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Podcast 2020

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Human Centered features conversations about projects and research undertaken by CASBS fellows and affiliates whose work engages central themes of concern to the Center. The podcast also features audio versions of events from CASBS's online webcast series, Social Science for a World in Crisis, as well as interviews with renowned fellows from CASBS history.

CASBS brings together deep thinkers to address wicked problems and significant societal challenges. It empowers them to challenge boundaries and assumptions in order to advance our understanding of the full range of human beliefs, behaviors, interactions, and institutions. As a leading incubator of human-centered knowledge, CASBS is a place that is, well…human centered.

Want alerts about new episodes? Subscribe to Human Centered on your mobile device using your favorite podcast app. If you access through an app, you'll find notes for each episode that link to supplemental resources of relevance.


Human Centered on: YouTube | Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Simplecast | Podcast Addict | Player FM | Goodpods | Higher Ed Pods | tons of other podcast apps

Producer: Mike Gaetani
Co-producer, audio engineer, and editor: Joe Monzel 


Episode 36

Reforming Democratic Institutions and Practices

November 13, 2020

Luis Fraga moderates a discussion on the vulnerabilities in our political and electoral processes and correctives for them with eminent panelists James Fishkin, Martin Gilens, and Jane Mansbridge.

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Episode 35

The Persistence of Racial Inequality

November 13, 2020

CASBS Director Margaret Levi moderates a discussion on the causal factors perpetuating racial inequality in the United States with panelists Joshua Cohen, Francis Fukuyama, Glenn Loury, and Alondra Nelson.

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Episode 34

Can We Rebuild Social Cohesion in The U.S.?

November 13, 2020

New York Times columnist David Brooks moderates a discussion on the history and possible future of social cohesion and depolarization with panelists: Robert Putnam, Danielle Allen, Eric Klinenberg, and Shaylyn Romney Garrett.

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Episode 33

What Will Become of Work and Workers?

November 13, 2020

CASBS Director Margaret Levi leads a panel discussion on the changing political and economic context for workers in light of the COVID pandemic with former CASBS fellows Tara Behrend, Louis Hyman, Phyllis Moen, and current CASBS research affiliate John Irons.

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Episode 32

Analyzing Social Media Influence

November 6, 2020

John Markoff chats with Sandra González-Bailón, Associate Professor of Communication at the University of Pennsylvania and 2019-20 CASBS fellow, about the influence of social media platforms on news and political activism.

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Episode 31

Higher Ed at the Crossroads

September 29, 2020

Debra Satz moderates a conversation with Nina Bandelj, Jonathan Jansen, and Caitlin Zaloom on the COVID-induced pressures faced by colleges and universities, and their to struggle to balance their students’ education with public health concerns and financial sustainability.

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Episode 30

Reimagining the Corporation

September 15, 2020

Paul Brest moderates a conversation with Shona Brown, Colin Mayer, and Margaret O'Mara, on the role of business in society and the evolving relationship between corporations and government, both before and during the COVID pandemic.

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Episode 29

Metrics & Misconduct in Scholarly Publishing

September 8, 2020

The creativity of academic cheaters will amaze you: Mario Biagioli, a UCLA Distinguished Professor of Law and Communication as well as a 2019-20 CASBS fellow, chats with Host John Markoff about the history and recent trends of fraud and gaming in scholarly publishing.

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Episode 28

Race and the Movement for Justice in America

August 26, 2020

Join Clayborne Carson, Douglas McAdam, and Brenda Stevenson in conversation with Xavier de Souza Briggs as they explore how insights from America’s distant and near past can inform the possibilities for durable, transformational change in our time.

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Episode 27

Polarization and Contentious Politics in the Age of Covid

August 6, 2020

California Supreme Court Justice & CASBS board chair Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar moderates a conversation with former CASBS fellows Christian Davenport and Rachel Kleinfeld, on the topic what polarization is, why it exists, and why it persists.

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Episode 26

America As a Developing Country?

July 20, 2020

California Supreme Court Justice & CASBS board chair Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar, Stanford political scientist & former CASBS fellow Barry Weingast, and CASBS director Margaret Levi use a recent article they coauthored as a jumping off point for a discussion on what we can learn from the U.S. in its political-economic development in the first half of the 20th century that applies to the U.S. and its state capacity today and in the future.

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Episode 25

Welfare as Tool of Repression in China

July 16, 2020

Jennifer Pan, a 2019-20 CASBS fellow, is an associate professor of communication at Stanford University. Host John Markoff chats with her about her recent book “Welfare for Autocrats,” which explores how the Chinese government has reshaped a social assistance program into a tool of surveillance and repression.

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Episode 24

Ethically Editing Genomes

July 16, 2020

Alta Charo, a 2019-20 CASBS fellow, is a professor of law and bioethics at the University of Wisconsin. Host John Markoff spoke with Charo about the ethics of genome editing in the fields of ecology and human biology.

Shout out to CASBS information manager Jason Gonzales for opening this episode for us!

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Episode 23

Freedom To Oppress

May 28, 2020

Historian and 2019-20 CASBS fellow Jefferson Cowie talks with host John Markoff about the inescapable legacy of slavery, the political fracturing of labor, anti-statism, and whether the current structure of federalism can adequately address issues like climate change and pandemics.

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Episode 22

Repairing Political Redistricting

April 23, 2020

Host John Markoff chats with Wendy K. Tam Cho, a 2019-20 CASBS fellow, Senior Research Scientist at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications, and professor of political science, statistics, mathematics, law, and Asian American studies at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Cho’s computer modeling produces and analyzes millions of finely tuned district maps. Cho and Markoff discuss the ways in which technology can reshape the process of political redistricting.

Shout-out to Drina Adams, finance associate on the CASBS staff, for opening the episode for us!

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Episode 21

From Big Data to Big Variables

March 31, 2020

Susan Holmes, a Stanford professor of statistics and 2017-18 CASBS fellow, chats with host John Markoff about her applied work on the human microbiome, the difficulty with P-Values, the power of heterogeneous data, and her research on Claude Shannon - widely known as the father of information theory and himself a CASBS fellow in 1957-58.

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Episode 20

The Complexity Economist

March 5, 2020

Economist and 2019-20 CASBS Fellow Brian Arthur chats with John about the evolution of technology, the application of complexity theory in economics, and society’s struggle with distributive economics in an age of increasing productivity.

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Episode 19

The AI Ethics Landscape

February 19, 2020

Host John Markoff chats with artist and AI ethics advocate Şerife (Sherry) Wong about “Fluxus Landscape,” her interactive map - created in partnership with CASBS - of private and public organizations engaged in work on the ethics and governance of artificial intelligence.

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Episode 18

Putting Peer Pressure to Work

February 5, 2020

Robert Frank, professor of economics at Cornell University and CASBS fellow 1992-93, sat down with host John Markoff to discuss his latest book “Under the Influence: Putting Peer Pressure to Work”.

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Episode 17

Foreclosing on America

January 8, 2020

Anthropologist and former CASBS fellow Noelle Stout teaches and researches at Apple University. Host John Markoff speaks with Stout about her 2019 book Dispossessed: How Predatory Bureaucracy Foreclosed on the American Middle Class, partially written at CASBS during her 2016-17 fellowship year, as well as her current work integrating social science into technologies like artificial intelligence.

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Human Centered

Producer: Mike Gaetani

Co-producer, audio engineer, and editor: Joe Monzel


CASBS thanks 2017-18 fellow and renowned journalist John Markoff, co-founder of Human Centered and its inaugural host (episodes 1-25, 29, 32). John occasionally returns as a guest host.