Scholars’ Circle-1914-Christmas-Truce-/-Redefine-Democracy-/-Design-of-Cities-Dec. 28th, 2014

This week on the Scholars’ Circle:

First, why did soldiers on the front line of one of the deadliest wars lay down their arms and play soccer with the very men they were supposed to shoot? We’ll revisit the Christmas truce of 1914, this December marks the 100th anniversary. [ dur: 24 mins. ]

  • Stanley Weintraub is Professor Emeritus of Arts and Humanities at Penn State University. His books include 11 Days in December: Christmas at the Bulge, 1944, Silent Night: The Story of the World War I Christmas Truce, Long Day’s Journey into War: December 7, 1941 and A Stillness Heard Round the World: The End of the Great War, November 1918

Next, author Raj Patel discusses his book, The Value of Nothing: How to Reshape Market, Society and Redefine Democracy. [ dur: 15 mins. ]

For a transcript of this interview, please visit: TheBigQ

  • Rajeev Patel is a Research Professor in the School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas, Austin. He is the author of Stuffed and Starved: The Hidden Battle for the World Food System and The Value of Nothing: How to Reshape Market Society and Redefine Democracy

Finally, how does the design of a city and its architecture affect democracy, community, our psychology and public health? [ dur: 20 mins. ]

  • Jan Gehl is an Architect and is former Professor and Researcher at The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, School of Architecture. His books include Life Between Buildings: Using Public Space, Cities for People and How to Study Public Life.

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Scholars’ Circle-New-Deal-History-/-War-In-Our-Times-Dec. 21st, 2014

First, Michael Hiltzik author of, The New Deal: A Modern History, discusses the politics of the new deal, and what can we learn from the program that reshaped the country. [ dur: 27 mins. ]

  • Michael Hiltzik is a Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist and author who has covered business, technology, and public policy for the Los Angeles Times for three decades. He currently serves as the Times’s business columnist and hosts its business blog, The Economy Hub. His books include The New Deal: A Modern History, Colossus: The Turbulent, Thrilling Saga of the Building of Hoover Dam, Dealers of Lightning: Xerox PARC and the Dawn of the Computer Age and The Plot Against Social Security: How the Bush Plan Is Endangering Our Financial Future.

Then, scholars note that the world is waging fewer wars, but that the wars that are waged are more brutal and intractable. How far have we come in the science of making peace? [ dur: 31 mins. ]

  • George Lopez  Vice President and Director of international conflict management  at US Institute of Peace and co-author of Sanctions and the Search for Security: Challenges to UN Action
  • Ervin Staub, Prof. of Psychology University of Massettuces Amherst.  Author of The Psychology of Good and Evil: Why Children, Adults, and Groups Help and Harm Others
  • Norrin Ripsman, Professor of  Political Science at Concordia University. Co-author of Globalization and the National Security State

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Scholars’ Circle-Free-Speech-in-USA-/-Tortured-Dec. 13th, 2014

First, we continue to trace the birth of free speech in the US, a country that for decades prosecuted dissenters. What caused the radical turn around by the Supreme Court to support free speech? [ dur: 29 mins. ]

  • Thomas Healy is Professor of Law at Seton Hall Law School. Author of The Great Dissent: How Oliver Wendell Holmes Changed His Mind–and Changed the History of Free Speech in America

Then, the senate’s report on CIA torture detailed the intelligence agencies inhumane interrogation techniques, which included rectal hydration, water-boarding and beatings. Members of the Bush administration who had sanctioned the torture, continue defending the program despite international condemnation. Our next two panel discussions explore the realities of torture, both from the individuals’ experiences of being tortured and the broader legal and societal questions..

  • Murad Aldin Amayreh is an Independent Film Producer and Director. He produced and directed the recently released documentary, The Tortured: Stories of Survival.
  • Hector Aristizabal is one of the interviewees in the film, who was tortured in Colombia. He has a Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy, founded ImaginAction to help people tap the transformative power of theatre in programs throughout the US, Latin America, Europe and globally. He is the co-author of, The Blessing Next to the Wound: A Story of Art, Activism, and Transformation.

Also joining the conversation:

  • Pamela Merchant is the former President and Executive Director of the Center for Justice and Accountability. Under her leadership, CJA has grown from an organization devoted solely to human rights litigation in the U.S. to one that also engages in human rights litigation in foreign jurisdictions, such as Spain and Cambodia. CJA now represents over 200 clients from 21 countries and has tripled its operating budget. Ms. Merchant has testified before Congress on accountability for human rights abusers and other human rights issues. Ms. Merchant received degrees from Georgetown University and Boston College School of Law
  • Gerald Gray is a social worker and psychotherapist who works with torture victims and who has initiated numerous institutes to assist them. He founded Center for Justice and Accountabilityin 1998. Currently, he is on the advisory board at the Institute for Redress & Recovery, Santa Clara University School of Law.
  • Stephen Rohde is a constitutional lawyer, founder and current Vice-Chair of Interfaith Communities United for Justice and Peace, Chair of the ACLU Foundation of Southern California and a Vice President of Death Penalty Focus. He is the author of, Webster’s New World American Words of Freedomand Freedom of Assembly.


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Scholars’ Circle-Free-Speech-in-USA-/-Influencers-of-American-Congress-Dec. 7th, 2014

First, after years of allowing censorship and criminal prosecution of dissent, what caused the radical turnaround by the Supreme Court to then support free speech and dissent? Part one of a two part discussion with Thomas Healy.

  • Thomas Healy is Professor of Law at Seton Hall Law School. Author of The Great Dissent: How Oliver Wendell Holmes Changed His Mind–and Changed the History of Free Speech in America

Then, we know that the wealthy have more influence than other americans, but just how unrepresentative is the American Congress and the state legislatures?

  • Thomas Hayes, is Professor of Political Science at University of Connecticut.
  • Martin Gilens, is Professor of Politics, Princeton University. Author of  Affluence and Influence: Economic Inequality and Political Power in America
  • Patrick Flavin, is Professor of Political Science at Baylor University.

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