Odds are it won’t snow on campus, but Pomona will be a winter wonderland of a different sort, with a full slate of must-attend events that promise to provoke, inspire and entertain. Here are eight top picks for your calendar (in no particular order):
1) Let’s talk. The year-long Free Speech in a Dangerous World Speaker Series will address the relationship between free speech on campus and diversity and inclusion across disciplines and contexts. Presenting varied viewpoints and global perspectives, the series will explore the central goals of liberal education, including fostering difficult dialogues, academic freedom and promoting diversity and inclusive excellence. This winter’s talks are:
- “Free Speech on Campus: A Challenge for Our Time” Jan. 20 with Prof. Geoffrey R. Stone, a member of the faculty at the University of Chicago Law School, former law clerk to U.S. Supreme Court Justice William J. Brennan, Jr. and author of the award-winning book on constitutional law Eternally Vigilant, Top Secret: When Our Government Keeps Us in the Dark and Perilous Times: Free Speech in Wartime.
- “Lived Experiences: Free Speech, Academic Freedom and Scholars at Risk in Turkey and Syria” Feb. 1 with Claremont Colleges visiting scholars at risk: Eda Erdener, formerly an associate professor at Bingöl University in eastern Turkey, and Adib Shaar, formerly dean of research and a faculty member at Mamoun University in Aleppo, Syria.
- “Academic Freedom in a Global Context: Teaching History to our Constituencies” Feb. 22 with Maria E. Montoya, associate professor of history at New York University and dean of arts and sciences at NYU Shanghai, who will discuss how to treat issues of academic freedom in a context where not everyone in the classroom shares the same cultural and political background. Montoya is the author of the U.S. history textbook, Global Americans: A Social and Global History of the United States.
2) A trip (or three) to the Museum. Exhibitions on view at Pomona College Museum of Art, from Jan. 17-May 14, are: Goya’s War: Los Desastres de la Guerra; Now Screening: Andy Warhol Prints; and Project Series 51: Incendiary Traces. The opening reception will be held on Jan. 28. The Museum is open Tuesdays-Sundays, from noon-5 p.m., and Thursdays from 5 p.m.-11 p.m.
3) Commemorating a King. In honor of Martin Luther King Jr., social critic, activist and public intellectual, Prof. Christopher Emdin from Teachers College, Columbia University, will be at The Claremont Colleges on Jan . 26. His commentary on race, culture, inequality and education has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, New York Times and Washington Post. Emdin is the author of “Urban Science Education for the Hip-Hop Generation” and the New York Times bestseller “For White Folks Who Teach in the Hood and the Rest of Y’all Too.” He will give a fireside chat in Claremont McKenna’s Marian Miner Cook Athenaeum at 3:30 p.m., a lecture in CMC’s Pickford Auditorium at 7:30 p.m. and cap off the night with a book signing and dessert reception at 9:30 p.m.
4) A date with destiny. “An Evening with Ray Kurzweil” Feb. 7 in Bridges Auditorium offers an opportunity to hear from one of the world’s leading inventors, thinkers and futurists who’s been called “the restless genius” by The Wall Street Journal, “the ultimate thinking machine” by Forbes, the “rightful heir to Thomas Edison” by Inc. and one of the “16 revolutionaries who made America” by PBS. Kurzweil will present an inspiring vision of a future in which we will merge with our machines, can live forever, and will be a billion times more intelligent. The event is free but tickets are required.
5) Celebrity chat. “A Conversation with Jason Alexander” will be held Feb. 18 in conjunction with Family Weekend. This Pomona College parent — known best for his Emmy-nominated role as the neurotic George Costanza on “Seinfeld” — will discuss his entertainment career, the performing arts, advocacy and philanthropy. Tickets are available to The Claremont Colleges community beginning Jan. 17 and to the general public beginning Feb. 1.
6) The sound of music. The annual Ussachevsky Memorial Festival of Electro Acoustic Music, held Feb. 3-4 in Lyman Hall, will feature guest composer Molly Joyce and guest ensemble Brightwork newmusic.
7) The art of synthesis. The Chan Gallery exhibition “Arrangements in Undertone” brings sometimes disparate sources together into one piece to create a unified whole. The mediums the artists use vary but the connective tissue is embedded in drawing: thread in fabric; graphite rubbings from limestone reliefs on paper; pen, ink and gauche on paper scroll; watercolor and charcoal on paper dyed with onion skin; and graphite on paper. Opening on Feb. 2, the exhibition is on view until March 3.
8) Showtime. The play “In Love and Warcraft” by Madhuri Shekhar will be performed March 2-5 at Allen Theatre and is directed by Pomona Prof. of Theatre Carolyn Ratteray. In the play, a World of Warcraft gamer girl, a master of strategy, realizes that the tools of virtual living and gaming aren’t exactly transferable to the messy realm of real-world relationships. Show times are 8 p.m. on March 2-3; 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. on March 4; and 2 p.m. on March 5. Tickets go on sale Feb. 13.