Scholars Strategy Network's No Jargon

Scholars Strategy Network's No Jargon
Powerful research, intriguing perspectives - and no jargon.

225: Black Lives Matter, Police, and America’s Democracy
Jun 25 • 34 min
Since the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police, the US 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…
224: Voting in 2020
Jun 18 • 21 min
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. We know that the election cannot be run as originally planned. Professor Amel Ahmed lays out what…
223: The Future of Abortion Care?
Jun 11 • 34 min
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,…
222: Violence in Resistance
Jun 2 • 24 min
In cities and towns across the country, protests have erupted following the police killing of George Floyd. While many of the protests remained peaceful, others turned violent, with buildings being destroyed or looted and clashes breaking out between the…
221: America’s Undocumented Students
May 28 • 30 min
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,…
220: Vaccination Education
May 21 • 27 min
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…
219: The College Hookup
May 14 • 29 min
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…
218: When Disasters Strike
May 7 • 28 min
In any sense of the word, the COVID-19 crisis can be considered a disaster. 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…
217: Feeling the Economic Pain
Apr 30 • 25 min
Every Thursday, 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…
216: A Model for Care
Apr 23 • 19 min
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: community health centers.…
215: Polarization in a Pandemic
Apr 16 • 30 min
Today, the U.S. has more reported coronavirus cases than any other nation on earth - a fact that may in part 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:…
214: A Second Safety Net
Apr 9 • 35 min
As policymakers on Capitol Hill work to expand America’s safety net in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, 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…
213: Learning from Ebola
Apr 2 • 29 min
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. Just 5 years ago, the world was concerned with a completely different outbreak: ebola.…
212: Fighting Hunger During a Pandemic
Mar 26 • 23 min
Around the United States, schools are shutting down due to coronavirus. For some Americans, this means learning to work with children underfoot. But others are facing a far more serious crisis: with school cafeterias closed and employment increasingly…
211: Rethinking Global Philanthropy
Mar 19 • 26 min
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…
210: Students at the Polls
Mar 12 • 24 min
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 this archive…
209: Reporting from the Twittersphere
Mar 5 • 29 min
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…
208: On the Abortion Front Line
Feb 27 • 33 min
Over the last couple of years, states have passed 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. But at the forefront of this fight over…
207: From The Tea Party to The Resistance
Feb 20 • 32 min
In 2009, Barack Obama was sworn in as the first African American president in this country’s history. But soon after, a movement that became known as the Tea Party took shape on the right in opposition to him and his policies. Fast forward 8 years and a…
206: Creating Inclusive Campuses
Feb 13 • 28 min
Over the last few decades, minority enrollment at America’s colleges 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…
205: Black Teachers Wanted
Feb 6 • 20 min
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…
204: Battling the Opioid Crisis
Jan 23 • 28 min
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. Facing a mounting death toll, policymakers have proposed solutions from needle exchanges to reducing the…
203: Realizing Democracy
Jan 16 • 28 min
What should the next 10 or 20 years look like in the US? 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…
202: The Fight for Climate Justice
Jan 9 • 31 min
Last year, climate change took center stage. With presidential candidates releasing bold plans, massive protests across the globe, and ever more dire reports coming out of the United Nations, this issue is getting attention unlike ever before. Doctor…
201: Death by a Thousand Cuts
Dec 12, 2019 • 25 min
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…
200: Democracy in the States
Dec 5, 2019 • 31 min
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…
199: Empty Wallets, Empty Stomachs
Nov 21, 2019 • 26 min
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…
198: What’s My Schedule?
Nov 14, 2019 • 28 min
Imagine you’re a working parent. You make ends meet with a part-time job, 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…
197: Making Research Matter
Nov 7, 2019 • 28 min
What works best to teach children in our schools? How does pollution affect public health? These are just some of the big questions researchers try to answer every day. But all too often, their findings don’t actually help usher in improvements. Why not?…
196: The Rise of Anti-LGBT Hate Crimes
Oct 31, 2019 • 25 min
Twenty-one years ago, 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…
195: The Promise of Midwives
Oct 24, 2019 • 24 min
America is the richest country on Earth, 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 practice of community midwives.…
Archive Episode 87: NAFTA Winners and Losers
Oct 17, 2019 • 25 min
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…
194: The Science of Science Communication
Oct 10, 2019 • 18 min
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…
193: The Toll of Stereotypes
Oct 3, 2019 • 26 min
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…
192: Black Homes, Black Cities
Sep 26, 2019 • 23 min
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…
191: Paying for Pollution
Sep 19, 2019 • 22 min
Climate change is threatening our world 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,…
190: Dental Care for All
Sep 12, 2019 • 20 min
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…
189: Who Owns America’s Schools?
Sep 5, 2019 • 28 min
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…
188: Why Cities Lose
Aug 29, 2019 • 28 min
Imagine a nation where the political rules for two parties are unfair. The Big Country party has its strengthen in rural areas and wins if they earn 46 percent of the vote. The other party, the party of the city people, needs to earn about 54 percent. As…
187: Red Flags
Aug 22, 2019 • 26 min
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…
186: Modernizing Congress
Aug 15, 2019 • 24 min
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…
Archive Episode 71: Violence in Resistance
Aug 8, 2019 • 24 min
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. In this…
185: America’s Long Immigration Debate
Aug 1, 2019 • 26 min
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…
184: Hollywood’s Diversity Problem
Jul 25, 2019 • 26 min
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…
183: Do Endorsements Really Matter?
Jul 18, 2019 • 24 min
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…
182: Chile, the CIA, and the Cold War
Jul 11, 2019 • 26 min
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…
181: Locked Away
Jun 27, 2019 • 28 min
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…
180: Guest Show - Big Brains
Jun 20, 2019 • 26 min
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…
179: Gerrymandering on Trial
Jun 13, 2019 • 21 min
When elected officials redraw districts in their own party’s favor, the impact can be enormous. 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…
178: Healthy Patients, Healthy Providers
Jun 6, 2019 • 21 min
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…
177: Unintended Consequences
May 30, 2019 • 25 min
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,…
176: Groundbreakers, part 2
May 23, 2019 • 30 min
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…
175: Groundbreakers, part 1
May 16, 2019 • 27 min
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…
174: Making Motherhood Work
May 9, 2019 • 29 min
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…
Archive Episode 52: Paying the Price
May 2, 2019 • 29 min
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…
173: 2020’s Big Proposals
Apr 25, 2019 • 29 min
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…
172: The Battle over Clean Energy
Apr 19, 2019 • 25 min
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…
171: A Life-Changing Course
Apr 11, 2019 • 24 min
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…
170: Guest Show - Democracy Works
Apr 4, 2019 • 42 min
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…
169: Who Controls the States?
Mar 28, 2019 • 29 min
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…
168: Cities in Crisis
Mar 21, 2019 • 22 min
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…
167: A Case of Life and Death
Mar 14, 2019 • 27 min
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…
Archive Episode 95: Who is Affirmative Action for?
Mar 7, 2019 • 22 min
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…
166: Lawyers, Lawyers, and More Lawyers
Feb 28, 2019 • 22 min
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.…
165: Civil Rights in Our Schools
Feb 21, 2019 • 24 min
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…
164: Treating Pain, Treating Addiction
Feb 15, 2019 • 26 min
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…
163: Biased Towards Democracy
Feb 7, 2019 • 21 min
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…
Archive Episode 61: Buying More Time
Jan 31, 2019 • 21 min
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…
162: The Hidden Listings
Jan 17, 2019 • 21 min
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…
161: Guns in America, part 2
Jan 10, 2019 • 18 min
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…
160: Guns in America, part 1
Jan 3, 2019 • 24 min
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…
64 Archive: Restaurant Loophole
Dec 20, 2018 • 29 min
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…
159: The Diaper Dilemma
Dec 13, 2018 • 24 min
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…
158: Home is Where the Health is
Dec 6, 2018 • 23 min
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…
157: Sickened by Systems
Nov 29, 2018 • 29 min
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…
Archive Episode 54: Racing to the Bottom
Nov 22, 2018 • 25 min
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…
156: A Seat at the Table
Nov 15, 2018 • 25 min
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…
155: The Midterms and Beyond
Nov 8, 2018 • 23 min
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…
154: The Women Turned Away
Nov 1, 2018 • 21 min
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…
153: Good Economy, Better Jobs
Oct 25, 2018 • 24 min
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…
152: Who Gets a Green Card?
Oct 18, 2018 • 21 min
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…
151: Students at the Polls
Oct 11, 2018 • 25 min
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…
150: Giving the Vote Back
Oct 4, 2018 • 22 min
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…
149: Beyond Legal Marijuana
Sep 27, 2018 • 21 min
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…
148: California Greenin’
Sep 20, 2018 • 19 min
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…
147: In Government We Distrust
Sep 13, 2018 • 20 min
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…
146: Different Schools, Same Tests
Sep 6, 2018 • 21 min
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…
145: Suicide and Black America
Aug 30, 2018 • 20 min
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…
144: Paid to Care
Aug 23, 2018 • 22 min
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…
143: Trusting the Science
Aug 16, 2018 • 20 min
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…
142: Nowhere to Live
Aug 9, 2018 • 28 min
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…
141: Muslims in America
Aug 2, 2018 • 19 min
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…
140: A Bank for Everyone
Jul 26, 2018 • 20 min
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…
139: Investing in Families
Jul 19, 2018 • 27 min
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.…
138: Black Men’s Work
Jul 12, 2018 • 22 min
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…
137: Big Data
Jul 5, 2018 • 18 min
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…
136: (Paper)Work Requirements
Jun 28, 2018 • 21 min
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…
(Special) Episode 135: Zero Tolerance
Jun 22, 2018 • 27 min
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…
134: How Democracies Die
Jun 21, 2018 • 18 min
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 –…
133: Black Teachers Wanted
Jun 14, 2018 • 20 min
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…
132: Get Organized
Jun 6, 2018 • 22 min
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…
131: Another Blow to Unions?
May 30, 2018 • 21 min
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…
130: Informing Women’s Choices
May 23, 2018 • 19 min
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…
129: Information vs. Opioids
May 16, 2018 • 26 min
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…
128: The Women Rebooting Democracy
May 9, 2018 • 22 min
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…
127: Surviving Poverty
May 2, 2018 • 23 min
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,…
126: Checking the President
Apr 25, 2018 • 31 min
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…
125: Losing the Party
Apr 18, 2018 • 29 min
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…
124: Outrage in the Media
Apr 11, 2018 • 27 min
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.…
123: Closing the Gender Gap
Apr 4, 2018 • 25 min
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.
122: Show Me Your Papers
Mar 28, 2018 • 19 min
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…
121: The American DREAM
Mar 21, 2018 • 18 min
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…
120: Growing Up Undocumented
Mar 14, 2018 • 23 min
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.
119: Democracy in Decline
Mar 7, 2018 • 26 min
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…
118: Power to the Pharmacy?
Feb 28, 2018 • 19 min
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…
117: The Citizen Expert
Feb 21, 2018 • 23 min
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…
116: Myth of Millionaire Tax Flight
Feb 14, 2018 • 22 min
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…
115: Discounted Care
Feb 7, 2018 • 23 min
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…
114: Moonshots
Jan 31, 2018 • 22 min
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…
113: Ballot Blocked
Jan 24, 2018 • 21 min
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…
112: A Campaign Pitch
Jan 17, 2018 • 24 min
The 2018 midterms are approaching rapidly and voters want to believe that they’re going to make a rational choice at the polls. But as Professor Casey Klofstad explains, there’s an unexpected factor influencing voter behavior and affecting our…
111: Who Pays for Justice?
Jan 10, 2018 • 28 min
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…
110: Going Public
Dec 27, 2017 • 26 min
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…
109: Can Governments Earn Our Trust?
Dec 20, 2017 • 26 min
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.
45 Archive: Legislating in the Dark
Dec 13, 2017 • 25 min
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…
108 Bonus: Improving Policies on Campus Sexual Assault
Dec 6, 2017 • 6 min
Nicole Bedera and Miriam Gleckman-Krut stay post-interview to discuss their ideas for changing university policies on campus sexual assault.
108: The Politics of Campus Sexual Assault
Dec 6, 2017 • 26 min
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…
107: Guest Show - The Measure of Everyday Life
Nov 28, 2017 • 31 min
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.
21 Archive: Big Money, Big Power
Nov 21, 2017 • 27 min
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…
106: Investing in Our Neighborhoods
Nov 15, 2017 • 22 min
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.
105: The Captured Economy
Nov 7, 2017 • 28 min
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.
104: Guest Show - Have You Heard
Oct 31, 2017 • 28 min
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…
28 Archive: Americans Like Taxes
Oct 24, 2017 • 24 min
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…
103: The Political Rumor Mill
Oct 17, 2017 • 28 min
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.
102: Live Show Act III
Oct 3, 2017 • 25 min
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.
101: Live Show Act II
Sep 26, 2017 • 23 min
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 politi
100: Live Show Act I
Sep 19, 2017 • 25 min
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.
99: Funding Foster Care
Sep 12, 2017 • 23 min
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.
98: The Cost of College
Sep 5, 2017 • 27 min
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.
97: Who Has the Right to Vote?
Aug 29, 2017 • 30 min
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.
96: Informing Policy
Aug 23, 2017 • 17 min
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.
95: Who is Affirmative Action For?
Aug 15, 2017 • 23 min
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.
Announcing: No Jargon live show!
Aug 11, 2017 • 1 min
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
94: Vaccination Education
Aug 8, 2017 • 27 min
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.
93: Melting Pot, Boiling Pot
Aug 1, 2017 • 25 min
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.
92: A Seat at the Table
Jul 25, 2017 • 21 min
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.
91: Heat or Eat
Jul 18, 2017 • 25 min
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.
90: The Past and Future of the Constitution
Jul 12, 2017 • 30 min
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.
89: Charismatic Campaigning
Jun 27, 2017 • 25 min
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.
88: How Discrimination Hurts
Jun 21, 2017 • 25 min
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
87: NAFTA Winners and Losers
Jun 13, 2017 • 26 min
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.
86: Unequal Protection from Pollution
Jun 6, 2017 • 25 min
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.
85: Iran Deal or No Deal?
May 30, 2017 • 25 min
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 Americ
84: Pregnancy in Prison
May 23, 2017 • 25 min
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.
83: 21st Century Safety Net
May 16, 2017 • 24 min
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.
82: Hidden Tax Benefits
May 9, 2017 • 23 min
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.
81: On Tyranny
May 2, 2017 • 29 min
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.
80: Unequal Play to Unwanted Contact
Apr 25, 2017 • 21 min
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.
79: Is the Death Penalty Dying?
Apr 19, 2017 • 28 min
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.
41 Archive: White-Collar Government
Apr 11, 2017 • 29 min
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 tabl
78: Can’t Get Ahead
Apr 4, 2017 • 27 min
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.
77: Urban Renewal 2.0
Mar 28, 2017 • 21 min
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.
76: American Job Guarantee
Mar 21, 2017 • 22 min
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.
75: Buy the Book
Mar 14, 2017 • 19 min
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.
74: Is Our Food Safe?
Mar 7, 2017 • 23 min
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.
73: Sanctuary City Limits
Feb 28, 2017 • 28 min
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.
72: Power in Politics
Feb 22, 2017 • 38 min
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.
71: Violence in Resistance
Feb 14, 2017 • 26 min
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.
70: The Future of Family Planning
Feb 7, 2017 • 28 min
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.
69: Repeal and Replace?
Jan 31, 2017 • 27 min
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.
68: Bull in a China Shop
Jan 24, 2017 • 28 min
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.
67: Defending Democracy
Jan 17, 2017 • 27 min
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.
66: Supreme Inequality
Jan 10, 2017 • 29 min
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.
65: Timing is Everything
Jan 3, 2017 • 20 min
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.
64: Restaurant Loophole
Dec 20, 2016 • 28 min
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.
63: The Latino Vote
Dec 13, 2016 • 24 min
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.
62: You’re Fired
Dec 9, 2016 • 27 min
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.
61: Buying More Time
Nov 29, 2016 • 21 min
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.
60: Thinking Outside the Kitchen
Nov 23, 2016 • 22 min
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.
59: Race and Reaction
Nov 22, 2016 • 19 min
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.
58: Politics of Resentment
Nov 15, 2016 • 24 min
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.
57: Election Autopsy
Nov 10, 2016 • 23 min
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.
56: Who Votes and Why
Nov 1, 2016 • 28 min
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.
55: Bernie or Bust?
Oct 25, 2016 • 23 min
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.
54: Racing to the Bottom
Oct 18, 2016 • 25 min
Professor Nathan Jensen explains how cities and states often lose more than they gain when politicians use tax incentives to bring businesses to town.
53: Polls, Polls, Polls
Oct 11, 2016 • 29 min
Professor Amy Fried explains the use and abuse of public opinion research and tells ​how polling methods have changed over the past 100 years.
52: Paying the Price
Oct 4, 2016 • 29 min
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.
51: What Does Presidential Look Like?
Sep 26, 2016 • 28 min
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.
50: Kindergarten Math
Sep 20, 2016 • 28 min
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.
No Jargon is on break
Sep 13, 2016 • 1 min
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
49: Science of Abortion Law
Sep 6, 2016 • 20 min
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.
48: Rio, Ryan Lochte, and Resistance
Aug 30, 2016 • 30 min
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.”
47: A Path for Police Reform
Aug 23, 2016 • 29 min
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.
46: Working Yourself to Death
Aug 16, 2016 • 24 min
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.
45: Legislating in the Dark
Aug 9, 2016 • 24 min
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.
44: Tutoring Through Tech
Aug 2, 2016 • 29 min
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 hel
43: Seeking Candidates of Color
Jul 26, 2016 • 28 min
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.
42: Running Against All Odds
Jul 19, 2016 • 29 min
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
41: White-Collar Government
Jul 12, 2016 • 29 min
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.
40: Beyond Pro-Choice
Jul 5, 2016 • 29 min
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”.
39: Change from the Inside
Jun 28, 2016 • 29 min
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.
38 Bonus: Jump On The Bandwagon
Jun 21, 2016 • 3 min
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.
38: When Workers Become Owners
Jun 21, 2016 • 28 min
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.
37: Immigration Beyond the Border
Jun 14, 2016 • 22 min
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 successe
36: Giving Away Guilt
Jun 7, 2016 • 23 min
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.
35: The Overlooked Section
May 31, 2016 • 28 min
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.
34: The Rise of Islamophobia
May 24, 2016 • 24 min
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.
33: The 10 Minute Change
May 17, 2016 • 26 min
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.
32: Change They Can’t Believe In
May 11, 2016 • 28 min
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 the GOP
31: Undemocratic and Unaccountable
May 3, 2016 • 27 min
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.
30: Part 2. What Made America Great, Again?
Apr 26, 2016 • 28 min
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.
29: Part 1. What Made America Great
Apr 19, 2016 • 26 min
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.
28: Americans Like Taxes
Apr 12, 2016 • 23 min
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.
6 Archive: Planned Parenthood, Abortion, and Birth Control
Apr 5, 2016 • 30 min
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.
27: Regulating Inequality
Mar 29, 2016 • 26 min
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
26: Truth and Reconciliation
Mar 22, 2016 • 26 min
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
25 Bonus: Bad Timing for “Isis Wallet”
Mar 15, 2016 • 2 min
Professor Ciara Torres-Spelliscy stays post-interview to tell the story of a small tech and financial services company with a unique branding problem.
25: Shooting Your Brand in the Foot
Mar 15, 2016 • 27 min
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.
24: Senate Chamber, Echo Chamber
Mar 8, 2016 • 25 min
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.
23: The Highest Glass Ceiling
Mar 1, 2016 • 28 min
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.
22: The Case for $15
Feb 23, 2016 • 25 min
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.
21: Big Money, Big Power
Feb 16, 2016 • 29 min
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.
20: Does Your Vote Count?
Feb 9, 2016 • 28 min
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.
19: Changing Neighborhoods for Better or Worse
Feb 2, 2016 • 27 min
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.
18: Feminism, A Century Later
Jan 26, 2016 • 22 min
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.
17: The Politics of Abortion in America
Jan 19, 2016 • 24 min
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.
16: Local Agents of Democracy
Jan 12, 2016 • 19 min
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.
15: Too Many Workers
Jan 5, 2016 • 26 min
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
14: Family Values, Family Leave
Dec 29, 2015 • 18 min
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.
13: The Misinformation Age
Dec 22, 2015 • 26 min
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.
12: The Price for Parking Your Car(bon)
Dec 15, 2015 • 27 min
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.
11: Christmas in April
Dec 8, 2015 • 23 min
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.
10: Immigrant and Refugee Deja Vu
Dec 1, 2015 • 23 min
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.
9: Welfare for the Wealthy
Nov 24, 2015 • 27 min
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.
8: Organizing for Leadership
Nov 24, 2015 • 26 min
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.
7: Mapping Black America
Nov 17, 2015 • 28 min
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.
6: Planned Parenthood, Abortion, and Birth Control
Nov 10, 2015 • 29 min
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.
4: The Student Debt Crisis
Nov 3, 2015 • 25 min
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.
5: Business at the Ballot Box
Nov 3, 2015 • 24 min
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.
3: The Tea Party Divided
Oct 28, 2015 • 25 min
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.
2: Jim Crow 2.0
Oct 28, 2015 • 20 min
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
1: The Kochs, Americans For Prosperity, and The Right
Oct 28, 2015 • 24 min
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.