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“Story in the Public Square” Episodes

October 14, 2019: Michael Isikoff

In the early morning hours of July 10, 2016, a young staffer for the Democratic National Committee was murdered as he walked home from a bar. Without any real evidence, Seth Rich’s death became a focal point for efforts to debunk the story that Russia hacked the DNC to help Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign. Michael Isikoff, however, tells us that the conspiracy theories around Seth Rich’s murder have a remarkable origin: Russian intelligence.

October 7, 2019: Scott Hartley

For generations, a liberal arts education was the gold standard of preparation for career and a well-rounded-life. For much of the last decade, however, voices—including those of prominent technology leaders—have warned that the jobs of today and tomorrow require education in so-called STEM fields: science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Not surprisingly, enrollments in liberal arts fields have declined. Scott Hartley argues that far more than a luxury—the skills and perspective cultivated by a liberal arts education are precisely the skills needed for the modern information economy.

October 14, 2019: Michael Isikoff

In the early morning hours of July 10, 2016, a young staffer for the Democratic National Committee was murdered as he walked home from a bar. Without any real evidence, Seth Rich’s death became a focal point for efforts to debunk the story that Russia hacked the DNC to help Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign. Michael Isikoff, however, tells us that the conspiracy theories around Seth Rich’s murder have a remarkable origin: Russian intelligence.

September 23, 2019: Joseph Sakran

On an otherwise typical Friday night in 1994, 17-year-old Joseph Sakran, a high school student in Northern Virginia, was shot through his throat by an errant bullet from a fight at a high school football game. Trauma surgeons saved his life, launching him on a career as a trauma surgeon and as a leading voice against gun violence.

September 16, 2019: Michael Fine

The political debate over healthcare in the United States seems cyclical—it rises and falls with America’s political calendar. Dr. Michael Fine argues that for patients and caregivers, issues like cost, access, and outcomes are real, they are present, and they often have life-and-death consequences.

September 9, 2019: Ian Riefowitz

When Barack Obama became the 44th President of the United States, pundits and leading news outlets heralded the arrival of a “post-racial America.” Some Americans, however, didn’t see it that way. Ian Reifowitz discusses the exploitation of race in the Obama years by one of America’s prominent conservative opinion makers, Rush Limbaugh, in his latest book, The Tribalization of Politics: How Rush Limbaugh’s Race-Baiting Rhetoric on the Obama Presidency Paved the Way for Trump.

September 2, 2019: Christopher Brown

The concept of justice is central to the American experience. We celebrate it in our monuments and in our history. But who gets justice, and who defines it are seldom considered questions. Christopher Brown is a practicing attorney and dystopian novelist who combines his talents in a new novel exploring these concepts in a different America.

August 26, 2019: Deborah Carr

Some Americans will be able to enjoy their golden years. Others will not. Deborah Carr argues that the biggest factor determining which side of that equation you fall on is your socioeconomic status—that combination of education, income, and occupation that determines your social standing.

August 19, 2019: Frank Bowman

Whether to impeach President Donald Trump is an open question in American politics. Those who favor impeachment point no further than volume II of the Mueller report and its accounts of apparent obstruction of justice by the President. Others caution that absent the ability to win a conviction in the Senate, impeachment would boomerang and only boost the president’s popularity and likelihood of winning reelection in 2020. Frank O. Bowman III argues that near-term political calculations are obscuring decisions and that the long history of impeachment strengthens the case for holding the president to account.

August 12, 2019: Gavriel Rosenfeld

Students of history are taught to see events through the eyes of people living in the era they are studying. From that perspective, history becomes less predictable, decisions seem less certain, and understanding becomes, in fact, more complete. Gavriel Rosenfeld brings that discipline to the history of “the Fourth Reich,” a fear that has mobilized and motivated Europe and the world since 1945.

August 5, 2019: Ashley Jardina

Identity politics are typically associated with marginalized groups—communities that have been defined as “other” by the dominant group in a political culture. Ashley Jardina argues that there is an emerging white-identity politics in American society today.

July 29, 2019: Danny Strong

“Story in the Public Square” began as an annual, academic conference at Salve Regina University. When we honored Danny Strong with the 2014 Pell Center Prize for Story in the Public Square, his acceptance speech was so moving, so incisive, and so eloquent about the power of story that a public television executive in the audience asked if she could broadcast it. She did, and the rest is history.

July 22, 2019: Maggie Smith

Poems provide readers with frames of reference, a lens through which to see the world. Maggie Smith shares the inspiration, personal experience, and context behind her award-winning poems, including her most-recent collection, Good Bones, which was published to critical acclaim.

July 15, 2019: Adam Zyglis

Editorial cartoonists occupy the space between writing and drawing—capturing truth and big ideas with seemingly simple illustration and an economy of words. Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist Adam Zyglis uses evocative images to connect with readers while conveying layers of meaning in a few words.

July 8, 2019: Lisa Genova

An estimated 5.6 million Americans live with Alzheimer’s today. Another 100,000 are living with ALS—or Lou Gehrig’s disease. Lisa Genova is a brain scientist whose best-selling novels describe not what it’s like to die from these diseases, but what it means to live with them.

July 1, 2019: Philip Deloria

The British colonies in the New World, and later the United States, were built on land taken from native populations. Philip Deloria explores the interplay of Native Americans and the development of America’s national identity.

June 24, 2019: Helen Shulman

It is almost taken for granted that technology is changing America. Whether we’re talking about job losses, election meddling, or the role of big-data in healthcare, technology is everywhere. Helen Schulman, through her remarkable fiction, warns that technology is changing our personal relationships and our families, too.

June 17, 2019: William Taubman

Mikhail Gorbachev is one of the most important figures of the 20th century. A child of the Soviet Union, and a fast rising star in the Communist Party, Gorbachev was also a democratizer whose reforms led to the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union. William Taubman has authored the definitive biography of the last Soviet leader.

June 10, 2019: Julie Keller

The super-heated rhetoric over immigration and border security in the United States today is part of a long tradition of anti-immigration hysteria. Julie Keller puts our recent panic in a sociological context—exploring changes in who works on American dairy farms, and how they traveled from Latin America to farms in the upper-Mid-West.

June 3, 2019: Alexandra Watts 

Local journalism is one of the key-stones of American democracy. There’s no substitute for an experienced, local reporter—not just to get a story, but to share it with the insight and perspective that only comes from living in the community in which they report. Alexandra Watts is one of 13 fellows with Report for America, a new effort to put reporters on the ground in communities across America.

May 27, 2019: Dr. Mona Hannah-Attisha

In April 2014, officials in Flint, Michigan, switched the source of the city’s water from the Detroit water supply to the Flint, River. It was a cost-saving move, but it touched the lives of citizens across that city. Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha helped blow the story open. With science and determination, she proved the decision was poisoning the children of Flint.

May 20, 2019: Katherine Brown 

America’s war in Afghanistan is the longest war in the history of the United States. Katherine A. Brown served on the staff of the U.S. ambassador there in the years after 9/11 and she argues now that the role of the American press in Afghanistan is essential to understanding the conduct of the war.

May 13, 2019: Michael J. Mazarr

In 2003, the United States military unleashed a campaign the press had pre-christened “Shock and Awe,” the dominant and overwhelming application of American military power against Saddam Hussein’s Iraq and its military. Within weeks, U.S. forces controlled all of Iraq, and then the fighting really began. This week on “Story in the Public Square,” Michael J. Mazarr unravels the decision making that led to what he calls, “America’s greatest foreign policy tragedy.”

 

May 6, 2019: Peter Blanck

Sixty-one million Americans—that’s 26% of the population—live with some kind of disability. These are our neighbors, our friends, our co-workers, and our family members. While the Americans with Disabilities Act has improved the lives of many since it became law nearly three decades ago, Peter Blanck tells us the history and the ongoing challenges for those with disabilities can be stark.

April 29, 2019: Michael Cohen & Micah Zenko

It’s easy to be convinced by talk show hosts, editorial writers, and politicians that American security hangs on the razor’s edge and that the world is more dangerous, now, than it has ever been. Michael Cohen and Micah Zenko remind us that the facts simply don’t match that narrative. In fact, they tell us, the world has never been better.

 

April 22, 2019: Elizabeth Kolbert

The fossil record of planet earth tells us that there have been five mass extinctions—the most famous being the fifth that destroyed the dinosaurs. Elizabeth Kolbert warns that we’re in the midst, now, of the sixth extinction and its cause is human activity.

April 15, 2019: Kimberly Wallace

If you were to compare the revenues of the highest grossing feature film in history and the highest grossing video game in history—you might be surprised to learn that the video game earned substantially more—five times more, in fact, than the film. As Kimberly Wallace tells us, video games are big business and their societal impact still misunderstood.

 

April 8, 2019: Sarah Fawn Montgomery

Millions of Americans live with mental illness every day. Sarah Fawn Montgomery is a poet and author who explores the stigmas and biases associated with mental illness—both historically and today.

June 10, 2019: Julie Keller

The super-heated rhetoric over immigration and border security in the United States today is part of a long tradition of anti-immigration hysteria. Julie Keller puts our recent panic in a sociological context—exploring changes in who works on American dairy farms, and how they traveled from Latin America to farms in the upper-Mid-West.

 

June 3, 2019: Alexandra Watts

Local journalism is one of the key-stones of American democracy. There’s no substitute for an experienced, local reporter—not just to get a story, but to share it with the insight and perspective that only comes from living in the community in which they report. Alexandra Watts is one of 13 fellows with Report for America, a new effort to put reporters on the ground in communities across America.

April 29, 2019: Michael Cohen and Micah Zenko

It’s easy to be convinced by talk show hosts, editorial writers, and politicians that American security hangs on the razor’s edge and that the world is more dangerous, now, than it has ever been. Michael Cohen and Micah Zenko remind us that the facts simply don’t match that narrative. In fact, they tell us, the world has never been better.

 

April 22, 2019: Elizabeth Kolbert

The fossil record of planet earth tells us that there have been five mass extinctions—the most famous being the fifth that destroyed the dinosaurs. Elizabeth Kolbert warns that we’re in the midst, now, of the sixth extinction and its cause is human activity.

May 13, 2019: Michael J. Mazarr

In 2003, the United States military unleashed a campaign the press had pre-christened “Shock and Awe,” the dominant and overwhelming application of American military power against Saddam Hussein’s Iraq and its military. Within weeks, U.S. forces controlled all of Iraq, and then the fighting really began. This week on “Story in the Public Square,” Michael J. Mazarr unravels the decision making that led to what he calls, “America’s greatest foreign policy tragedy.”

 

May 6, 2019: Peter Blanck

Sixty-one million Americans—that’s 26% of the population—live with some kind of disability. These are our neighbors, our friends, our co-workers, and our family members. While the Americans with Disabilities Act has improved the lives of many since it became law nearly three decades ago, Peter Blanck tells us the history and the ongoing challenges for those with disabilities can be stark.

May 27, 2019: Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha

In April 2014, officials in Flint, Michigan, switched the source of the city’s water from the Detroit water supply to the Flint, River. It was a cost-saving move, but it touched the lives of citizens across that city. Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha helped blow the story open. With science and determination, she proved the decision was poisoning the children of Flint.

 

May 20, 2019: Katherine Brown

America’s war in Afghanistan is the longest war in the history of the United States. Katherine A. Brown served on the staff of the U.S. ambassador there in the years after 9/11 and she argues now that the role of the American press in Afghanistan is essential to understanding the conduct of the war.

April 1, 2019: Elisa Kreisinger

We live in a golden age of digital media content. From pod-casts to blogs and online programs, there’s never been so much competition for the information consumer’s attention. “Pop culture pirate,” Elisa Kreisinger brings humor and a mastery of pop culture to some of today’s most pressing issues.

 

March 25, 2019: Helen Ouyang, MD

Public understanding of healthcare is driven principally by our own personal experience—and that of our loved ones—with doctors, nurses, and hospitals—and for many, it can feel overwhelming. Dr. Helen Ouyang is an emergency room doctor at one of America’s best hospitals, but admits she found it difficult to access the healthcare system when she had her own health scare.

March 19, 2019: Darnisa Amante

Schools across America face an increasingly diverse student population while deep-seated institutional biases endure. Darnisa Amante argues that successful leaders who dig deep and unpack their own experiences with race and bias can help tear down the barriers of institutional racism and make schools better.

March 12, 2019: Llewellyn King

Democracy relies on facts, accurately reported and commonly understood—and journalists play an essential role in building that shared body of knowledge. Llewellyn King argues that technological change is placing great strain on our democratic societies.

March 5, 2019: Jeff Jackson

Stories are sometimes told with a particular message for their audiences. Other times, they are just stories. And in some cases, you can’t tell the difference. Enter the playwright, songwriter and novelist Jeff Jackson, who explores the intersection of fame and violence in a remarkable new novel.

February 26, 2019: Alice Robb

Poets, rock stars, authors—and even we mere mortals—all share a nightly sojourn—a temporary stay–in the land of dreams. Alice Robb argues they are not just flights of fancy, but critical to health and happiness in our waking hours too.

February 19, 2019: Mike Stanton

There are not a lot of examples of perfection in life—except in the world of sports. On rare and exciting nights, a baseball pitcher can throw a perfect game or a basketball player can have a perfect night shooting. But a perfect career—that’s the rarest of accomplishments. Mike Stanton recounts the life of Rocky Marciano, who finished his heavyweight championship career with a perfect 49 and 0 record.

February 12, 2019: Jason Rafferty

Recently, the Trump administration proposed defining gender as an individual’s assigned sex at birth. But the medical community—including Dr. Jason Rafferty—tells us gender is not so simply expressed.

February 5, 2019: Karen King

Even for the devout, questions about the earliest history of Christianity can seem lost behind a shroud of history and official church teachings. Karen King traces the power of stories told and untold in the growth of the early church.

February 2, 2019: Rosella Cappella Zielinski 

The costs of war are measured lives and treasure. As of the day we produced this episode, 6,979 Americans have lost their lives in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Dr. Rosella Cappella Zielinski warns that the financial costs of these wars have profound meaning for the United States, our politics, and our economy.

December 22, 2018: Charles Sennott

Since the era of the French Revolution, commentators and politicians have referred to the press as “The Fourth Estate,” signifying the important (if informal) role of the press in public life. Charles Sennott leads a non-profit news agency extending the power of the press to under-covered corners of the world.

December 15, 2018: 2018 Story of the Year

Every December since 2013, the Pell Center at Salve Regina University has named a “Story of the Year,” the most important narrative in the public life of the United States in the preceding 12 month

December 8, 2018: Luis Martinez

Publically available satellite images offer some of the most fascinating perspectives about life on Earth. Luis Martinez goes one step further and mines those images for the data and stories they contain about some of the world’s most repressive regimes.

December 1, 2018: Jeffrey Lewis

National security analysts typically ground their work in a deep appreciation of history, context, and contemporary politics. Jeffrey Lewis adds a sophisticated understanding of nuclear weapons and the states seeking them to describe a catastrophic potential future of the U.S. relationship with North Korea.

November 24, 2018: Jed Shugerman

The confirmation of Justice Bret Kavanaugh was a bruising episode for many Americans. Jed Shugerman views that confirmation process against the long history of America’s courts and essential debates over the constitutional limits on executive power.

November 17, 2018: Korsha Wilson

“You are what you eat” is an expression every grade school student has heard—either as a boast or as a taunt. Guest, Korsha Wilson says that “what we eat, what we cook, and the meals we share can tell us a lot about race, access, privilege, heritage, and culture.”

November 10, 2018: Peter Asaro

For decades, Hollywood films and science fiction writers have told us ominous stories about the future dangers of killer robots and artificial intelligence. Peter Asaro warms that machines lack the essential human qualities required for operating weapons systems—and he’s working to ban them from doing just that.

November 3, 2018: Alan Lightman

The tension between faith and reason is an ancient one, made even more distinct in the West by the scientific revolution that preceded the era of the Enlightenment. Alan Lightman is a scientist whose personal transcendent experience shapes his view of spirituality today.

October 27, 2018: John Kerry

Over the last five decades, the United States has fought wars, worked for peace, achieved environmental breakthroughs, and struggled to pass on security—however, you might define that – to the next generation. More often, than not, you would have found guest, John Kerry in the middle of those fights.

October 20, 2018: Justin Hendrix

We live in a world awash with media of all types. If we’re honest, it seems like we have not yet mastered the current onslaught of social media in public life. Justin Hendrix warns that, for good or for bad, the future is coming.

October 13, 2018: Padma Venkatraman 

The stories we tell ourselves shape who we are, as individuals, and as a society. Padma Venkatraman is a novelist whose stories explore enduring themes about the use of violence to resist evil, the meaning of family, and tension between tradition and modernity.

October 6, 2018: Sandeep Jauhar

We rely on physicians and the American healthcare industry to keep us healthy—and when we are gravely sick, we rely on them to keep us alive. Dr. Sandeep Jauhar has been on both sides of that equation, and his books give us an insight normally reserved for insiders.

September 22, 2018: Sister Helen Prejean

Since 1976, nearly 1500 Americans have been executed in the name of justice. Sister Helen Prejean, though, cautions about the human cost of the death penalty and the innocent victims wrongfully put to death.

September 15, 2018: Mark Blyth

One of the most persistent ideas in the politics of the West, whether we’re talking about Europe or the United States, is that government debt is best attacked through reducing government spending. Mark Blyth, warns though, that “austerity,” as such plans are known, is a historically dangerous idea.

September 8, 2018: Gary Glassman

One of America’s persistent myths is that the first European migrants to the so-called “new world,” found a largely uninhabited continent. In a new documentary, Gary Glassman brings alive the thriving cities, social networks, art, and science of Native America.

September 1, 2018: Julie Marron

“Four games in Fall” lingers in the sports’-fan’s ear like a claxon in the night.  It was the punishment Tom Brady served for his role in “deflate-gate.”  Julie Marron, argues, however, that Brady, despite his iconic status, was not treated fairly or justly—and the reasons why matter to all of us.

August 27, 2018: Trenni Kusnierek

Sports have the power to unify people from diverse backgrounds, to give us something to be excited about and to talk about, together, no matter who we are, what we do, or where we’re from. But in the last couple of years, politics intruded in our pastimes. As an Emmy-winning sports anchor and reporter, Trenni Kusnierek has a unique perspective on sports in American culture.

August 18, 2018: C.J. Chivers 

Since September 11, 2001, more than 2.7 million Americans have fought America’s battles in Iraq and Afghanistan. Chris Chivers has written a searing, new account of those wars and the men and women who have served in them.

August 11, 2018: Molly McKew

“Weaponized narrative” is a term I hadn’t heard prior to the last couple of years, but information has long been an element of national power and a weapon when employed by skilled operators. Today’s guest warns the United States and its Western allies face a foe tremendously skilled and motivated in the use of information as a weapon.

August 4, 2018: Gary Varvel

Editorial cartoonists use illustration to offer a different perspective on the news and in doing so they challenge us to think in new ways. Gary Varvel brings a conservative perspective to his cartoons for the IndyStar.

July 28, 2018: Caroline Orr

According to the Director of National Intelligence, Russia attacked American democracy in 2016, and the attacks continue to this day. The information the intelligence community used to draw that conclusion is classified—but guest, Caroline Orr uses an incredible array of open-source information and data analytics to produce a sophisticated understanding of the political warfare targeting the United States.

July 21, 2018: Jay Bookman

American politics seemed sufficiently combustible even before the images and stories of immigrant children being separated from their parents pushed our temperature even higher. Jay Bookman argues the super-heated politics of 2018 are a reflection of the death of the GOP as a moderate, governing party.

July 14, 2018: Gregg Easterbrook

The conventional wisdom—the story that dominates public life—is that the world is falling apart. Literally, our infrastructure is crumbling. Our politics are devolving. Sea levels are rising. Gregg Easterbrook reminds us, however, that the reality of human experience is not that bleak and that there is opportunity in tackling the great issues we face.

June 30, 2018: Edward Luce

Generally speaking, the history of Western democracy is relatively short. After the Cold War ended, some celebrated, triumphantly, the so-called “end of history.” But, Edward Luce argues the experience of the last 25 years has given rise to populist politicians on both sides of the Atlantic who threaten the liberal democratic order we built after World War II.

June 23, 2018: Ross Douthat

Pope Francis has captured the hearts of Catholics – and non-Catholics alike. Ross Douthat however, warns that the very things that make the pope so popular, come with real risks for the Church.

June 16, 2018: Dima Amso

Every day, it seems, neuroscience is adding to our understanding of the way we think, the way we know, the way we understand, empathize, and emote. Dima Amso studies how the development of the human mind shapes our perception of the world.

June 9, 2018: Daniela Lamas

The remarkable strides made in medicine, such as the interventions that keep people alive, and the choices those technologies present to both patients and doctors, have been lost in a lot of the political debate about healthcare. Dr. Daniela Lamas, documents those choices and their consequences in a beautiful new book, You Can Stop Humming Now: A Doctor’s Stories of Life, Death and In Between.

June 2, 2018: Larry Tye

Bobby Kennedy had a reputation as a tough, even ruthless politician; however, Larry Tye believes he evolved into a liberal icon grounded in a personal authenticity.

June 2, 2018: Sofie Karasek

Sexual assaults happen on America’s college campuses more frequently than anyone wants to admit. This week’s guest is a victim of sexual assault herself. Sofie Karasek says it’s time to change that reality.

May 19, 2018: Heather Ann Thompson

What’s the difference between a riot and an uprising? Your answer might have something to do with your perspective on the violence. Heather Ann Thompson looks at events at Attica State Prison in 1971 and draws a direct connection to the challenges America faces in its criminal justice system today.

May 12, 2018: Mary Jordan & Kevin Sullivan 

Journalism in the United States is under severe strain. Yet, despite shifts in the marketplace and sustained attack on specific news outlets by the current President, outstanding reporters, Mary Jordan and Kevin Sullivan, continue to shape our understanding of the world around us.

May 5, 2018: Dan Barry

Every year, the Pell Center at Salve Regina University honors one individual who makes the world better with their storytelling, who shines a light into the dark places of the human experience, and who helps us all better understand the world around us and our place in it. In 2018, we are honoring Dan Barry of the New York Times, and we talk to him this week, on Story in the Public Square.

April 26, 2018: Kennith Miller

One of the most important stories in human history is the creation story of the Hebrew bible. Its impact can still be felt today in debates over the proper role of creation and evolution in American classrooms. Kenneth Miller is a respected scientist whose published work seeks common ground between God and science.

April 21, 2018: Justin Kenny & Steve Morrison

International law outlaws the targeting of medical facilities in conflicts. However, guests, Justin Kenny and Steve Morrison, point to an alarming trend in the Syrian Civil War and other conflicts where combatants are targeting healthcare facilities and healthcare workers through their film, “The New Barbarianism.”

April 14, 2018 : Kendall Moore

The documentary filmmaker has for her canvas the broad sweep of human experience. Kendall Moore has turned her lens on issues as diverse as AIDS patients in Africa and polluted air in an office building. Kendall Moore is an award-winning documentary filmmaker and a Professor in the departments of Journalism and Film Media at the University of Rhode Island. Before joining the faculty at URI in 2003, she worked as a television journalist focusing on medical, health, race, and environmental issues.

March 31, 2018: Bernard LaFayette

Imagine the courage of a young black man in the Jim Crow South to sit at a “Whites Only” lunch counter; to need a military escort for a bus ride; to be assaulted by the Ku Klux Klan, and, through it all, remain committed to non-violence. Dr. Bernard LaFayette has done just that, he joins us this week on Story in the Public Square.

March 24, 2018: Martin Puchner

This show—Story in the Public Square—is built on one central insight: that stories have the power to change the world.  Martin Puchner is a scholar of the impact stories have had on minds around the world, and on human history itself.

March 17, 2018: Jacquelyn Schneider

The intermingling of traditional and emerging security challenges demands fresh thinking from a new generation of scholars and practitioners—guest Jacquelyn Schneider tells us that some of those new thinkers and new soldiers will not look like their predecessors.

March 10, 2018: Jacob Groshek

Conventional wisdom tells us that Donald Trump’s campaign benefited mightily from his use of Twitter. However, conventional wisdom and the truth are not always synonymous. Jacob Groshek’s research shows it was not the Tweets themselves, but the television coverage they generated that shaped the 2016 election.

March 3, 2018: Maddie McGarvey

I know I’m not alone in marveling at the work talented photographers do; the composition; the courage to go after stories; the ability to frame a subject is a skill more than “pointing and shooting” a camera.  This week’s guest, Maddie McGarvey, does it better than most.

February 17, 2018: Gabriela Domenzain

The politics of immigration reform in the United States are front and center today, with calls for a wall on America’s southern border and news of more aggressive enforcement by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents. Gabriela Domenzain reminds us that these aren’t just policy debates—these are people’s lives we’re debating.

February 10, 2018: Timothy Edgar

When Patrick Henry stood up in the Virginia House of Burgesses and said, “Give me liberty, or give me death,” he crystallized for all time the critical tension between security of the state and the desire of all people to breathe free. Guest, Timothy Edgar, has worked to help resolve those tensions at the National Security Agency and in the White House of President Barack Obama.

February 3, 2018: Teja Arboleda

For generations, one of the central stories of American identity has been that our diversity is our strength. That story is being openly challenged by those who see America’s changing demographics as a threat. Teja Arboleda uses storytelling to celebrate diversity and challenge those who would dismiss its value.

January 27, 2018: Omer Bartov

“What would I have done?” It’s a central question in the student of history’s imagination when confronted by the horrors of the holocaust. Our guest this week, Omer Bartov, delves deep into the experience of one town in Ukraine changed forever by genocide.

January 20, 2018: Sulome Anderson

Even in the age of social media, we rely on journalists to find and tell the stories of people stuck in extreme circumstances. Joining us this week is one of the best of a new generation of journalists, Sulome Anderson.

January 13, 2018: Margalit Fox

Death, the old saying goes, is part of life. That wisdom seems especially appropriate if, like this week’s guest, Margalit Fox, you are a staff writer on the Obituaries desk at The New York Times.

January 6, 2018: Oona Hathaway & Scott Shapiro

The history of the period between the first and second World Wars reads like a tragedy, progressing from the horror of war, to an idealistic hope for lasting peace, before descending into cataclysm. This week’s guests seize on one of the most idealistic moments in that history; the diplomacy to outlaw war. Oona Hathaway and Scott Shapiro argue that its importance far exceeds the respect given to it by most historians.

December 30, 2017: Year in Review (2017)

In the last year, Story in the Public Square brought you scholars, journalists, novelists, movie makers and more. Some of the stories they shared made us laugh. Others caused us worry and even anger. All of them helped us understand public life in the United States today.

December 16, 2017: Evelyn Farkas

Since 2013, the Pell Center at Salve Regina University has announced a “Story of the Year,” the narrative that had the biggest impact on American public life in the preceding 12 months. This week we’re joined by, Evelyn Farkas, whose work in and out of government gives her special insight into this year’s top story.

December 9, 2017: Matthew Gault

The United States is engaged in nuclear brinksmanship with a reclusive despot whose regime is determined to develop nuclear weapons and the missiles to deliver them to the United States. Matthew Gault argues that the American public isn’t worried enough about these issues.

December 2, 2017: Tara Copp

Whether it’s a film like “Saving Private Ryan,” or a memoir like “A Helmet for My Pillow,” the temptation to romanticize war—and the Second World War, in particular—is part of American life. Tara Copp made sense of her own experience in the Iraq war, by understanding her grandfather’s service more than 70 years ago.

November 25, 2017: Rear Admiral Jeffrey Harley

Among its many missions, the U.S. military also operates a system of schools that provide professional military education—or PME—to rising leaders in each service. Therefore, Rear Admiral Jeffrey A. Harley has charted a new path for the U.S. Naval War College at a time of historic global challenges.

November 18, 2017: Christopher Brown

Speculative fiction, from the most fantastic science fiction to the bleakest dystopias, shines a light on current issues and the reality we know in the here and now. Writer and lawyer, Christopher Brown uses narrative as a laboratory about governance, political violence, and even what it means to be American. His debut novel, Tropic of Kansas, depicts a fractured United States in the aftermath of another Civil War.

November 7, 2017: Esther Schor

This week’s guest on “Story in the Public Square,” Professor Esther Schor, puts Emma Lazarus’ famous poem on the Statue of Liberty, “The New Colossus,” into historic and contemporary context.

November 4, 2017: Charles Dorn

Higher education in the United States is a nearly-$600 billion per year industry that some observers describe as unsustainable and on the verge of a fundamental crisis. Guest, Charles Dorn argues those stories are overblown and that colleges and universities can still serve the common good.

October 28, 2017: Adam Segal

For more than 20 years, experts have warned about a “digital-Pearl Harbor” when the West’s dependence on information technology would be exploited at great cost and peril. Adam Segal argues that the reality of the cyber threat has proven more complex and dangerous than expected.

October 21, 2017: Abigail Brooks

Cosmetic surgery was a $16 billion industry in 2016. Abigail Brooks, says the explosive growth in cosmetic procedures is an outgrowth of deregulation in the healthcare industry, and it’s affecting the way we think about aging.

October 7, 2017: Stephen Pimpare

More than forty million Americans live in poverty today. Guest, Stephen Pimpare, looks at the way the poor and the homeless are portrayed in public life—and it doesn’t match the reality he knows.

September 30, 2017: Julian Chambliss

In the August heat, the United States rejoined a battle over the Confederacy, this time, over municipal plans to remove Civil War monuments. Guest Julian Chambliss says the debate is not so much about history, as it is about our collective memory.

September 23, 2017: Sunshine Menezes

Science tells us that Hurricanes Harvey and Irma were stronger because of climate change. That view is politically controversial, even if it is based on sound science. Guest Sunshine Menezes helps scientists communicate more effectively.

September 16, 2017: Allan A. Ryan

The laws of war are intended to protect the innocent as well as combatants. Guest Allan A. Ryan argues they are also intended to provide justice after conflicts end.

September 9, 2017: Jason Healey
Information technology has changed nearly everything about modern living: the way we communicate, earn a living, and even how we date.  Guest Jason Healey examines the implications of cybersecurity on war and statecraft.
September 2, 2017: David K. Jones 

The politics of the healthcare debate seem to have ground to a halt in Washington—at least for now. But guest David Jones reminds us that the healthcare needs of the public still face substantial challenges.

August 26, 2017: Tim Gray
One of the biggest Hollywood block-busters this summer is about the earliest days of World War II. Guest Tim Gray is an acclaimed chronicler of the Americans who defeated the Axis Powers and saved civilization.
August 19, 2017: John Marttila
Storytelling is at the heart of political campaigns. Guest John Marttila has studied those stories as part of a four-decade career in American politics.
August 12, 2017: Casey Michel
The national security community has warned us that Russia’s meddling in the 2016 presidential election is only a preview of what Russia might do in the 2018 and 2020 elections. Casey Michel argues that Russian intervention in American public life is even more serious, now, than even that dire prediction.
August 5, 2017: Eve L. Ewing
Race in American life is still a very powerful force. Eve L. Ewing explores its potency in her scholarship and bears often personal witness to it in her art and in her poetry.
July 22, 2017: Michael Klare
In grade school, we learned about the 19th century competition between European great powers for control of Africa’s natural resources. Guest Michael Klare warns about a 21st century scramble for what’s left.
July 15, 2017: Daniel Drezner
Policy debates in Washington have long been dominated by think-tanks and academics who populate the marketplace of ideas. Daniel Drezner argues that new players are entering the field, such as global consultancies and billionaire-funded pet projects.
July 8, 2017: Christopher Vials
In the 1930s and early 1940s, prominent Americans publically endorsed a policy of “America First,” even if that meant turning a blind eye to the violence done in Europe by fascist political parties in Italy and, especially Germany. Christopher Vials argues that American fascism has roots that go back to the end of World War I—and is enjoying new dynamism today.
July 1, 2017: Jeff Sparr, Matt Kaplan
About one in five Americans live with a diagnosable mental disorder. Jeff Sparr and Matt Kaplan are creators of a program that uses storytelling and expressive arts to create peace of mind.
June 24, 2017: Daphne Matziaraki

Daphne Matziaraki is the 2017 recipient of the Pell Center Prize for Story in the Public Square, awarded to a storyteller whose work makes a vital contribution to the public dialogue. Matziaraki directed, produced, photographed and edited “4.1 Miles,” first published by The New York Times.

June 17, 2017: Thomas Patterson
The media’s role in modern American politics is that of investigator, arbitrator, and even king maker. Guest Thomas Patterson argues that, contrary to popular belief, media bias is not about left and right, but about positive and negative.
June 10, 2017: Joseph “Butch” Rovan
Music and art, like storytelling, are distinctively human creations. Joseph “Butch” Rovan works in both media to tell stories, challenge assumptions, and explore our humanity.
June 3, 2017: Karen Tramontano
In the aftermath of the Second World War, political leaders built a global system of free trade because they believed it was crucial to world peace. Like so much of the post-war order, that belief is under assault in the 21st century. Guest Karen Tramontano argues that free trade agreements can serve their original purpose even while helping workers.
May 27, 2017: John Farrell
With allegations of a cover-up and obstruction of justice circulating in Washington, Americans in 2017 are looking to the presidency of Richard Nixon for precedent and understanding. Our guest, John Farrell, literally wrote the book on Nixon’s life after his own career covering politics in Washington, DC.
May 20, 2017: Tricia Rose
After the 2008 election of President Barack Obama, Time Magazine asked if we had entered a post-racial America. From the perspective of 2017, the question seems ridiculous. Tricia Rose argues, in fact, that structural racism is the key driver of inequality in the United States.
May 13, 2017: Anthony Leiserowitz
Despite decades of consistent warning from the scientific community, the American public remains divided on the issue of climate change. Yale University’s Anthony Leiserowitz says there are six Americas in the climate debate—and you cannot communicate with each one in the same way.
May 6, 2017: Narges Bajoghli
Chemicals weapons are in the news again following their use against civilians in Syria. Western audiences might most commonly associate chemical weapons with the first World War a century ago, but this week’s guest Narges Bajoghli shares stories from veterans of a more recent conflict – the Iran-Iraq War of the 1980’s.
April 29, 2017: Paul Gionfriddo
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, about 50 million adult Americans live with a diagnosable mental health disorder. Despite its prevalence, our guest Paul Gionfriddo confronts a lot of myths in the discussion of mental health issues in America.
April 22, 2017: Alina Polyakova
According to the U.S. intelligence community, Russia intervened in America’s 2016 presidential campaign to benefit one candidate. As shocking as that revelation was, guest Alina Polyakova warns it’s all part of a broader pattern of Russian efforts directed against the West.
April 8, 2017: Kevin Doyle, Sauda Jackson
As long as there has been live theater, artists have grappled with the public issues of their day. From the ancient Greeks to today, theater has had the power to provoke, inspire, and challenge authorities and orthodoxies. Playwright-director Kevin Doyle and actor Sauda Jackson help us explore the power of theater.
April 1, 2017: Sean Kay
In 1958, Danny and the Juniors told us “Rock and Roll is Here to Stay,” and by the 1970s, punk had celebrated the triumvirate of “sex, drugs, and rock-and-roll.” Guest Sean Kay says rock and roll played a more substantial role in the history of the last half-century. It changed America and spread the values of freedom, equality, human rights and peace across the globe.
March 25, 2017: Robert Hackey
From Richard Nixon to Donald Trump, leaders on both sides of the political aisle have described the state of American healthcare in terms intended to scare and mobilize voters. Guest Bob Hackey argues that those cries of crisis have warped the healthcare debate.

March 18, 2017: Michael D. Kennedy

University professors and intellectuals are often dismissed as elites, divorced from real life and disconnected from the problems of real people. Guest Michael Kennedy sees their role differently and argues, in fact, that intellectuals and universities are agents of global change.

March 11, 2017: Michael Corkery

For every new regulation his administration issues, President Trump has said two regulations have to be eliminated – but what about the ordinary Americans many of these regulations were designed to protect? Are we heading back to the days of predatory lenders? Hosts Jim Ludes and G. Wayne Miller sit down with Michael Corkery, a New York Times financial journalist, to try to make sense of the financial stories affecting Americans everywhere.
March 4, 2017: Irvin Scott
Everyone who has ever gone to school has something to say about teachers, about schools, and about education in general. But is popular opinion—fueled, often, by myth and anecdote—as valid as the considered judgments of educators and researchers? To help us make sense of the education debate, we’re joined by educational leader Dr. Irvin Scott.
February 25, 2017: Eric Bennett
Hosts Jim Ludes and G. Wayne Miller are joined by Eric Bennet, a remarkably talented scholar and novelist whose work, whether for academic or popular audiences, traces the role of both narrative and truth in public life.

February 18, 2017: Katherine Brown

With the transfer of power in Washington, the stories the United States tells the world are changing, too. Hosts Jim Ludes and G. Wayne Miller are joined by Katherine Brown, a public diplomacy professional who has served the United States from the corridors of Foggy Bottom to Kabul Afghanistan.
February 11, 2017: Marc Smerling
Politicians and voters may hate crime, but American audiences can’t get enough of shows like CSI or Law and Order. This week, we’re joined by Emmy-winning filmmaker Marc Smerling, who has intimately chronicled some of America’s most notorious criminals.

February 4, 2017: Jonathan Alexandratos

How we play and how we teach our children to play are tremendously important narratives in public life. Jonathan Alexandratos argues that “toys are texts,” and we should read them with the same analytical eye we bring to books, movies, songs, and other media.

January 28, 2017: Dan Fagin
Science is simultaneously celebrated, ignored, and criticized in public life. In this episode, hosts Jim Ludes and G. Wayne Miller sit down with Pulitzer-Prize winning science journalist Dan Fagin to better understand the power of science to explain the world around us, whether we like what it’s telling us, or not. This episode is supported by The Pulitzer Prize Committee and the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities, whose commemoration of the centennial of the Pulitzer Prize is exploring the changing nature of journalism and the humanities in the digital age.

January 21, 2017: Christian Hopkins, Lorén Spears

One of the big stories of the last six months has been the protest over the Dakota Access Pipeline. This week on “Story in the Public Square,” two Native American activists talk about events on the Standing Rock Sioux reservation and the role of storytelling in native culture.

January 14, 2017: Tom Nichols
The United States finds itself in the midst of an information war with an old adversary. This week, national security analyst Tom Nichols will help us understand the contours of that conflict, the role of storytelling in it, and also the implications of what he calls “the death of expertise.”.

October, 2016: Adam Zyglis

Pulitzer prize-winning editorial cartoonist Adam Zyglis discusses a cartoonist’s unique form of storytelling and the wide range of topics he has covered in his dozen years of professional cartooning.

September 2016: David Shuster
Emmy-winning broadcast journalist David Shuster discusses the narratives shaping the 2016 presidential campaign.

August 2016: Raina Kelley

Raina Kelley is the managing editor of ESPN’s new site, The Undefeated, a content initiative focused on the intersection of sports, race and culture.

July 2016: Javier Manzano
Manzano, a talented Pulitzer-prize winning photographer and documentary filmmaker, shared his story of covering the Syrian civil war and his work as a journalist in some of the world’s most dangerous places.
May 2016: Brian Goldner
Goldner talks about the use of narrative storytelling in the toy, TV and film industries; the challenges of running a global toy company; and the research with parents, children, internal staff and outside experts that goes into development of hundreds of products for all age groups.
April 2016: Tricia Rose
Brown University professor Tricia Rose joins hosts Jim Ludes and G. Wayne Miller to discuss hip-hop, structural racism, and the role of race in the 2016 presidential campaign.
March 2016: Dan Barry
Dan Barry discusses his work and soon-to-be-released book, “The Boys in the Bunkhouse: Servitude and Salvation in the Heartland.” Set to be released May 17, 2016 by HarperCollins, Barry’s latest book tells the story of dozens of men with intellectual disabilities who spent decades working at an Iowa turkey-processing plant, living in an old schoolhouse, and enduring exploitation and abuse – before finding justice and achieving freedom.
March 2016: August Cole
This week on “Story in the Public Square,” author August Cole shared a glimpse of his experience writing a fictional novel that garnered so much attention as a possible future for the world as we know it.
February 2016: What is Story in the Public Square
Story in the Public Square is a partnership of the Pell Center and The Providence Journal. The initiative aims to study, celebrate and tell stories that matter.
February 2016: A New Partnership for White House Chronicle
The Pell Center at Salve Regina University will partner with “White House Chronicle,” a national PBS show with global reach, to produce episodes of “Story in the Public Square.”