The online political magazine Front Porch Republic (FPR) is hosting its third annual conference today and tomorrow at Rose Hills Theater on the Pomona College campus. The conference, entitled “City People, Country People: Being a Localist in the Megalopolis,” will address issues of community and sustainability in suburban and urban areas.
Pomona politics professor Susan McWilliams, who organized the conference, said that the founders of FPR “agreed basically on two things, one of which is that the really big questions of our time are questions about how we can live sustainably, how we can support communities … and everyone who founded [FPR] also agreed that leadership on both the left and right really didn’t have adequate answers to the kinds of problems we think are central.”
This conference will highlight the problem of retaining and enforcing small-town ideals in a large metropolitan area such as Los Angeles County.
“We talk about sustainability and community a lot at the 5Cs, and we hold them up as values that we hold dearly, but in some ways I think this conference forces us to ask, ‘Are we kidding ourselves?’” McWilliams said.
“I’m pretty sure everyone who’s been here for more than a month has heard the term ‘Claremont Bubble,’” Daniel Tan PO ’16, who helped organize the conference, said. “And it’s true … the city of Claremont is very economically and culturally homogeneous, and it’s very important to always strive to get a different perspective.”
The conference will kick off today with a screening of the Civil War drama Copperhead and a question-and-answer period with the screenwriter, Bill Kauffman. Tomorrow’s events include various panel discussions and a keynote address by poet and essayist Dana Gioia. Gioia, who is the former chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts and is currently a professor at the University of Southern California, will deliver an address entitled “I Can’t Believe You’re from LA: Los Angeles as a Cultural Center.”
Panels, which will feature professors from the 5Cs and other institutions, include “The Good 21st-Century City,” “Possibilities of Work in the New World,” “Food in the Megalopolis,” and “Philanthropy, Localism, and Hypermobility,” and will occur throughout the day on Saturday.