Program Topics & Guests
Untangling Middle East Foreign Policy
Guest: Leila Farsakh, professor of political science, UMass Boston
President Trump has promised to fight ISIS abroad, and he has also promised a less interventionist stance than his predecessors. What could Trump's foreign policy mean for American interests in the Middle East? Political economist Leila Farsakh helps us understand the context for U.S. foreign policy.
Air Date: March 19, 2017
Asian Americans in Politics
Guest: Paul Watanabe, Director of the Institute for Asian American Studies, UMass Boston
Maybe you've been following George Takei's political Facebook posts, or maybe you've seen the comparisons made between Japanese internment during World War II and the calls for a Muslim registry. Asian Americans, and the issues that matter to them, are in the political spotlight. With help from political scientist Paul Watanabe, we're taking a look back on the political forces that have shaped the Asian American experience in the U.S. – and looking forward to see what the future might hold.
Guest: Erin O'Brien, Chair, Political Science Department, UMass Boston
Is protest really effective? From Tea Partiers to the Women's March to Town Hall Meetings, we take a look at what forms of protest get politicians to sit up and take notice. Political scientist Erin O'Brien helps us sort through the memes, polls, boycotts, and marches.
Air Date: March 5, 2017
Guest: Michael Milburn, psychologist and author of Raised to Rage: The Politics of Anger and the Roots of Authoritarianism
If there's one emotion that characterizes the last year in politics, it's anger. Michael Milburn and Sheree Conrad examined political anger and authoritarianism back in 1996, and they're back to reexamine connections between political rage and the popularity of authoritarian figures.
Air Date: February 26, 2017
Guest: Mel King, activist and former state legislator
Mel King has spent most of his life in Boston's South End neighborhood. Famous for his 1983 run for mayor that was supported by a "Rainbow Coalition," King still believes that the best way to lead is to reach across racial, economic, and religious lines. King is this year's recipient of the Building a Better Boston award, and he spoke to Commonwealth Journal from the South End Technology Center.
Air Date: February 19, 2017
Guest: Stephanie Hartwell, sociologist
From victims of violent crime to former inmates, Stephanie Hartwell believes that mindfulness techniques can help traumatized people to move forward. We'll examine what makes mindfulness effective, and how it can change lives and communities.
Air Date: February 12, 2017
Guest: Chris Bobel, Associate Professor of Women's and Gender Studies at UMass Boston
Half the world experiences it - but no one wants to talk about it. Menstruation researcher Chris Bobel talks about the stigma around periods - and new technologies that are changing how we view our own bodies.
Air Date: January 29, 2017
Guest: Robyn Hannigan, Dean of the School for the Environment at UMass Boston
Not sure if climate change has hit your hometown? Trying to distinguish fact from fiction? Environmental science expert Robyn Hannigan catches us up on the latest climate news.
Air date: January 22, 2017
Guest: Carol Hardy-Fanta, author of Contested Transformation: Race, Gender, and Political Leadership in 21st Century America
In the wake of Donald Trump's surprising win, pundits are scratching their heads. Was America just not "ready" for a female president? Is this a backlash to the first ever black President of the United States? According to Carol Hardy-Fanta, whether the country is "ready" or not, women and minorities are transforming the American political landscape. Hardy-Fanta shares her data-driven analysis of political leadership in a new book, Contested Transformation: Race, Gender, and Political Leadership in 21st Century America.
Air date: January 15, 2017
Guest: Sonia Kennebeck, director of National Bird
Today, a soldier sitting in Nevada can execute an air strike halfway around the world. Drone warfare is an increasingly important part of U.S. military strategy - and one that is shrouded in secrecy. Documentarian Sonia Kennebeck digs deep into the world of military drones in her new film, National Bird, exploring the untold consequences of drone strikes on U.S. soldiers and foreign victims.
Air date: January 1, 2017
Guest: Rachel Rubin
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. It was the year of Hamilton Mania, it was the year of Suicide Squad. Join host Anna Fisher-Pinkert and guest Rachel Rubin for a round up of the best and worst pop culture moments of 2016.
Guest: Molly Booth
Need a mental vacation this winter? You could travel through time with high schooler Emma Allen to save Shakespeare's original production of Hamlet. Host Anna Fisher Pinkert talks with Molly Booth, author of Saving Hamlet.
Guest: Monica Pelayo
Is America a "nation of immigrants," or is it a nation designed to keep outsiders apart? Host Anna Fisher-Pinkert talks with historian Monica Pelayo about the history of immigration in the 20th century, and parallels to the past in our contemporary immigration debates.
Guest: Louis Klarevas
Newtown. Aurora. San Bernadino. Orlando. After every mass shooting, there's one lingering question: Why? In his book, Rampage Nation, Louis Klarevas examines the stories and statistics behind the most violent attacks of the last decade. Host Anna Fisher-Pinkert talks with Klarevas about his new book, and why he thinks gun control is the solution to preventing mass shootings in the future.
Guest: Tahirah Abdullah
In the last year, incidents of racism in the workplace, in neighborhoods, in Hollywood, and on the presidential campaign trail have all made headlines. What are the long term mental health impacts of experiencing racism? Host Anna Fisher-Pinkert talks with professor of psychology Tahirah Abdullah about mental illness, stigma, racism, and more.
Guest: Jan Mutchler
Can seniors age in place in a city where the next snowpocalypse is right around the corner, where public transit is sometimes unreliable, and where housing costs are on the rise? Host Anna Fisher-Pinkert talks with gerontology professor Jan Mutchler about our region's growing elderly population.
Guests: Charles McGee, George Hardy, and Jean Rhodes
For our Veterans' Day show, Anna Fisher-Pinkert talks with Charles McGee and George Hardy, two veterans of the famous Tuskegee Airmen. Then, Anna talks to Jean Rhodes, a professor who has created a new app to help veterans tell their own stories.
Guest: James Young
Memorials are supposed to help us to reflect on history – but what should they look like? Is there a right way to remember events like the Holocaust or September 11? Host Anna Fisher-Pinkert talks with James Young, who was a juror for the September 11 Memorial design competition, about some of the startling, moving, and haunting spaces he has helped to create.
Guest: Lloyd Schwartz
Beyond the big costumes and vocal pyrotechnics, there's a lot to love about the opera scene today. Really! Pulitzer Prize-winning music critic Lloyd Schwartz joins host Anna Fisher-Pinkert for a friendly introduction to a heady musical genre.
Guest: Angy Rivera
Estimates say there are 11 million undocumented people in America today. At 24, Angy Rivera came out as one of them. Host Anna Fisher-Pinkert talks to Angy about a documentary that follows her experience, Don't Tell Anyone (No Le Digas a Nadie).
Guest: Susan Quinn
One came from wealth and privilege, the other from poverty. One was the niece of one president and the wife of another, the other was a reporter for the Associated Press. Anna Fisher-Pinkert talks with author Susan Quinn about the unlikely romance between First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt and Lorena "Hick" Hickock, subject of the new book Eleanor and Hick.
Guest: David Cash
We'd all like to live in a utopian future where jobs are plentiful and pollution is nonexistent. But is that future coming? Host Anna Fisher-Pinkert talks with dean of the McCormack Graduate School about clean energy, the economy, and the tough choices ahead.
Guest: Leslie Wang
Since the 1990's, tens of thousands of babies and children have been adopted from China into Western families. Host Anna Fisher-Pinkert talks with sociologist Leslie Wang about what life is like for Chinese children in state-run orphanages, and the complex relationship between the Chinese government and American nonprofits.
Guest: Ken Reardon
Most Americans live in cities, and that's not changing any time soon. But cities have to do more than house people. Residents need jobs, transportation, sanitation, education, and entertainment. Host Anna Fisher-Pinkert talks with urban planner Ken Reardon about how Boston can retain its character while planning for the future.
Guest: Pacey Foster
In the mid-1980's, DJ Magnus Johnstone played music from Boston's up and coming hip-hop artists, before they made it big. Host Anna Fisher-Pinkert talks with Pacey Foster, who is preserving the legacy of Boston hip-hop.
Guest: Neil Hayward
Birder Neil Hayward didn't mean to break any records - but after a full year chasing after some of the rarest birds in North America, he wound up spotting a whopping 749 birds in one very Big Year. Host Anna Fisher-Pinkert talks with Hayward about his new book, Lost Among the Birds.
Guest: Randy Albelda
Americans have some of the fewest vacation days and longest hours of workers in industrialized nations. For many workers, paid time off to care for a new baby or an aging parent is a pipe dream. Host Anna Fisher-Pinkert talks with economist Randy Albelda about why Americans have so little paid time off.
Air Date: 9/4/16
Guest: Mason Dunn
This is the year that politicians and journalists focused new attention to the transgender rights movement. While North Carolina and other states consider so-called "bathroom bills," Massachusetts' legislature is considering furthering anti trans discrimination laws. Host Anna Fisher-Pinkert talks to educator and activist Mason Dunn, executive director of the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition, about the political scene, the law, and the trans community.
Air Date: 6/26/16
Guests: Banu Ozkazanc-Pan and Tom Hopcroft
Jobs in technology are a major part of Massachusetts' economy. But women don't always have the easiest paths to successful careers in tech. Host Anna Fisher-Pinkert talks with Management Professor Banu Ozkazanc-Pan and MassTLC President and CEO Tom Hopcroft about gender and the tech sector.
Air Date: 6/19/16
Guest: Nathalia Holt
You know about the NASA astronauts who left Earth's orbit and finally took the first steps on the moon. But what do you know about the women who got them there? Anna Fisher-Pinkert talks with Nathalia Holt, author of Rocket Girls: The Women who Propelled Us from Missiles to the Moon to Mars, about the human "computers" who made NASA's space program possible.
Air Date: 6/12/16
Guest: Seth Moulton
Congressman Seth Moulton is in his first term representing Massachusetts' 6th district. He talks with host Anna Fisher-Pinkert about issues ranging from healthcare for veterans and education to foreign policy and the presidential election.
Air Date: 6/5/16
Guest: Eduardo Siqueira
Professor of Community Development and Planning Eduardo Siqueira talks with host Anna Fisher-Pinkert about immigration in Boston and beyond. Who are Boston’s immigrants? And how do local and national policies affect their lives here in the city?
Air Date: 5/15/16
Guest: Deanna Elliot
The Marble Collection publishes the Massachusetts High School Magazine of the Arts, a platform for young writers and artists to express their creativity. Host Anna Fisher-Pinkert speaks with The Marble Collection's founder, Deanna Elliot, and two young writers whose works have been published in the latest edition of the magazine.
Air Date: 5/8/16
Guest: Padraig O'Malley
Padraig O'Malley has played a role in peacemaking in Northern Ireland, South Africa, and Iraq. His approach, inspired by Alcoholics Anonymous, is to bring together people from divided societies to help each other live differently. A new documentary about O'Malley's life, titled The Peacemaker, has its New England debut on April 28 at the Brattle Theatre. Host Anna Fisher-Pinkert talks to O'Malley about his work advocating for peace around the world.
Air Date: 5/1/16
Guest: Joe Bagley
Amost everywhere you look in Boston, there's history just beneath the surface. Archaeological digs in Boston have turned up everything from bowling balls to fish hooks - and each one has a story. Host Anna Fisher-Pinkert talks with Joe Bagley, Boston's city archaeologist, about his new book A History of Boston in 50 Artifacts, and a new dig on the site of Malcolm X's childhood home.
Air Date: 4/24/16
Guest: Bestor Cram
For men who have spent years in the prison system, it isn't easy to start over on the outside. A new documentary, Beyond the Wall, explores the lives of formerly incarcerated men living in Lowell and Lawrence. Host Anna Fisher-Pinkert talks with director Bestor Cram about his new film, which debuts as part of the Boston International Film Festival on May 1st at the Somerville Theatre.
Air Date: 4/17/16
Guest: Christian Weller
Retirement should be a time to kick back and relax - but for more and more Americans, retirement is a time of financial stress and uncertainty. Politicians and policy experts are at odds about how to make a financially secure retirement possible for all Americans. Professor Christian Weller joins host Anna Fisher-Pinkert and shares insight from his book Retirement on the Rocks: Why Americans Can't Get Ahead and How New Savings Policies Can Help.
Air Date: 4/10/16
Guest: Minoo Emami
Artist Minoo Emami survived the Iran-Iraq war, and her art is inspired by the long-term impacts of that conflict, and of violent conflicts around the world. Working with other Iranian women artists, Emami transforms prosthetic limbs into beautiful objects. Emami joins host Anna Fisher-Pinkert for a conversation about art, war, and memory.
Air Date: 4/3/16
Guest: Atyia Martin
In 2015, Mayor Walsh joined the 100 Resilient Cities Program, and appointed Atyia Martin as the city’s first ever Chief Resilience Officer. Anna Fisher-Pinkert talks with Martin about her mission to make Boston a more resilient city by making it more socially, economically, and racially inclusive.
Air Date: 3/27/16
Guest: Bill Carlo
More than 1,000 people died from opioid overdoses in 2014, and those numbers are rising. Host Anna Fisher-Pinkert speaks with Bill Carlo, director of UMass Boston’s Addictions Counselor Education Program, about the opioid addiction crisis in Massachusetts.
Air Date: 3/20/16
Guest: Arthur Eisenkraft
Jobs in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) are predicted to grow exponentially in the next 20 years. Are our schools ready to teach kids what they need to know to be successful in STEM? Education expert Arthur Eisenkraft joins host Anna Fisher-Pinkert for a conversation about curiosity, creativity, and accountability in science education. Listen Now!
Air Date: 3/13/16
Guest: Ellen Douglas
Seas are rising. The planet is warming. Experts say that the threat of extreme weather will increase exponentially in the decades to come. Could a Sandy-like superstorm happen here in Boston? And if that storm hits, will Boston be prepared? Host Anna Fisher-Pinkert talks with scientist Ellen Douglas about climate change and Boston's future. Listen Now!
Air Date: 3/6/16
Guest: Mo Cunningham
On the eve of the Iowa caucus, host Anna Fisher-Pinkert speaks with Mo Cunningham, professor of political science at UMass Boston, about national, state, and local politics. Are voters getting "bamboozled" by outsider candidates? Are the pollsters pulling a fast one on the public? Cunningham gets to the heart of the matter on Commonwealth Journal. Listen Now!
Air date: 1/31/16
Download Commonwealth Journal Programs on iTunes
Commonwealth Journal's shows are available on iTunes the day after they air. Read More