Scholars’ Circle – US Supreme Court decisions and American Law ; Insights on the Pink wave in Latin America – June 26, 2022

What are the US Supreme Court’s decisions from this year’s docket? We will explore some of these decisions and what it means for the future of American law. [ dur: 25mins. ]

What does the leftist turn in Latin American elections mean for the politics of the region? Is it a response to neoliberalism? Is it a response to the endemic corruption in the region? We explore the so-called “pink wave” in the region. [ dur: 33mins. ]

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

Scholars’ Circle – Historic context of January 6, 2021 insurrection event ; Tracking the rise of Christian Nationalism and their effect on American Politics – June 19, 2022

January 6 insurrection has begun televised hearings of their findings. We examine the initial findings of this Committee and the role of former President Trump in the attempted coup. [ dur: 22mins. ]

The rise of the religious right or Christian Nationalism aided in the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980, and has been a significant voting bloc ever since. How much is this movement driving American politics? How organized are the groups that comprise the movement? And what exactly is its political agenda? [ dur: 35mins. ]

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

Scholars’ Circle – Casualties from Russian invasion of Ukraine and evaluating Russian influence in post Soviet space – June 12, 2022

Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February, a vicious war of aggression and occupation has devastated the nation. Determined resistance to the invasion has denied Russia many of its intended targets, but Ukrainians have suffered tremendous losses. What are the human and other costs of the Russian invasion of Ukraine? [ due: 28mins. ]

The impact of the February Russian invasion of Ukraine extends beyond just those two nations. Russia has dominated the post-Soviet space—the independent nations that were once a part of the Soviet Union. A Russian foreign policy has attempted to ensure that the nation is the indispensable partner of these nations. But the invasion has fractured this image and poses significant challenges to Russian influence over its former Soviet Union partners.

How has this invasion damaged the legitimacy of Russia’s interventions in other conflicts across the post Soviet space? What does this mean to these conflicts? And how has this war called into question Russia’s influence in this area? [ dur: 30mins. ]

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

Scholars’ Circle – Trauma on Children from School Shootings – June 5, 2022

Mass shootings in the Unites States are unprecedented in advanced industrial democracies. We explore the psychological impact of these shootings on the survivors and witnesses, with a particular attention to the children who experience this trauma. What are effective actions to confront the traumas experienced by the children who survive school shootings? Overwhelming the response of mass shootings is to “do something.” But what should we as a society and as an electorate do in response to these mass shootings? [ dur: 58mins. ]

More resources are available at:

https://www.newpaltz.edu/idmh/

https://www.nctsn.org/resources/talking-children-about-shooting

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

Scholars’ Circle – Sri Lankans Protest as they experience Economic Crisis – May 29, 2022

On May 9 of this year, Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa was forced to resign his position. This is despite the fact this his brother, Gotabaya, is the President of the nation. He is part of a quasi-dynastic Rajapaksa family, which has dominated Sri Lankan politics for 20 years. The nation is in economic turmoil and that day was one of the most violent of its history. Sri Lanka has less than $1 million in foreign reserves, dwindling medical supplies and almost no fuel. President Gotobaya Rajapaksa is attempting to hold onto power as the nation continues to deteriorate. And the protests continue.

We will explore the political and economic crisis that roils the island nation. What role do outside powers and lenders play at exacerbating Sri Lanka’s economic crisis? [ dur: 58 mins. ]

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

Scholars’ Circle – Philippines Presidential Election – May 22, 2022

On May 9, the Philippines held their Presidential elections. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. won the election, bringing back the infamous family toppled in 1986 in a popular revolution. What does this say about the memory and the political climate of the nation? How will Marcos govern the country? What policies do we expect of this new Marcos regime and how might they differ from the current policies of Rodrigo Duterte? We explore the historical significance of the return of Marcos to power in the nation. [ dur: 58mins. ]

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

Scholars’ Circle – Women’s Reproductive Health post-Roe – May 15, 2022

As the US Supreme Court indicates its likelihood of overturning the landmark decision enshrining women’s reproductive control on abortion, Roe v. Wade, women throughout the country are wrestling with strategies to ensure continued abilities to terminate unwanted pregnancies. This legal development has been anticipated. The drastic shift to the right of the Court has, for years, compelled abortion advocates to develop alternative strategies for women. If Roe v. Wade is in fact overturned, what will women do to maintain sovereignty over their own bodies? What will a post-Roe world mean for women’s reproductive health?

Can reframing reproductive rights influence how people understand the issues related to abortion? Would the phrase “reproductive justice” offer a more accurate view than previous frames such as “reproductive rights” or “rights to privacy?”. [ dur: 58mins. ]

Community of Womens’ Health advocates:

  • Repro Legal Defense fund – https://reprolegaldefensefund.org
  • If/When/How – https://www.ifwhenhow.org/ ,  lawyers for reproductive justice

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

Scholars’ Circle -German History of Gay rights during the period of Cold War; LGBTQ rights struggle in US – May 8, 2022

What was the experience of gay people in East and West Germany during the Cold War? We speak with Samuel Clowes Huneke author of States of Liberation: Gay Men between Dictatorship and Democracy in Cold War Germany [ dur: 32mins. ].

Since the 2020 election, anti-transgender campaigns have been growing in the United States. What are these efforts? We look at the campaigns to curtail and reverse gay and transgender rights, in particular we explore campaigns such as Florida’s Parental Rights in Education act (dubbed by critics as “Don’t Say Gay” bill) and attempts to ban trans athletes in all levels of competition. [ dur: 25 mins. ]

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

Scholars’ Circle – Disinformation in our time – May 1, 2022

With the news that Elon Musk intends to purchase Twitter and with promises that the social media company will allow a wider range of content, including some that was previously banned as hate speech, disinformation, or conspiracy-centric, concerns over disinformation in political discourse have been heightened. But the challenge of democratic discourse in light of misinformation and disinformation is a historic challenge. Social media just speeds the process. Yet a significant concern is discerning who best to regulate what constitutes disinformation, in light of the political power of censorship.
We look at how disinformation has spread worldwide, shifting politics and challenging democracies. What are the most effective ways to counter disinformation? How might it be different for states, than for individuals? [ dur: 58mins. ]

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

Scholars’ Circle – Importance of Preserving All Presidential Documents; Uzbekistan Denies Protection of Religious Freedom – April 24, 2022

Former President Trump’s administration took the presidential documents to Mar-a-Lago instead of submitting them to the U.S. archive. Why does this matter? [ dur: 26mins. ]

In recent months, investigators discovered that a significant number of records from the Trump White House were relocated to his personal residence in Mar-a-Lago, Florida. This removal of official papers from the White House poses a significant threat for the security of classified information. But perhaps most importantly, it serves as a major concern for future historians to write accurate and detailed histories of the presidency. We explore the Presidential Records Act and how the law is applied.

We turn our attention to a country rarely in the news, Uzbekistan. What do we know about the country, particularly its religious freedoms? Uzbekistan is an Islamic country. But does it respect the rights of its Muslims? If so, why does the country imprison its people considered prisoners of conscience and religious prisoners? We discuss a new report from the US Commission on International Religious Freedom on Uzbekistan’s Religious and Political Prisoners. [ dur: 32mins. ]

  • Steve Swerdlow is Associate Professor of the Practice of Human Rights in the Department of Political and International Relations at the University of Southern California (USC). He was Senior Central Asia researcher at Human Rights Watch. He has conducted extensive field work internationally with a particular focus on Central Asia and the Caucuses. He was Senior Central Asia researcher at Human Rights Watch. He has conducted extensive field work internationally with a particular focus on Central Asia and the Caucuses. He is the author of Uzbekistan’s Religious and Political Prisoners.

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

By Maria Armoudian