How can democracy be renewed and defended today?
A collaboration of the Thomas Mann House, the Goethe Institute, Wunderbar Together, and the Los Angeles Review of Books.
Sonia Faleiro on Political Oppression in India
In this episode, award-winning journalist Sonia Faleiro talks about dangerous developments in Indian democracy under Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The repression of the Muslim minority and restrictions on the democratic public sphere have taken on dramatic proportions, she says. Faleiro believes that only a democracy movement on the scale of India's freedom struggle can bring real change. Sonia Faleiro grew up in India and lives in London. Her most recent book The Good Girls (Penguin, 2021), has been called "a riveting, sometimes astonishing work of forensic journalism" by the Wall Street Journal.
Daniel Ziblatt on Resilient Democracies | A Collaboration with the German American Conference at Harvard
In this collaboration with the German American Conference at Harvard, Dr. Daniel Ziblatt talks about the decline of democracies. Ziblatt encourages us not to "be afraid to reform our constitution and our institutions." In conversation with hosts Anne McElvoy and Tom Zoellner, he argues that vibrant civil societies, a robust media, and strong opposition are key to resilient democracies. Daniel Ziblatt is professor of government at Harvard University and director of Transformations of Democracy at the WZB Berlin Social Science Center. He recently published, with Steve Levitsky, the best-selling book How Democracies Die.
Tobias Boes on Thomas Mann’s War
How did Thomas Mann use the then still young medium of radio in his fight against fascism? How did he channel repressed energies into political activism? Literary scholar Tobias Boes, author of the book Thomas Mann’s War: Literature, Politics, and the World Republic of Letters (Cornell University Press, 2019), discusses Thomas Mann’s role as a political figure in the United States and how he addressed political issues through the eyes of a novelist. In his book, Boes traces how the acclaimed and bestselling author became one of America’s most prominent anti-fascists. In this episode, we learn more about Mann’s speeches, how he used radio as a political medium and what we can learn from Thomas Mann’s political engagement today. Tobias Boes is a Professor and department chair in German and Russian Languages and Literature at the University of Notre Dame.
Anniversary Episode: One Year of "55 Voices for Democracy"
The 55 Voices for Democracy podcast celebrates it's first birthday this month! Time to look back on the first 25 episodes and reflect on what happened so far: Hosts Tom Zoellner and Aida Baghernejad discuss the highlights and their favorite moments of the podcast against the backdrop of their own biographies. How do their individual political and professional backgrounds shape the way they approach the podcast and interview the guests? What can we learn from having a German and a U.S. standpoint on the podcast, and how can these different political systems be helpful to get a deeper understanding of democracy? Who would Tom’s dream guest be and how did Aida first get interested in Thomas Mann and his work? In this episode, they take the time to reflect on these and other issues and give us the opportunity to learn more about the hosts of 55 Voices.
Emilia Roig on Intersectionality
"We have to think of the entire fabric of our society, and we have to be courageous!“ French political scientist Emilia Roig talks about the intersection and simultaneity of different categories of discrimination against certain minorities. Underlying societal hierarchies play an important role in maintaining these injustices. Emilia Roig is the founder of the Berlin-based organization Center for Intersectional Justice. In 2021, she published the best-selling book Why We Matter - The End of Oppression (Aufbau Verlag).
Timothy Snyder on Resisting Authoritarianism
"The problem is ourselves." Timothy Snyder describes why the challenges of our democracies are not so much political figures like Trump, but ourselves as citizens. Snyder says it's about breaking down social barriers while addressing structural political problems like voter suppression and the manipulation of the electoral college. "A failed coup attempt is a rehearsal for a later coup." Timothy Snyder teaches history at Yale University. His book, "On Tyranny," has been translated into more than 40 languages and sold nearly half a million copies in the U.S. alone. It was published in 2021 by Ten Speed Press in an edition illustrated by Nora Krug.