Welcome to The Scholars’ Circle

Producers: Maria Armoudian, Ankine Aghassian & Melissa Chiprin
contact us : host (at) scholarscircle.org

The Scholars’ Circle is a weekly production. Our library contains interviews from 2011 to present.

Below are our 10 most recent recordings.



Scholars’ Circle – Future of food, food politics -/- US immigration policy and Human Rights Crisis – June 17, 2018

First, we continue our exploration of the future of food. With climate change, contamination and host of stressors on the planet, how will we feed a growing population? What are the politics of food? This is part three of a three part panel from a symposium held in Auckland, NZ. In the third part of this symposium on food, we look at solutions and the changes we need to assure a system is just, sustainable and resilient. Future of Food symposium recording: Part 1, Part 2.[ dur: 23 mins. ]

  • Michael Carolan is a Professor of Sociology and Associate Dean of Research for the College of Liberal Arts at Colorado State University. He has authored and coedited books including Reclaiming Food Security; The Sociology of Food and Agriculture; The Real Cost of Cheap Food; Food Utopias: Reimagining Citizenship, Ethics and Community; and Biological Economies: Experimentation and the Politics of Agrifood Frontiers.
  • Richard Le Heron is a Professor of Geography in the School of Environment at the University of Auckland. His has coauthored and coedited books including Knowledge, Industry and Environment: Institutions and Innovation in Territorial Perspective; Economic Spaces of Pastoral Production and Commodity Systems: Markets and Livelihoods; Agri-Food Commodity Chains and Globalising Networks; and Biological Economies: Experimentation and the politics of agri-food frontiers.
  • Nicolas Ian Lewis is an Associate Professor in the School of Environment at the University of Auckland. He coedited the book Biological Economies: Experimentation and the politics of agri-food frontiers and has authored book chapters including ‘Constructing economic objects of governance: the New Zealand wine industry’ in Agri-Food Commodity Chains and Globalising Networks.
  • Anastasia Telesetsky is a Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Law at the University of Auckland. She has coauthored and coedited the books The International Law of Disaster Relief; Ecological Restoration in International Environmental Law; and Marine Pollution Contingency Planning, State Practice in Asia-Pacific States.

Then, is America facing a human rights crisis with its immigration policy? With reports of indefinite detentions and separating children from their families, we explore how we got here, what the political and legal ramifications are, and what happens next for America. [ dur: 35 mins. ]

  • Kevin Johnson is Dean and Professor of Public Interest Law at UC Davis School of Law. He has co-authored Opening the Floodgates: Why America Needs to Rethink Its Borders and Immigration Laws, and authored Immigration Law and the US-Mexico Border. His list of publication can be found here.
  • David Kyle is Professor of Sociology at University of California, Davis. His publications include, Global Human Smuggling: Comparative Perspectives, and Transnational Peasants: Migrations, Networks and Ethnicity in Andean Ecuador and Smart Humanitarianism: Re-imagining Human Rights in the Age of Enterprise. You can find his publications here.

This program is produced with contribution from following volunteers Ankine Aghassian, Melissa Chiprin, Anaïs Amin, Tim Page, Mike Hurst and Sudd Dongre.

Scholars’ Circle – Future of Food, part 2 of 2 -/- use and misuse of DNA and private data – June 10, 2018

First, with climate change, contamination and host of stressors on the planet, how will we feed a growing population? What are the politics of food? In this second part of this symposium on food, we look at solutions and the changes we need to make to be sure a system is just, sustainable and resilient. [ dur: 28 mins. ]

  • Michael Carolan is a Professor of Sociology and Associate Dean of Research for the College of Liberal Arts at Colorado State University. He has authored and coedited books including Reclaiming Food Security; The Sociology of Food and Agriculture; The Real Cost of Cheap Food; Food Utopias: Reimagining Citizenship, Ethics and Community; and Biological Economies: Experimentation and the Politics of Agrifood Frontiers.
  • Richard Le Heron is a Professor of Geography in the School of Environment at the University of Auckland. His has coauthored and coedited books including Knowledge, Industry and Environment: Institutions and Innovation in Territorial Perspective; Economic Spaces of Pastoral Production and Commodity Systems: Markets and Livelihoods; Agri-Food Commodity Chains and Globalising Networks; and Biological Economies: Experimentation and the politics of agri-food frontiers.
  • Nicolas Ian Lewis is an Associate Professor in the School of Environment at the University of Auckland. He coedited the book Biological Economies: Experimentation and the politics of agri-food frontiers and has authored book chapters including ‘Constructing economic objects of governance: the New Zealand wine industry’ in Agri-Food Commodity Chains and Globalising Networks.
  • Anastasia Telesetsky is a Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Law at the University of Auckland. She has coauthored and coedited the books The International Law of Disaster Relief; Ecological Restoration in International Environmental Law; and Marine Pollution Contingency Planning, State Practice in Asia-Pacific States.

Then, we explore how DNA and other private data can be used and misused in law enforcement, health care and employment. [ dur: 30 mins. ]

  • Ellen Wright Clayton is a Professor of Law at the Vanderbilt University School of Law, and Professor of Health Policy and Co-Founder of the Center for Biomedical Ethics and Society at the Vanderbilt University Medical School. She is co-author of the book Bioethics and Law and co-author of the research publication Privacy and Security in the Genomic Era, Imagined Futures: Capturing the Benefits of Genome Sequencing for Society, and The Legal Risks of Returning Results of Genomics.
  • Mark A. Rothstein is Chair of Law and Medicine and is the Founding Director of the Institute for Bioethics, Health Policy and Law at the University of Louisville School of Medicine. He is the co-author of Genetics: Ethics, Law and Policy, the editor of Genetic Secrets: Protecting Privacy and Confidentiality in the Genetic Era and co-editor of Behavioral Genetics: The Clash of Culture and Biology.
  • Dennis McNevin is a Professor of forensic genetics in the Centre for Forensic Science at the University of Technology Sydney. He is co-author of the research publications Predictive DNA analysis for bio-geographical ancestry, Forensic DNA phenotyping: Developing a model privacy impact assessment, and Prediction of bio-geographical ancestry from genotype: a comparison of classifiers.

This program is produced with generous contribution from Ankine Aghassian, Melissa Chiprin, Anaïs Amin, Tim Page, Mike Hurst and Sudd Dongre.

Scholars’ Circle – Humanity’s Crisis in Yemen -/- WARs in our times – June 3, 2018

First, Yemen is facing one of the worst humanitarian crisis on earth. How did it get to this? And what should be done?[ dur: 27 mins. ]

  • Dr. Charles Schmitz is a professor of geography at Towson University in Baltimore, Maryland. From 2004 to 2014, he served as president of the American Institute for Yemeni Studies. He is an affiliated scholar with the Middle East Institute in Washington DC. Professor Schmitz is the co-author of Historical Dictionary of Yemen.
  • Hammoud Salhi is Professor and Dean of Undergraduate Studies at Cal State Dominguez Hills. He is a host of SWANA Region Radio on KPFK in Los Angeles. He is a commentator for Arabic media.

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 is Vice President and Director of International Conflict Management at US Institute of Peace. He is the co-author of Sanctions and the Search for Security: Challenges to UN Action.
  • Ervin Staub is Professor of Psychology at the University of Massettuces, Amherst. He is the author of The Psychology of Good and Evil: Why Children, Adults, and Groups Help and Harm Others.
  • Norrin Ripsman is Professor of Political Science at Concordia University. She is the co-author of Globalization and the National Security State.

This program is produced with generous contribution from Ankine Aghassian, Melissa Chiprin, Tim Page, Mike Hurst and Sudd Dongre.

Scholars’ Circle – Lost African-American land ownership -/- Consequence of Political Corruption – May 27, 2018

First, did predatory developers use the law to confiscate thousands of acres from African-American? [ dur: 16 mins. ]

Then, we continue analyzing political corruption, its causes, consequences and remedies. [ dur: 42 mins. ]

  • Matthew Stephenson is Professor of Law at Harvard Law School. He is the author of Legislation and Regulation and the book chapter Corruption and Democratic Institutions: A Review and Synthesis.
  • Miriam Golden is Professor of Political Science at UCLA. She is the author of Heroic Defeats: The Politics of Job Loss and co-author of Corruption: What Everyone Needs to Know.

This program is produced with generous contribution from Ankine Aghassian, Melissa Chiprin, Tim Page, Mike Hurst and Sudd Dongre.

Scholars’ Circle – Stressed Oceans – May 20, 2018

Ocean life is under threat by multiple stressors: climate change, acidification, plastics, pollution, overfishing, overexploitation. We spend the hour with four experts of the seas. We discuss the realities facing our oceans and strides we’re making to protect, recover, and restore our oceans.[ dur: 58 mins. ]

Find book authored by our guest scholars on this Book Shelf .

This program is produced with generous contribution from Ankine Aghassian, Melissa Chiprin, Tim Page, Mike Hurst and Sudd Dongre.

Scholars’ Circle – Political Corruption, cause and effect – May 13, 2018

We spend the hour discussing corruption, particularly political corruption, its history, causes, costs to society and possible remedies. [ dur: 58 mins. ]

This program is produced with generous contribution from Ankine Aghassian, Melissa Chiprin, Tim Page, Mike Hurst and Sudd Dongre.

Scholars’ Circle – Future of Food – May 6, 2018

Today’s program was recorded in front of a live audience. In this symposium about the future of food, we look at food insecurity, food shortages, food justice and sovereignty. We explore the threats to long term availability of health food: climate change, chemical contamination, soil depletion, loss of land, power politics, mass death of pollinators and host of big business practices. We look at solutions and the changes we need to make to be sure of system is just, sustainable and resilient. [ dur: 58 mins. ]

  • Ann Elizabeth Bartos is a Lecturer in the School of Environment at the University of Auckland. She has authored book chapters including ‘Food sovereignty and the possibilities for an equitable, just and sustainable food system”’in Eating, Drinking, Surviving: The international year of global understanding – IYGU and journal articles including ‘The body eating its food politics: reflections on relationalities and embodied ways of knowing’ in Gender, Place and Culture.
  • Gerhard Benjamin McDonald Sundborn is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Population Health at the University of Auckland. His has coauthored journal articles including ‘Low sugar nutrition policies and dental caries: A study of primary schools in South Auckland’ in the Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health and ‘Sugar, dental caries and the incidence of acute rheumatic fever: A cohort study of Māori and Pacific children’ in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.
  • Daniel Carl Henare Hikuroa is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Māori Studies and Pacific Studies at the University of Auckland. He coedited the book Ara Mai he Tetekura: Visioning Our Futures: New and Emerging Pathways of Maori Academic Leadership and has coauthored journal articles including ‘Ensuring objectivity by applying the Mauri Model to assess the post-disaster affected environments of the 2011 MV Rena disaster in the Bay of Plenty, New Zealand’ in Ecological Indicators.
  • Mike Joy is a Senior Lecturer at the Institute of Agriculture and Environment at Massey University. He authored the book Polluted Inheritance: New Zealand’s freshwater crisis; authored book chapters including ‘Our deadly nitrogen addiction’ in The New Zealand Land & Food Annual; as well as coauthored journal articles including ‘New Zealand dairy farming: milking our environment for all its worth’ in Environmental Management.

This program is produced with generous contribution from Ankine Aghassian, Melissa Chiprin, Tim Page, Mike Hurst and Sudd Dongre.

Scholars’ Circle – Living Off-Grid -/- Infinite Game of Living Communities – April 29, 2018

First, living off the grid. A look inside the movement to live with total freedom and independence. Who is doing it? How are they doing it and why are they doing it? [ dur: 15 mins. ]

  • Nick Rosen is writer, author and filmmaker. He is the author of Off the Grid: Inside the Movement for More Space, Less Government and True Independence in Modern America. His website is  www.off-grid.net

Then, living life as an infinite game. We speak with Niki Harre author of Infinite Game: How to Live Well Together. [ dur: 43 mins. ]

  • Niki Harre is a Professor of Psychology and Associate Dean for Sustainability at the University of Auckland. She is the author of Psychology for a Better World and The Infinite Game: How to Live Well Together. Her website is: http://www.infinite-game.net/

This program is produced with generous contribution from Ankine Aghassian, Melissa Chiprin, Tim Page, Mike Hurst and Sudd Dongre.

Scholars’ Circle – Anniversary of Armenian Genocide in Turkey -/- Activism in Authoritarian State like China – April 22, 2018

First, in commemoration of the 103rd anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, we revisit two important discussions: With Pulitzer Prize winning author, poet and Professor Peter Balakian and Professor and Pulitzer prize winning journalist, Ben Bagdikian, an Armenian Genocide survivor who was later responsible for publishing the Pentagon Papers while working at the Washington Post. His character was portrayed by Bob Odenkirk in the Oscar nominated film, The Post. Bagdikian passed away in 2016. [ dur: 29 mins. ]

  • Peter Balakian is a professor of humanities. He is a noted poet, his books include “Black Dog of Fate: A Memoir” and “The Burning Tigris: The Armenian Genocide and America’s Response
  • Ben Bagdikian, an Armenian Genocide survivor who was later responsible for publishing the Pentagon Papers while working at the Washington Post.

Then, why have so many human rights campaigns, such as Free Tibet and the Falun Gong, failed in China? And why have others—better environmental protection and HIV/Aids – care fared better? What have the costs been on political movements with the more successful campaigns? What activism can work in the authoritarian country? Stephen Noakes joins us. He is a senior lecturer at the University of Auckland and the author of The Advocacy Trap. Transnational activism and state power in China.[ dur: 29 mins. ]

  • Stephen Noakes is a senior lecturer of Chinese Politics, jointly appointed to Politics and International Relations and Asian Studies at the University of Auckland. ​He is coauthor of Support for Civil Society in China in Creating Democratic Value: Evaluating Efforts to Promote Democracy Abroad.

This program is produced with generous contribution from Ankine Aghassian, Melissa Chiprin, Tim Page, Mike Hurst and Sudd Dongre.

Scholars’ Circle – Cryptocurrency, Insight from Scholars – April 15, 2018

We spend the hour understanding crypto-currency. Will cryptocurrency profoundly alter the monetary system? What is the future of it? What are the pros and cons? And what do they mean for economics, for power and for society? [ dur: 58 mins. ]

  • David Golumbia, is Associate Professor in the Department of English; Media, Art, & Text Program at Virginia Commonwealth University. He is the author of The Cultural Logic of Computation and The Politics of Bitcoin: Software as Right-Wing Extremism . His blog is uncomputing.org.
  • Gina C. Pieters is Assistant Professor in the Department of Economics at Trinity University, and an honorary Research Fellow at the University College London Centre for Blockchain Technologies. She is the author of the research papers Does Bitcoin reveal new information about exchange rates and financial integration?, The Potential Impact of Decentralized Virtual Currency on Monetary Policy and Cross-Country Distribution of Power and Exposure in the Crypto-Market.
  • Lee W McKnight is Associate Professor in the School of Information Studies at Syracuse University. He is the co-author of The Gordian Knot:Political Gridlock on the Information Highway, Cloud to Edgeware: Wireless Grid Applications, Architecture and Security for the “Internet of Things”, Knowledge Networks, the Internet, and Development , and co-editor of Creative Destruction: Business Survival Strategies in the Global Internet Economy and Internet Economics.
  • Emin Gun Sirer is Associate Professor at Cornell University and Co-Director of the Initiative for Cryptocurrencies and Smart Contracts. He is the co-author of Majority is not Enough: Bitcoin Mining is Vulnerable, Managing the Network with Merlin. and On the Feasibility of Completely Wireless Datacenters. He developed the precursor to Bitcoin. His blog is HackingDisturbed.com

This program is produced with generous contribution from Ankine Aghassian, Melissa Chiprin, Tim Page, Mike Hurst and Sudd Dongre.