Scholars Strategy Network's No Jargon

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No Jargon, the Scholars Strategy Network’s weekly podcast, presents interviews with top university scholars on the politics, policy problems, and social issues facing the nation. Powerful research, intriguing perspectives -- and no jargon. Find show notes and plain-language research briefs on hundreds of topics at

Episode Date
Episode 225: Black Lives Matter, Police, and America’s Democracy

Since the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police at the end of May, the United States has been rocked by weeks of nationwide protests against police brutality, and it doesn’t look like they’re going anywhere anytime soon. Professor Vesla Weaver dives into how this movement is different from protests of the past, what brought us to the current situation, how our nation’s police system has affected Black and Brown people’s lives and understanding of our democracy, and what to make of calls for changes, such as abolishing the police.

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Note: This episode includes some explicit language.

Jun 25, 2020
Episode 224: Voting in 2020

The 2020 election was already shaping up to be one of the most consequential and contentious in recent memory, and then came the COVID-19 pandemic. While much about the future is uncertain, we know this: the election cannot be run as originally planned. Professor Amel Ahmed lays out what policymakers can do to ensure that all voters can exercise their right to vote, what research can tell us about these various proposals, and how we can ensure that the public knows everything they need to vote before November comes.

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Jun 18, 2020
Episode 223: The Future of Abortion Care?

Even at the best of times, accessing abortion care in the United States can be an arduous process. During a pandemic, the challenges only mount further. Clinics are closed down and, in some places, politicians have begun using COVID-19 to block abortion, calling it “nonessential” healthcare. Professor Carrie Baker explores whether telemedicine abortion could provide a solution, what barriers exist to implementing it, and what this all means for the future of reproductive rights in the United States.

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Jun 11, 2020
Episode 222: Violence in Resistance

In cities and towns across the country, protests have erupted following the police killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and others. While many of the protests remained peaceful, others turned violent, with buildings being destroyed or looted and clashes breaking out between the police and protestors. In this archive episode, Professor Ashley Howard explains the history behind these protests, why protests sometimes turn violent, how governments often respond, and what the role of social media is in all of this.

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This episode originally aired on February 14, 2017.

Jun 02, 2020
Episode 221: America’s Undocumented Students

Being a college student can be stressful enough, but when you’re an undocumented immigrant, there are many additional hurdles in your way. Dr. Sayil Camacho unpacks what it’s like to be an undocumented student at our nation’s colleges and universities, what more university administrators and faculty can do to support them, and how DACA and the upcoming Supreme Court decision on the program factor into it all.

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May 28, 2020
Episode 220: Vaccination Education

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve, it’s widely accepted that without a vaccine, life cannot go back to normal. But as it turns out, not everyone is on board. Over the last several years, an anti-vaccine movement has gained steam in the United States, with more and more people deciding to skip vaccines for themselves and their children. In this archive episode, Dr. Matthew Woodruff dives into the science and history behind vaccines and how we can better educate people on their value.

This episode originally aired on August 8, 2017.

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May 21, 2020
Episode 219: The College Hookup

The scene is so common it’s almost cliche: two beautiful young people meet at a rowdy college party and drunkenly fall into bed together. American pop culture is fascinated by college hookups, but is casual sex really as widespread as it seems? Professor Lisa Wade breaks down who participates in hookup culture, what they get out of it, and as more students speak up about the problem of on-campus sexual assault, what role universities have to play in shaping their sexual cultures.

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May 14, 2020
Episode 218: When Disasters Strike

In any sense of the word, the COVID-19 crisis can be considered a disaster. Tens of thousands of people have lost their lives, millions have lost their jobs, and nearly everyone is experiencing a sense of shock at how quickly our world was turned upside down. But of course, the current crisis is also dramatically different from previous disasters, like hurricanes or wildfires. Professor Susan Sterett dives into how COVID-19 follows the same patterns of previous disasters and how it diverges, what we can learn from previous disasters to inform our current efforts, and how we can prepare for a future where the coronavirus will inevitably collide with other disasters.

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May 07, 2020
Episode 217: Feeling the Economic Pain

Every Thursday since America started locking down to prevent the spread of the deadly coronavirus, a tragic new number is released: the latest unemployment claims. Tens of millions of Americans have already filed for unemployment, and that number is likely to keep going up. Professor Anna Gassman-Pines lays out who is most affected by the dramatic economic downturn we’re seeing, what job losses mean for children, families, and entire communities, and how policymakers can help buffer against some of the worst effects of this economic crisis.

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Apr 30, 2020
Episode 216: A Model for Care

With the COVID-19 crisis spreading rapidly across the US, much attention has been paid to the hospitals on the front lines of this pandemic. But there is another set of healthcare providers that also has a crucial role to play in managing this outbreak: community health centers. Professor Peter Shin unpacks what exactly community health centers are, why they were established and who they serve, what role they have to play in the COVID-19 pandemic, and how policymakers can ensure their survival during this unprecedented time.

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Apr 23, 2020
Episode 215: Polarization in a Pandemic

We’re in April, as the world grapples with the coronavirus pandemic. Today, the U.S. has more reported cases than any other nation on earth - a fact that may in part be due to testing levels, but could also be due to a series of massive public policy mistakes. In the U.S., the federal response has been chaotic, to say the least. And here’s one reason: President Donald Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi don’t talk to each other. The intense anger and distrust between Republicans and Democrats could literally be costing our nation lives. Lee Drutman explains how we got into this mess and how we can get out of it. 

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Apr 16, 2020
Episode 214: A Second Safety Net

As policymakers on Capitol Hill work to expand America’s safety net in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and economic downturn, it’s becoming increasingly clear that it might not be enough. So where can we look for guidance on what more needs to be done? Perhaps another deadly virus, HIV, where a separate and robust safety net has been established to support those who have been diagnosed. Professor Celeste Watkins-Hayes explains what the HIV/AIDS safety net looks like, what we can learn from this previous effort to combat a deadly virus, and how the inequalities of the HIV/AIDS epidemic are playing out with coronavirus.

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Apr 09, 2020
Episode 213: Learning from Ebola

With governments rushing to put in place policies and guidelines to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus, it’s important to look to the past to inform the present. And we don’t have to look far. Just 5 years ago, the world was concerned with a completely different outbreak: ebola. Professor Lily Tsai and Dr. Ben Morse examine how governments at the epicenter of the ebola outbreak responded to the spread of the disease, what the role of trust is in ensuring that people comply with government recommendations, and how leaders can build trust and buy-in both during and before a crisis.

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Apr 02, 2020
Episode 212: Fighting Hunger During a Pandemic

Around the United States, schools are shutting down due to coronavirus. For some Americans, this means setting up a home office and learning to work with children underfoot. But others are facing a far more serious crisis: with school cafeterias closed indefinitely and employment increasingly precarious, how will they manage to put food on the table? Professor Daphne Hernandez lays out the problem of food insecurity in America, how coronavirus is affecting the situation, and what policymakers can do to help families in need -- now and in the future.

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Mar 26, 2020
Episode 211: Rethinking Global Philanthropy

Money. Power. Knowledge. Health. Education. When you look around the world, when it comes to resources and opportunities, there are massive imbalances between countries and even inside countries. In the name of making the world a better place, people and institutions with great wealth often donate some of their money around the world through philanthropy. Rakesh Rajani shares stories and lessons learned from years of work in global philanthropy and outlines what changes are needed to make this work more effective and meaningful.

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Mar 19, 2020
Episode 210: Students at the Polls

With the 2020 primary in full swing, college campuses are full of conversations about politics, policy, and the future of American democracy. But many of these college students don’t turn out when it actually matters, on Election Day. In fact, in the last presidential election, only around half of all young voters came out to the polls. In this archive episode, Dr. Nancy Thomas explores what gets students to vote and how college administrators, faculty members, and students can improve voting rates on their campuses.


This episode originally aired on October 11, 2018.


For more on this topic:

Check out a Washington Post story about their 2018 midterm election report showing that rates among college students doubled

Mar 12, 2020
Episode 209: Reporting from the Twittersphere

Social media has permeated countless aspects of our daily lives. But perhaps no platform has influenced the media like Twitter, shaping not only what many journalists cover, but also how they cover it. Professor Shannon McGregor dives into the role of Twitter in today’s media environment, why the platform is an imperfect measure of public opinion, and how social media can become a better tool for journalists working with limited resources at their disposal. 

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Mar 05, 2020
Episode 208: On the Abortion Front Line

Over the last couple of years, states have passed increasingly restrictive laws in an effort to reduce access to abortion. And this year, the Supreme Court is deciding on new cases that could validate some of the harshest laws, potentially opening the door for an end to Roe v. Wade. But at the forefront of this fight over abortion access are providers few people know about: independent abortion clinics. PhD candidate Amy Alterman explains what exactly these independent clinics are, how they are affected by anti-abortion stigma, and how comedians are helping to lift up and support their work.

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Feb 27, 2020
Episode 207: From The Tea Party to The Resistance

In 2009, Barack Obama was sworn in as the first African American president in this country’s history after a momentous election. But for many in this country, that election was anything but joyous. Soon after, a movement that became known as the Tea Party took shape on the right in opposition to this president and his policies. Fast forward 8 years and a very familiar story seemed to play out, but this time on the left. It became known as The Resistance. PhD candidate Leah Gose explains what similarities and differences exist between these two groups and what we can learn by looking at the two of them together.

Feb 20, 2020
Episode 206: Creating Inclusive Campuses

Over the last few decades, minority enrollment at America’s colleges and universities has increased exponentially. These institutions, many predominantly white, like to tout enrollment rates as evidence of their commitment to racial diversity. But do these numbers tell the whole story? Professor Bedelia Richards details how black students still frequently experience discrimination on campus, what this means for their education and wellbeing, and how universities can make change to help create more inclusive campuses.

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Feb 13, 2020
Episode 205: Black Teachers Wanted

America is getting more diverse, and that means more children of color are students in our schools. But teachers are still overwhelmingly white, so many of these students rarely see teachers who look like them. Professor Michèle Foster tells the little-known story of why America lost many of its black teachers, what that means for students, and what can be done to change things.

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This episode originally aired on June 14, 2018.

Feb 06, 2020
Episode 204: Battling the Opioid Crisis

We are living in the midst of an epidemic. Over the past 15 years, the number of Americans dying from opioid-related overdoses has skyrocketed by more than 200%. Facing a mounting death toll, policymakers have proposed solutions from needle exchanges to reducing the availability of prescription opioids. But the crisis seems to rage on. Professor Keith Humphreys digs into how we got here, what we know about which policy responses actually work, and what might be next in the never ending fight against addiction.

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Jan 23, 2020
Episode 203: Realizing Democracy

What should the next 10 or 20 years look like in the United States? Many Americans say we need to go back to the future. They want to restore something, or protect something they’re worried the United States is losing. And that’s not just the Make America Great Again crowd. But others argue that it’s not time to restore democracy -- it’s time to realize democracy. Dr. K. Sabeel Rahman explains what it would take to make America’s democracy work for everyone  and why the time for big, structural change is now.

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Jan 16, 2020
Episode 202: The Fight for Climate Justice

Last year, climate change took center stage. With presidential candidates releasing bold plans to tackle the issue, massive protests organized by young people across the globe, and ever more dire reports coming out of the United Nations, this issue is getting attention unlike ever before. Doctor Fernando Tormos-Aponte discusses where climate organizing stands now, how some organizers are focusing on justice and equity in their work, and how this is all playing out in Puerto Rico after the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria in 2017.

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Jan 09, 2020
Episode 202: Citizens of Nowhere

Everyone is a citizen of somewhere, right? With all the conversation in politics and the media about immigration, one of the assumptions is that, if you aren’t a citizen of the United States, you must be a citizen of somewhere else. But in some parts of the world, you might just not have any real citizenship at all. Professor Noora Lori explores the lives of people who are caught in between countries, the challenges this creates for their lives, and what a better immigration policy could look like.

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Dec 19, 2019
Episode 201: Death by a Thousand Cuts

No one likes to believe they would be on the wrong side of history. Most of us prefer to think that in times of crisis, we would do the right thing -- we wouldn’t be complicit in evil. Yet every day, individuals just doing their jobs make decisions that harm people. And when many members of an organization make many small, harmful decisions, that builds up. Professor Ashley Nickels lays out how organizational decisions and structures can lead to real acts of evil that harm individuals and whole communities, how this played out in Flint, Michigan, and what can be done to prevent tragedy before it strikes.

Dec 12, 2019
Episode 200: Democracy in the States

This year, millennials officially became the largest generation in America. In passing over Baby Boomers, these young Americans, along with Generation Z, have the potential to change US politics by making their voices heard at the polls. The only problem is, many of them don’t turn out to vote. Professor Jake Grumbach explains what’s behind their low voter turnout, how one policy could change that, and what this all says about the role of states in pushing US policy and democracy forward.

Dec 05, 2019
Episode 199: Empty Wallets, Empty Stomachs

The old saying goes: breakfast is the most important meal of the day. And yet, across the country, there are thousands of children who struggle to find a good meal in the morning. In fact, hunger is likely a bigger problem in this country than most people realize. Professor Maureen Berner lays out the problem of food insecurity in American, what it can tell us about the larger issue of poverty, and how we need to reframe our thinking to address the problem.

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Nov 21, 2019
Episode 198: What’s My Schedule?

Imagine you’re a working parent. You make ends meet with a part-time job at a department store, but the ever-changing schedule makes life difficult. Some weeks, you work so much that you’re left scrambling for last-minute childcare. Others, you barely get enough hours to cover all your expenses. Professor Susan Lambert describes why this has become the reality for an increasing number of Americans, how these scheduling practices impact both employees and their employers, and what policymakers can do to ease the burden.

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Nov 14, 2019
Episode 197: Making Research Matter

What works best to teach children in our schools? How does pollution affect public health? Why is economic inequality on the rise? These are just some of the big and important questions researchers try to answer every day. But all too often, their findings don’t actually help usher in improvements in the lives of people. Why not? The William T. Grant Foundation’s Vivian Tseng shares the history of research use in U.S. education policy, how a new approach to research can improve connections between scholars and policymakers, and what further changes are needed to make research matter.

For more on this topic:

  • Read Vivian’s blog post about evidence use across sectors and around the globe
  • Find her paper with Professor Cynthia Coburn on using evidence in the U.S.
  • Check out the William T. Grant Foundation’s research grants on improving the use of research evidence
Nov 07, 2019
Episode 196: The Rise of Anti-LGBT Hate Crimes

Twenty-one years ago this month, a gay University of Wyoming student by the name of Matthew Shepard was brutally murdered. His story brought national attention to anti-LGBT hate crimes and spurred a popular movement for hate crime legislation. Since then, the LGBT community has won major advances and become more visible than ever - but hateful attacks are on the rise. Professor Liz Coston explores why these crimes keep happening, what they look like in 2019, and what can be done to protect and support the LGBT community in the years to come.

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Oct 31, 2019
Episode 195: The Promise of Midwives

America is the richest country on Earth with some of the most advanced healthcare services you can find. And yet, every year, hundreds of women die during childbirth, an issue that particularly affects black women. One of the potential solutions that’s being offered: returning to the centuries old practice of community midwives. Rachel Applewhite lays out what research can tell us about the effectiveness of midwives and doulas, how they help serve communities left behind by our healthcare system, and what can be done to expand access to their potentially life-saving services.

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Oct 24, 2019
Archive Episode 87: NAFTA Winners and Losers

Despite an ongoing impeachment inquiry, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has been signaling that a new trade deal with Mexico and Canada is in the final stages of negotiations, and Congress could be ready for a vote in the near future. In this archive episode, Professor Alyshia Gálvez dives into the often overlooked consequences of this trade agreement on food and health in both the U.S. and Mexico. 

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Oct 17, 2019
Episode 194: The Science of Science Communication

With a global climate strike on September 20th and waves of protests surrounding the UN summit on climate change, public interest in science seems to be on the rise. And scientists are answering the call, with more researchers than ever taking to social media to share their work with the public and each other. Professor Sara Yeo discusses how different audiences perceive science communication, the ways in which emotions can factor into it, and how scientists can make the most of engaging online.

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Oct 10, 2019
Episode 193: The Toll of Stereotypes

America’s schools are supposed to treat all students fairly. But we know that all too often, black students face racial discrimination, stigma, and stereotypes in their schools. And for black girls in particular, that can be compounded by their gender as well. Professor Seanna Leath explains how do these experiences affect the lives and development of black girls, what broader stereotypes and stigmas exist around mental health for black women, and what can be done to improve the situation.

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Oct 03, 2019
Episode 192: Black Homes, Black Cities

Memphis, Baltimore, and Detroit. East Cleveland, Ohio, and Wilkinson, Pennsylvania. Black cities are on the rise. In 1970, Black people made up a majority of 460 cities and towns across the United States. Forty-seven years later, the number of majority Black municipalities is up to 1,262. Dr. Andre Perry discusses what is driving this increase, why black cities and black neighborhoods have been devalued, and how America can do right by these places.

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Sep 26, 2019
Episode 191: Paying for Pollution

Climate change is threatening our world, that much is becoming more and more apparent every year. And often it seems like little is happening on a policy level to address this impending crisis. But, in 2008, a group of states in the Northeast managed what seemed nearly impossible. They put in place a robust, multi-state system to put a price on carbon. Professor Leigh Raymond explains how they were able to overcome obstacles that have doomed so much other climate policy, how exactly this system works, and what lessons can be learned for other climate proposals.

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Sep 19, 2019
Episode 190: Dental Care for All

For many people, regular visits to the dentist are little more than a necessary inconvenience. But in lower-income communities, access to dental care can be all but nonexistent - with serious consequences for public health. Professor Donald Chi lays out how a single childhood cavity can lead to a lifetime of problems, why so many people struggle to access even basic dental care, and what policymakers can do to provide every American with the coverage they need.

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Sep 12, 2019
Episode 189: Who Owns America’s Schools?

Back-to-school season is upon us, and back as well are some familiar debates. From charter schools to voucher programs, education in America is becoming more privatized than ever - and some communities are pushing back. Professor Janelle Scott reveals why so many schools are shifting toward privatization, why these reforms are so controversial, and what they mean for inequality in America’s education system.

For more on this topic:

  • Check out Scott’s research paper with Jennifer Holme on this topic (paywall)
Sep 05, 2019
Episode 188: Why Cities Lose

Imagine a nation where the political rules are unfair. In this imagine nation, there are two parties. The Big Country party has its strengthen in rural areas and gets a big head start in every election - they get to win if they earn around 46 percent of the vote. The other party, the party of the city people, gets held back - to win, they need to earn about 54 percent of the vote. As it turns out, this is not an imaginary nation at all, it’s the United States of America. Professor Jonathan Rodden dives into the research from his book on why cities lose when it comes to elections, what that means for our political system, and what can be done to change the situation.

Aug 29, 2019
Episode 187: Red Flags

El Paso, Texas. Dayton, Ohio. These two cities are the latest in a long string of communities that have experienced horrific mass shootings. And once again, the news of these shootings bring up many questions. Dr. Sierra Smucker lays out what we know about mass shooters and the connection to domestic violence, what gun regulations are already on the books and whether or not they seem to be effective, and what more can be done to prevent future shootings. 

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Aug 22, 2019
Episode 186: Modernizing Congress

The US Congress is a bedrock of American democracy, but as it stands, it often seems to be stuck in the dark ages. With more and more technology emerging to help connect people, ideas, and information across the country, Congress often still works as if the internet didn’t exist. Dr. Lorelei Kelly dives into the problems facing Congress, what it takes to bring this institution into the 21st century, and how a few members are leading the way.

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Aug 15, 2019
Archive Episode 71: Violence in Resistance

Around five years ago, Ferguson, Missouri erupted in violent protests after the fatal police shooting of teenager Michael Brown. The Ferguson protests were part of a wave of protests nationwide spurred by police shootings of unarmed black men and the disproportionate violence that communities of color have often faced. In this archive episode, Professor Ashley Howard explains what these protests mean, what their history is, and how new laws, policing methods, and social media are changing the way people demonstrate.

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Aug 08, 2019
Episode 185: America’s Long Immigration Debate

At the beginning of his campaign for president, Donald Trump disparaged Mexican immigrants coming to the US and since then, immigration has been a centerpiece of his administration. But to say that America’s immigration debate started with Donald Trump is simply not true. Professor James Hollifield highlights the long history of immigration policy in this country and argues that the conversation won’t be going away any time soon, no matter what happens in 2020.

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Aug 01, 2019
Episode 184: Hollywood’s Diversity Problem

When the 2016 Academy Award acting nominations all went to white performers for the second consecutive year, a trending hashtag - #OscarsSoWhite - swept Twitter. But in the span of just a few years, things seem to have changed. Professor Nancy Yuen explains the state of diversity in Hollywood, what challenges persist today, and how to reform the industry.

Jul 25, 2019
Episode 183: Do Endorsements Really Matter?

When politicians run for local office, they try to appeal to lots of different kinds of voters. And one way they do this is by collecting endorsements from public figures and organizations those voters trust. But does that actually influence the way people vote? Professor Andrea Benjamin explores the role of endorsements in local elections, how race plays into the equation, and what this means for campaigns both big and small.

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Jul 18, 2019
Episode 182: Chile, the CIA, and the Cold War

The CIA has become an almost mythical government agency, viewed as full of super spies who carry out the US government’s wishes across the globe. And perhaps one of the most infamous of these accounts is the CIA’s supposed orchestration of the 1973 coup in Chile. But Professor James Lockhart’s new research casts doubt on this common narrative. He digs into the CIA’s actual influence in Chile, why this narrative has become so ingrained, and what it all means for the US today.

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Jul 11, 2019
Episode 181: Locked Away

In 1890, the Supreme Court called solitary confinement “barbaric,” speculating that it would be abandoned altogether as a correctional practice. But now, nearly 130 years later, it’s clear that their prediction couldn’t have been more wrong. Professor Keramet Reiter tells the story of how solitary confinement became so widespread in the US, what this practice means for prisoners, and what can be done to change the system.

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Jun 27, 2019
Episode 180: Guest Show - Big Brains

This week, we’re bringing you an episode from Big Brains, a podcast produced at The University of Chicago. Big Brains tells the stories behind the pivotal research and pioneering breakthroughs reshaping our world. They cover everything from the hidden dangers of artificial intelligence to the discovery of gravitational waves. This episode features Professor Eric Oliver on the science of conspiracy theories and political polarization.

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Jun 20, 2019
Episode 179: Gerrymandering on Trial

When elected officials redraw districts in their own party’s favor, the impact can be enormous, swaying elections and influencing policy for years to come. This practice - known as gerrymandering - is one of the most hotly debated in American politics right now, and it’s one the Supreme Court will soon weigh in on. Dr. Peter Miller lays out the legal cases surrounding gerrymandering, what these decisions might mean for future elections, and what else can be done to get states to draw maps in ways that are not politically motivated.

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Jun 13, 2019
Episode 178: Healthy Patients, Healthy Providers

Building healthy and equitable communities is a tough challenge, but it’s one that public policy is well position to address. In this episode, produced in collaboration with the Health Policy Research Scholars program funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, two PhD candidates share their research on what can be done to improve the health of both patients and their providers. First, Kristefer Stojanovski reveals why the fight to eradicate HIV must include a push to address bias among doctors. Next, Yaminette Diaz-Linhart outlines how the stresses of the job impact health care workers, and what this means for their patients.

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Jun 06, 2019
Episode 177: Unintended Consequences

Public policy influences just about every part of our lives, and perhaps one of the most important is our health and well-being. In this episode, produced in collaboration with the Health Policy Research Scholar program by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, two PhD candidates share their research on some unintended consequences at the intersection of health and policy. First, Tyler Jimenez explains how existential threats, like the fear of death, can affect people’s support for policies meant to address health inequalities. Next, Amy Jones lays out how the lives of students of color are impacted by our push for diversity on campuses, and what this means for their health.

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May 30, 2019
Episode 176: Groundbreakers, part 2

Many of us are part of one organization or another that’s hoping to create change. Yet all too often, it feels like the levers of change are stuck. Professor Hahrie Han tells the stories of a few organizations that have been able to break through, get a seat at the table, and create real, tangible results. When it comes to organizing, there is no magic formula, but her research sheds light on patterns from groundbreaking organizations that can lead to success.

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May 23, 2019
Episode 175: Groundbreakers, part 1

For many renters, evictions can depend on the whims and wishes of their landlord. And with no right to a lawyer in housing court, there’s almost no chance to fight back and win. But that all recently changed in New York City and San Francisco. Professor Jamila Michener explains how both cities came to enact groundbreaking new laws to help tenants get access to a lawyer and what the movements behind these laws say about the power of organizing.

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May 16, 2019
Episode 174: Making Motherhood Work

This Sunday is Mother’s Day. But while this is one day of celebrating moms everywhere, many of them aren’t doing so well the other 364 days of the year. That’s because more moms today are struggling to balance work and family life, often with little support. Professor Caitlyn Collins breaks down how US moms are doing these days, how our family support system compares to other countries, and what needs to change to better support working mothers year-round.

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May 09, 2019
Archive Episode 52: Paying the Price

Presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren recently proposed a massive plan to eliminate most student debt and tuition at public colleges. But student debt is just one part of the larger problem of college affordability. Professor Sara Goldrick-Rab explains the impact of the high cost of college on students at public and community colleges, including hunger, homelessness, and debt without getting a degree, and offers concrete solutions.

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May 02, 2019
Episode 173: 2020’s Big Proposals

The presidential race for 2020 is already well underway and two of the biggest policies Democratic hopefuls are pushing include a $15 minimum wage and Medicare-for-All. Professor Jeannette Wicks-Lim lays out the costs and benefits of each and what these massive policy changes would mean for the country—and for inequality.

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Apr 25, 2019
Episode 172: The Battle over Clean Energy

Wildfires, flooding, and some of warmest years on record -- climate change has become an ever more imminent threat. But without action from DC, the states have become the frontline of climate change policy. Professor Leah Stokes unravels the history of clean energy laws in the states, how environmental advocates and industry groups have battled it out there, and how the Green New Deal fits into the fight.

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Apr 19, 2019
Episode 171: A Life-Changing Course

Inequality is rampant in America’s schools and many of the proposed fixes end up falling far short of their goals. But ethnic studies courses have shown to be a potentially powerful solution. Professor Nolan Cabrera dives into the legal fight over these courses, how these programs can work in schools across the country, and what they can do for student achievement.

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Apr 11, 2019
Episode 170: Guest Show - Democracy Works

This week, we’re bringing you an episode of Democracy Works, a podcast that examines what it means to live in a democracy. This episode is a conversation with David Frum, a prolific author and former speechwriter for George W. Bush. David is a passionate defender of democracy and talks with Democracy Works host Jenna Spinelle about how everyone can become better democratic citizens. Democracy Works is produced by the McCourtney Institute for Democracy at Penn State and WPSU Penn State, central Pennsylvania’s NPR station. New episodes are released every Monday at or your favorite podcast app.

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Apr 04, 2019
Episode 169: Who Controls the States?

We like to think that state governments make decisions based on their particular situations. But it turns out, often that’s not the case. In fact, three large conservative groups have gained massive influence in state houses across the country, working to pass legislation in line with their views and corporate sponsors. Professor Alexander Hertel-Fernandez explains their rise and strategies, why state governments are so susceptible to their influence, and what this all means for American democracy.

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Mar 28, 2019
Episode 168: Cities in Crisis

Flint, Michigan has been in crisis since 2014, plagued with unsafe drinking water and a local government in debt. Thankfully nonprofits came to the rescue, donating millions of dollars and hundreds of hours to help in the long process of bringing clean water back. Professor Davia Cox Downey tells the story of two Michigan cities in crisis, how each benefited from the help of nonprofits, and what still needs to be done to restore trust in the local government.

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Mar 21, 2019
Episode 167: A Case of Life and Death

The death penalty has a long and controversial history in the US. And 30 states still have it on the books. But in 2018, the Washington State Supreme Court decided to ban this punishment after seeing evidence of deep racial inequalities. Doctors Katherine Beckett and Heather Evans lay out what their research says about the death penalty in Washington, how they got involved in this case, and what it was like defending their work with life and death on the line.

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Mar 14, 2019
Archive Episode 95: Who is Affirmative Action for?

The future of affirmative action is unclear. Harvard has been taken to court for its admissions policies and the case is likely to be the first affirmative action case in front of the new Supreme Court judges. In this archive episode, Professor Natasha Warikoo discusses investigations into school admissions and how focusing on diversity ignores the real reasons for affirmative action.

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Mar 07, 2019
Episode 166: Lawyers, Lawyers, and More Lawyers

In a democracy, government is supposed to represent the people. But Congress doesn’t exactly look like your average American. In fact, lawyers make up a huge number of our federal representatives, but only a small percentage of the American population. Professor Adam Bonica unravels why we have so many lawyers in office, what fundraising has to do with it, and what it all means for how our government functions.

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Feb 28, 2019
Episode 165: Civil Rights in Our Schools

Every February students across the country learn about Black History Month, including the civil rights movement. But educating children on the civil rights movement takes on a special role when you’re located in Birmingham, Alabama. Professor Tondra Loder-Jackson dives into the history of civil rights activism in Birmingham’s schools and what teachers today should know as they tackle this important topic in their classrooms.

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Feb 21, 2019
Episode 164: Treating Pain, Treating Addiction

Americans are more likely to die of an opioid overdose than of a car accident. But even as national attention has shed light on this crisis, opioid addiction remains a difficult problem to solve. Professor Peggy Compton lays out how doctors can help patients suffering from chronic pain without turning to opioids, what treatments actually work for people who do develop an opioid addiction, and how to encourage wider use of these evidence-based practices.

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Feb 15, 2019
Episode 163: Biased Towards Democracy

America’s democracy is in uncharted waters. From attacks on the media to challenges against free and fair elections and the longest government shutdown in US history, the future of American democracy looks increasingly unclear. Recorded at the SSN National Leadership Convening, Washington Post Columnist EJ Dionne talks through the media’s responsibility in these tense times and one big policy idea to help right the ship.

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Feb 07, 2019
Archive Episode 61: Buying More Time

The consequences of climate change are looking increasingly dangerous and imminent, yet little has been done to address this crisis. Professor Garth Heutel lays out a potentially cost-effective way to reduce global temperatures and stave off global warming. But solar geoengineering is not a silver bullet. While the benefits are clear, the costs are much more uncertain.

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Jan 31, 2019
Episode 162: The Hidden Listings

Real estate agents help us navigate the housing market, get the best prices, and find the perfect house to call a home. But they also help decide who gets to live where, and not everyone gets the same options. Professor Elizabeth Korver-Glenn shares her research on the hidden ways real estate agents keep neighborhoods segregated, and what can be done to change their ways.

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Jan 17, 2019
Episode 161: Guns in America, part 2

In the last few years, the United States has seen one horrific mass shooting after another. But despite public outcry and support for gun control legislation, little has changed. In this second episode with Professor Robert Spitzer, he lays out what policies have been implemented federally and in the states and what policies could actually work to reduce gun violence.

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Jan 10, 2019
Episode 160: Guns in America, part 1

In 2018, the debate about gun rights and gun control was front and center after a tragic school shooting in Florida. But this debate has been raging for a long time in the U.S. In this first part of our interview with Professor Robert Spitzer, he lays out the history of the gun rights and gun control movements and what might change in the coming years.

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Jan 03, 2019
Episode 64 Archive: Restaurant Loophole

Chinese restaurants have become a staple in America, and they’re especially popular during the holidays. In this archive episode, Professor Heather Lee tells the story of how a loophole in the Chinese Exclusion Act led to the Chinese restaurant boom in America. Drawing parallels to today, she explains the unintended impacts of the law on the U.S. and China.

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Dec 20, 2018
Episode 159: The Diaper Dilemma

Babies need diapers. But for 1 in 3 mothers, diapers are just too expensive to always have on hand. And that can leave children and families in a precarious situation. Professor Jennifer Randles lays out the diaper dilemma, how it affects America’s families, and what policies can be put in place to help solve the problem.

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Dec 13, 2018
Episode 158: Home is Where the Health is

Access to good housing is key to better health, both now and in the future. So what happens when the youngest and oldest members of our society don’t get the housing support they need? First, Professor Andrew Fenelon breaks down how affordable housing can change the lives of children. Next, Professor Jennifer Ailshire outlines the problems unique to the homeless elderly and what needs to change to help this growing population.

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Dec 06, 2018
Episode 157: Sickened by Systems

Americans of color consistently have worse health outcomes than their white peers. So what’s behind this trend? First, Professor Margaret Hicken lays out how black Americans must often prepare themselves in the face of racism and what effects this has on their bodies. Next, Professor Abigail Sewell lays out how police use of force can impact not only the health of individuals, but of entire communities.

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Nov 29, 2018
Archive Episode 54: Racing to the Bottom

After over a year of competition between hundreds of cities and municipalities, Amazon has finally announced the location, or two locations, for its HQ2. But in this archive episode, Professor Nathan Jensen explains how cities and states often lose more than they gain when politicians use tax incentives to bring businesses to town.

Nov 22, 2018
Episode 156: A Seat at the Table

On November 6th a historic number of women and women of color were elected to Congress. And that means important changes could be coming to Capitol Hill. Professor Kelly Dittmar dives into the role of congresswomen in Washington DC, how women in the capitol view themselves, and what the election of more women to office means for our country’s future.

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Nov 15, 2018
Episode 155: The Midterms and Beyond

On Tuesday, voters across the country went to the polls in one of the most watched midterm elections in decades. And now the results are in. So what does it all mean? Scholars Didi Kuo and Gabriel Sanchez break down some of the biggest trends from the 2018 midterms, like the Latino vote, what they say about our two political parties, and what we can expect for the future.

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Nov 08, 2018
Episode 154: The Women Turned Away

Across the country, states are making abortion less and less accessible. And that means there are many people who seek an abortion but are denied one. So what does that mean for a woman’s health and well being? And what impacts does this have on her children? Professor Diana Greene Foster discusses the groundbreaking Turnaway Study she led to answer these questions.

Nov 01, 2018
Episode 153: Good Economy, Better Jobs

Unemployment is very low and Americans report having strong confidence in the economy. But not everyone is benefitting equally. Professor Harry Holzer digs into why many Americans without a college degree still struggle to find jobs, especially ones that pay well, and what the government can do to help.

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Oct 25, 2018
Episode 152: Who Gets a Green Card?

When the US decides whether or not to grant an immigrant a green card, they look at many factors. That includes if they heavily rely on certain government programs to get by. But proposed changes at the federal level means this whole system is about to change. Professor Tiffany Joseph explains these changes and what they mean for immigrants in America.

Oct 18, 2018
Episode 151: Students at the Polls

College campuses are full of conversations about politics and policy. But many of these college students don’t turn out when it actually matters, on Election Day. Nancy Thomas explores what gets students to vote and how college administrators, faculty members, and students can improve voting rates on their campuses.

Oct 11, 2018
Episode 150: Giving the Vote Back

Casting a ballot seems as American as apple pie. But in Florida, one in ten people have had their voting rights taken away because of a criminal conviction. Professor Ciara Torres-Spelliscy dives into the history of Florida’s voting system, how ex-felons get their rights back, and what Florida voters can do to help.

Oct 04, 2018
Episode 149: Beyond Legal Marijuana

Thirty states have laws legalizing marijuana in some form, and come November four more states may join their ranks through ballot initiatives. But these new laws often do little to help people who have past marijuana convictions. Professor Douglas Berman describes this disconnect and what states and the federal government can do to address it.

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Sep 27, 2018
Episode 148: California Greenin’

In face of ongoing threats to its environment, California has taken big steps to protect its nature and wildlife. Professor David Vogel lays out California’s history as an environmental leader, how it plans to continue its green streak, and what other states - and the federal government - can learn from California’s policy innovation.

Sep 20, 2018
Episode 147: In Government We Distrust

The government fights forest fires, protects us from foreign invasion, helps people go to college, and so much more. But Americans’ opinions of the government are increasingly negative. Professor Suzanne Mettler dives into why people don’t believe the government benefits them, even when it does, and how to bridge this disconnect between the government and the American people.

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Sep 13, 2018
Episode 146: Different Schools, Same Tests

It’s back to school season and for many children, teachers, and parents across the country school looks very similar. That’s because in 2009, the Common Core was introduced, standardizing what K-12 students should know, and be tested on. Professor Nicholas Tampio describes what that means for public education and imagines a different way forward for America’s schools.

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Sep 06, 2018
Episode 145: Suicide and Black America

Suicide is the second leading cause of death for young people in America. And black youth in particular face increasing suicide rates and challenges in accessing mental health services. Scholar and advocate Kimya Dennis dives into the background behind these suicide statistics, what prevents black youth from getting help, and how mental health providers can address this disconnect.

If you or a loved one are experiencing a mental health crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255) any time of day.

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Aug 30, 2018
Episode 144: Paid to Care

An unexpected surgery can cost a worker thousands in medical bills. And in states without paid family and medical leave, they also have to go without a paycheck while recovering. Professors Randy Albelda and Alan Clayton-Matthews explain why paid family and medical leave is important to small businesses, workers, and their families, and how Massachusetts tackled this policy problem with help from their research.

Aug 23, 2018
Episode 143: Trusting the Science

Knowledge is power. Or at least that’s how the saying goes — but when it comes to climate change and its causes, that knowledge hasn’t translated into action. Postdoctoral Fellow Matthew Motta discusses why climate research is often disregarded, where Americans’ suspicion of scientists comes from, and how our interest in science affects our trust in scientists.

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Aug 16, 2018
Episode 142: Nowhere to Live

Having a warm and comfortable home is important for health and well-being. But with rising rent prices and growing inequality, it can be tough – if not impossible – to find a place to live. Professors Rosie Tighe and Megan Hatch explain why the U.S. has such a shortage of affordable housing, how government programs help, and why they often fall short.

Aug 09, 2018
Episode 141: Muslims in America

Since 9/11, fears about extremism have shaped the public’s view of Islam. And American policies often reflect these fears, zeroing in on Muslims and Muslim-Americans in the name of national security. Professor Rachel Gillum explores whether these policies work, why we use them, and how they impact Muslims in America.

Aug 02, 2018
Episode 140: A Bank for Everyone

In April 2018, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand introduced legislation to make basic banking services, like loans and check cashing, available at every branch of the United States Postal Service. Professor Mehrsa Baradaran explains the history of that idea, why postal banking is needed now, and how it can help reduce America’s growing inequality.

Jul 26, 2018
Episode 139: Investing in Families

A college degree can make a huge difference for parents and their kids. But if you’ve got an eight-year-old to support and a low-paying job, it’s next to impossible to pay for both tuition and childcare. For residents of Maine, a new law will help. Working with Joby Thoyalil of Maine Equal Justice Partners, Professors Luisa DePrez and Lisa Dodson used their research on the benefits of a college education for low-income women to help advance a bill called LIFT 2.0.

Jul 19, 2018
Episode 138: Black Men’s Work

Lawyers, doctors, engineers, and bankers are among America’s most respected professionals, and most are middle-aged white men. So what are the experiences of black men who join their ranks? Adia Harvey Wingfield describes how black men in high-powered professions navigate race and gender in the workplace, and what their experiences say about our changing economy.

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Jul 12, 2018
Episode 137: Big Data

Since the Cambridge Analytica scandal broke, Americans have been talking about data: what online information is saved, what we should do with it, and who gets to decide. But these conversations often miss an important piece — government data. Professor Matthew Weber lays out what is currently happening with data collection and why we should actually save more information than we currently do.

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  • Read about the impossibility of comprehensive digital archives in the Atlantic
  • Check out efforts to preserve federal agency data, featured in Forbes
Jul 05, 2018
Episode 136: (Paper)Work Requirements

Everyone needs healthcare. But Americans can’t agree on how to fix our troubled healthcare system. Now, the Trump Administration and a number of states are pushing one idea — require people on Medicaid to work. Professor Philip Rocco explains what’s behind these new requirements, what they would mean for people on Medicaid, and why they should really be called paperwork requirements.

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Jun 28, 2018
(Special) Episode 135: Zero Tolerance

The Trump Administration’s zero tolerance policy for migrants produced widespread outrage. Specific policies are in flux, so we asked researchers for the important context to understand what’s happening. For this special episode, professors Heide Castañeda and Nara Milanich describe who these migrants are, how zero tolerance policies impact them and their health, and what – if any – historical precedents exist for these policies.

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Jun 22, 2018
Episode 134: How Democracies Die

Democracy is under threat. From Venezuela to Turkey, from Hungary to the Philippines, powerful leaders are rewriting their countries norms and laws to secure power at the expense of their citizens. Professor Steven Levitsky tells us how democracies die – and what the outlook is for America.

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Jun 21, 2018
Episode 133: Black Teachers Wanted

America is getting more diverse, and that means more children of color are students in our schools. But teachers are still overwhelmingly white, so many of these students rarely see teachers who look like them. Professor Michèle Foster tells the little-known story of why America lost many of its black teachers, what that means for students, and what can be done to change things.

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Jun 14, 2018
Episode 132: Get Organized

There are thousands of civic organizations in America, from big-time lobbying groups to local grassroots organizations, and they all want your time and support. But some organizations are more effective at creating change than others. Professor Ziad Munson explains what kinds of organizations have been most successful in shaping American public life – and why.

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Jun 06, 2018
Episode 131: Another Blow to Unions?

Unions used to be a major political force in America. But over the last few decades they have steadily declined, and now a Supreme Court case might deal another severe blow to their strength. Professor Jake Rosenfeld explains what the Supreme Court is deciding on and what it means for the future of organized labor in America.

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May 30, 2018
Episode 130: Informing Women’s Choices

In 1973, the Supreme Court made access to abortions a legal right. Since then, crisis pregnancy centers have popped up across the country to dissuade women from getting abortions. Professor Kimberly Kelly explains the history and organization behind these centers and how their current case before the Supreme Court could shape reproductive rights in America.

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May 23, 2018
Episode 129: Information vs. Opioids

The opioid epidemic is ravaging communities across America and there’s no silver bullet to fix it. But communicating to people about risks and steps to prevent addiction is a start. Professor Itzhak Yanovitzky describes how New Jersey uses information to help fight the opioid epidemic and how his research partnership with the state helps to improve these efforts.

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May 16, 2018
Episode 128: The Women Rebooting Democracy

Following the 2016 election, suburban well-educated women got together in PTA groups, libraries, and coffee shops to organize—some for the first time. Professor Lara Putnam shares insights on how these groups work, what their goals are, and why they have been so effective at mobilizing voters.

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May 09, 2018
Episode 127: Surviving Poverty

America—the world’s wealthiest country—is home to over 40 million people living under the poverty line. And for many, there is no safety net to fall back on. Professor Joan Maya Mazelis explains how we got here and highlights one innovative organization, run by and for poor people, that builds community among the poor and provides help when the safety net is missing.

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May 02, 2018
Episode 126: Checking the President

The Founding Fathers made sure to put checks in place that would prevent a president from becoming a king. But Professor Larry Jacobs explains that when it comes to foreign policy, the president goes largely unchecked. Next, Professor Frances Lee outlines the ways Congress has rebuked presidential power, even under the current administration. And finally, Professor Keith Whittington takes us to the courts, which have been skeptical of many of President Trump’s executive orders.

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Apr 25, 2018
Episode 125: Losing the Party

US politics is built around two parties, but recently there have been growing rifts between and within them. First, Professor Eliot Cohen explains why some Republicans, like himself, left the party after the 2016 election. Next, Professor Didi Kuo highlights the importance of political parties for democracy and why many voters feel disconnected from them.

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Apr 18, 2018
Episode 124: Outrage in the Media

From Sean Hannity to Rachel Maddow, TV and radio hosts are taking stronger ideological stances, telling audiences what is right and wrong in America. Professor Sarah Sobieraj examines this “outrage industry” and what it means for the millions who tune in. Later, she dives into new research on the attacks women face in online spaces.

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Apr 11, 2018
Episode 123: Closing the Gender Gap

At only 20 percent, the number of US Congressional seats held by women ranks 101st in the world. Saskia Brechenmacher explains why this underrepresentation is bad for our democracy and looks at examples abroad to see how we might close the gap.

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Apr 04, 2018
Episode 122: Show Me Your Papers

Immigration enforcement measures used to be concentrated on America’s borders. But as Professor Yalidy Matos outlines, federal agencies are increasingly partnering with local law enforcement to carry out deportations, leaving immigrant communities uncertain about their futures.

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Mar 28, 2018
Episode 121: The American DREAM

For undocumented youth, the chance to receive legal status would be a life changer. Professor Amy Hsin shows how legalization could encourage young immigrants to get a college degree and even reduce the national deficit, all without threatening the wages of U.S. born workers.

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Mar 21, 2018
Episode 120: Growing Up Undocumented

Family, education, and work—for undocumented people in the U.S., these areas of life are filled with uncertainty. As Professor Roberto Gonzales explains, growing up undocumented can throw your future into limbo.

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Mar 14, 2018
Episode 119: Democracy in Decline

It’s no secret. Our political future is uncertain and unpredictable. Author and scholar Yascha Mounk outlines how economic inequality, a backlash against increasing diversity, and the rise of social media all threaten democracies across the globe—and what we can do to save them.

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Mar 07, 2018
Episode 118: Power to the Pharmacy?

Birth control has helped many avoid unwanted pregnancies, but getting access to it can be a challenge. Professor Anu Manchikanti Gómez dives deep into a law that tried to change this by giving pharmacists the power to prescribe birth control. The only problem, is anyone using it?

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Feb 28, 2018
Episode 117: The Citizen Expert

Ballot questions let voters decide on big issues. But with ad campaigns and special interests, reliable information can be hard to find. Professor John Gastil outlines an innovative solution—give a small group of citizens all of the information they need to make up their minds and share their findings with fellow voters.

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Feb 21, 2018
Episode 116: Myth of Millionaire Tax Flight

Raising taxes on the rich encourages job creators to skip town. Or so say some economists and policymakers. This week, Professor Cristobal Young dispels the myth of millionaires leaving high tax states and shows the many ways the wealthy are invested in the places they live.

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Feb 14, 2018
Episode 115: Discounted Care

Prescription drugs are expensive. But for years, a little-known program has given some hospitals discounts to help them provide care for low-income and uninsured patients. Professor Sayeh Nikpay explains why this program is now under fire and what this means for America’s safety net.

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Feb 07, 2018
Episode 114: Moonshots

We all want innovative policies that propel our nation forward. But getting things done in DC isn’t always easy. This week, Thomas Kalil joins us to share some of the practical lessons he learned during his years working in the White House—have a concrete plan of action, make it easy, and don’t worry about who gets the credit.

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Jan 31, 2018
Episode 113: Ballot Blocked

In 1965, the passage of the Voting Rights Act helped secure equal access to the ballot, and it has enjoyed bipartisan support ever since. Right? Professor Rhodes shows how, over the years, politicians who publicly supported this law worked behind the scenes to dismantle it.

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Jan 24, 2018
Episode 112: A Campaign Pitch

The 2018 midterms are rapidly approaching and voters want to believe they’re going to make rational choices at the polls. But as Professor Casey Klofstad explains, there is an unexpected factor influencing voter behavior and affecting our elections—the tone of a candidate’s voice.

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Jan 17, 2018
Episode 111: Who Pays for Justice?

A $50 citation, $100 in court costs—for many Americans navigating the criminal justice system, fines and fees like these add up quickly. Professor Alexes Harris reveals why local governments charge convicts to pay for the justice system and how this disproportionately burdens marginalized people and communities.

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Jan 10, 2018
Episode 110: Going Public

Professors all across the country have expertise that can improve public policy, but how can they get their research into the hands that matter? Professor Lee Badgett provides the tips and tools scholars need to make these connections in the new year and tells the stories of a few successful public professors.

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Dec 27, 2017
Episode 109: Can Governments Earn Our Trust?

Trust in our governments is low, and seems to only be getting worse. Professor Donald Kettl explains why widespread distrust plagues governments around the world, what this means for democracy, and how, if at all, governments can earn back our trust.

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Dec 20, 2017
Episode 45 Archive: Legislating in the Dark

Republicans and Democrats alike have complained about the speed with which the recent tax bills are going through Congress. In light of this, we’re bringing you an archive episode with Professor James Curry who explains that lacking expertise, staff, and time, most members of Congress rarely get to analyze or contribute to the bills on which they vote.

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Dec 13, 2017
Episode 108 Bonus: Improving Policies on Campus Sexual Assault

Nicole Bedera and Miriam Gleckman-Krut stay post-interview to discuss their ideas for changing university policies on campus sexual assault.

Dec 06, 2017
Episode 108: The Politics of Campus Sexual Assault

Campus sexual assault is a problem across the country, but colleges differ widely in how they respond to these cases. PhD candidates Nicole Bedera and Miriam Gleckman-Krut lay out why national standards are changing under the Trump administration and how they are shifting protections and resources to the accused.

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Dec 06, 2017
Episode 107: Guest Show - The Measure of Everyday Life

This week we are showcasing an episode from The Measure of Everyday Life, a podcast hosted by SSN member Brian Southwell. He spoke with Professor Deondra Rose about the policy moves that helped opened doors for women in higher education.

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Nov 28, 2017
Episode 21 Archive: Big Money, Big Power

Congress is on the verge of passing major tax reform that many say is tilted in favor of the wealthy. This week we’re looking back at an episode with Professor Rick Hasen to explore why the wealthy often enjoy such outsized benefits and power in American politics - and how changing the Supreme Court is the best way to fix that.

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Nov 22, 2017
Episode 106: Investing in Our Neighborhoods

The neighborhoods we live in help shape our mental and physical health. Professor Antwan Jones explains what happens when some neighborhoods benefit from private and public investments while others are left behind, and what can be done to change this.

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Nov 15, 2017
Episode 105: The Captured Economy

Inequality is on the rise in America, but what’s behind it? Professor Steven Teles and Dr. Brink Lindsey lay out how federal and state policies help the rich get richer, slow economic growth, and promote inequality.

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Nov 08, 2017
Episode 104: Guest Show - Have You Heard

This week we are highlighting an episode from Have You Heard, a podcast co-hosted by SSN member Jack Schneider and journalist Jennifer Berkshire. They spoke with Sally Nuamah about the long-term effects of school closures on communities, like declining voter turnout.

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Oct 31, 2017
Episode 28 Archive: Americans Like Taxes

As Republicans move forward with their tax overhaul, this week’s episode revisits Vanessa Williamson’s interview on the misconception that Americans hate taxes. She outlines how anti-tax policies became popular despite the fact that most Americans support increasing taxes for services they care about.  

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Oct 24, 2017
Episode 103: The Political Rumor Mill

Political rumors are spreading across the country and the widening divide between parties is only making them more potent. Professor Adam Berinsky discusses where these rumors come from and what, if anything, can be done to combat them.

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Oct 17, 2017
Episode 102: Live Show Act III

For the final act of the live show, Professors Erin O’Brien and Peter Ubertaccio tackle Massachusetts politics. They dig into the character of the Democratic and Republican parties in the state, and show how the state isn’t as deep blue as many think.

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Oct 03, 2017
Episode 101: Live Show Act II

For the second act of the live show, Professors Deondra Rose and Gunther Peck dive deep into North Carolina’s contentious politics, the impacts of the state’s voting laws and redistricting efforts, and what these deep divides say about national politics.

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Sep 26, 2017
Episode 100: Live Show Act I

In the first of three acts for the 100th episode live show, Professors Theda Skocpol and René Flores discuss the role of national and local organizations on the 2016 election outcome, the Trump presidency so far, and what comes next.

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Sep 19, 2017
Episode 99: Funding Foster Care

Foster parents and social workers help children in difficult situations, but too often they lack the resources they need. Professor Antonio Garcia describes how this impacts foster children and what a focus on prevention could look like.

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Sep 12, 2017
Episode 98: The Cost of College

High costs are making college unaffordable, or even impossible, for many Americans. Professor Nicholas Hillman outlines why student loan debt has become such a major issue. Professor Laura Perna highlights a potential solution -- free tuition programs.

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Sep 05, 2017
Episode 97: Who Has the Right to Vote?

Voting is a pillar of American democracy, but for many, the vote has been out of reach. Professor Doug Spencer explains the past and present of the right to vote in America, and how debates about voter fraud are missing the mark.

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Aug 29, 2017
Episode 96: Informing Policy

How do policymakers sort through all the information they get? Jenni Owen discusses how she and the office of North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper engage with research, and offers do’s and don’ts for researchers and advocates who want to inform policy.

Aug 23, 2017
Episode 95: Who is Affirmative Action For?

Colleges highlight how affirmative action increases diversity on campus. Professor Natasha Warikoo discusses new investigations into school admissions and how focusing on diversity ignores the real reasons for affirmative action.

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Aug 15, 2017
Announcing: No Jargon live show!

Come to the first-ever LIVE taping of the Scholars Strategy Network’s podcast, No Jargon.

To celebrate No Jargon’s 100th episode, Avi will be joined by researchers from across the country to talk about America’s divided politics, how we got here, and what comes next. Buy tickets at

In three acts, Avi and his guests will explore our nation’s politics today, and then zoom in on battleground North Carolina and bright blue Massachusetts. Audience members will have the chance to ask the researchers their own questions.

Guests for the show include: Sandy Darity, René Flores, Erin O’Brien, Gunther Peck, Theda Skocpol, and Peter Ubertaccio.

Aug 11, 2017
Episode 94: Vaccination Education

Fueled by misinformation, some parents are wary of vaccinating their kids. But this seemingly personal choice can cause disease outbreaks. Dr. Matthew Woodruff explains the science behind vaccines and how we can better educate people on their value.

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Aug 08, 2017
Episode 93: Melting Pot, Boiling Pot

A decade ago, the immigration debate divided Hazleton, PA when the mayor blamed a wave of immigrants for crimes and passed a harsh bill against them. Professor René Flores lays out what happened and how laws like this can actually lead to more violence.

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Aug 01, 2017
Episode 92: A Seat at the Table

Residents are experts on their neighborhoods, but their voices often go unheard in local decision making. Professor Tia Gaynor discusses initiatives that bridge the gap between local governments and citizens and explains how some have fallen short.

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Jul 26, 2017
Episode 91: Heat or Eat

Millions of Americans struggle to pay their utility bills, and some families are even forced to choose between groceries or energy bills. Professor Tony Reames lays out energy’s unequal burden on low-income Americans and suggests ways to move forward.

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Jul 18, 2017
Episode 90: The Past and Future of the Constitution

Is the U.S. Constitution about to change? Professor David Marcus lays out why some states are calling for a constitutional convention to introduce amendments. And Professor David Robertson delves into the history behind this founding document.

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Jul 12, 2017
Episode 89: Charismatic Campaigning

The Sanders and Trump presidential campaigns both capitalized on emotional speeches and rallies. But politics weren’t always this way. Professor Jeremy Young examines the history of how charisma and emotional speaking became essential in elections.


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Jun 27, 2017
Episode 88: How Discrimination Hurts

Many transgender Americans report being denied a job because of their identity, but that’s just one result of the discrimination they face. Professors Eric Grollman and Lisa Miller explain how unfair treatment also harms their mental and physical health.

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Jun 21, 2017
Episode 87: NAFTA Winners and Losers

Since the North American Free Trade Agreement, American processed foods have flooded the Mexican food market -- with dramatic effects on people’s health. Professor Alyshia Gálvez explains how Mexico became a dumping ground for America’s corn.


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Jun 13, 2017
Episode 86: Unequal Protection from Pollution

As Congress and the Trump Administration roll back environmental protections, some communities are especially harmed. But Professor David Konisky explains that unequal protection is nothing new, and lays out a history of failed promises by the government.


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Jun 06, 2017
Episode 85: Iran Deal or No Deal?

What do Iran’s elections and Trump’s international trip mean for the nuclear deal and US-Iran relations? Professor Kevan Harris discusses the history behind the latest news and paints a different picture of Iranian politics than usually seen in America.


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May 30, 2017
Episode 84: Pregnancy in Prison

Quality of healthcare for women in jail varies widely, but it is the only place in the U.S. where they have a legal right to it. Professor Carolyn Sufrin outlines the policies that led to the contradictory system and suggests ways to move forward.


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May 23, 2017
Episode 83: 21st Century Safety Net

Social security, health insurance, and unemployment insurance help Americans through life’s ups and downs. Benjamin Veghte explains the benefits and challenges to these programs and offers ways they can adapt to changing jobs and family structures.


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May 16, 2017
Episode 82: Hidden Tax Benefits

Food stamps, Social Security, and Medicaid are not the only, or even the largest, social welfare programs in America. Professor Suzanne Mettler reveals how hidden benefits in the tax code promote inequality and how to make them more visible.


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May 09, 2017
Episode 81: On Tyranny

In the 1900s, dictators rose to power across Europe as democracies fell to fascists and communists. History Professor Timothy Snyder argues that democracy today is far from invincible, and translates lessons from the 20th century to guide Americans now.


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May 02, 2017
Episode 80: Unequal Play to Unwanted Contact

Title IX protects against sexual assault and gender discrimination at universities. Celene Reynolds discusses the state of Title IX today, and how a law meant for employment discrimination landed at the center of a movement against campus sexual assault.


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Apr 25, 2017
Episode 79: Is the Death Penalty Dying?

Changing public opinion and high costs have death sentences in decline in America. Professor Frank Baumgartner explains that when they do happen, race, mental illness, and even location predict who is sentenced and executed — not just the crime.


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  • Check out his research on state’s death penalty system discussed in the Louisiana Weekly.
  • See the latest from the death penalty debate in the New York Times’ article on the Arkansas executions.


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Apr 19, 2017
Episode 41 Archive: White-Collar Government

Trump’s cabinet is the wealthiest in U.S. history. In light of this news, this episode revisits Professor Nicholas Carnes' interview on the effects of a government run by the rich, for the rich, and ways to get working class Americans a seat at the table.

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Apr 11, 2017
Episode 78: Can’t Get Ahead

Poverty can persist in the same communities for generations, especially communities of color. Professor Darrick Hamilton walks through the policies that prevent people from moving up in the economy and proposes solutions from jobs to schooling to banking.


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Apr 05, 2017
Episode 77: Urban Renewal 2.0

Development efforts in American cities often push out long-term residents and communities of color. Zeroing in on Baltimore, Professor Brandi Blessett breaks down the intentional and unintentional impacts of urban policy decisions.


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  • Read more of her work on the impact of public administration on communities of color in her two-page brief.
  • Check out Arnold Hirsch’s book on race and housing in Chicago, Making the Second Ghetto.


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Mar 28, 2017
Episode 76: American Job Guarantee

Could we fight unemployment by providing government jobs in construction, child care, and other needed public projects? Professor William Darity explains how a Federal Job Guarantee could work and how similar programs have been effective in the past.


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Mar 21, 2017
Episode 75: Buy the Book

As charter school debates play out at the local level, out-of-state donors are contributing millions of dollars to school board campaigns in cities like Los Angeles and Denver. Professor Sarah Reckhow breaks down who donates and what that money does.


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Mar 14, 2017
Episode 74: Is Our Food Safe?

Rollbacks on federal regulations will put American’s food at risk. Professor Adam Sheingate explains the risks to consumers and the prospects for food safety in the coming years. He stresses that trust in government is key during food safety crises.


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Mar 07, 2017
Episode 73: Sanctuary City Limits

As the federal government ramps up deportation efforts, myths about sanctuary cities are widespread. Professor Tom Wong shows how local sanctuary policies lead to safer and economically stronger communities and explains what they can and cannot do.


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Feb 28, 2017
Episode 72: Power in Politics

The outsized influence of money is a problem in U.S. politics. Sean McElwee and Professor Tabatha Abu El-Haj describe how donors skew policy and how getting more people to vote could counter big money in politics where repealing Citizens United cannot.


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Feb 23, 2017
Episode 71: Violence in Resistance

Protests that turn violent have been a constant throughout American history. Professor Ashley Howard explains their origins, and how new laws, policing methods, and social media have changed the way people demonstrate.


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Feb 14, 2017
Episode 70: The Future of Family Planning

Republican majorities in the federal government and in most states are putting protections for abortion, parenting, and birth control rights at risk. Professor Monica McLemore details what the future may hold for reproductive health, rights, and justice.


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Feb 07, 2017
Episode 69: Repeal and Replace?

Trump and Republican leaders have promised to repeal Obamacare, leaving millions without health insurance. Professor Colleen Grogan breaks down the benefits of the Affordable Care Act, its shortcomings, and key parts of proposed alternatives.

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Feb 01, 2017
Episode 68: Bull in a China Shop

Tensions with China are high, North Korea is testing nuclear warheads, and the Philippines is distancing itself. Professor Oriana Skylar Mastro explores the complicated web of U.S. trade and military relations in Asia and highlights potential challenges.

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Jan 24, 2017
Episode 67: Defending Democracy

Americans across the political spectrum are questioning the integrity of U.S. elections and democracy. Professor Amel Ahmed walks through threats that can erode democracies and encourages protecting institutions, even the controversial Electoral College.

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Jan 17, 2017
Episode 66: Supreme Inequality

The Supreme Court is helps shape civil rights in the United States, but it is less recognized for its role in intensifying economic inequality. Professor Stephen Gottlieb details cases in the high court that have promoted these inequalities.

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Jan 10, 2017
Episode 65: Timing is Everything

A voting rule no one is talking about could change the face of elections across the country. Professor Zoltan Hajnal explains how combining national, state, and local election days would boost turnout and reduce disparities in voting and representation.

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Jan 03, 2017
Episode 64: Restaurant Loophole

Professor Heather Lee tells the story of how a loophole in the Chinese Exclusion Act led to the Chinese restaurant boom in America. Drawing parallels to today, she explains the unintended impacts of the law on the U.S. and China.

Dec 20, 2016
Episode 63: The Latino Vote

Professor Gabriel Sanchez breaks down the Latino vote in the 2016 election and unpacks the controversy and misinterpretation of exit poll data on Latinos. He discusses where these voters stand on immigration, the economy, and healthcare.

Dec 13, 2016
Episode 62: You’re Fired

Tech error fixed: Professor Peter Shane describes the court case that could give the president new authority to fire any federal official, for any reason. He explains the history of the theory behind the court’s ruling and arguments for and against it.

Dec 09, 2016
Episode 61: Buying More Time

Professor Garth Heutel lays out a potentially cost-effective way to reduce global temperatures to stave off global warming. But solar geoengineering is not a silver bullet. While the benefits are clear, the costs are much more uncertain.

Nov 29, 2016
Episode 60: Thinking Outside the Kitchen

Professor Sarah Bowen discusses her research on why home-cooking is not all it's cracked up to be. She gives a more realistic account of the idealized family dinner, and how money, time, and gender norms impact how and when families eat.

Nov 23, 2016
Episode 59: Race and Reaction

Professor Chris S. Parker details why, given America’s racial history, the election of Donald Trump is not a surprise. Reactionary parties have always appealed to voters beyond just the rural, working class, and Trump supporters are no exception.

Nov 22, 2016
Episode 58: Politics of Resentment

Professor Kathy Cramer shares lessons from her conversations with rural communities in Wisconsin. Rural voters often feel forgotten, misunderstood, and disrespected, which directly affects their sense of politics and whom they elect to office.

Nov 15, 2016
Episode 57: Election Autopsy

Professor Theda Skocpol discusses the outcome of the 2016 presidential election and what to expect from a Trump presidency. Analyzing the factors that swayed voters, she offers insight on what the Democrats need to do moving forward.

Nov 11, 2016
Episode 56: Who Votes and Why

Professor Jan Leighley walks through the factors that influence voter behavior from age to party to voting laws. Elected officials and campaigns are responsive to groups with high turnout and encourage them to vote. The opposite is also true.

Nov 01, 2016
Episode 55: Bernie or Bust?

Professor Paul Lichterman analyzes strategies used by activists in social movements and explains how Sanders supporters decide to interact with Clinton in the general election. He offers a new way to think about Trump’s appeal to the religious right.

Oct 25, 2016
Episode 54: Racing to the Bottom

Professor Nathan Jensen explains how cities and states often lose more than they gain when politicians use tax incentives to bring businesses to town.

Oct 18, 2016
Episode 53: Polls, Polls, Polls

Professor Amy Fried explains the use and abuse of public opinion research and tells ​how polling methods have changed over the past 100 years.

Oct 12, 2016
Episode 52: Paying the Price

Professor Sara Goldrick-Rab discusses the impact of the high cost of college on students at public and community colleges, including hunger, homelessness, and debt without getting a degree. She explains root of the problem and offers concrete solutions.

Oct 04, 2016
Episode 51: What Does Presidential Look Like?

Professor Kelly Dittmar discusses how gender impacts attitudes towards candidates and informs voters’ expectations. Informed by the Presidential Gender Watch 2016 project, Dittmar flags what to look and listen for in the first presidential debate.

Sep 26, 2016
Episode 50: Kindergarten Math

This special episode tells the story of a professor who helped to inform local policy: Tamara Kay corrected misleading statistics about a labor law in New Mexico. For context, Professor Raymond Hogler provides the history and impact of right-to-work laws.

Sep 20, 2016
No Jargon is on break

No Jargon is on break this week. It’s the beginning of the semester and professors and SSN chapters are starting up for the new year. If you need your scholarly fix, read a brief on affirmative action in colleges at

Sep 13, 2016
Episode 49: Science of Abortion Law

Professor Ushma Upadhyay examined an abortion pill law in Ohio that required health care providers to use outdated FDA rules. Said to protect women’s health, the law instead hurt women’s health and increased the cost and time spent for the procedure.

Sep 06, 2016
Episode 48: Rio, Ryan Lochte, and Resistance

Professor Jules Boykoff places Rio 2016 in historical context from the Olympics’ elitist beginnings to their continued strain on host cities. As rising costs burden the public without delivering lasting benefits, fewer cities are "game for the Games."

Aug 30, 2016
Episode 47: A Path for Police Reform

Professor Tracey Meares discusses why building community trust must be at the foundation of police reform. Departments can strengthen legitimacy by looking beyond the goal of reducing crime to focus on citizen engagement and addressing past injustices.

Aug 23, 2016
Episode 46: Working Yourself to Death

Professor Sarah Horton outlines why so many farmworkers face illness - and even death – on the job. Poor regulation, harsh labor practices, and economic pressures push them to work without shade, water, or breaks and discourage them from speaking up.

Aug 16, 2016
Episode 45: Legislating in the Dark

Professor James Curry explains how limited resources have enabled party leaders to write and negotiate most laws in Congress. Lacking expertise, staff, and time, rank-and-file members rarely have the chance to contribute to the bills on which they vote.

Aug 09, 2016
Episode 44: Tutoring Through Tech

Professor Carolyn Heinrich lays out how and why technology has a growing presence in America’s classrooms. Digital tools offer some benefits, but their effects on student learning can fall behind in-person instruction and may distract more than they help.

Aug 02, 2016
Episode 43: Seeking Candidates of Color

Professor Paru Shah discusses why electing people of color is hindered by segregated districts, voter bias, and election rules and timing. Drawing on her experience as an elected school board member, Shah explains the hurdles for minority candidates.

Jul 26, 2016
Episode 42: Running Against All Odds

Professor Shauna Shames lays out why running for office often comes with additional costs for women and leads many to stay away from politics. Hillary Clinton has overcome the odds and may inspire others to run, but she is more of an outlier than the norm.

Jul 19, 2016
Episode 41: White-Collar Government

Professor Nicholas Carnes explains the consequences of having mostly white-collar elected officials - a government by the rich, for the rich. Working class Americans and their interests are underrepresented, but Carnes highlights ways to help them run.

Jul 12, 2016
Episode 40: Beyond Pro-Choice

Rocío Garcia describes how social class, race, gender, and citizenship status impact access to reproductive health care. To become more inclusive, the reproductive rights movement must address these factors and move beyond being just “pro-choice”.

Jul 05, 2016
Episode 39: Change from the Inside

David Dagan outlines the GOP’s journey from being “tough on crime” to embracing prison reform. Despite falling crime rates, the party could only change from the inside - with key Republicans leading the way after experiencing prison for themselves.

Jun 28, 2016
Episode 38 Bonus: Jump On The Bandwagon

Professors Blasi, Freeman, and Kruse stay post-interview to discuss why trade unions, business schools, and foundations should get on board with employee ownership and profit sharing programs.

Jun 21, 2016
Episode 38: When Workers Become Owners

Professors Blasi, Freeman, and Kruse explain how sharing the ownership or profits of a company with workers can improve productivity, pay, and work life quality - all while reducing economic inequality.

Jun 21, 2016
Episode 37: Immigration Beyond the Border

Professor Anna Law lays out meaningful and responsible reforms that the next President could use to address immigration. Law encourages the incoming administration to look beyond the undocumented population and learn from history’s failures and successes.

Jun 14, 2016
Episode 36: Giving Away Guilt

Professor Sofya Aptekar explores the gift economy through Freecycle, a network of groups where people can give and receive used items. Aptekar examines how income inequality and consumption patterns impact the organization, people, and the environment.

Jun 07, 2016
Episode 35: The Overlooked Section

Professor Jamila Michener discusses one way the U.S. tries to incorporate low-income and minority individuals into the political system and why the effort has been failing. The core issues are those of partisanship, race, and who implements policies.

May 31, 2016
Episode 34: The Rise of Islamophobia

Professor Saher Selod explains how 9/11 changed the lives of Muslims in America. This small and diverse group faces hostility, discriminatory policies, and Islamophobic rhetoric in the media and now the 2016 election in the name of national security.

May 24, 2016
Episode 33: The 10 Minute Change

Joshua Kalla describes a new door to door canvassing technique, “deep canvassing,” that encourages voters to tell their own stories of discrimination and leads to dramatic, long-lasting decreases in prejudice.

May 17, 2016
Episode 32: Change They Can't Believe In

Professor Christopher Parker shows the role of racial resentment in the rise of the Tea Party and connects it to “the paranoid style” in American politics. Parker points to white fears of America’s changing demographics as a driving force in today’s GOP.

May 11, 2016
Episode 31: Undemocratic and Unaccountable

Professor Lawrence Jacobs reveals how America’s central bank, the Federal Reserve, used the 2008 financial crisis to expand its size and authority. With little accountability, this institution has favored big banks and increased economic inequality.

May 03, 2016
Episode 30: Part 2. What Made America Great, Again?

Professor Jacob Hacker shows how the war on government made America forget the root of its prosperity - a healthy mix of government and business. This was no accident, as a more politicized business community helped shift public discourse and then policy.

Apr 26, 2016
Episode 29: Part 1. What Made America Great

Professor Paul Pierson presents the forgotten history of American prosperity: how public and private sectors worked together for economic growth and social progress. This mixed economy increased life spans, built infrastructure, and spurred innovation.

Apr 19, 2016
Episode 28: Americans Like Taxes

Vanessa Williamson dispels the misconception that Americans hate taxes. In fact, most Americans support taxes and are willing to increase them for services they care about. She outlines how, despite this, anti-tax policies became so popular.

Apr 12, 2016
Episode 6 Archive: Planned Parenthood, Abortion, and Birth Control

In light of recent news about abortion and birth control, this episode revisits Professor Carole Joffe's interview. She discussed the politics of abortion, the economic importance of reproductive choice, and state-level restrictions to abortion access.

Apr 05, 2016
Episode 27: Regulating Inequality

Professor Arthur MacEwan explains how market regulations - from patent laws to healthcare to early childhood education - can address the roots of economic inequality. To help us improve our podcast, please take our short survey at

Mar 29, 2016
Episode 26: Truth and Reconciliation

Professor Joshua Inwood describes how truth and reconciliation processes address legacies of racism, violence, and conflict and move toward community healing. To help us improve our podcast, please take our short survey at

Mar 22, 2016
Episode 25 Bonus: Bad Timing for “Isis Wallet”

Professor Ciara Torres-Spelliscy stays post-interview to tell the story of a small tech and financial services company with a unique branding problem.

Mar 15, 2016
Episode 25: Shooting Your Brand in the Foot

Professor Ciara Torres-Spelliscy outlines the power of public backlash, shareholder pressure, and consumer boycotts to check corporate spending on political causes. Torres-Spelliscy is an Associate Professor of Law at Stetson University College of Law.

Mar 15, 2016
Episode 24: Senate Chamber, Echo Chamber

Professor Dana Fisher shows that policymakers only hear scientific information about climate change that reaffirms their own positions. Fisher is a Professor of Sociology at the University of Maryland.

Mar 08, 2016
Episode 23: The Highest Glass Ceiling

Professor Ellen Fitzpatrick tells the stories of three women who - long before Hillary Clinton - sought to win the U.S. presidency despite overwhelming challenges. Fitzpatrick is a Professor of History at the University of New Hampshire.

Mar 01, 2016
Episode 22: The Case for $15

Professor Robert Pollin gives three reasons why a $15 minimum wage is feasible for the fast food industry and shows how it is better for workers and the economy overall. Pollin is a Professor of Economics at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

Feb 23, 2016
Episode 21: Big Money, Big Power

Professor Rick Hasen explores why a few wealthy Americans have most of the influence in U.S. politics - and how changing the Supreme Court is the best way to fix that. Hasen is a Professor of Law and Political Science at University of California, Irvine.

Feb 16, 2016
Episode 20: Does Your Vote Count?

Professor David Schultz explains that only a tiny sliver of the American population - the voters in just 10 swing states - will truly matter in the November presidential election. Schultz is a Professor of Political Science at Hamline University.

Feb 09, 2016
Episode 19: Changing Neighborhoods for Better or Worse

Jackelyn Hwang discusses gentrification in America - how race and class impact who moves where and when. How can decision-makers encourage investment that protects long-time residents? Hwang is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Princeton University.

Feb 02, 2016
Episode 18: Feminism, A Century Later

Professor Kristin Goss explains how women’s groups have grown, shrunk, and fought against getting pigeonholed in the century since they gained the vote. Goss is an Associate Professor of Public Policy and Political Science at Duke University.

Jan 26, 2016
Episode 17: The Politics of Abortion in America

Professor Deana Rohlinger talks about five decades of American abortion battles and analyzes the successes and failures of groups on both sides. Rohlinger is a Professor of Sociology at Florida State University.a State University.

Jan 19, 2016
Episode 16: Local Agents of Democracy

Professor Colleen Casey describes how community organizations help disenfranchised groups participate in democracy and addresses questions of nonprofit accountability. Casey is an Associate Professor of Public Policy at University of Texas at Arlington.

Jan 12, 2016
Episode 15: Too Many Workers

Daniel Alpert explains how the opening of the global market ​has reduced the bargaining power of workers at home and ​encouraged a global cycle of booms and busts. Alpert is a Fellow at The Century Foundation and a Managing Partner at Westwood Capital.

Jan 05, 2016
Episode 14: Family Values, Family Leave

Marion Johnson discusses the costs and benefits of giving workers paid time off to recover from illness, care for a sick family member, or be with a new baby. Johnson is a Policy Analyst at Think NC First.

Dec 29, 2015
Episode 13: The Misinformation Age

Professor Brian Southwell explains why people tend to believe false information and discusses strategies for correcting the public perception of misinformation. Southwell is a professor of Mass Communication at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Dec 22, 2015
Episode 12: The Price for Parking Your Car(bon)

Professor James Boyce explains how putting a price on carbon would increase the cost of non-renewable energy like oil, coal and gas and help reduce global warming. Boyce is Professor of Economics at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

Dec 15, 2015
Episode 11: Christmas in April

Professor Laura Tach discusses the Earned Income Tax Credit and explains why it is one of the most effective anti-poverty programs in America. Tach is an Assistant Professor of Policy Analysis and Management at Cornell University.

Dec 08, 2015
Episode 10: Immigrant and Refugee Deja Vu

Professor Benjamin Railton recounts the short history of US immigration law and the reaction to a historic situation similar to the Syrian refugee crisis. Railton is an Associate Professor of English and American Studies at Fitchburg State University.

Dec 01, 2015
Episode 9: Welfare for the Wealthy

Professor Christopher Faricy explains how the U.S. federal tax code provides billions in private welfare that disproportionately benefits the rich and increases inequality. Faricy is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Syracuse University. 

Nov 24, 2015
Episode 8: Organizing for Leadership

Professor Hahrie Han discusses how the most effective civic organizations reach out to the public and develop leaders. Han is an Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Nov 24, 2015
Episode 7: Mapping Black America

Professor Marcus Anthony Hunter explores the geography of the Black American experience and gives historical context to Black politics and Black Lives Matter. Hunter is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Nov 17, 2015
Episode 6: Planned Parenthood, Abortion, and Birth Control

Professor Carole Joffe explains the culture and politics behind the Planned Parenthood controversy and the economic importance of reproductive health care. Joffe is a Professor in the Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health, University of California.

Nov 10, 2015
Episode 5: Business at the Ballot Box

Alexander Hertel-Fernandez explores how small business interests influence politics and explains what businesses do to politically mobilize their employees. Hertel-Fernandez is a PhD Candidate in Government and Social Policy at Harvard University. 

Nov 03, 2015
Episode 4: The Student Debt Crisis

Professor Nicholas Hillman discusses the burden of student debt and dispels common misconceptions. Hillman is an Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis, University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Nov 03, 2015
Episode 3: The Tea Party Divided

Professor Heath Brown discusses the Tea Party, explaining how this conservative movement has grown and changed – and how it may shape the 2016 elections. Brown is an Assistant Professor of Public Management at the City University of New York. 

Oct 28, 2015
Episode 2: Jim Crow 2.0

Professor Erin O’Brien illuminates the absence of voter fraud in the United States and details how and why voter fraud legislation is passed across states. O’Brien is an Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Massachusetts Bosto

Oct 28, 2015
Episode 1: The Kochs, Americans For Prosperity, and The Right

Professor Theda Skocpol discusses changes in and around the Republican Party and explains how conservatives are reaching out to new constituencies. Skocpol is a Professor of Government and Sociology at Harvard University.

Oct 28, 2015