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This collection of programs from the University of California faculty and guests illuminates the crosscurrents in America that led to the election of Donald Trump and the ensuing impact on healthcare, immigration, foreign policy, human rights, journalism, Congress, the courts and other institutions in civic life.
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A podcast from an American who lives in the midwest and like so many doesn't believe that any political party serves the interest of the people and is a true centrist, not between the 2 major parties, but a centrist as defined by world politics. Cover art photo provided by Patrick Tomasso on Unsplash: https://unsplash.com/@impatrickt Support this podcast: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/everydayamerican/support
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The Politics of Race in American Film

London School of Economics and Political Science

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What can film teach us about the evolution of racial politics and depictions of race in the United States? In this series, we’ll be exploring key questions around the impact, influence, and significance of film as a form of social analysis, engagement, and critique. We will examine how racial politics in America are represented by its films, Hollywood cinema’s role in how race is framed, and how this framing has contributed to broad, intersectional representations of racial inequality. We wi ...
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In 1971, the first lunar rover arrived on the moon. The design became an icon of American ingenuity and the adventurous spirit and vision many equated with the space race. Fifty years later, that vision feels like a nostalgic fantasy, but the lunar rover's legacy paved the way for Mars rovers like Sojourner, Curiosity, and Perseverance. Other rover…
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Country music maintains a special, decades-long relationship to American military life, but these ties didn't just happen. This readable history reveals how country music's Nashville-based business leaders on Music Row created partnerships with the Pentagon to sell their audiences on military service while selling the music to service members. Begi…
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In Only a Few Blocks to Cuba: Cold War Refugee Policy, the Cuban Diaspora, and the Transformations of Miami (U Pennsylvania Press, 2024), Mauricio Castro shows how the U.S. government came to view Cuban migration to Miami as a strategic asset during the Cold War, in the process investing heavily in the city's development and shaping its future as a…
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In their bestselling book Merchants of Doubt, Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. Conway revealed the origins of climate change denial. Now, in The Big Myth: How American Business Taught Us to Loathe Government and Love the Free Market (Bloomsbury. 2023), they unfold the truth about another disastrous dogma: the “magic of the marketplace.” In the early 20th …
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After two years in the White House, an aging and increasingly unpopular Ronald Reagan looked like a one-term president, but in 1983 something changed. Reagan spoke of his embattled agenda as a spiritual rather than a political project and cast his vision for limited government and market economics as the natural outworking of religious conviction. …
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The issue of the future of Social Security, on which millions of Americans depend, produced great political theater at the State of the Union address. That highlighted a bigger problem of financing retirement as baby boomers seek to retire, often with limited resources. Many argue that the solution to the problem is for people to work longer. In Wo…
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Broadly speaking, the traditionally conceptualized mid-twentieth-century Civil Rights Movement and the newer #BlackLivesMatter Movement possess some similar qualities. They both represent dynamic, complex moments of possibility and progress. They also share mass-based movement activities, policy/legislative advocacy, grassroots organizing, and targ…
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The story of the fight against fascism across the African diaspora, revealing that Black antifascism has always been vital to global freedom struggles. At once a history for understanding fascism and a handbook for organizing against, The Black Antifascist Tradition: Fighting Back from Anti-Lynching to Abolition (Haymarket Books, 2024) is an essent…
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Born in Yorba Linda and raised in Whittier, California, Nixon succeeded early in life, excelling in academics while enjoying athletics through high school. At Whittier College he graduated at the top of his class and was voted Best Man on Campus. During his career at Whittier's oldest law firm, he was respected professionally and became a chief tri…
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Contemporary politics is characterized by the rise (and fall) of many new parties. But what tools do political scientists have to map and measure electoral volatility? How can we best capture this change? And what insights can political scientists draw from other disciplines? Join host Tim Haughton for a discussion with Allan Sikk and Philipp Köker…
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How and why the election of Donald Trump inspired more women to enter politics. Donald Trump's victory over Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election shocked and dismayed many women, and motivated many to run for office at all levels of government. In The Pink Wave: Women Running for Office After Trump (NYU Press, 2023), Regina M. Matheson …
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Missionary Diplomacy: Religion and Nineteenth-Century American Foreign Relations (Cornell University Press, 2024) illuminates the crucial place of religion in nineteenth-century American diplomacy. From the 1810s through the 1920s, Protestant missionaries positioned themselves as key experts in the development of American relations in Asia, Africa,…
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In Rim to River: Looking into the Heart of Arizona (University of Arizona Press, 2023), Tom Zoellner, a fifth-generation Arizonan, takes the reader on a walk across the length of the state, his narrative interspersed with essays on Arizona’s history, culture and politics. Our conversation focuses on such topics as how Arizona anticipated the Trump …
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The history of Native people and the National Park Service in the United States is fraught. Dispossession, cultural insensitivity, and outright erasure characterize the long relationship that the NPS has with Indigenous groups. But change is possible, as Drs. Christina Hill, Matthew Hill, and Brooke Neely adeptly demonstrate in National Parks, Nati…
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Hemispheric foreign policy has waxed and waned since the Mexican War, and the Cold War presented both extraordinary promises and dangerous threats to U.S.-Latin American cooperation. In Hemispheric Alliances: Liberal Democrats and Cold War Latin America (UNC Press, 2022), Andrew J. Kirkendall examines the strengths and weaknesses of new models for …
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In 1908, Unitarian pastor Bertrand Thompson observed the momentous growth of the labor movement with alarm. "Socialism," he wrote, "has become a distinct substitute" for the church. He was not wrong. In the generation after the Civil War, few of the migrants who moved North and West to take jobs in factories and mines had any association with tradi…
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Political Black Girl Magic: The Elections and Governance of Black Female Mayors (Temple UP, 2023) explores black women's experiences as mayors in American cities. The editor and contributors to this comprehensive volume examine black female mayoral campaigns and elections where race and gender are a factor--and where deracialized campaigns have gar…
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The American Poet Laureate: A History of U.S. Poetry and the State (Columbia University Press, 2023) by Dr. Amy Paeth shows how the state has been the silent centre of poetic production in the United States since World War II. It is the first history of the national poetry office, the U.S. poet laureate, highlighting the careers of Elizabeth Bishop…
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It’s the UConn Popcast, and Taylor Swift is by some measures the most popular person on the planet. Her periodic reinventions set the mass cultural terms of debate, and her political interventions – through exhorting her fans on social media – lead to huge spikes in voter registration. It is hoped by Democrats, and feared by Republicans, that a Tay…
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Originally published in 2019, Benjamin Pauli’s book, Flint Fights Back offers lasting insights into one of the most important drinking water-caused public health crises of American history. In this 2024 interview Pauli shares some explanations from the book but also offers his insights, in this year of the 10th anniversary of the Flint Water Crisis…
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Burnt by Democracy: Youth, Inequality, and the Erosion of Civic Life (University of Toronto Press, 2023) by Dr. Jacqueline Kennelly traces the political ascendance of neoliberalism and its effects on youth. The book explores democracy and citizenship as described in interviews with over forty young people – ages 16 to 30 – who have either experienc…
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In their handling of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process over the decades, U.S. officials have displayed a “systemic blind spot” by alleviating pressure on the stronger party, Israel, and increasing pressure on the weaker party, the Palestinians, Khaled Elgindy argues in Blind Spot: America and the Palestinians, From Balfour to Trump (Brookings I…
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Finishing off our series on freedom of speech, renowned historian Niall Ferguson discusses ideological conflict both between America and China and within the United States, and particularly our universities. Along the way, he shares important lessons from academic culture during the World Wars, how history ought to be taught, how optimistic we shou…
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This is an ambitious history of flags, stamps, and currency—and the role they played in US imperialism over the 20th century. In Imperial Material: National Symbols in the US Colonial Empire (U Chicago Press, 2023), Alvita Akiboh, Assistant Professor of History at Yale University, reveals how US national identity has been created, challenged, and t…
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Why do some devout Christians support authoritarian leaders who threaten the very democracies that protect religious freedoms? The resounding support from evangelical and conservative Christians for strident culture hawks like Donald Trump and other far right leaders may appear surprising, but exist within a long and broad history that spans contin…
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In a world of border walls and obstacles to migration, a lottery where winners can gain permanent residency in the United States sounds too good to be true. Just as unlikely is the idea that the United States would make such visas available to foster diversity within a country where systemic racism endures. But in 1990, the United States Diversity …
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Bankers brought the global economic system to its knees in 2007 and nearly did the same in 2020. Both times, the US government bailed out the banks and left them in control. How can we end this cycle of trillion-dollar bailouts and make finance work for the rest of us? Busting the Bankers' Club confronts the powerful people and institutions that be…
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Dave McCormick *96 has enjoyed incredible success in a wide variety of arenas: after graduating from West Point, where he competed as a varsity wrestler, he served in the Gulf War before going on to earn his PhD here at Princeton in International Relations in 1996. He went on to prominent positions in both the private and public sectors, most notab…
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In this episode of International Horizons, RBI director John Torpey interviews Daniel Ziblatt, Eaton Professor of the Science of Government at Harvard University and co-author (with Steven Levitsky) of the bestsellers How Democracies Die (Crown, 2019) and The Tyranny of the Minority (Crown, 2023). Ziblatt emphasizes the crucial role played by conse…
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During presidential campaigns, candidates crisscross the country nonstop—visiting swing states, their home turf, and enemy territory. But do all those campaign visits make a difference when Election Day comes? If so, how and under what conditions? Do they mobilise the partisan faithful or persuade undecided voters? What do campaigns try to achieve …
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In the 1950s, an obsessive firearms designer named Eugene Stoner invented the AR-15 rifle in a California garage. High-minded and patriotic, Stoner sought to devise a lightweight, easy-to-use weapon that could replace the M1s touted by soldiers in World War II. What he did create was a lethal handheld icon of the American century. In American Gun: …
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The remarkable story of a couple who came together during the civil rights movement and made fighting for equality and civil and workers' rights their purpose for more than sixty years, overcoming adversity--with the strength of their love and commitment--to bring about meaningful change, When Velma Murphy was knocked unconscious by a brick thrown …
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With its signature "DARE to keep kids off drugs" slogan and iconic t-shirts, DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) was the most popular drug education program of the 1980s and 1990s. But behind the cultural phenomenon is the story of how DARE and other antidrug education programs brought the War on Drugs into schools and ensured that the velvet gl…
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Steven Harvey is the author of numerous books, including his latest collection of essays The Beloved Republic (Wandering Aengus Press). Besides being a founding faculty member of the Ashland University MFA program, Steven is also a Contributing Editor at River Teeth literary magazine and the creator of The Humble Essayist website. How to write poli…
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Throughout history, too many Americans have been disenfranchised or faced needless barriers to voting. Part of the blame falls on the Constitution, which does not contain an affirmative right to vote. The Supreme Court has made matters worse by failing to protect voting rights and limiting Congress's ability to do so. The time has come for voters t…
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Marisol LeBrón’s new book, Policing Life and Death: Race, Violence, and Resistance in Puerto Rico (University of California Press, 2019), examines the rise of and resistance to punitive governance (tough on crime policing policies) in Puerto Rico from the 1990s to the present. As in the United States, LeBrón shows how increased investment in polici…
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From talking heads on cable news to hot takes online, there seems to be more opinion than ever in journalism these days. There’s an entire body of research about how this shift toward opinionated news impacts the people who consume news, but far less on how these changes impact the people who create it. Kimberly Meltzer tackles some of these questi…
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Today I talked to Josh Fernandez about his new memoir The Hands That Crafted the Bomb: The Making of a Lifelong Antifascist (PM Press, 2024). Josh Fernandez is a community college professor in Northern California who finds himself under investigation for “soliciting students for potentially dangerous activities” after starting an antifascist club o…
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In this New Books Network/Gotham Center for NYC History podcast, guest host Beth Harpaz, editor of the City University of New York website SUM, interviews Jeanne Theoharis, distinguished professor of political science at Brooklyn College. Their topic is a new book just out from NYU Press, co-edited by Theoharis, called The Strange Careers of the Ji…
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Soaring levels of political, legal, economic, and social inequality have been documented by social scientists – but the public conversation and scholarship on inequality has not examined the role of state law and state courts in establishing policies that significantly affect inequality. Political scientists James L. Gibson and Michael J. Nelson an…
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The US government is laboring under an enormous debt burden, one that will impact the living standards of future generations of Americans by limiting investment in people and infrastructure. In his new book, Fiscal Therapy: Curing America's Debt Addiction and Investing in the Future (Oxford University Press, 2019), Brookings Institution senior scho…
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It is hard to overestimate the influence of John Rawls on political philosophy and theory over the last half-century. His books have sold millions of copies worldwide, and he is one of the few philosophers whose work is known in the corridors of power as well as in the halls of academe. Rawls is most famous for the development of his view of “justi…
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“Is America an Empire?” is a popular question for pundits and historians, likely because it sets off such a provocative debate. All too often, however, people use empire simply because the United States is a hegemon, ignoring the country’s imperial traits to focus simply on its power. Dr. Daniel Immerwahr’s book How to Hide an Empire: The History o…
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A gripping account of the violence and turmoil that engulfed England’s fledgling colonies and the crucial role played by Native Americans in determining the future of North America. In 1675, eastern North America descended into chaos. Virginia exploded into civil war, as rebel colonists decried the corruption of planter oligarchs and massacred alli…
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"An air of finality pervades today’s world." That is the opening sentence of Jonathan White’s book In the Long Run: The Future as a Political Idea (Profile, 2024). What role, the book asks, has the idea of "the future" played in past politics? What role does it play in contemporary politics? Listen to White in discussion with Owen Bennett-Jones. Ow…
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In Purgatory Citizenship: Reentry, Race, and Abolition (University of California Press, 2023), Calvin John Smiley explores the lives of people who were formerly incarcerated and the many daunting challenges they face. Those being released from prison must navigate the reentry process with diminished legal rights and amplified social stigmas, in a j…
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As I may be the target audience for Diseased Cinema: Plagues, Pandemics and Zombies in American Movies (Edinburgh UP, 2023), I really enjoyed interviewing Robert Alpert, Merle Eisenberg, and Lee Mordechai. Their co-authored book explores the politics of American films about disease and zombies. We had a wide-ranging, thoughtful, and funny conversat…
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Feminist Afterlives of the Witch: Popular Culture, Memory, Activism (Palgrave Macmillan, 2023) by Dr. Brydie Kosmina investigates the witch as a key rhetorical symbol in twentieth- and twenty-first century feminist memory, politics, activism, and popular culture. The witch demonstrates the inheritance of paradoxical pasts, traversing numerous ideol…
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A controversial character largely known (as depicted in the movie Glory) as a Union colonel who led Black soldiers in the Civil War, James Montgomery (1814-71) waged a far more personal and radical war against slavery than popular history suggests. It is the true story of this militant abolitionist that Todd Mildfelt and David D. Schafer tell in Ab…
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An authoritative biography of the controversial Confederate general, who later embraced Reconstruction and became an outcast in the South. It was the most remarkable political about-face in American history. During the Civil War, General James Longstreet fought tenaciously for the Confederacy. He was alongside Lee at Gettysburg (and counseled him n…
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