. He has honorary doctorates from the New School for Social Research in New York, the University of Minnesota, University of Michigan, and Connecticut College, among others. He regularly travels throughout the world, giving lectures on democracy, totalitarianism, and the paradoxes and dilemmas of contemporary politics.

Jonathan Bolton is Professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures at Harvard University, where he teaches courses on Central European literature, history, and culture. His book Worlds of Dissent: Charter 77, The Plastic People of the Universe, and Czech Culture Under Communism (2012) combines approaches from history and literary studies to offer a new approach to the dissident movements in East Central Europe under Communism.


Adam Michnik
The Trouble With Democracy After Communism
Adam Michnik

Tuesday, October 28
6:45 p.m.
Marian Miner Cook Athenaeum

Adam Michnik is the founder and editor-in-chief of Gazeta Wyborcza, a daily often referred to as “The New York Times of Eastern Europe.” He is among Poland’s most prominent public figures, as a distinctive voice dedicated to dialogue, tolerance, and freedom. He was a leading figure in the 1968 student movement in Warsaw, a co-founder of KOR (Committee for the Defense of Workers) in 1976, and a prominent “Solidarity” activist in the 1980s.

Repeatedly detained by the Polish communist regime for his dissident activities, he spent a total of six years in prison between 1965 and 1986. In 1989, he participated in the Round Table Talks, which resulted in Poland’s nonviolent transition to democracy, and he served as a deputy in Poland’s first non-communist parliament (1989-1991).

Czech playwright and dissident Vaclav Havel first encountered Michnik in 1978 at a clandestine meeting on a mountaintop along the Polish-Czechoslovak border. The initial meeting of these two extraordinary thinkers who "plotted" democracy, and designed an effective peaceful strategy for dismantling authoritarian regimes in Central and Eastern Europe, resulted in a lifelong friendship and an extraordinary set of bold conversations conducted over the next two post-revolutionary decades. Yale University Press has just published a record of these conversations: "An Uncanny Era: Conversations Between Vaclav Havel & Adam Michnik."

Michnik is the author of several books and essays, analyses, and interviews (his selected works comprise 10 volumes). His articles have been translated into many languages and appeared in major international newspapers and periodicals. He has published five books in English, Letters from Prison (1987), The Church and the Left (1993), Letters from Freedom (1998), In Search of Lost Meaning (2011), and The Trouble with History (2013).

Michnik is the recipient of many prizes, honors, and honorary doctorates, including the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award, The Erasmus Prize, The Francisco Cerecedo Journalist Prize, The Goethe Medal, The Grand Prince Giedymin Order, Chevalier de la Legion d'Honneur, and the Order of the White Eagle – the highest distinction attainable in Poland. He has honorary doctorates from the New School for Social Research in New York, the University of Minnesota, University of Michigan, and Connecticut College, among others. He regularly travels throughout the world, giving lectures on democracy, totalitarianism, and the paradoxes and dilemmas of contemporary politics.


David Velleman
Morality Here and There: Kant Among the Sherpas
J. David Velleman

Monday, November 10, 2014
4:15 p.m.
Kravis Center, Freeburg Forum LC62

J. David Velleman is a Professor of Philosophy and Bioethics at New York University. He taught previously for more than twenty years at the University of Michigan.


Bruce McKenna

Fall 2014 Seminar
Literature 36: "The Art and Science of Adaption"
Monday 2:45-5:30 p.m.
Kravis 100

The Art and Science of Adaption

The course will use a variety of sources — historical nonfiction, biography, short stories, novels, articles, even other films — to teach the principles of screenwriting. The students will examine structure, character, dialogue, theme, narrative and spectacle through the lens of adapting the work and words of others. The course will involve reading source material and watching the film expressions of said work. Using a piece of material they will develop throughout the course, students will learn to adapt this work, first into into a short outline, then into a longer film treatment, and finally, they will be expected to produce a substantial portion of a finished screenplay.

Interested students should contact the Claremont McKenna Registrar's Office.

Bruce McKenna
Bruce McKenna, center, on the set of The Pacific miniseries, going over the script with Ashton Holmes, who plays PFC Sidney Phillips. Photo courtesy of HBO / Andrew Cooper.

Bruce C. McKenna is an award winning screenwriter and producer. He wrote on four of the ten episodes of HBO’s Emmy Award-winning mini-series Band of Brothers, for which he garnered a WGA Award, a Christopher Award and was a finalist for the Humanitas Prize, for his episode, "Bastogne." He created, co-wrote and co-executive produced The Pacific, the Emmy Award-winning epic ten-part miniseries for HBO, Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks on the Pacific Theater of the Second World War. In addition to winning a producing Emmy, McKenna was nominated for his second writing Emmy for Episode 10, was again a finalist for the Humanitas Prize, and garnered a Producer’s Guild Award, a Critic’s Choice Award, as well as the Marine Corp Heritage Foundation Bill Broyles Image Award.

McKenna was among the first Western journalists to write about the nascent post-Soviet, anti-Semitic movement Pamyat, for Arete Magazine. He penned additional articles on Eastern Europe and Pakistan for Arete Magazine as well as The National Review (for which he interviewed Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto). His first book, The Pena Files — the true story of the world’s highest-paid private investigator, Octavio Pena, the only man to ever successfully infiltrate both the Mafia and the IRS — was published by Harper Collins.

McKenna has sold several original pitches and his written numerous studio film assignments, including the adaptation of Once Upon A Distant War for Bruckheimer Films and The Perfect Mile for Kennedy/Marshall and Universal. Among others, he has worked with Ridley Scott, David Fincher, Frank Marshall, Frank Darabont, Wolfgang Peterson, Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks.

He is currently developing a 13-hour miniseries on Peter the Great for Bold Television, a series on rodeo for HBO, and is adapting All Things Possible, the Kurt Warner story, for Fox Studios.

Philipp Kaiser
Philipp Kaiser

Visiting Distinguished Fellow
Fall 2014 Seminar
"Sculpture as Place"
Monday 2:45-5:30 p.m.
Kravis Center 102

Sculpture as Place

The course provides an in-depth overview of post-World War II sculpture with an emphasis on the 1960’s and 1970’s, focusing on minimalism, post minimalism, monumental sculpture, and land art. The class provides theoretical and art historical insights into a sculptural practice that radically redefined its own categories. The autonomous modernist notion of the sculpture shifts during this time period towards sculpture becoming and defining a place or a site.This new way of considering sculpture enabled the institutions to claim for the first time an active role in an artistic and conceptual process.

Interested students should contact the Claremont McKenna Registrar's Office.

Philipp Kaiser, Ph.D., studied at the Universities of Basel/Switzerland and Hamburg. He was the former director of the Museum Ludwig in Cologne. Before that he served as the senior curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (MOCA) where he recently organized ‘Ends of the Earth’, a historical survey of Land Art with Co-Curator Miwon Kwon (Professor of Art History at UCLA). From 2001 to 2006 he was curator for modern and contemporary art at the Museum für Gegenwartskunst Basel.

He has realized large-scale exhibitions on the art of the 1980s, on California Conceptualism and conceived various individual shows with artists such as Jack Goldstein, Bruce Nauman, Louise Lawler, Simon Starling, and Christian Philipp Müller. In addition to his curatorial responsibilities, he has published numerous contributions for art magazines, catalogs, and other publications and has taught Art History at the Academy of Fine Arts, Karlsruhe/Germany and the University of California.


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