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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 – 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”.

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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.

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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

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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.

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Scholars’ Circle – Partisan Congress/ US Penal System – Aug. 10th, 2014

First, is the US House Speaker 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,how did a country born of freedom come to have the largest penal system in the world and lock up so many of its citizens? What is the cost of this system on society in terms of human lives, and sociopolitical and economic well-being? [ dur: 29 mins. ]

  • Marie Gottschalk is a Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Pennsylvania. She is the author of, The Prison and the Gallows: The Politics of Mass Incarceration in America and The Shadow Welfare State: Labor, Business, and the Politics of Health Care in the United States.
  • Robert Perkinson is an Associate Professor of American Studies at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. He is the author of, Texas Tough: The Rise of America’s Prison Empire.
  • David Garland is a Professor of Law and Professor of Sociology at New York University. He is the author of, Peculiar Institution: America’s Death Penalty in an Age of Abolition, The Culture of Control: Crime and Social Order in Contemporary Society, and Punishment and Modern Society: A Study in Social Theory.

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Scholars’ Circle – Philanthropic Colonialism / Politics of Emotions – Aug. 3rd, 2014

First, has our society created a “charitable industrial complex?” We speak with Peter Buffet about “philanthropic colonialism” and “conscious laundering.” Buffet is Emmy winning musician, author and philanthropist. [ dur: 28 mins. ]

  • Peter Buffett has an acclaimed career that spans more than 30 years as an Emmy Award winning musician, composer, philanthropist and author. Buffett’s inspiring book, “Life Is What You Make It,” has been translated into over 15 languages. He co-chairs the NoVo Foundation, one of three foundations founded by his father Warren Buffet. His NY Times op-ed titled, The Charitable Industrial Complex.

Then, on the Scholars’ Circle panel, we look at the politics of emotions. How do emotions drive outcomes like ethnic violence, wars and genocide? What roles to fear, anger, resentment and entitlement play in conflict? [ dur: 28 mins. ]

  • Roger Petersen is a Professor of Political Science at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He is the author of, “Resistance and Rebellion: Lessons from Eastern Europe,” “Understanding Ethnic Violence: Fear, Hatred, Resentment in Twentieth Century Eastern Europe,” and “Western Intervention in the Balkans: The Strategic Use of Emotion in Conflict.”
  • David Altheide is Emeritus Regents’ Professor in the School of Justice and Social Inquiry at Arizona State University. He is the author of, “Terrorism and the Politics of Fear,” “Creating Fear: News and the Construction of Crisis,” and “An Ecology of Communication: Cultural Formats of Control.”
  • Jeff Birkenstein is an Associate Professor in, and chair of, the Department of English at Saint Martin’s University. He is the author of, “Reframing 9/11: Film, Popular Culture and the War on Terror.”

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Scholars’ Circle – Human Rights / Israel / Are We Warlike by Nature – July 27th, 2014

First, what can the history of human rights tell us about the struggles of today. [ dur: 15 mins. ]

  • Michelline Ishay is Professor and the director of the International Human Rights Program at the University of Denver. She is the author of The History of Human Rights: From Ancient Times to the Globalization Era.

Then, Israel’s spiritual crisis and how it effects the Middle East. [ dur: 15 mins. ]

  • Avraham Burg, former speaker of Israel’s parliament. He is author of The Holocaust Is Over; We Must Rise From its Ashes.

Finally, our panel argues that warring is a relatively new phenomenon in human societies and that human beings are not warlike by nature. [ dur: 28 mins. ]

  • Douglas P. Fry, is Director of Peace, Mediation & Conflict Research at Abo Akademi University, Finland.  He is author of Beyond War : The Human Potential for Peace.
  • Darcia Narvaez, is Professor of Psychology at University of Minnesota. Co-author of Evolution, Early Experience and Human Development: From Research to Practice and Policy.
  • Brian Ferguson, is Professor of  Anthropology  at Rutgers University.  Co-author of  War in the Tribal Zone: Expanding States and Indigenous Warfare.

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Scholars’ Circle – Biology of Violence / Earth 2050 – July 20th, 2014

First, how much does biology effect the propensity for violence? We are joined by Adrian Raine, author of, Anatomy of Violence: The Biological Roots of Crime. [ dur: 28 mins. ]

  • Adrian Raine is Professor of Criminology and Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania. He is the author of, Anatomy of Violence: The Biological Roots of Crime;

Then, on the Scholars’ Circle panel, with climate change, depleted natural resources, and more than 9 billion people, what will the world look like in 2050? [ dur: 30 mins. ]

  • Deepak Ray is Postdoctoral Research Scholar at the Global Landscapes Initiative Institute on the Environment at the University of Minnesota. He is co-author of the study, “Yield Trends Are Insufficient to Double Global Crop Production by 2050,” and “Solutions for a Cultivated Planet.”
  • Eward Miguel is Professor at University of California, Berkeley and Director of the Center for Effective Global Action. He is the author of, Africa’s Turn? He is co-author of Economic Gangsters: Corruption, Violence and the Poverty of Nations, and the study, “Quantifying the Influence of Climate on Human Conflict.?
  • Laurence C. Smith is Professor and Chair of Geography at UCLA and author of The World in 2050: Four Forces Shaping Civilization’s Northern Future.

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Scholars’ Circle – Worse than War / Peace Between Israel & Palestine – July 13th, 2014

First, we explore eliminationism and genocide in the 20th and 21st century. And address how to prevent and hold those responsible, accountable, with Daniel Jonah Goldhagen, author of Worse than War: Genocide, Eliminationism, and the Ongoing Assault on Humanity.

  • Daniel Jonah Goldhagen was a Professor of Political Science and Social Studies at Harvard University until he decided to devote himself full time to writing. He is the author of, Hitler’s Willing Executioners: Ordinary Germans and the Holocaust, A Moral Reckoning: The Role of the Catholic Church in the Holocaust and Its Unfulfilled Duty of Repair, and Worse Than War: Genocide, Eliminationism, and the Ongoing Assault on Humanity.

Then, on the Scholars’ Circle panel, what are the requisite pathways to building a real peace between Israel and Palestine?

  • Sami Adwan is Professor of Education at Bethlehem University and the Palestinian Director and Co-Director of Peace Research Institute in the Middle East (PRIME). His is the author of, Learning Each Other’s Historical Narrative: Palestinians and Israelis, co-author of Comparative Analysis of the Israeli and Palestinian Conflict in History and Civic Education, and Side by Side: Parallel Histories of Israel-Palestine.
  • Sarai Aharoni is Professor and research fellow of International Relations at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. She is the co-author of, Where Are All the Women? U.N. Security Council Resolution 1325: Gender Perspectives of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.
  • Ervin Staub is Professor of Psychology Emeritus at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. His numerous publications include The roots of evil: The origins of genocide and other group violence, The psychology of good and evil: Why children, adults and groups help and harm others, and Overcoming evil: Genocide, violent conflict and terrorism

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