• Podcasts

Politics and Current Affairs

Ep. 1 – Viet Thanh Nguyen on Art and Politics

Viet Thanh Nguyen interviewed by Karen Tei Yamashita

This Pulitzer Prize winner and MacArthur awardee talks about the role of the writer in society, the importance of art to politics and the power of the written word. Sponsored by UC Berkeley Arts + Design.

Ep. 2 – Resisting Hate with Free Speech

Nadine Strossen interviewed by Erwin Chemerinsky

The former president of the American Civil Liberties Union presents her book “HATE: Why We Should Resist it With Free Speech, Not Censorship” — released for the first time at the festival in the home of the Free Speech Movement. Interviewed by the dean of UC Berkeley Law. Sponsored by UC Berkeley Arts + Design.

Ep. 3 – The Common Good with Robert Reich

Robert Reich

What has happened to civility and civic responsibility? What makes a good citizen in today’s America? Reich makes a heartfelt call to a nation on the brink as he shows us how to do our part in saving America’s soul.

Ep. 4 – Resist: Unlocking the Political Power of a Novel

Margaret Wilkerson Sexton, Rodrigo Hasbún, Madeleine Thien, moderated by Mal Warwick

These talented novelists explain how the novel can illuminate political change in ways that no non-fiction account can. With the support of the Consulate General of Canada, San Francisco/Silicon Valley.

Ep. 5 – Loaded: Guns in America

Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz interviewed by Adam Hochschild

After every mass shooting, calls for stricter gun regulations ring out on one side; on the other, an insistence on guns, even on campuses, in the name of protection. Famed activist and feminist Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz discusses her new book on the second amendment with Pulitzer Prize winner T.J. Stiles.

Ep. 6 – Income Inequality: A World Gone Mad, Mean and Immoral

Steven Clifford, Jeff Clements, Robert Reich, moderated by John Diaz

Disparity in wages and opportunity between the rich and the rest of us has grown rapidly in the U.S.; what are the causes and consequences? With support from the Stephen M. Silberstein Foundation.

Ep. 7 – Race and Racism in America

Edward L. Ayers, Khaled Beydoun, Julie Lythcott-Haims, moderated by Scott Shafer

These authors — an eminent historian, an attorney and critical race scholar and a mixed-race lawyer — explore race and the deep origins and expressions of racism in this country.

Ep. 8 – The Art of Memoir: A Story That Must Be Heard

Francisco Cantu, Julie Lythcott-Haims, Elizabeth Rosner, moderated by Marie Mockett

Memoir writers have the especially challenging task of confronting their own past and creating themselves as a character. In their memoirs, these writers address the U.S. Border Patrol, the experience of Holocaust survivors and growing up mixed-race in America.

Ep. 9 – #MeToo & Beyond: Continuing to Tell the Truth

Saru Jayaraman, Winnie M. Li, T. Christian Miller, Bernice Yeung, moderated by Sandhya Dirks

Together these writers, who have plumbed the topic of sexual assault deeply (and personally), will deconstruct the movement and explore its future. Sponsored by Zoetic Press.

Ep. 10 – Men and Boys 2018: Cultural and Personal Masculinities

Dacher Keltner, Michael Kimmel, moderated by Otis R. Taylor Jr.

As women across the world make their painful experiences visible, men have begun to grapple with how the masculine identity shapes the power imbalance.

Ep. 11 – Race and Resistance in the Trump Era: Fighting Words and Wisdom from The Nation and Black Lives Matter

Alicia Garza, Walter Mosley, Steve Phillips, and Joan Walsh, moderated by Mark Hertsgaard

Join some of The Nation’s finest current contributors for a fierce discussion on how to advance racial justice in today’s America. Panelists include Alicia Garza (co-founder of Black Lives Matter); Steve Phillips (founder of Democracy in Color); essayist and novelist Walter Mosley; national political correspondent Joan Walsh and investigative editor Mark Hertsgaard. Sponsored by The Nation Magazine.

Ep. 12 – Roxane Gay Takes the Stage

Roxane Gay in conversation with Rafia Zakaria

Renowned fiction writer, essayist and activist Roxane Gay casts her incisive gaze at issues of race, class and gender. Her new collection of stories is “Difficult Women.” Sponsored by The New Republic.

Ep. 13 – Activism at a Crossroads

Micah White and Becky Bond, moderated by Monika Bauerlein

Micah White (co-creator of Occupy Wall Street and author of “The End of Protest”) and Becky Bond (former senior adviser to Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign and co-author of “Rules for Revolutionaries”) will offer guidance for a new era of social change and activism. Sponsored by Mother Jones Magazine.

Ep. 14 – Our Trump, Our Television, Our Bad Luck

David Thomson

A lecture. A warning. A lamentation. A diatribe. From the renowned film critic, historian and author of more than 20 books, including the recent “Television: A Biography.”

Ep. 15 – Gentrification, Evictions and the State of Our Cities

Paul Madonna and Peter Moskowitz, moderated by Narda Zacchino

Journalist Peter Moskowitz (“How to Kill a City”) and artist Paul Madonna (“All Over Coffee”) uncover the forces behind gentrification evictions, how this phenomenon changes cities and how to fight back.

Ep. 16 – Cleve Jones: Rising Up

Cleve Jones interviewed by Scott James

Mentored by LGBT rights pioneer Harvey Milk, Jones is the author of “When We Rise,” which inspired a recent ABC mini-series. Hear Jones’ personal telling of nearly four decades of activism at the heart of the gay rights movement.

Ep. 17 – The State of Cannabis

Emily Brady and Beau Kilmer in conversation with David Downs

Marijuana expert Beau Kilmer and author Emily Brady will divulge the latest in pot policy and explore whether California’s hopes for a smooth transition should remain, well, high. Moderated by David Downs, Cannabis editor of the San Francisco Chronicle.

Ep. 18 – Human Face: Literature That Brings Human Rights To Life

Atia Abawi, Aaron Bobrow-Strain, Eliot Pattison, moderated by Clara Long

Storytelling brings humanity to the headlines. Journalist Atia Abawi depicts a young boy who must escape from war-torn Syria. Aaron Bobrow-Strain follows an undocumented teen mom at a militarized border. Eliot Pattison concludes his mystery series set in Tibet, which he writes so readers can “understand what it feels like to witness an armed policeman assault a praying monk.” Moderated by Human Rights Watch researcher Clara Long.

Ep. 19 – Courage in Publishing in an Age of Political Polarization

Kwame Anthony Appiah, Jane Ciabattari, John Freeman, Carlos Lozada, Michael Naumann, Emily Nemens, moderated by Cherilyn Parsons

This roundtable includes the New York Times Ethicist columnist, the former National Book Critics Circle president, the Freeman’s literary journal editor, a Washington Post book critic, the German secretary of culture and The Paris Review’s editor. With support from “Wunderbar Together,” initiated by the German Federal Foreign Office and the Goethe-Institut, and supported by the Federation of German Industries (BDI).

Ep. 20 – American Prison: Interview with Shane Bauer

Shane Bauer interviewed by John Diaz

After being detained in a notorious Iranian prison, Shane Bauer returned to journalism and took on an astonishing assignment: to go undercover as a guard in a private prison in Louisiana. His book “American Prison: A Reporter’s Undercover Journey into the Business of Punishment” was one of President Obama’s favorite books of 2018. Sponsored by Mother Jones Magazine.

Ep. 21 – Enough Is Enough: Fighting Economic Injustice

Anand Giridharadas, Robert Reich, and Kat Taylor

Anger about economic injustice drives political change. Anand Giridharadas (“Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World”) speaks with Robert Reich (“The Common Good”), to reveal how the uber wealthy are impoverishing you, yours and democracy itself. Moderated by the CEO and co-founder of Beneficial State Bank. Sponsored by Beneficial State Bank.

Ep. 22 – The Lies That Bind: Kwame Anthony Appiah on Identity

Kwame Anthony Appiah interviewed by 2019 Pulitzer Prize winner Carlos Lozada

Through history and philosophy, Kwame Anthony Appiah, weekly columnist for The New York Times, explores the compulsion to define and gather around identity. How do groups struggling for justice use, or misuse, identity? Can a more nuanced understanding bring us together? Carlos Lozada, 2019 Pulitzer Prize winner and nonfiction book critic for The Washington Post, will interview.

Ep. 23 – What Does It Mean to Be Human? Rethinking Belonging at the Frontier of Genetic Engineering

George Estreich and Jamie Metzl, moderated by Lance Knobel

New biomedical technologies — from prenatal testing to gene editing techniques — raise questions about how far we should go in retooling the human genome. Two leading thinkers, George Estreich (“Fables and Futures: Biotechnology, Disability, and the Stories We Tell Ourselves,”) and Jamie Metzl (“Hacking Darwin: Genetic Engineering and the Future of Humanity”) explore these new frontiers — and their limits. Sponsored by Berkeleyside.

Ep. 24 – The Unbreakable Human Spirit: Albert Woodfox on Survival in Solitary

Albert Woodfox interviewed by Shane Bauer

One of the “Angola 3,” Albert Woodfox endured four decades of solitary confinement for a crime he did not commit. In our closing keynote session, Woodfox will be interviewed by Mother Jones reporter Shane Bauer, author of “American Prison” and himself a survivor of solitary confinement.