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Faculty Insight: Islam in the West – a clash of civilizations?

Note: This interview was broadcast on WGBH radio, Boston’s NPR station for news and culture, on April 17, 2011!

Faculty Insight is produced in partnership with ThoughtCast and Harvard University Extension School. This third interview of the series is with Jocelyne Cesari, a level-headed yet astute specialist in contemporary Islamic society. Muslims who live in the Western world today face multiple challenges — suspicion, isolation, ignorance, fear. And post-9/11, of course, they carry the weight of that violent attack. So how are we to move forward, in an enlightened, inclusive manner? How ought we to apply our secular, humanist and individualistic values at such a time?

For starters, let’s listen to Jocelyne Cesari. She might not have all the answers, but as the director of the inter-faculty Islam in the West Program, she’s clearly the right person to ask. She is also an associate at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies and the Center for European Studies at Harvard, and teaches in Harvard’s Department of Government, its Divinity School and its Extension School. This video of our interview is only an introduction, so….
Click here to hear the entire conversation! (16 minutes)

Posted on December 17, 2010 in Faculty Insight, Harvard Luminaries, History, Politics, Religion
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Faculty Insight: Nuclear strategy in the post-cold war world

Note: This interview was broadcast on WGBH radio, Boston’s NPR station for news and culture, on April 17, 2011!

Faculty Insight is produced in partnership with Harvard University Extension School. This second interview of the series is with nuclear strategist Thomas Nichols, who is a professor at the US Naval War College in Rhode Island, a fellow at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and a lecturer at Harvard Extension School. He speaks with ThoughtCast’s Jenny Attiyeh about the conflict with North Korea, the potential for nuclear terrorism, and the reduction of nuclear stockpiles in the post-cold war world.

Posted on September 23, 2010 in Faculty Insight, Harvard Luminaries, Politics
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Simon Johnson Takes on Banks Deemed “Too Big to Fail”

Note: This interview was broadcast on WGBH radio, Boston’s NPR station for news and culture, on April 17, 2011!

Simon Johnson, the Professor of Entrepreneurship at MIT’s Sloan School of Management, and former chief economist at the International Monetary Fund, is an outspoken critic of the US government response to the financial crisis. Now he takes on the “too big to fail” banks which continue to threaten our economy.  In his latest book, called 13 Bankers: The Wall Street Takeover and the Next Financial Meltdown, which he co-wrote with James Kwak, Simon argues that if the biggest banks aren’t cut down to size, it’s only a matter of time before we face another financial crisis. And once again, the government – aka the taxpayers – will be obliged to step in and bail out these behemoths…
In Simon’s words, if they’re too big to fail — they’re too big to exist!
Simon Johnson is also a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics.  And he’s the co-author, again with James Kwak, of the influential economics blog The Baseline Scenario. Simon spoke with ThoughtCast at the Harvard Book Store in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Posted on May 6, 2010 in Economics, MIT, Politics
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The Promise of Open Media

(Note: This program is featured on the Socialbrite and P2P Foundation websites — thanks for that!)

At the first ever Open Video Conference, held at New York University in Manhattan, participants pondered the significance of the open media movement, at a time when its tools are being put to use by protesters in Iran.  The social networking tools Twitter, YouTube and Facebook have revolutionized communication, and impacted events as they unfold.

ThoughtCast spoke with  Xeni Jardin, of Boing Boing fame,  Peter Kaufman, the CEO of Intelligent Television, and Dean Jansen with the Participatory Culture Foundation, among others, about the potential of this movement to effect social change.

Posted on June 25, 2009 in Politics, Public Media
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The Economic Pits with James Poterba

Note: this interview was broadcast on the WGBH public radio affiliate WCAI, on the Cape and Islands!

James Poterba

What is the right expression to describe today’s economic nightmare? I’m sick of “mess” and “crisis” is too bland. What about “cesspool”? Well, I compromised with “pits” — feel free to add your own juicy descriptions in ThoughtCast’s comments section!
Either way, I dived into the “pool” with MIT’s Mitsui Professor of Economics James Poterba, who’s also the head of the National Bureau of Economic Research, the think tank in charge of determining when recessions start … and end. Wouldn’t that be nice? Headlines proclaiming the “end” of this rather inordinate business cycle.
Are these ups and downs indeed just a part of capitalism’s inevitable booms and busts? Ought we to accept them as natural, rather than resist them? Or ought we to scrap the “system” and rebuild? You tell me…
But first, listen to this: (15:30 minutes).

Posted on February 23, 2009 in Economics, MIT, Politics, Psychology
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Samuel Huntington — on Immigration and the American Identity

Note: Sadly, Sam Huntington died in late December of 2008, so I’ve re-posted this 2005 interview, which was broadcast twice on WGBH, in Boston.

Sam Huntington
The eminent and provocative political scientist and prolific author, talks with ThoughtCast about what he sees as the threat to America’s national identity (and its founding ‘Anglo-Protestant’ culture) posed by large numbers of unassimilated Hispanics, legal or otherwise, living in the United States. His most recent book: “Who Are We? The Challenges to America’s National Identity” has caused quite a stir. Huntington is also famous for an earlier work called “The Clash of Civilizations.” In this book, he argues that civilizations, not nations or ideologies, form the basic building blocks of future cooperation — and conflict.

Huntington, a longtime professor of political science at Harvard, is also a member of the editorial board of a new magazine chaired by Huntington’s former student, Francis Fukuyama, called “The American Interest.”

We discuss these topics in a half-hour interview while seated in the back yard of his home on Martha’s Vineyard — hence all those birds chirping away cheerily…

Click here: to listen (30 mins).

Posted on January 21, 2009 in Harvard Luminaries, Ideas, Politics
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