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The Backdrop - A UC Davis Podcast Exploring the World of Ideas
33 minutes | Oct 19, 2021
9 - Kadee Russ on Supply Chain Bottlenecks and Inflation
From restaurants and grocery stores to construction companies and car manufacturers, the pandemic’s widespread effects on global supply chains have caused shortages, price hikes and layoffs. In this episode, UC Davis Economics Professor Kadee Russ discusses how supply chains got backed-up, and how these critical systems that produce and deliver products to consumers can be made more resilient.
30 minutes | Sep 8, 2021
8 - Karima Bennoune on Helping Artists, Cultural Workers Escape Taliban-Ruled Afghanistan
With the end of the U.S. military mission in Afghanistan and the quick takeover of that nation by the Taliban, advocates fear a terrible backslide in human rights and civil society there. Karima Bennoune, a professor at the UC Davis School of Law, has been working with others to help get artists, musicians and other at-risk cultural workers out of Afghanistan. She’s worked in the field of human rights, including in Afghanistan, for more than 20 years. And, she serves as UN Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights. Her recent book, Your Fatwa Does Not Apply Here: Untold Stories from the Fight Against Muslim Fundamentalism, was based on hundreds of interviews with people from 30 countries. Bennoune is currently a visiting professor at the University of Michigan Law School. In this episode, Bennoune discusses her work in the international effort to help evacuate vulnerable cultural workers from Afghanistan, religious fundamentalisms as political movements and how human rights advocates can move forward in a country ruled by the Taliban.
33 minutes | Aug 2, 2021
7 - Lewis Lawyer on Documenting the Patwin Language
In what is now California, close to 100 indigenous languages were spoken before Europeans arrived. According to UNESCO, most of the languages native to the Americas are critically endangered — many others are entirely extinct. Linguist Lewis Lawyer, a UC Davis alumnus, has compiled the first-ever published description of one of those languages, Patwin — originally spoken in hundreds of communities in Northern California. In this episode, Lawyer discusses the history of the language, how he came to publish “A Grammar of Patwin,” and how the language is making a comeback.
30 minutes | Jun 28, 2021
6 - Keith Watenpaugh on Helping Refugee Students Reclaim Their Right to Education
According to one estimate, the global refugee population has more than doubled over the past decade to 26 million. Professor Keith Watenpaugh, director of the Human Rights Studies program at UC Davis, leads an innovative project to help refugee students start or continue their university education — even as they’re displaced and on the move. In this episode of The Backdrop, Watenpaugh discusses the Article 26 Backpack project, the rapid growth of UC Davis’ Human Rights Studies program and his rethinking of the history of humanitarianism.
23 minutes | May 24, 2021
5 - Rachel Teagle on Reopening the Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem Museum
UC Davis’s fine arts museum is reopening to the public after being closed for more than a year because of the pandemic. The Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem Museum of Art reopens June 3, 2021, following campus COVID-19 protocols. In this episode of The Backdrop, the museum’s founding director, Rachel Teagle, discusses the institution's new exhibitions, how the museum has been weathering the pandemic and how the yearlong closure helped the staff focus on issues of diversity, equity and inclusion.
28 minutes | Mar 30, 2021
4 - Lizbeth De La Cruz on “Humanizing Deportation”
In a typical year, hundreds of thousands of people are deported from the U.S. for entering or staying in the country illegally. A digital storytelling project at UC Davis, called “Humanizing Deportation,” aims to document their stories. On this month’s episode, Ph.D. candidate Lizbeth De La Cruz, discusses the project’s goals, how it got started and her experience working as a member of one of the research teams collecting and preserving these stories.
34 minutes | Feb 24, 2021
3 - Magdalena Wojcieszak on Media Exposure and Political Polarization
Conventional wisdom has held that as people are exposed to more partisan news, they become more polarized. But a new study finds that’s not so. On this episode of The Backdrop, Magdalena Wojcieszak discusses a couple of new studies she has co-authored that found no correlation between media exposure and political polarization. Wojcieszak, a Professor of Communication at UC Davis, studies how the changing media environment creates both opportunities and challenges for informed publics, tolerant citizenry, and responsive governance.
34 minutes | Jan 14, 2021
2 - Eric Rauchway on Contentious Presidential Transitions
The transition of power from one U.S. president to the next typically goes off without a hitch. But the transition between President Donald Trump and President-Elect Joe Biden has been anything but typical. On this episode of The Backdrop, UC Davis Distinguished Professor of History Eric Rauchway discusses this tumultuous transfer of power and lessons we can learn from another contentious transition, from Herbert Hoover to Franklin Roosevelt.
26 minutes | Dec 8, 2020
1 - Kathryn Olmsted on Conspiracy Theories
Conspiracy theories have circulated in the U.S. for centuries, but recently they have seeped into the mainstream consciousness like never before. On the first episode of The Backdrop, UC Davis historian Kathryn Olmsted discusses her work studying the history and impact of conspiracy theories on American society and politics. She also offers advice on how people can avoid falling prey to them.
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