New Books in Public Policy

A daily Science and Social Sciences podcast
Good podcast? Give it some love!

Best Episodes of New Books in Public Policy

Mark All
Search Episodes...
The COVID19 pandemic has profoundly changed the landscape of K-12 education in our society. Last March, many states closed their brick-and-mortar schools and shifted to remote education. The massive shift is historic and unprecedented. Until now, while we see the light at the end of the tunnel in our battle against the coronavirus, millions and millions of students are still learning at home via online platforms. It is also because of this shift that digital learning all of a sudden has drawn attention from not only educators but also the general public from families to policy makers. Over the past months we have seen concerted efforts to invest in digital learning and improve the required infrastructure. In spite of this unexpected yet much welcomed attention from the society at large, digital teaching and learning a field has existed for a long time. Experts in the field have been documenting and exploring the best practice of digital teaching and learning. Today I am going to talk with three researchers who have been working in this field for a long time, Carolyn Heinrich from Vanderbilt University, Jennifer Darling-Aduana from Georgia State University and Annalee G. Good from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  Last year, they published their new book with Harvard Education Press, titled Equity and Quality in Digital Learning: Realizing the Promise in K-12 Education (2020). It systematically studies the implementation and best practice of using digital tools to reduce inequities in educational opportunities and improve student outcomes. Although the book was out right before the start of the pandemic, the lessons, best practice and insights they highlighted in their book have so much to offer for educators, policy makers and families to navigate a teaching-and-learning landscape during and after this pandemic. Carolyn J. Heinrich is the Patricia and Rodes Hart Professor of Public Policy and Education and Chair of the Department of Leadership, Policy, and Organizations, and an affiliated Professor of Economics at Vanderbilt University.  Jennifer Darling-Aduana is an Assistant Professor of Learning Technologies in the Department of Learning Sciences, College of Education and Human Development, at Georgia State University.  Annalee G. Good is co-director of the Wisconsin Evaluation Collaborative and Director of the Clinical Program at the Wisconsin Center for Education Research at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Pengfei Zhao is a critical researcher and qualitative research methodologist based at the University of Florida. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member!
The emergence of individual and commercial insurance in Early Modern Europe required an understanding of probability. In Probable Justice: Rethinking the Politics of Risk (U Chicago Press, 2020), Rachel Friedman highlights the political thinking that developed side by side with the advances in statistical methods. By the 20th century, small scale, group insurance had become national programs with profound political implications. Friedman's work traces how what she calls probabilistic social insurance played a key role in the emergence of the modern welfare state. And we discuss where we go from here, post-pandemic, when all insurances systems have been put to the test. Daniel Peris is Senior Vice President at Federated Hermes in Pittsburgh. He can be reached at or via Twitter @HistoryInvestor. His History and Investing blog and Keep Calm & Carry On Investing podcast are at https://strategicdividendinves... Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member!
Social networks existed and shaped our lives long before Silicon Valley startups made them virtual. For over two decades economist Matthew O. Jackson, a professor at Stanford University, has studied how the shape of networks and our positions within them can affect us. In this interview, he explains how network structures can create poverty traps, exacerbate financial crises, and contribute to political polarization. He also explains how a new awareness of the role of networks has been used to improve financial regulation, promote public health knowledge, and guide vaccination strategy. Jackson also discusses how he first began to study networks, previously neglected by economists, and how economists can both learn from and contribute to the exciting cross-disciplinary dialogue among researchers from sociology, math, physics, and other fields. Professor Jackson's website provides free access to the chapter on contagion, of particular interest in this time of pandemic. For those who want to learn even more than the book can cover, he offers a free online course on the topic. Host Peter Lorentzen is an Associate Professor in the Department of Economics at the University of San Francisco, where he leads a new digital economy-focused Master's program in Applied Economics. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member!
Much has long been made of the bold legislative action that President Franklin Delano Roosevelt marshalled forward in his first 100 days in office in the midst of the Great Depression. To take stock of the Biden presidency, Lilly and Susan asked three thoughtful political scientists—Dr. Jonathan Bernstein (Bloomberg Media), Dr. Nadia E. Brown (Purdue University), and Dr. Jane Junn (University of Southern California) to interrogate the early days of the Biden Administration. They not only provided keen observations about the Executive Branch, but also about Congress and state governments. The lively discussion shifted quickly from the arbitrary marker of the first 100 days to what is necessary to move policy forward in the closely divided U.S. House and Senate, and what the legislative agenda may look like going forward. We chat about the apparent pause in the swift swirling of our politics—though we debate whether the new administration is a return to normalcy and if it is possible, post Trump, to return to normalcy. In this context, there was a discussion of competence, expertise, intelligence, rationality, preparation, and integrity. We pay close attention to the political parties, with specific focus on the internal tensions in both the Democratic Party and the Republican Party. Our guests also spend time framing the political landscape with an understanding of the role and place of news media and social media. Lilly J. Goren is professor of political science at Carroll University in Waukesha, WI. She is co-editor of the award winning book, Women and the White House: Gender, Popular Culture, and Presidential Politics (University Press of Kentucky, 2012), as well as co-editor of Mad Men and Politics: Nostalgia and the Remaking of Modern America (Bloomsbury Academic, 2015). Email her comments at or tweet to @gorenlj. Susan Liebell is an associate professor of political science at Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia. Why Diehard Originalists Aren’t Really Originalists recently appeared in the Washington Post’s Monkey Cage and “Retreat from the Rule of Law: Locke and the Perils of Stand Your Ground” was published in the Journal of Politics (July 2020). Email her comments at or tweet to @SusanLiebell. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member!
The rapid gentrification of Black and brown neighborhoods in urban areas by predominantly upper-class white and other white-adjacent peoples is largely facilitated by urban redevelopment and revitalization projects. These projects often usher in aesthetics that seek to attract those understood as desirable populations. But what happens when the aesthetics of poor Black and brown neighborhoods themselves become the vehicle for gentrification and urban renewal? As Johana Londoño writes, “the aesthetic depiction and manipulation of Latinx urban life and culture as a way to counteract the fear that Latinxs and their culture were transgressing normative expectations of urbanness” (ix). In her new book, Abstract Barrios: The Crises of Latinx Visibility in Cities (Duke University Press, 2020), Dr. Londoño traces how Latinx people are targeted as problems in urban areas that need to be addressed. Simultaneously, architects, urban planners, policymakers, ethnographers, business owners, and settlement workers – all of whom Londoño refers to as “brokers” – were carefully pulling into their projects the visual aesthetics of barrios which would at once produce a Latinized space while simultaneously “not interfere in the economic and cultural interests of normative urbanity” (xvii). There was danger in representing barrios because it threatened urban normativity. For Londoño, “Because barrios in US cities are largely the result of unequal forces, reproducing barrio culture and spatial layouts, besides being parodic, would make plain the failures of liberalism to treat all individuals equally” (9-10). Representing barrios in full would reveal the unequal relations of power, state and federal disinvestment in Black and brown neighborhoods, and the economic and material realities of these neighborhoods that go into the formation of barrios. Abstraction but not disruption, however, seems to be have been the goal. By making Latinxs legible in a normative sense, their aesthetics then became implicated in the capitalist spatial order. “I argue that Latinx visibility has been made key to the cyclical nature of U.S. capitalist urbanism: its decay and the reconstitution of its normativity,” writes Londoño (5). The aesthetics found in barrios became abstracted enough to appeal to urban capitalism and thus became implemented onto the gentrifying urban landscape. By writing the history of barrios and the marginalization of Latinxs in urban spaces, and by focusing on the brokers who manipulate Latinx urban culture to make it visible in mainstream spaces, Johana Londoño underscores how the built environment as a racial project continues to build on racial hierarchies to maintain structures. She covers instances of manipulation of barrio aesthetics in New York, Miami, San Antonio, Los Angeles, Santa Ana and concludes in her hometown of Union City, New Jersey. Londoño’s skill of highlighting the ways barrio aesthetics play out on the gentrifying landscape of the modern renting market seamlessly brings into focus all at once the racialized and spatial histories of a neighborhood, the decisions by brokers on how to target Latinx consumers, and implications of barrio aesthetics in an increasingly segregated urban landscape. Abstract Barrios is a book that should be read across ethnic studies, urban studies, and in the fields of art and architecture. Jonathan Cortez is a Ph.D. candidate of American Studies at Brown University. They are a historian of 20th-century issues of race, labor, (im)migration, surveillance, space, relational Ethnic Studies, and Latinx Studies. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member!
Our democracies repeatedly fail to safeguard the future. From pensions to pandemics, health and social care through to climate, biodiversity and emerging technologies, democracies have been unable to deliver robust policies for the long term.  In Can Democracy Safeguard the Future? (Polity Press, 2021), Graham Smith, a leading scholar of democratic theory and practice, asks why? Exploring the drivers of the short-termism that dominate contemporary politics, he considers ways of reshaping legislatures and constitutions and proposes strengthening independent offices whose overarching goals do not change at every election. More radically, Smith argues that forms of participatory and deliberative politics offer the most effective democratic response to the current political myopia as well as a powerful means of protecting the interests of generations to come. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member!
If health policy truly seeks to improve population health and reduce health disparities, addressing homelessness must be a priority. Homelessness is a public health problem. Nearly a decade after the great recession of 2008, homelessness rates are once again rising across the United States, with the number of persons experiencing homelessness surpassing the number of individuals suffering from opioid use disorders annually. Homelessness presents serious adverse consequences for physical and mental health, and ultimately worsens health disparities for already at-risk low-income and minority populations. While some state-level policies have been implemented to address homelessness, these services are often not designed to target chronic homelessness and subsequently fail in policy implementation by engendering barriers to local homeless policy solutions.  In the face of this crisis, Ungoverned and Out of Sight: Public Health and the Political Crisis of Homelessness in the United States (Oxford University Press, 2021) seeks to understand the political processes influencing adoption of best-practice solutions to reduce chronic homelessness in US municipalities. Drawing on unique research from three exemplar municipal case studies in San Francisco, CA, Atlanta, GA, and Shreveport, LA, this volume explores conflicting policy solutions in the highly decentralized homeless policy space and provides recommendations to improve homeless governance systems and deliver policies that will successfully diminish chronic homelessness. Until issues of authority and fragmentation across competing or misaligned policy spaces are addressed through improved coordination and oversight, local and national policies intended to reduce homelessness may not succeed. Stephen Pimpare is director of the Public Service & Nonprofit Leadership program and Faculty Fellow at the Carsey School of Public Policy at the University of New Hampshire. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member!
Anita Hardon's Chemical Youth: Navigating Uncertainty in Search of the Good Life (Palgrave MacMillan, 2020) explores how young people engage with chemical substances in their everyday lives. It builds upon and supplements a large body of literature on young people’s use of drugs and alcohol to highlight the subjectivities and socialities that chemical use enables across diverse socio-cultural settings, illustrating how young people seek to avoid harm, while harnessing the beneficial effects of chemical use. The book is based on multi-sited anthropological research in Southeast Asia, Europe and the US, and presents insights from collaborative and contrasting analysis. Hardon brings new perspectives to debates across drug policy studies, pharmaceutical cultures and regulation, science and technology studies, and youth and precarity in post-industrial societies. This book is available open access here.  Geert Slabbekorn works as an analyst in the field of public security. In addition he has published on different aspects of dark web drug trade in Belgium. Find him on twitter, tweeting all things drug related @GeertJS. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member!
Allison B. Wolf's Just Immigration in the Americas: A Feminist Account (Rowman and Littlefield, 2020) proposes a pioneering, interdisciplinary, feminist approach to immigration justice, which defines immigration justice as being about identifying and resisting global oppression in immigration structures, policies, practices, and norms. In contrast to most philosophical work on immigration (which begins with abstract ideas and philosophical debates and then makes claims based on them), this book begins with concrete cases and immigration policies from throughout the United States, Mexico, Central America, and Colombia to assess the nature of immigration injustice and set us up to address it. Every chapter of the book begins with specific immigration policies, practices or sets of immigrant experiences in the U.S. and Latin America and then explores them through the lens of global oppression to better identify what makes it unjust and to put us in a better position to respond to that injustice and improve immigrants’ lives. It is one of the first sustained studies of immigration justice that focuses on Central and South America in addition to the U.S. and Mexico. Ethan Besser Fredrick is a graduate student in Modern Latin American history seeking his PhD at the University of Minnesota. His work focuses on the Transatlantic Catholic movements in Mexico and Spain during the early 20th century. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member!
Bearing with Strangers: Arendt, Education and the Politics of Inclusion (Routledge, 2018) looks at inclusion in education in a new way. By introducing the notion of the instrumental fallacy, it shows how this is not only an inherent feature of inclusive education policies, but also omnipresent in modern educational policy. It engages with schooling through an Arendtian framework, namely as a practice with the aim of mediating between generations. It outlines a didactic and pedagogical theory that presents inclusion not as an aim for education, but as a constitutive feature of the activity of schooling. Drawing on the work of Hannah Arendt, the book offers a novel and critical perspective on inclusive education, as well as a contribution to a growing literature re-engaging didactic and pedagogical conceptions of teaching and the role of the teacher. Schooling is understood as a process of opening the world to the young and of opening the world to the renewal that the new generations offer. The activity of schooling offers the possibility of becoming attentive towards what is common while learning to bear with that which is strange and those who are strangers. The book points to valuable metaphors and ideas - referred to in the book as 'pearls' - that speak to the heart of what schooling and teaching concerns, such as exemplarity, judgement, and enlarged thought. Kai Wortman is a PhD candidate at the Institute of Education, University of Tübingen, interested in philosophy of education. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member!
Following the 2008 financial crisis, the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy placed much greater focus on stabilizing the market than on helping struggling Americans. As a result, the richest Americans got a lot richer while the middle class shrank and economic and wealth inequality skyrocketed. In Engine of Inequality, Karen Petrou offers pragmatic solutions for creating more inclusive monetary policy and equality-enhancing financial regulation as quickly and painlessly as possible. Instead of proposing legislation that would never pass Congress, the author provides an insider's look at politically plausible, high-impact financial policy fixes that will radically shift the equality balance. Offering an innovative, powerful, and highly practical solution for immediately turning around the enormous nationwide problem of economic inequality, this groundbreaking book:  Presents practical ways America can and should tackle economic inequality with fast-acting results;  Provides revealing examples of exactly how bad economic inequality in America has become no matter how hard we all work;  Demonstrates that increasing inequality is disastrous for long-term economic growth, political action, and even personal happiness;  Explains why your bank's interest rates are still only a fraction of what they were even though the rich are getting richer than ever, faster than ever;  Reveals the dangers of FinTech and BigTech companies taking over banking; Shows how Facebook wants to control even the dollars in your wallet; and  Discusses who shares the blame for our economic inequality, including the Fed, regulators, Congress, and even economists.  Engine of Inequality: The Fed and the Future of Wealth in America (Wiley, 2021) should be required reading for leaders, policymakers, regulators, media professionals, and all Americans wanting to ensure that the nation’s financial policy will be a force for promoting economic equality. Stephen Pimpare is director of the Public Service & Nonprofit Leadership program and Faculty Fellow at the Carsey School of Public Policy at the University of New Hampshire. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member!
Human dignity is the key term that the Universal Declaration on Human Rights placed at the center of legal discourse on a global level. In 1949, Germany incorporated the concept of human dignity in its Basic law. Human Dignity in Context (Nomos/Hart, 2018), edited by Dieter Grimm, Alexandra Kemmerer, and Christoph Möllers, provides a contextual analysis of human dignity, exploring its legal and political implications and reflecting current debates on human dignity in multiple disciplinary fields. In our interview, Alexandra and myself speak about the definition, benefits and challenges of the term, about Covid 19 as a case study of how we can use Human Dignity to make decisions about the contradicts needs and wishes of communities and people during the pandemic, we speak about the debate around human dignity and technology and more. Alexandra Kemmerer is senior research fellow and academic coordinator at the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law in Berlin. Dr. Yakir Englander is the National Director of Leadership programs at the Israeli-American Council. He also teaches at the AJR. He can be reached at: Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member!
The Community Relations Service (CRS) came into being alongside the Voting Rights Act—as part of the Act itself. And this organization was integrated into the Voting Rights Act in 1964 because President Lyndon Johnson wanted it to be included in that landmark legislation, in part because Johnson, as an adept politician and negotiator, saw the importance of establishing a means for mediation and negotiation on the local level in many places throughout the United States. The initial portfolio of the CRS was focused solely on issues around race and racial disputes, though it has since been formally extended to include issues around ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, etc. The CRS is housed in the Department of Justice, but operates as an independent entity, and does not work as part of the FBI or the Civil Rights Division in the Department of Justice. Grande Lum, who is currently provost and vice president for Academic Affairs at Menlo College, had served as the Director of the CRS from 2012-2016, and he has taken the original edition of America's Peacemakers: The Community Relations Service and Civil Rights (U Missouri Press, 2020), written by Bertram Levine, and updated it with another twenty years of the history of the CRS. This is a fascinating history of this often- overlooked governmental institution, and in our podcast conversation, Grande and I also discuss the process of updating the book itself, since he had made such great use of the original edition when he first became Director of the CRS. In taking the original text and adding in another two decades of history, Grande Lum worked with Bertram Levine’s children to make sure his work was also in the spirit of their father’s work, since Levine had written the original edition of the book. This podcast is an engaging discussion about the history of the Community Relations Service itself, the book that incorporates that history, highlighting the many successes of these domestic mediators and peacemakers, and the process for collaboratively updating this kind of a book. Lum also discusses some of the projects that have come out of the CRS, including the Divided Community Project at the Moritz School of Law at the Ohio State University (, and other community mediation centers in different states and localities around the United States. These local and national organizations, along with the CRS, have been pursuing many of the ideas that are currently being discussed about law enforcement reform. America’s Peacemakers: The Community Relations Service and Civil Rights, co-authored by Bertram Levine and Grande Lum, is a fascinating history of the organization that has, for more than fifty years, been working to bring divided communities together, in peaceful dialogue, in an effort to defuse situations without violence or indictments. Lilly J. Goren is professor of political science at Carroll University in Waukesha, WI. She is co-editor of the award winning book, Women and the White House: Gender, Popular Culture, and Presidential Politics (University Press of Kentucky, 2012), as well as co-editor of Mad Men and Politics: Nostalgia and the Remaking of Modern America (Bloomsbury Academic, 2015). Email her comments at or tweet to @gorenlj. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member!
Starting in the latter part of the 20th century, the law of sexual offenses, especially in the West, began to reflect a striking divergence. On the one hand, the law became significantly more punitive in its approach to sexual conduct that is nonconsensual, as evidenced by a major expansion in the definition of rape and sexual assault, and the creation of new offenses like sex trafficking, child grooming, and revenge porn. On the other hand, it became markedly more permissive in how it dealt with conduct that is consensual, a trend that can be seen, for example, in the legalization or decriminalization of sodomy, adultery, and adult pornography. This book explores the conceptual and normative implications of this divergence. At the heart of Stuart P. Green's book Criminalizing Sex: A Unified Liberal Theory (Oxford UP, 2020) is a consideration of a deeply contested question: How should a liberal system of criminal law adequately protect individuals in their right not to be subjected to sexual contact against their will, while also safeguarding their right to engage in (private consensual) sexual conduct in which they do wish to participate? The book develops a framework for harmonizing these goals in the context of a wide range of nonconsensual, consensual, and aconsensual sexual offenses (hence, the "unified" nature of the theory) -- including rape and sexual assault in a variety of forms, sexual harassment, voyeurism, indecent exposure, incest, sadomasochistic assault, prostitution, bestiality, and necrophilia. Intellectually rigorous, fair-minded, and deeply humane, Criminalizing Sex offers a fascinating discussion of a wide range of moral and legal puzzles, arising out of real-world cases of alleged sexual misconduct - a discussion that is all the more urgent in the age of #MeToo. Rachel Stuart is a sex work researcher whose primary interest is the lived experiences of sex workers. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member!
Education is thought to be the route out of poverty, but history disagrees. For generations, Americans have looked to education as the solution to economic disadvantage. Yet, although more people are earning degrees, the gap between rich and poor is widening. Cristina Groeger delves into the history of this seeming contradiction, explaining how education came to be seen as a panacea even as it paved the way for deepening inequality. The Education Trap: Schools and the Remaking of Inequality in Boston (Harvard UP, 2021) returns to the first decades of the twentieth century, when Americans were grappling with the unprecedented inequities of the Gilded Age. Groeger's test case is the city of Boston, which spent heavily on public schools. She examines how workplaces came to depend on an army of white-collar staff, largely women and second-generation immigrants, trained in secondary schools. But Groeger finds that the shift to more educated labor had negative consequences--both intended and unintended--for many workers. Employers supported training in schools in order to undermine the influence of craft unions, and so shift workplace power toward management. And advanced educational credentials became a means of controlling access to high-paying professional and business jobs, concentrating power and wealth. Formal education thus became a central force in maintaining inequality. The idea that more education should be the primary means of reducing inequality may be appealing to politicians and voters, but Groeger warns that it may be a dangerous policy trap. If we want a more equitable society, we should not just prescribe more time in the classroom, but fight for justice in the workplace. Stephen Pimpare is director of the Public Service & Nonprofit Leadership program and Faculty Fellow at the Carsey School of Public Policy at the University of New Hampshire. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member!
Stuart Rees's Cruelty or Humanity: Challenges, Opportunities and Responsibilities (Policy Press, a Bristol University Press imprint, 2020) exposes politicians' fascination with cruelty in their deliberations about policies. Through empirical analysis, human stories and poetic commentary, he identifies non-destructive exercise of power, courageous public action and compelling humanitarian alternatives as the key to achieving a future in which dignity and equality flourish. Documenting case studies from around the world, the book exposes politicians’ cruel motives and the resulting outcomes. Using first-hand observations and insights from international poets, the work argues for courageous action to support non-violence in every aspect of public and private life for the survival of people, animals and the planet. Stuart Rees is Professor Emeritus at the University of Sydney and a human rights activist in several countries. He is regarded as one of Australia’s most consistent campaigners for justice. Bede Haines is a solicitor, specialising in litigation and a partner at Holding Redlich, an Australian commercial law firm. He lives in Sydney, Australia. Known to read books, ride bikes and eat cereal (often). Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member!
For decades, a secret army of tax attorneys, accountants and wealth managers has been developing into the shadowy Wealth Defense Industry. These ‘agents of inequality’ are paid millions to hide trillions for the richest 0.01%. In The Wealth Hoarders: How Billionaires Pay Millions to Hide Trillions (Polity, 2021), inequality expert Chuck Collins, who himself inherited a fortune, interviews the leading players and gives a unique insider account of how this industry is doing everything it can to create and entrench hereditary dynasties of wealth and power. He exposes the inner workings of these “agents of inequality”, showing how they deploy anonymous shell companies, family offices, offshore accounts, opaque trusts, and sham transactions to ensure the world’s richest pay next to no tax. He ends by outlining a robust set of policies that democratic nations can implement to shut down the Wealth Defense Industry for good. This shocking exposé of the insidious machinery of inequality is essential reading for anyone wanting the inside story of our age of plutocratic plunder and stashed cash. Stephen Pimpare is director of the Public Service & Nonprofit Leadership program and Faculty Fellow at the Carsey School of Public Policy at the University of New Hampshire. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member!
The rise of Neo-Evangelicalism as a social and political American movement accompanied shifting attitudes in broader American criminal justice policies. Religious leaders from Billy Graham to David Wilkerson found growing concerns around juvenile delinquency and general lawbreaking as strategic connection points for their evangelistic message and ministries. In God's Law and Order: The Politics of Punishment in Evangelical America (Harvard UP, 2020), Aaron Griffith explores the rhetoric of crime and punishment in the postwar Evangelical movement. The rhetoric of law and order became deeply enmeshed with religious conservatism, but not without attending efforts at criminal justice reform as growing number of Americans, disproportionately from urban and minority populations, spent years in state incarceration. In this expertly researched volume, Griffith presents a complex and important investigation into a timely subject in the recent past of the history of religion in politics in American society. Find out more about Aaron on his website or follow him on Twitter (@AaronLGriffith). Ryan David Shelton (@ryoldfashioned) is a social historian of British and American Protestantism and a PhD researcher at Queen’s University Belfast. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member!
Life expectancy in the United States has recently fallen for three years in a row—a reversal not seen since 1918 or in any other wealthy nation in modern times. In the past two decades, deaths of despair from suicide, drug overdose, and alcoholism have risen dramatically, and now claim hundreds of thousands of American lives each year—and they’re still rising. Anne Case and Angus Deaton, known for first sounding the alarm about deaths of despair, explain the overwhelming surge in these deaths and shed light on the social and economic forces that are making life harder for the working class. They demonstrate why, for those who used to prosper in America, capitalism is no longer delivering. Deaths of Despair and the Future of Capitalism (Princeton University Press, 2020) paints a troubling portrait of the American dream in decline. For the white working class, today’s America has become a land of broken families and few prospects. As the college educated become healthier and wealthier, adults without a degree are literally dying from pain and despair. In this critically important book, Case and Deaton tie the crisis to the weakening position of labor, the growing power of corporations, and, above all, to a rapacious health-care sector that redistributes working-class wages into the pockets of the wealthy. Capitalism, which over two centuries lifted countless people out of poverty, is now destroying the lives of blue-collar America. This book charts a way forward, providing solutions that can rein in capitalism’s excesses and make it work for everyone. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member!
The Supreme Court’s decision in Bostock v. Clayton, which ruled that the Title VII prohibition on sex discrimination in employment extends to discrimination based on sexual orientation and transgender status, may imperil the fundamental right of parents to educate their children in line with their values. This right is examined brilliantly in the 2016 book, To Whom Do Children Belong? Parental Rights, Civic Education, and Children's Autonomy by scholar Melissa Moschella. Given the rise of the transgender movement and other aspects of wokeism, this book has only increased in importance. It is a rare combination of a serious scholarly work and a book that general audiences, particularly and crucially, the parents of school-age children should read. Moschella addresses timely questions such as, “Can we defend parental rights against those who believe we need more extensive state educational control to protect children's autonomy or prepare them for citizenship in a diverse society?” and draws upon psychological and social scientific research to make a compelling philosophical argument for the right of parents to determine fundamental questions of morals when it comes to their children. And this is not only a matter for philosophers. Moschella makes clear that under the cover of such seemingly innocuous verbiage as “diversity education” and “education for citizenship,” public schools are engaging in outright indoctrination of children in left-wing social justice and libertarian moral views. Moreover, progressives are increasingly targeting even private schools and some are even calling for an outright ban on homeschooling. Moschella’s book is eerily prescient in the way she was able to predict that parents who seek to pass on a traditional understanding of sexuality find their efforts directly undermined in ever more public schools. Many parents cannot afford private schools or are unable to home school—and, as noted, even those refuges are under threat. Moschella foretold in her book that if the views of the progressive scholars whose arguments she delineates with scrupulous fairness prevail, parents will have no choice but to send their children into an educational environment that may sow damaging confusion about the basic truths of human identity. Readers of this book need not even be religious but simply parents and other readers who worry that children will be stigmatized and parents’ rights erased if children are forced by schools to deny that maleness and femaleness are grounded on objective biological reality rather than subjective self-image, or that the purpose of human sexuality is not merely pleasure or self-expression, but to unite a man and woman in marriage and enable them to form a family. This is not solely a question of religious liberty but of conscience rights more broadly, which she discusses both authoritatively and movingly. Moschella examines the arguments for expanding school choice, vouchers and granting exemptions when educational programs or regulations threaten parents' ability to raise their children in line with their values and moral codes. The questions raised in this important book have become even more salient in the era of the Biden administration. Give a listen. Hope J. Leman is a grants researcher. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member!
In his book The Next Shift: The Fall of Industry and the Rise of Healthcare in Rust Belt America (Harvard University Press, 2021), Gabriel Winant explains how the social reproductive labor sustaining the US's industrial economy was institutionalized in response to steelworker layoffs, aging, and sickness beginning in the 1960s. The result was a recomposition of the American working class, from a predominantly white male industrial one, to a meagerly paid and socially devalued pool of care workers comprised mostly of women, and especially women of color. Neoliberalism's insecure labor regime is not a reversion to an earlier period of inequality but a consequence of midcentury welfare policy, the partial security it offered and the race and gender hierarchies it remade. Patrick Reilly studies history at Vanderbilt University Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member!
Few topics have as many myths, stereotypes, and misperceptions surrounding them as that of poverty in America. The poor have been badly misunderstood since the beginnings of the country, with the rhetoric only ratcheting up in recent times. Our current era of fake news, alternative facts, and media partisanship has led to a breeding ground for all types of myths and misinformation to gain traction and legitimacy. Poorly Understood: What America Gets Wrong about Poverty (Oxford UP, 2021) is the first book to systematically address and confront many of the most widespread myths pertaining to poverty. Mark Robert Rank, Lawrence M. Eppard, and Heather E. Bullock powerfully demonstrate that the realities of poverty are much different than the myths; indeed in many ways they are more disturbing. The idealized image of American society is one of abundant opportunities, with hard work being rewarded by economic prosperity. But what if this picture is wrong? What if poverty is an experience that touches the majority of Americans? What if hard work does not necessarily lead to economic well-being? What if the reasons for poverty are largely beyond the control of individuals? And if all of the evidence necessary to disprove these myths has been readily available for years, why do they remain so stubbornly pervasive? These are much more disturbing realities to consider because they call into question the very core of America's identity. Armed with the latest research, Poorly Understood not only challenges the myths of poverty and inequality, but it explains why these myths continue to exist, providing an innovative blueprint for how the nation can move forward to effectively alleviate American poverty. Stephen Pimpare is director of the Public Service & Nonprofit Leadership program and Faculty Fellow at the Carsey School of Public Policy at the University of New Hampshire. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member!
Perilous Bounty: The Looming Collapse of American Farming and How We Can Prevent It (Bloomsbury Publishing, 2020) is an unsettling journey into the disaster-bound American food system, and an exploration of possible solutions, from leading food politics commentator and former farmer Tom Philpott. More than a decade after Michael Pollan's game-changing The Omnivore's Dilemma transformed the conversation about what we eat, a combination of global diet trends and corporate interests have put American agriculture into a state of "quiet emergency," from dangerous drought in California--which grows more than 50 percent of the fruits and vegetables we eat--to catastrophic topsoil loss in the "breadbasket" heartland of the United States. Whether or not we take heed, these urgent crises of industrial agriculture will define our future. In Perilous Bounty, veteran journalist and former farmer Tom Philpott explores and exposes the small handful of seed and pesticide corporations, investment funds, and magnates who benefit from the trends that imperil us, with on-the-ground dispatches featuring the scientists documenting the damage and the farmers and activists who are valiantly and inventively pushing back. Resource scarcity looms on the horizon, but rather than pointing us toward an inevitable doomsday, Philpott shows how the entire wayward ship of American agriculture could be routed away from its path to disaster. He profiles the farmers and communities in the nation's two key growing regions developing resilient, soil-building, water-smart farming practices, and readying for the climate shocks that are already upon us; and he explains how we can help move these methods from the margins to the mainstream. Jenny Splitter is an independent journalist covering food, farming, science, and climate. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member!
Ronald Deibert is a professor of Political Science at the University of Toronto and the Director of The Citizen Lab, a public interest research organization that uncovers privacy and human rights abuses on the internet. In his latest book, Reset: Reclaiming the Internet for Civil Society (House of Anansi Press, 2020), Deibert unites a growing corpus of academic literature on the perils of surveillance capitalism to show how today’s data-hungry communications technologies have poisoned our political institutions, our minds, and even our environment. Deibert believes that it is not too late to rescue our politics from our technology, and he argues that the answer lies not in silicon or code but age-old political principles. Look to Montesquieu, not Zuckerberg, Deibert tells us, if you want to find a stable framework for digital governance in the 21st century. On this episode, in addition to all the above, Professor Deibert and I explore the economic engines of surveillance capitalism, the dangers of ritualistic privacy policies, the internet’s immense carbon footprint, and the importance of data privacy law, among other topics. John Sakellariadis is a 2020-2021 Fulbright US Student Research Grantee. He holds a Master’s degree in public policy from the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia and a Bachelor’s degree in History & Literature from Harvard University. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member!
There has recently been a sharp increase in cases where corporations have been sued by street and graffiti artists because their artworks had been used and exploited without the artists’ authorization, for example in advertising campaigns, as backdrops in promotional videos, or as decorating elements of products. This trend shows and confirms that these forms of art are vulnerable. They are actually more exposed to unauthorized exploitation (and destruction as well) than works of fine art, because they are placed in the public eye. Protecting Art in the Street: A Guide to Copyright in Street Art and Graffiti (Dokument Forlag, 2020) explains, with words and images, how copyright laws apply to street art and graffiti, and how they can be of help to creators within these artistic communities. Knowledge about these issues does matter. There has recently been a spike in legal actions or complaints against corporations and individuals that have tried to exploit commercially street artworks without the artists’ consent; and more importantly without sharing with them any profit. Also, legal actions have been brought by street artists to fight the destruction of their pieces. By adopting a simple language, Protecting Art in the Street constitutes an easy-to-understand guide aimed at navigating street artists and graffiti writers through otherwise difficult and intricate legal issues concerning the protection of their artistic outputs. Nick Pozek is Assistant Director at the Parker School of Foreign & Comparative Law at Columbia University Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member!
Rate Podcast

Share This Podcast

Recommendation sent

Join Podchaser to...

  • Rate podcasts and episodes
  • Follow podcasts and creators
  • Create podcast and episode lists
  • & much more

Podcast Details

Created by
Marshall Poe
Podcast Status
May 9th, 2008
Latest Episode
Apr 20th, 2021
Release Period
Avg. Episode Length
About 1 hour

Podcast Tags

Do you host or manage this podcast?
Claim and edit this page to your liking.
Are we missing an episode or update?
Use this to check the RSS feed immediately.