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The Scholars’ Circle is hosted by Maria Armoudian. Listen & search our archive of interviews.




Below are our 10 most recent recordings.


Scholars’ Circle -The-Gingrich-Senators-/-Politics-Of-Humor-Oct. 19th, 2014

First, is the former US Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich responsible for damaging the culture and productivity of the US Senate? An interview with Sean Theriault author of,
The Gingrich Senators: The Roots of Partisan Warfare in Congress. [ dur: 29 mins. ]

  • Sean Theriault is a Professor in the Department of Government at the University of Texas at Austin. He is the author of, The Power of the People: Congressional Competition, Public Attention, and Voter Retribution, Party Polarization in Congress, and The Gingrich Senators: The Roots of Partisan Warfare in Congress.

Then, on the Scholars’ Circle panel, we look at the origins, philosophy and politics of humor. [ dur: 29 mins. ]

  • Amber Day, is a Professor of Performance studies in English and Culture Studies Department at Bryant University; Author of Satire and Dissent: Interventions in Contemporary Political Debate
  • John Morreall, is a Professor of Philosophy Department Chair at Religious Studies at William and Mary College. Author of Comic Relief: A Comprehensive Philosophy of Humor
  • Peter McGraw, is a Professor of Marketing and Psychology at University of Colorado, Boulder. Author of The Humor Code: A Global Search for What Makes Things Funny

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Scholars’ Circle -American Dream and Reality -/- Reaction-to-Terrorist Threat-/-Fundamentalism -Oct. 12th, 2014

First, we look at the gap between the American Dream and reality, with Miles Corak, professor of economics with the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Ottawa. [ dur: 13mins. ]

  • Miles Corak is professor of economics with the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Ottowa. He is the author of, Generational Income Mobility in North America and Europe

Then, are the high alerts, embassy closures, and the national surveillance state reasonable reactions to the threat of terrorist acts? Our next guests suggest that the government may be overreacting. We are joined by John Mueller and Mark G. Stewart, authors of, “Terror, Security, and Money: Balancing the Risks, Benefits, and Costs of Homeland Security.” [ dur: 17mins. ]

  • John Mueller is a research scientist and professor of political science at Ohio State University and author of Retreat from Doomsday and War, Presidents and Public Opinion.
  • Mark Stewart is a professor of civil engineering and director of the Center for Infrastructure , Performance and Reliability at the University of Newcastle in Australia.

Finally, on the Scholars’ Circle panel, in many parts of the world fundamentalism is on the rise oppressing human rights, sometimes using bodily harm and even death. Simultaneously, the international community has been ineffective in helping the scholars, journalists, human rights advocates and artists who are struggling against the oppression. How bad is the situation and what can be done? [ dur: 28mins. ]

  • Karima Benoune, Professor of Law  at UC Davis, School of Law; Author of  Your Fatwa Does Not Apply Here: Untold Stories from the Fight Against Muslim Fundamentalism
  • Ousseina Alidou, Professor at Center African Studies, Rutgers University; Author of Engaging Modernity: Muslim Women and the Politics of Agency in Post-colonial Niger (Women in Africa and the Diaspora) and Muslim Women in Postcolonial Kenya: Leadership, Representation, and Social Change
  • Sadia Abbas; Professor of English at Rutgers University; At Freedom’s Limit: Islam and the Postcolonial Predicament

Visit our Store [ lists books written by each on this panel ]

Scholars’ Circle – Daniel Patrick Moynihan-Letters-/-Why-Some-Misdeeds-become-scandals -Oct. 5th, 2014

First, we speak with Steven Weisman author of, Daniel Patrick Moynihan: A Portrait in Letters of an American Visionary, a book of Senator Moynahan’s correspondence. [ dur. 17 mins. ]

Then, on the Scholars’ Circle panel, why some misdeeds become scandals and others don’t? Why is it that the same type of transgressions are treated differently at different times, and might this differential treatment affect our politics, policies and society? [ dur: 41 mins. ]

  • Robert Entman is a professor at George Washington University and the author of Scandal & Silence: Media Responses to Presidential Misconduct.
  • Brendan Nyhan is professor at Dartmouth College and coauthor of All the President’s Spin: George W. Bush, the Media, and the Truth.
  • Sigurd Allern is a professor at Volda University and project leader for the Nordic Research Network in Journalism Studies. Author of Scandalous!: The Mediated Construction of Political Scandals in Four Nordic Countries

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Scholars’ Circle -Domestic violence and violent sports -/- Global Warming Solutions -Sept. 28th, 2014

Domestic violence is just one of the many problems of violent sports. We’ll take a close look at American Football and its discontents. We are joined by journalist Steve Almond author of Against Football: One Fan’s Reluctant Manifesto.

Then, on the Scholar’s Circle panel, on the heels of the United Nations’ climate conference, we’ll revisit the impacts and potential solutions to global warming.

  • Mark Jacobson  is Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Stanford University. He is also director of Atmospheric Energy. He is the author of Air Pollution and Global Warming: History, Science, and Solutions and Fundamentals of Atmospheric Modeling
  • William Moomaw  is Professor of international Environment Policy at Tufts University. Lead Author of recent reports on Environmental Policy. Co-author of Industrial Ecology and Global Change and Transboundary Environmental Negotiation: New Approaches to Global Cooperation
  • Ravi Rajan  is Professor of Environmental studies at the University of California Santa Cruz. Author of Modernizing Nature: Forestry and Imperial Eco-Development 1800-1950

Visit our Store [ Amazon Book Store with links to books authored by our guests on Scholars' Circle. ]

Scholars’ Circle -Empathy-from-Powerful-/-Scotland’s-vote-for-Independence-Sept. 21st, 2014

A new study suggests that the powerful feel less empathy. Does it have implications for society? [ dur: 18 mins. ]

Then, we compare Scotland’s vote for independence to other such movements for independence, autonomy and self-determination. [ dur: 40 mins. ]

  • Stefan Wolff is professor of International Security at the University of Birmingham, England, UK. He is the author of, Disputed Territories: The Transnational Dynamics of Ethnic Conflict (Studies in Ethnopolitics), and the co-author of, Ethnic Conflict: Causes-Consequences-Responses, and Autonomy, Self Governance and Conflict Resolution: Innovative approaches to Institutional Design in Divided Societies.
  • Hurst Hannum is professor of International Law at Tufts University. He is the author of, Autonomy, Sovereignty, and Self-Determination: The Accommodation of Conflicting Rights, and co-author of, International Human Rights: Problems of Law, Policy, and Practice and  Negotiating Self-Determination.
  • M. Steven Fish is a professor of political science at UC Berkeley and author of, Democracy Derailed in Russia: The Failure of Open Politics and Democracy from Scratch: Opposition and Regime in the New Russian Revolution. He is co-author of, Postcommunism and the Theory of Democracy.

Visit our Store [ Amazon Book Store with links to books authored by our guests on Scholars' Circle. ]

Scholars’ Circle – Chile’s-toppled-democracy-in-1973-/-Just War-Theory- Sept. 14th, 2014

First, this week marks the anniversary of the September 11th, 1973 coup in Chile that toppled democratically elected Salvador Alende and installed the dictator Augustin Pinoche. We’ll revisit what happened, explore that latest revelations and how Chileans are dealing with their past now. [ dur: 23 mins. ]

  • John Dingus is Professor of Journalism at Columbia University. He is the author of The Condor Years: How Pinochet And His Allies Brought Terrorism To Three Continents and Our Man in Panama: How General Noriega Used the United States- And Made Millions in Drugs and Arms
  • Peter Kornbluh directs the Cuba Documentation Project and the Chile Documentation Project at the National Security Archives. He is the author of The Pinochet File: A Declassified Dossier on Atrocity and Accountability, Back Channel to Cuba: The Hidden History of Negotiations between Washington and Havana, and co-author of The Iran-Contra Scandal: The Declassified History.

Earlier in the week the Obama administration vowed to destroy ISIS invoking the long held philosophy called the just war theory. What exactly is just war theory? And can it be applied to modern warfare? [ dur: 35 mins. ]

  • Jeff McMahan is a Professor of Philosophy at Rutgers University. He is the author of Killing in War, The Ethics of Killing: Problems at the Margins of Life and editor of Ethics and Humanity: Themes from the Philosophy of Jonathan Glover
  • Heather Roff  is a Professor of International Studies at the University of Denver. She is the author of Global Justice, Kant and the Responsibility to Protect: A Provisional Duty (Global Politics and the Responsibility to Protect) .
  • Thomas Gregory is a lecturer of Political Studies at the University of Auckland. He is the author of  ”Drones – mapping the legal debate”.

Visit our Store [ Amazon Book Store with links to books authored by our guests on Scholars' Circle. ]

Scholars’ Circle – plastics-in-ocean-/-democracy-in-Hong Kong-/-Ban Ki-Moon-speech- Sept. 7th, 2014

First, tons of discarded plastic are choking off the ocean, killing wildlife, and building islands of garbage. How bad has it become and what can be done? [ dur: 21 mins. ]

  • Captain Charles Moore is an environmental researcher, an internationally recognized pollution expert and activist, and founder of the Algalita Marine Research Foundation. He is the co-author of, Plastic Ocean: How a Sea Captain’s Chance Discovery Launched a Determined Quest to Save the Oceans.

Then, occupy central a group of pro-democracy advocates in Hong Kong,  have vowed to shut down Hong Kong’s financial district should China change its freedom to nominate candidates democratically. What does this mean for democratization in Hong Kong and for the region? [ dur: 21 min. ]

  • Jeffrey Wasserstrom is the Chancellor’s Professor of the History department at University California Irvine. He is the author of, China in the 21st Century: What Everyone Needs to Know, Global Shanghai, 1850-2010, and China’s Brave New World–And Other Tales for Global Times.
  • Stephen Noakes is a Lecturer in the Department of Politics & International Relations and Chinese Politics at the University of Auckland. He is the author of, Intellectuals and Authoritarian Resilience: The Role of Political Science in China.

Finally, highlights from United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon’s speech, delivered at the University of Auckland last week. [ dur: 15 mins. ]

  • Ban Ki-moon is the eighth Secretary-General of the United Nations. His priorities have been to mobilize world leaders around a set of new global challenges, from climate change and economic upheaval to pandemics and increasing pressures involving food, energy and water. He has sought to be a bridge-builder, to give voice to the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people, and to strengthen the Organization itself.

Visit our Store [ Amazon Book Store with links to books authored by our guests on Scholars' Circle. ]

Scholars’ Circle -Fritjof Capra-the-systems-view-of-life-:a-unifying-vision-Aug. 31st, 2014

We spend the hour with Fritjof Capra about his book The Systems View of Life: A Unifying Vision. He is also the author of, The Tao of Physics, The Turning Point, The Web of Life, The Hidden Connections, The Science of Leonardo: Inside the Mind of the Great Genius of the Renaissance, and Learning from Leonardo: Decoding the Notebooks of a Genius. [ dur: 60 mins. ]

Fritjof Capra, physicist, system theorist, and science writer, founding director of Center of Ecoliteracy.

  • – Blog

Visit our Store [ Amazon Book Store with links to books authored by Fritjof Capra and other guests on Scholars' Circle. ]

Scholars’ Circle – Indonesia Election / Ferguson Missouri – Aug. 24th, 2014

First, Indonesia’s new political era–What the Court’s decision for Wiwodo really means. [ dur: 20 mins. ]

  • Dr. Chris Wilson, Lecturer at University of Auckland, New Zealand. Author of Ethno-Religious Violence in Indonesia: From Soil to God

Then, we look at the hidden structural problems that led to the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.  [ dur: 20 mins. ]

  • Clarissa Rile Hayward, is Professor of Political Science, Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. Author of How Americans Make Race: Stories, Institutions, Spaces.
  • Delores Jones-Brown, is Professor of Law, Police Science,Criminal Justice, City University of New York . Author of  Race, Crime and Punishment

Finally, how can education prevent another Ferguson? [ dur: 18 mins. ]

  • Garrett Albert Duncan is Associate Professor of Education in Arts & Sciences. He also teaches African&African American Studies at Washington University in St. Louis. His publications listed here.

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Scholars’ Circle – Human and Animal Health / Human Rights Intervention? – Aug. 17th, 2014

First, do animals get depression, eating disorders, alcoholism, or diabetes? What can we learn from animals about healing? We explore the surprising common grounds between animals and us with the authors of ZOOBIQUITY: The Astonishing Connection Between Human and Animal Health. [ dur: 28 mins. ]

  • Dr. Barbara Netttern-Herowitz, David Geffen School of Medicine, UCLA;
  • Kathryn Bowers, journalist. 

Then, on the Scholars’ Circle panel,as violent conflict and human rights abuses continue throughout so many parts of the world, we’ll look at the politics and ethics of humanitarian intervention. [ dur: 28 mins. ]

  • Frank Chalk, Professor of History and Director of Montreal Institute for Genocide  and human rights Studies (Will to intervene project website) at Concordia University. Author of The History and Sociology of Genocide: Analyses and Case Studies. Co-author of  Mobilizing the will to intervene. Associate editor of 3 volume encyclopedia of  Genocide and crimes against humanity.
  • Jeff Holzgrefe, adjunct Professor  of Law at Emory University School of Law; Co-editor of Humanitarian intervention, legal, ethical and political dilemmas.
  • Fernando Teson, Tobias Simon Eminent Scholar, Florida State University; College of Law.  Author of Humanitarian intervention and inquiry into law and morality and philosophy of international law.

Visit our Store [ lists books written by each on this panel ]

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