“Story in the Public Square” Episodes

January 6, 2018: Oona Hathaway & Scott Shapiro

The history of the period between the first and second World Wars reads like a tragedy, progressing from the horror of war, to an idealistic hope for lasting peace, before descending into cataclysm. This week’s guests seize on one of the most idealistic moments in that history; the diplomacy to outlaw war. Oona Hathaway and Scott Shapiro argue that its importance far exceeds the respect given to it by most historians.

December 16, 2017: Evelyn Farkas

Since 2013, the Pell Center at Salve Regina University has announced a “Story of the Year,” the narrative that had the biggest impact on American public life in the preceding 12 months. This week we’re joined by, Evelyn Farkas, whose work in and out of government gives her special insight into this year’s top story.

December 9, 2017: Matthew Gault

The United States is engaged in nuclear brinksmanship with a reclusive despot whose regime is determined to develop nuclear weapons and the missiles to deliver them to the United States. Matthew Gault argues that the American public isn’t worried enough about these issues.

December 2, 2017: Tara Copp

Whether it’s a film like “Saving Private Ryan,” or a memoir like “A Helmet for My Pillow,” the temptation to romanticize war—and the Second World War, in particular—is part of American life. Tara Copp made sense of her own experience in the Iraq war, by understanding her grandfather’s service more than 70 years ago.

November 25, 2017: Rear Admiral Jeffrey Harley

Among its many missions, the U.S. military also operates a system of schools that provide professional military education—or PME—to rising leaders in each service. Therefore, Rear Admiral Jeffrey A. Harley has charted a new path for the U.S. Naval War College at a time of historic global challenges.

November 18, 2017: Christopher Brown

Speculative fiction, from the most fantastic science fiction to the bleakest dystopias, shines a light on current issues and the reality we know in the here and now. Writer and lawyer, Christopher Brown uses narrative as a laboratory about governance, political violence, and even what it means to be American. His debut novel, Tropic of Kansas, depicts a fractured United States in the aftermath of another Civil War.

November 7, 2017: Esther Schor

This week’s guest on “Story in the Public Square,” Professor Esther Schor, puts Emma Lazarus’ famous poem on the Statue of Liberty, “The New Colossus,” into historic and contemporary context.

November 4, 2017: Charles Dorn

Higher education in the United States is a nearly-$600 billion per year industry that some observers describe as unsustainable and on the verge of a fundamental crisis. Guest, Charles Dorn argues those stories are overblown and that colleges and universities can still serve the common good.

October 28, 2017: Adam Segal

For more than 20 years, experts have warned about a “digital-Pearl Harbor” when the West’s dependence on information technology would be exploited at great cost and peril. Adam Segal argues that the reality of the cyber threat has proven more complex and dangerous than expected.

October 21, 2017: Abigail Brooks

Cosmetic surgery was a $16 billion industry in 2016. Abigail Brooks, says the explosive growth in cosmetic procedures is an outgrowth of deregulation in the healthcare industry, and it’s affecting the way we think about aging.

October 7, 2017: Stephen Pimpare

More than forty million Americans live in poverty today. Guest, Stephen Pimpare, looks at the way the poor and the homeless are portrayed in public life—and it doesn’t match the reality he knows.

September 30, 2017: Julian Chambliss

In the August heat, the United States rejoined a battle over the Confederacy, this time, over municipal plans to remove Civil War monuments. Guest Julian Chambliss says the debate is not so much about history, as it is about our collective memory.

September 23, 2017: Sunshine Menezes

Science tells us that Hurricanes Harvey and Irma were stronger because of climate change. That view is politically controversial, even if it is based on sound science. Guest Sunshine Menezes helps scientists communicate more effectively.

September 16, 2017: Allan A. Ryan

The laws of war are intended to protect the innocent as well as combatants. Guest Allan A. Ryan argues they are also intended to provide justice after conflicts end.

September 9, 2017: Jason Healey
Information technology has changed nearly everything about modern living: the way we communicate, earn a living, and even how we date.  Guest Jason Healey examines the implications of cybersecurity on war and statecraft.
September 2, 2017: David K. Jones 

The politics of the healthcare debate seem to have ground to a halt in Washington—at least for now. But guest David Jones reminds us that the healthcare needs of the public still face substantial challenges.

August 26, 2017: Tim Gray
One of the biggest Hollywood block-busters this summer is about the earliest days of World War II. Guest Tim Gray is an acclaimed chronicler of the Americans who defeated the Axis Powers and saved civilization.
August 19, 2017: John Marttila
Storytelling is at the heart of political campaigns. Guest John Marttila has studied those stories as part of a four-decade career in American politics.
August 12, 2017: Casey Michel
The national security community has warned us that Russia’s meddling in the 2016 presidential election is only a preview of what Russia might do in the 2018 and 2020 elections. Casey Michel argues that Russian intervention in American public life is even more serious, now, than even that dire prediction.
August 5, 2017: Eve L. Ewing
Race in American life is still a very powerful force. Eve L. Ewing explores its potency in her scholarship and bears often personal witness to it in her art and in her poetry.
July 22, 2017: Michael Klare
In grade school, we learned about the 19th century competition between European great powers for control of Africa’s natural resources. Guest Michael Klare warns about a 21st century scramble for what’s left.
July 15, 2017: Daniel Drezner
Policy debates in Washington have long been dominated by think-tanks and academics who populate the marketplace of ideas. Daniel Drezner argues that new players are entering the field, such as global consultancies and billionaire-funded pet projects.
July 8, 2017: Christopher Vials
In the 1930s and early 1940s, prominent Americans publically endorsed a policy of “America First,” even if that meant turning a blind eye to the violence done in Europe by fascist political parties in Italy and, especially Germany. Christopher Vials argues that American fascism has roots that go back to the end of World War I—and is enjoying new dynamism today.
July 1, 2017: Jeff Sparr, Matt Kaplan
About one in five Americans live with a diagnosable mental disorder. Jeff Sparr and Matt Kaplan are creators of a program that uses storytelling and expressive arts to create peace of mind.
June 24, 2017: Daphne Matziaraki

Daphne Matziaraki is the 2017 recipient of the Pell Center Prize for Story in the Public Square, awarded to a storyteller whose work makes a vital contribution to the public dialogue. Matziaraki directed, produced, photographed and edited “4.1 Miles,” first published by The New York Times.

June 17, 2017: Thomas Patterson
The media’s role in modern American politics is that of investigator, arbitrator, and even king maker. Guest Thomas Patterson argues that, contrary to popular belief, media bias is not about left and right, but about positive and negative.
June 10, 2017: Joseph “Butch” Rovan
Music and art, like storytelling, are distinctively human creations. Joseph “Butch” Rovan works in both media to tell stories, challenge assumptions, and explore our humanity.
June 3, 2017: Karen Tramontano
In the aftermath of the Second World War, political leaders built a global system of free trade because they believed it was crucial to world peace. Like so much of the post-war order, that belief is under assault in the 21st century. Guest Karen Tramontano argues that free trade agreements can serve their original purpose even while helping workers.
May 27, 2017: John Farrell
With allegations of a cover-up and obstruction of justice circulating in Washington, Americans in 2017 are looking to the presidency of Richard Nixon for precedent and understanding. Our guest, John Farrell, literally wrote the book on Nixon’s life after his own career covering politics in Washington, DC.
May 20, 2017: Tricia Rose
After the 2008 election of President Barack Obama, Time Magazine asked if we had entered a post-racial America. From the perspective of 2017, the question seems ridiculous. Tricia Rose argues, in fact, that structural racism is the key driver of inequality in the United States.
May 13, 2017: Anthony Leiserowitz
Despite decades of consistent warning from the scientific community, the American public remains divided on the issue of climate change. Yale University’s Anthony Leiserowitz says there are six Americas in the climate debate—and you cannot communicate with each one in the same way.
May 6, 2017: Narges Bajoghli
Chemicals weapons are in the news again following their use against civilians in Syria. Western audiences might most commonly associate chemical weapons with the first World War a century ago, but this week’s guest Narges Bajoghli shares stories from veterans of a more recent conflict – the Iran-Iraq War of the 1980’s.
April 29, 2017: Paul Gionfriddo
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, about 50 million adult Americans live with a diagnosable mental health disorder. Despite its prevalence, our guest Paul Gionfriddo confronts a lot of myths in the discussion of mental health issues in America.
April 22, 2017: Alina Polyakova
According to the U.S. intelligence community, Russia intervened in America’s 2016 presidential campaign to benefit one candidate. As shocking as that revelation was, guest Alina Polyakova warns it’s all part of a broader pattern of Russian efforts directed against the West.
April 8, 2017: Kevin Doyle, Sauda Jackson
As long as there has been live theater, artists have grappled with the public issues of their day. From the ancient Greeks to today, theater has had the power to provoke, inspire, and challenge authorities and orthodoxies. Playwright-director Kevin Doyle and actor Sauda Jackson help us explore the power of theater.
April 1, 2017: Sean Kay
In 1958, Danny and the Juniors told us “Rock and Roll is Here to Stay,” and by the 1970s, punk had celebrated the triumvirate of “sex, drugs, and rock-and-roll.” Guest Sean Kay says rock and roll played a more substantial role in the history of the last half-century. It changed America and spread the values of freedom, equality, human rights and peace across the globe.
March 25, 2017: Robert Hackey
From Richard Nixon to Donald Trump, leaders on both sides of the political aisle have described the state of American healthcare in terms intended to scare and mobilize voters. Guest Bob Hackey argues that those cries of crisis have warped the healthcare debate.

March 18, 2017: Michael D. Kennedy

University professors and intellectuals are often dismissed as elites, divorced from real life and disconnected from the problems of real people. Guest Michael Kennedy sees their role differently and argues, in fact, that intellectuals and universities are agents of global change.

March 11, 2017: Michael Corkery

For every new regulation his administration issues, President Trump has said two regulations have to be eliminated – but what about the ordinary Americans many of these regulations were designed to protect? Are we heading back to the days of predatory lenders? Hosts Jim Ludes and G. Wayne Miller sit down with Michael Corkery, a New York Times financial journalist, to try to make sense of the financial stories affecting Americans everywhere.
March 4, 2017: Irvin Scott
Everyone who has ever gone to school has something to say about teachers, about schools, and about education in general. But is popular opinion—fueled, often, by myth and anecdote—as valid as the considered judgments of educators and researchers? To help us make sense of the education debate, we’re joined by educational leader Dr. Irvin Scott.
February 25, 2017: Eric Bennett
Hosts Jim Ludes and G. Wayne Miller are joined by Eric Bennet, a remarkably talented scholar and novelist whose work, whether for academic or popular audiences, traces the role of both narrative and truth in public life.

February 18, 2017: Katherine Brown

With the transfer of power in Washington, the stories the United States tells the world are changing, too. Hosts Jim Ludes and G. Wayne Miller are joined by Katherine Brown, a public diplomacy professional who has served the United States from the corridors of Foggy Bottom to Kabul Afghanistan.
February 11, 2017: Marc Smerling
Politicians and voters may hate crime, but American audiences can’t get enough of shows like CSI or Law and Order. This week, we’re joined by Emmy-winning filmmaker Marc Smerling, who has intimately chronicled some of America’s most notorious criminals.

February 4, 2017: Jonathan Alexandratos

How we play and how we teach our children to play are tremendously important narratives in public life. Jonathan Alexandratos argues that “toys are texts,” and we should read them with the same analytical eye we bring to books, movies, songs, and other media.

January 28, 2017: Dan Fagin
Science is simultaneously celebrated, ignored, and criticized in public life. In this episode, hosts Jim Ludes and G. Wayne Miller sit down with Pulitzer-Prize winning science journalist Dan Fagin to better understand the power of science to explain the world around us, whether we like what it’s telling us, or not. This episode is supported by The Pulitzer Prize Committee and the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities, whose commemoration of the centennial of the Pulitzer Prize is exploring the changing nature of journalism and the humanities in the digital age.

January 21, 2017: Christian Hopkins, Lorén Spears

One of the big stories of the last six months has been the protest over the Dakota Access Pipeline. This week on “Story in the Public Square,” two Native American activists talk about events on the Standing Rock Sioux reservation and the role of storytelling in native culture.

January 14, 2017: Tom Nichols
The United States finds itself in the midst of an information war with an old adversary. This week, national security analyst Tom Nichols will help us understand the contours of that conflict, the role of storytelling in it, and also the implications of what he calls “the death of expertise.”.

October, 2016: Adam Zyglis

Pulitzer prize-winning editorial cartoonist Adam Zyglis discusses a cartoonist’s unique form of storytelling and the wide range of topics he has covered in his dozen years of professional cartooning.

September 2016: David Shuster
Emmy-winning broadcast journalist David Shuster discusses the narratives shaping the 2016 presidential campaign.

August 2016: Raina Kelley

Raina Kelley is the managing editor of ESPN’s new site, The Undefeated, a content initiative focused on the intersection of sports, race and culture.

July 2016: Javier Manzano
Manzano, a talented Pulitzer-prize winning photographer and documentary filmmaker, shared his story of covering the Syrian civil war and his work as a journalist in some of the world’s most dangerous places.
May 2016: Brian Goldner
Goldner talks about the use of narrative storytelling in the toy, TV and film industries; the challenges of running a global toy company; and the research with parents, children, internal staff and outside experts that goes into development of hundreds of products for all age groups.
April 2016: Tricia Rose
Brown University professor Tricia Rose joins hosts Jim Ludes and G. Wayne Miller to discuss hip-hop, structural racism, and the role of race in the 2016 presidential campaign.
March 2016: Dan Barry
Dan Barry discusses his work and soon-to-be-released book, “The Boys in the Bunkhouse: Servitude and Salvation in the Heartland.” Set to be released May 17, 2016 by HarperCollins, Barry’s latest book tells the story of dozens of men with intellectual disabilities who spent decades working at an Iowa turkey-processing plant, living in an old schoolhouse, and enduring exploitation and abuse – before finding justice and achieving freedom.
March 2016: August Cole
This week on “Story in the Public Square,” author August Cole shared a glimpse of his experience writing a fictional novel that garnered so much attention as a possible future for the world as we know it.
February 2016: What is Story in the Public Square
Story in the Public Square is a partnership of the Pell Center and The Providence Journal. The initiative aims to study, celebrate and tell stories that matter.
February 2016: A New Partnership for White House Chronicle
The Pell Center at Salve Regina University will partner with “White House Chronicle,” a national PBS show with global reach, to produce episodes of “Story in the Public Square.”