The Backdrop podcast is a monthly interview program featuring conversations with UC Davis scholars and researchers working in the social sciences, humanities, arts and culture. Hosted by public radio veteran Soterios Johnson, the conversations feature new work or expertise on a trending topic in the news.
9 - Kadee Russ on Supply Chain Bottlenecks and Inflation
From restaurants and grocery stores to construction companies and car manufacturers, the pandemic’s widespread effects on global supply chains have caused shortages, price hikes and layoffs. In this episode, UC Davis Economics Professor Kadee Russ discusses how supply chains got backed-up, and how these critical systems that produce and deliver products to consumers can be made more resilient.
8 - Karima Bennoune on Helping Artists, Cultural Workers Escape Taliban-Ruled Afghanistan
With the end of the U.S. military mission in Afghanistan and the quick takeover of that nation by the Taliban, advocates fear a terrible backslide in human rights and civil society there.
Karima Bennoune, a professor at the UC Davis School of Law, has been working with others to help get artists, musicians and other at-risk cultural workers out of Afghanistan. She’s worked in the field of human rights, including in Afghanistan, for more than 20 years. And, she serves as UN Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights. Her recent book, Your Fatwa Does Not Apply Here: Untold Stories from the Fight Against Muslim Fundamentalism, was based on hundreds of interviews with people from 30 countries. Bennoune is currently a visiting professor at the University of Michigan Law School.
In this episode, Bennoune discusses her work in the international effort to help evacuate vulnerable cultural workers from Afghanistan, religious fundamentalisms as political movements and how human rights advocates can move forward in a country ruled by the Taliban.
7 - Lewis Lawyer on Documenting the Patwin Language
In what is now California, close to 100 indigenous languages were spoken before Europeans arrived. According to UNESCO, most of the languages native to the Americas are critically endangered — many others are entirely extinct.
Linguist Lewis Lawyer, a UC Davis alumnus, has compiled the first-ever published description of one of those languages, Patwin — originally spoken in hundreds of communities in Northern California.
In this episode, Lawyer discusses the history of the language, how he came to publish “A Grammar of Patwin,” and how the language is making a comeback.
6 - Keith Watenpaugh on Helping Refugee Students Reclaim Their Right to Education
According to one estimate, the global refugee population has more than doubled over the past decade to 26 million. Professor Keith Watenpaugh, director of the Human Rights Studies program at UC Davis, leads an innovative project to help refugee students start or continue their university education — even as they’re displaced and on the move.
In this episode of The Backdrop, Watenpaugh discusses the Article 26 Backpack project, the rapid growth of UC Davis’ Human Rights Studies program and his rethinking of the history of humanitarianism.
5 - Rachel Teagle on Reopening the Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem Museum
UC Davis’s fine arts museum is reopening to the public after being closed for more than a year because of the pandemic. The Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem Museum of Art reopens June 3, 2021, following campus COVID-19 protocols.
In this episode of The Backdrop, the museum’s founding director, Rachel Teagle, discusses the institution's new exhibitions, how the museum has been weathering the pandemic and how the yearlong closure helped the staff focus on issues of diversity, equity and inclusion.
4 - Lizbeth De La Cruz on “Humanizing Deportation”
In a typical year, hundreds of thousands of people are deported from the U.S. for entering or staying in the country illegally. A digital storytelling project at UC Davis, called “Humanizing Deportation,” aims to document their stories.
On this month’s episode, Ph.D. candidate Lizbeth De La Cruz, discusses the project’s goals, how it got started and her experience working as a member of one of the research teams collecting and preserving these stories.
Really interesting and topical
Engaging discussion on a very current topic.