759 episodes

Interviews with Scholars of Public Policy about their New Books
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    • Social Sciences

Interviews with Scholars of Public Policy about their New Books
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    Gary Alan Fine, "The Hinge: Civil Society, Group Cultures, and the Power of Local Commitments" (U Chicago Press, 2021)

    Gary Alan Fine, "The Hinge: Civil Society, Group Cultures, and the Power of Local Commitments" (U Chicago Press, 2021)

    Most of the time, we believe our daily lives to be governed by structures determined from above (e.g., laws that dictate our behavior, companies that pay employees wages, climate patterns that determine what we eat or where we live). In contrast, social organization is often a feature of local organization. While those forces may seem beyond individual grasp, we often come together in small communities to change circumstances that would otherwise flatten us. In The Hinge: Civil Society, Group Cultures, and the Power of Local Commitments (University of Chicago Press, 2021), Dr. Gary Alan Fine emphasizes and describes the meso-level collectives, the organizations that bridge our individual interests and the larger structures that shape our lives. Fine describes the meso-level social collectives as “hinges” or groups that come together to pursue a shared social goal, bridging the individual and the broader society. Fine argues that understanding hinges in society is crucial to explaining how societies function – creating links between the micro- and macro-orders of society. Fine draws on historical cases and fieldwork to illustrate how these hinges work and how to describe them. In The Hinge, Fine provides reader with new theoretical tools for understanding an essential part of the social worlds.
    Michael O. Johnston, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at William Penn University. His most recent study, “The Queen and Her Royal Court: A Content Analysis of Doing Gender at a Tulip Queen Pageant”, was published in Gender Issues Journal. His interests include the sociology of art and culture, sociology of death and dying, and sociology of sex and gender. He is currently working on a research project about obituary writing as an art world. More can be found about Michael O. Johnston, Ph.D. by going to his website, Google Scholar, following him on Twitter @ProfessorJohnst, or emailing him at johnstonmo at wmpenn dot edu.
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    • 58 min
    Anthony Warner, "Ending Hunger: The Quest to Feed the World without Destroying It" (Oneworld, 2021)

    Anthony Warner, "Ending Hunger: The Quest to Feed the World without Destroying It" (Oneworld, 2021)

    Nutritionists tell you to eat more fish. Environmentalists tell you to eat less fish. Apparently they are both right. It's the same thing with almonds, or quinoa, or a hundred other foods. But is it really incumbent on us as individuals to resolve this looming global catastrophe? From plastic packaging to soil depletion to flatulent cows, we are bombarded with information about the perils of our food system. 
    Drawing on years of experience within the food industry, Anthony Warner invites us to reconsider what we think we know. In Ending Hunger: The quest to feed the world without destroying it (Oneworld, 2021), he uncovers the parallels between eating locally and 1930s fascism, promotes the potential for good in genetic modification and dispels the assumption that population growth is at the heart of our planetary woes.
    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. He is the author of The New Victorians (New Press, 2004), A People's History of Poverty (New Press, 2008), Ghettos, Tramps & Welfare Queens (Oxford, 2017), and Politics for Social Workers (Columbia, forthcoming 2021).
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    • 39 min
    Ray Ison and Ed Straw, "The Hidden Power of Systems Thinking: Governance in a Climate Emergency" (Routledge, 2020)

    Ray Ison and Ed Straw, "The Hidden Power of Systems Thinking: Governance in a Climate Emergency" (Routledge, 2020)

    The Hidden Power of Systems Thinking: Governance in Climate Emergency (Routledge, 2020) is a persuasive, lively book that shows how systems thinking can be harnessed to effect profound, complex change. 
    In the age of the Anthropocene the need for new ways of thinking and acting has become urgent. But patterns of obstacles are apparent in any action – be they corporate interests, lobbyists, or outdated political and government systems.
    Ray Ison and Ed Straw show how and why failure in governance is at the heart of our collective incapacity to tackle climate and biodiversity emergencies. They suggest the need for a ‘systemic sensibility’ as a first step in breaking these models, and encourage a reimagining of governance – with the biosphere situated at the center. 
    They go beyond analysis of problems, providing actionable guidance for incorporating systems thinking in practice (STiP) into every level of governance, and provide the reader with 21 actionable takeaway principles for systemic governance. 
    The Hidden Power of Systems Thinking will be inspiring reading for students of systems thinking that want to understand the application of their methods, specialists in change management or public administration, activists for 'whole system change' as well as decision-makers wanting to effect challenging transformations. This book is for anyone with the ambition to create a sustainable and fair world.
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    • 1 hr 8 min
    Mical Raz, "Abusive Policies: How the American Child Welfare System Lost Its Way" (UNC Press Books, 2020)

    Mical Raz, "Abusive Policies: How the American Child Welfare System Lost Its Way" (UNC Press Books, 2020)

    In the early 1970s, a new wave of public service announcements urged parents to help end an American tradition of child abuse. The message, relayed repeatedly over television and radio, urged abusive parents to seek help. 
    Support groups for parents, including Parents Anonymous, proliferated across the country to deal with the seemingly burgeoning crisis. At the same time, an ever-increasing number of abused children were reported to child welfare agencies, due in part to an expansion of mandatory reporting laws and the creation of reporting hotlines across the nation. 
    In Abusive Policies: How the American Child Welfare System Lost Its Way (University of North Carolina Press Books, 2020), Mical Raz examines this history of child abuse policy and charts how it changed since the late 1960s, specifically taking into account the frequency with which agencies removed African American children from their homes and placed them in foster care. Highlighting the rise of Parents Anonymous and connecting their activism to the sexual abuse moral panic that swept the country in the 1980s, Raz argues that these panics and policies--as well as biased viewpoints regarding race, class, and gender--played a powerful role shaping perceptions of child abuse. These perceptions were often directly at odds with the available data and disproportionately targeted poor African American families above others.
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    • 47 min
    The Role of Community Colleges in Higher Education: A Discussion with Penny Wills

    The Role of Community Colleges in Higher Education: A Discussion with Penny Wills

    Welcome to The Academic Life. You are smart and capable, but you aren’t an island, and neither are we. So we reached across our mentor network to bring you podcasts on everything from how to finish that project, to how to take care of your beautiful mind. Wish we’d bring in an expert about something? Email us at cgessler@gmail.com or dr.danamalone@gmail.com. Find us on Twitter: The Academic Life @AcademicLifeNBN.
    In this episode you’ll hear about: the role of community colleges in higher education and in their local communities, the Rural Community College Alliance, and being a first generation college student.
    Our guest is: Dr Penny Wills, the President of Rural Community College Alliance.
    Your host is: Dr. Christina Gessler, a historian of women, gender, and sexuality.
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    • 1 hr 3 min
    Tony Tekaroniake Evans, "Teaching Native Pride: Upward Bound and the Legacy of Isabel Bond" (Washington State UP, 2020)

    Tony Tekaroniake Evans, "Teaching Native Pride: Upward Bound and the Legacy of Isabel Bond" (Washington State UP, 2020)

    In 1877, Eloosykasit was on his way Tolo Lake, a gathering place frequented by the Nez Perce, when he heard news of the Wallowa band's flight from the U.S. Army. Only seventeen at the time, Eloosykasit elected to remain with the migrant Nez Perce, arming himself with a rifle abandoned at White Bird Canyon, and following Chief Joseph on toward Montana. Over a century later, in the summer of 1989, Eloosykasit's descendant, Josiah Pinkham, traced the same path as part of an immersive summer program organized entirely around the Chief Joseph Trail. The trip was but one of many ways that the Upward Bound Program - based out of University of Idaho and known regionally as "the Indian Program" - provided Indigenous and non-Indigenous students alike with experiences that recentered Niimíipuu (Nez Perce) and Skitswish (Coeur D'Alene) history and culture. Well-known across the Nez Perce Reservation, Coeur D'Alene Reservation, and nearby communities, Idaho's Upward Bound Program serves as the focus of journalist Tony Tekaroniake Evans' latest book, Teaching Native Pride: Upward Bound and the Legacy of Isabel Bond (Washington State University Press, 2020).
    Drawing on dozens of interviews with former Upward Bound participants and instructors, Evans traces the development of the program under longtime coordinator Isabel Bond, who has spent decades working to support local Indigenous youth through education. Evans weaves historical narratives both old and recent into a story of community-building and cultural appreciation. Though situated deeply in Nez Perce and Coeur D'Alene history and homelands, Evans' Teaching Native Pride shows the ways that Bond's Upward Bound Program, in many ways, serves as a model for educational experiences that highlight the importance of Indigenous pasts, persistence, experiences, and expertise.
    Annabel LaBrecque is a PhD student in the Department of History at UC Berkeley. You can find her on Twitter @labrcq.
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    • 1 hr 10 min

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