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Reunion 2017

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Read more about our Reunion 2017 Mini-Core Classes, Talks and Tours below.

Friday, June 2 | Morning Classes, Talks and Tours

10:45 a.m.-12:15 p.m.

Mini-Core Classes (choice of)

  • Contemporary Civilization
    Neslihan Şenocak
    , Associate Professor of History
    Radical Rationalism
    While often derided as religiously conservative, medieval scholastic thought was actually a radical form of rationalism. Never since have thinkers of Judaism, Christianity and Islam had such absolute confidence in human reason, as it was believed to be the God in us. How did this idea manifest itself in the works of Muslim philosopher Averroes and Christian philosopher Thomas Aquinas? Did it have roots in Platonic and Aristotelian thought? Join Şenocak to discuss the idea of reason as the God within.

  • Art Humanities
    Robert E. Harrist Jr.,
    the Jane and Leopold Swergold Professor of Chinese Art History
    Outdoor Sculpture at Columbia: A Walking Tour
    Why did the donation of Reclining Figure, a large bronze sculpture by Henry Moore, spark a lively, internationally covered debate about the role of public sculpture at Columbia? What is the nature of sculpture in public places? On a university campus? What aesthetic and administrative choices lie behind the display of sculpture at Columbia? Join Harrist Jr. to revisit iconic pieces such as The Thinker by Rodin, Alma Mater by Daniel Chester French and Curl by Clement Meadmore, as well as works by less familiar sculptors such as Gertrude Schweitzer, and to discuss how works of sculpture express institutional values and ideals.

  • Café Columbia
    Timothy Frye GSAS‘97
    , Marshall Shulman Professor of Political Science, Chair, Dept of Political Science
    How Putin Rules Russia
    Vladimir Putin has held power in Russia for 17 years, but faces numerous economic, political, and social challenges ahead. Come hear Professor Frye discuss his recent research on how President Putin uses personal popularity, foreign policy, and economic strategy to retain power and shape Russia's future.

Alumni Featured Talk

  • The Future of News Media in the Trump Administration
    Featuring Olivier Knox CC’92, chief Washington correspondent for Yahoo! News, and Michael Ricci CC’02, communications director for Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, speak with Josh Lipsky CC’08, Speechwriter and Senior Communications Advisor, International Monetary Fund (formerly an advisor to the Obama White House & State Department).

Tours (choice of)

  • Student Experience Tour
    Relive your student days by visiting residence halls, Butler Library and dining halls with a student guide.

  • Neighborhood Tour
    Learn how Morningside Heights has changed and visit community favorites like The Cathedral of Saint John the Divine and The Hungarian Pastry Shop on this student-guided tour.

Friday, June 2 | Afternoon Classes and Tours

2 p.m.-3:30 p.m.

Mini-Core Classes (choice of)

  • Literature Humanities
    Clémence Boulouque,
    the Carl and Bernice Witten Assistant Professor of Jewish and Israel Studies
    From Divine Arbitrariness to Human Sinfulness? Cain, Abel and the Meaning of Sacrifice
    The story of Cain and Abel, the first instance of sibling rivalry and unexplained divine favor and rejection, culminates in the first murder in the Bible. Join Boulouque to explore the question of sacrifice: What makes an offering agreeable to God and how does sacrifice constitute a defining feature of the human condition? How is sin characterized? And how does free will come into play in the narrative? A close reading of Genesis 4 will lead to discussion of other Lit Hum texts, including Saint Augustine’s Confessions and Milton’s Paradise Lost. Time permitting, the class will consider the modern retelling of this biblical episode in Steinbeck’s East of Eden and its film adaptation by Elia Kazan.

  • Music Humanities
    Kevin Fellezs,
    Assistant Professor of Music
    Jazz Around the World
    Jazz has been called “America’s classical music,” yet its roots extend beyond North America and its branches spread around the world. In what way can we think of jazz as global music? Join Fellezs for a whirlwind listening tour of jazz in France, England, Japan, Brazil, India and South Africa to think about what it might mean for jazz to be “indigenized” elsewhere. Does this make jazz less American or part of global culture? Can it be both?

  • Frontiers of Science
    Jerry McManus CC’89, GSAS’97,
    Professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences,
    The Ocean and Climate Change
    How has the ocean, a crucial component of Earth’s climate system, contributed to ice age cycles? Were variations in the global system of deep and shallow ocean currents that move heat around the planet responsible for abrupt climate changes? What are the implications of the accelerated melting of ice, the oceanic storage of greenhouse heat and the ocean acidification now under way? Listen to McManus discuss the ocean’s wide-ranging role in climate change.

  • Engineering Lecture
    Michal Lipson
    , MacArthur Fellow and Eugene Higgins Professor of Electrical Engineering
    Computing at the Speed of Light
    Professor Lipson will describe a new technology, nanophotonics, that incorporates light into an electronic chip. The groundbreaking technology, is expected to revolutionize the microelectronics industry since its conception a decade ago. In less than 10 years it has evolved from theoretical ideas to commercial products. This talk will describe the technology, history, new ideas and directions that are now emerging in the field of light manipulation.

Alumni Featured Talk

  • Women at Columbia: A View Across 30 Years
    Linda Mischel Eisner ’87, Raji Kalra ’97, Joanne Kwong ’97,
    Ganiatu Afolabi ’12 and Lily Liu-Krason ’16
    Reflect on more than 30 years of coeducation at Columbia College by looking at the impact that women had, and continue to have, on the College, from the Core Curriculum syllabus, to campus life, to everything in between. Hear reflections from alumnae who graduated during the early years, as well as from younger alumnae.

Tours (choice of)

  • The Student Experience Tour
    Relive your student days by visiting residence halls, Butler Library and dining halls with a student guide.

  • Hamilton Treasures": Rare Book & Manuscript Library Exhibit
    A glimpse inside the Rare Book & Manuscript Library’s collection, which dates back to King’s College. The exhibition includes the “Hamilton Treasures,” which showcases some of Alexander Hamilton CC 1778’s manuscripts, books and memorabilia.

  • The Neighborhood Tour
    Learn how Morningside Heights has changed and visit community favorites like The Cathedral of Saint John the Divine and The Hungarian Pastry Shop on this student-guided tour.

Saturday, June 3 | Morning Keynote and Tours

10:15 a.m.-11:45 a.m.

Reunion Keynote: Scents and Sensibility: The Fascinating Relationship Between the Brain and Smell,
with Dr.
Richard Axel CC’67
Axel is a Nobel Prize Winner, a University Professor and an investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Columbia University.

Tours (choice of)

  • The Student Experience Tour
    Relive your student days by visiting residence halls, Butler Library and dining halls with a student guide.

  • The Neighborhood Tour
    Learn how Morningside Heights has changed and visit community favorites like The Cathedral of Saint John the Divine and The Hungarian Pastry Shop on this student-guided tour.

  • The Baker Athletics Complex Tour
    Visit Columbia’s state­-of­-the-­art athletics fields and stadium.

  • Manhattanville: Tour of the Lenfest Center for the Arts
    Take a tour of one of the anticipated buildings at Columbia University's Manhattanville campus, Lenfest Center for the Arts, home of School of the Arts. The tour will include performance art spaces, the Miriam & Ira D. Wallach Gallery, and great views of the city.

Saturday, June 3 | Afternoon Classes, Talks and Tours

2:15 p.m.-3:45 p.m.

Mini-Core Classes (choice of)

  • Literature Humanities
    Julie Crawford,
    the Mark Van Doren Professor of Humanities; the Paul Brooke Program Chair for Literature Humanities
    Resistance to Authority in Shakespeare’s 'Othello'
    Is there an analogy between legitimate resistance to political authority and the wife’s traditional right to disobey the unrighteous orders of her husband? What happens when the ruler of the domestic kingdom does not act justly? Join Crawford in this exploration of what Desdemona and Othello have to teach us about resistance to unjust authority.

  • Contemporary Civilization
    John Ma,
    Professor of Classics
    Democracy and Decision-Making in Thucydides
    Classical Athens, a direct democracy, managed an empire and fought a protracted world war with all decisions taken by vote in mass assemblies after competing speeches by politicians. Thucydides, a historian of empire and war, devotes particular attention to such decisions — notably the decisions to go to war or to escalate operations. His judgment was often critical, but was he right? Listen to Ma compare Thucydides’ judgments with actual ancient documentary records. What does the evidence tell us about the necessary conditions for viable democratic politics?

  • Frontiers of Science
    David Helfand,
    Professor of Astronomy
    Global Warming: What We Know, and What We Don’t Know
    Want to dispel the misinformation and cut through the irrational exuberance in today’s public debate on climate change? Listen to Helfand’s dispassionate analysis of what we know and what we don’t yet know. Every planet’s temperature is controlled by a simple balance between the energy it receives and the energy it radiates back into space. Helfand will examine each of the main factors affecting this balance, including astronomical ones over which we have no control and the composition of our atmosphere, which we are profoundly affecting, including context from climate changes derived from tree rings and ice cores. After examining the current energy balance and what we can expect during the next few decades, Helfand will conclude by exploding a few myths and providing a rational basis for decisions about the future.

  • Extreme Engineering
    Shahram Ebadollahi SEAS'99, '02, '05, BUS'16
    , Vice President, Innovation & Chief Science Officer at IBM Watson Health
    The Cognitive Era in Health
    IBM Watson Health is changing the ecosystem of healthcare to empower researchers, monitor patients and improve quality care through large-scale data curation and complex solutions. This talk will offer insight on cognitive systems, or augmented intelligence, and highlight the impact it has for transforming healthcare organizations.

  • Universities in a Post-Truth World with Professor Carol Gluck
    Carol Gluck, George Sansom Professor of History
    At a moment when “truth” and “lying” have become terms of rhetorical sport, how can universities reassert the significance of evidence, the value of science, and the meaning of knowledge? In our changing media and political landscape, it seems urgent to consider anew how we think we know things, how information acquires the status of truth, and how data is deployed to advance claims. This panel, chaired by Professor Carol Gluck, Chair of the Committee on Global Thought, will bring together prominent speakers from Columbia and two of its international partner universities, Sciences Po (France) and Trinity College Dublin (Ireland) for a multi-disciplinary conversation about the role of universities in a post-truth world.

Alumni Featured Talk

  • My Startup Story with Marco Zappacosta ’07, Co-Founder and CEO, Thumbtack
    Marco Zappacosta '07, co-founder and CEO, Thumbtack, speaks with Catherine Clifford '04, senior entrepreneurship writer, CNBC, about his journey from a political science major at Columbia to the head of a startup now valued at $1.3 billion.

Tours (choice of)

  • Student Experience Tour
    Relive your student days by visiting residence halls, Butler Library and dining halls with a student guide.

  • Neighborhood Tour
    Learn how Morningside Heights has changed and visit community favorites like The Cathedral of Saint John the Divine and The Hungarian Pastry Shop on this student-guided tour.

  • Manhattanville: Tour of the Lenfest Center for the Arts
    Take a tour of one of the anticipated buildings at Columbia University's Manhattanville campus, Lenfest Center for the Arts, home of School of the Arts. The tour will include performance art spaces, the Miriam & Ira D. Wallach Gallery, and great views of the city.