Scholars’ Circle – Gerrymandering Districts based on Census Data and Inclusive Politics of Rank Choice Voting – September 25, 2022

State legislatures have traditionally controlled districting, with a decentralization of process and decision-making as to how they are drawn. And in recent years, technology has enabled a more complex system of gerrymandering that can challenge the principles of democracy. Indeed it could produce outcomes where the party with fewer votes has control of the democratic institution. How much have voting districts have been gerrymandered and how might it affect the upcoming elections? [ dur: 26mins. ]

Alaska’s recent special election produced a rare win for a Democrat, rather than a Republican for the state’s congressional seat. How much of it had to do with the voting process known as ranked-choice voting? Rank choice voting is meant to produce majoritarian outcomes in elections with multiple candidates. How exactly does this process work? And what are its implications for democracy? [ dur: 32mins. ]

This program is produced by Ankine Aghassian, Doug Becker, Mihika Chechi, Melissa Chiprin, and Sudd Dongre.

Scholars’ Circle – Libyan civil war continues after Gaddafi’s Rule ; Methods for Peace Building – September 18, 2022

We explore the civil war in Libya. Why did it break out and why does it persist? What are possible solutions?  Host: Doug Becker. [ dur: 30mins. ]

Beyond ending war what does it take to make a lasting quality peace?  Host: Maria Armoudian. [ dur: 28mins. ]

Recorded November 22, 2015.

This program is produced by Ankine Aghassian, Doug Becker, Mihika Chechi, Melissa Chiprin, and Sudd Dongre.

Scholars’ Circle – Insight into Ethnic Conflict in Autocratic Uzbekistan and Tajikistan ; Creative Lawyers for Human Rights – September 11, 2022

Protests across Central Asia have rocked the nations of the former Soviet republics of Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

The states’ violent suppression of these movements have killed hundreds and undermined human rights protections. We explore the roots of these conflicts and what these violent crackdown mean for human rights, democracy, transparency and peace in the region. [ dur: 31mins. ]

We interview Maria Armoudian who has authored a book on international human rights and the role that lawyers have played at advancing cases against human rights abusers. [ dur: 27mins. ]

This program is produced by Ankine Aghassian, Doug Becker, Mihika Chechi, Melissa Chiprin, and Sudd Dongre.

Scholars’ Circle – Impact of Union Organizations on Labor Rights in USA – September 4, 2022

In honor of Labor Day weekend, we explore the state of labor in the United States and we take stock in the impact of Union organization in America. We consider some of the high profile labor cases, such as Union organization at Starbucks, Amazon, Apple, and Trader Joe’s.

We also examine labor history and look at the role that race and gender have played in growing the labor movement.[ dur: 58mins. ]

This program is produced by Ankine Aghassian, Doug Becker, Mihika Chechi, Melissa Chiprin, and Sudd Dongre.

Scholars’ Circle – US provides policy incentives for mitigation and adaptation to changing climate and its effects – August 28, 2022

The United States just passed the Inflation Reduction Act. Much of it addresses climate change. Does it meet the challenge the planet faces on the changing climate? What renewable energy technologies will the US need to utilize to meet its climate goals? [ dur: 28mins. ]

  • Mark Jacobson is Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Director of Atmosphere/Energy Program at Stanford University. He is also the Co-Founder of The Solutions Project, 100.org, and the 100% Clean, Renewable Energy Movement. He is author of 100% Clean, Renewable Energy and Storage for Everything and the forthcoming No Miracles Needed : How Today’s Technology Can Save Our Climate and Clean Our Air.

Scientists say we still have time to address climate change and we’ve made headway, but we still have a long way to go. We rebroadcast a conversation with renowned climate scientist Michael Mann recorded on September 25, 2016. [ dur: 30mins. ]

For a transcript of this interview, please visit: TheBigQ

This program is produced by Ankine Aghassian, Doug Becker, Mihika Chechi, Melissa Chiprin, and Sudd Dongre.

Scholars’ Circle – Factory Farming of Animals, an Unsustainable Method of Food Production – August 21, 2022

Farming around the world, and in particular in the US, has increasingly become centralized as large factory farming. What are the environmental, social, and philosophical implications of this mode of agricultural production? [ dur: 58mins. ]

Factory farming carry significant challenges on environmental protection, on pricing and the centralization of wealth, and on social issues such as animal welfare and animal rights. We discuss agricultural policies and the environmental impacts including carbon emission, climate change and pollution.

This program is produced by Ankine Aghassian, Doug Becker, Mihika Chechi, Melissa Chiprin, and Sudd Dongre.

Scholars’ Circle – Roots of Goodness and Resistance to Evil – Part II; What is Race and Ethnicity – August 14, 2022

First, we continue our conversation with preeminent psychology scholar Ervin Staub. Last week we discussed how to build peaceful societies, particularly when some groups have been traumatized by violence, war or genocide. Erwin Staub’s latest book is The Roots of Goodness and Resistance to Evil. This is part two of our discussion. [ dur: 33mins. ]

  • Ervin Staub is a Professor of Psychology Emeritus at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and Founding Director of its ​Ph.D. concentration in the Psychology of Peace and Violence.

Then, what is race? How is it distinct from ethnicity? And what do they mean for politics and society? [ dur: 25mins. ]

This show was recorded on June 2015

This program is produced by Ankine Aghassian, Doug Becker, Mihika Chechi, Melissa Chiprin, and Sudd Dongre.

Scholars’ Circle – Effect from Arms Trade on Politics and Society ; Roots of Goodness and Resistance to Evil – August 7, 2022

First, a look inside the arms trade and its effects on politics and society.[ dur: 33mins. ]

Then, we speak with Ervin Staub about his latest book, The Roots of Goodness and Resistance to Evil: Inclusive Caring, Moral Courage, Altruism Born of Suffering, Active B​ystandership and ​H​e​r​oism. [ dur: 25 mins. ]

This recording is from June of 2015.

This program is produced by Ankine Aghassian, Doug Becker, Mihika Chechi, Melissa Chiprin, and Sudd Dongre.

Scholars’ Circle – Undoing of Separation between Church and State by SCOTUS – July 31, 2022

Thomas Jefferson once declared that the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution was intended to build a wall of separation between the church and state. Have the recent Supreme Court rulings eroded this purpose? And what do these ruling mean for the role of religion and lawmaking in the larger society across the United States? [ dur: 58mins. ]

This program is produced by Ankine Aghassian, Doug Becker, Mihika Chechi, Melissa Chiprin, and Sudd Dongre.

Scholars’ Circle – SCOTUS on the path to take back tribal sovereignty set in law by the US Congress – July 24, 2022

The US Supreme Court just challenged tribal sovereignty in its ruling in Oklahoma v Castro-Huerta, which empowers the state much greater power to prosecute for alleged crimes in tribal lands. The legal implications are vast. We will explore the case and the future of tribal sovereignty in light of the Court’s drastic reversal of case precedent.

What does this case mean for the jurisdiction of the tribe on reservations and on child welfare under what’s called the Indian Child Welfare Act, or ICWA? [ dur: 58mins. ]

This program is produced by Ankine Aghassian, Doug Becker, Mihika Chechi, Melissa Chiprin, and Sudd Dongre.

By Maria Armoudian