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Social Science for a World in Crisis

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The COVID pandemic is a crisis affecting not only public health but also governments, economies, and societies worldwide.

It disrupts virtually everything that enables us to work, learn, play, and thrive. It also amplifies multiple vulnerabilities that existed prior to it, exposing historic and persistent inequalities, discrimination, and disadvantage in numerous forms. The pandemic additionally provides a complex setting for global movements unfolding in its shadow – the upsurge in extremist populism and bitter polarization, accelerated demands for racial justice, contestation of elections, and insurrection abetted by disinformation and conspiracy theories. Such events, crises, and interactions among them bring the U.S. and the world to a dangerous moment. But they also present unique opportunities to confront challenges with needed correctives to political, economic, and social infrastructures. No institutions, behaviors, or beliefs should be exempt from reconsideration.

Launched in 2020, the Center’s webcast series offers themed public discussions. CASBS-affiliated scholars and practitioners explain what brought us to this moment and explore how to generate realistic, durable change in service of more prosperous, equitable, inclusive, and human centered societies.

The Center gratefully acknowledges the Hewlett Foundation and individual donors for their support toward the production and presentation of this series.

Scroll to the bottom of the page for series credits.

May 2, 2023

Episode 23: "New Visions for Effective Worker Influence"

John Ahlquist, Roy Bahat, Oren Cass, Veena Dubal

Co-sponsors: William + Flora Hewlett Foundation; Center for Commerce and Diplomacy, UC San Diego; Peter F. Cowhey Center on Global Transformation, UC San Diego

*Audio version on CASBS's Human Centered podcast!



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November 21, 2022

Episode 22: "Improving Academic-Government Collaboration in Evidence-Based Policymaking"

Jake Bowers, Carrie Cihak, Daniel Hopkins, Ruth Levine, and Piyush Tantia

Co-sponsors: Evidence in Government and Politics (EGAP), ideas42, IDinsight, and SAGE Publishing

Audio version on CASBS's Human Centered podcast!


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August 23, 2022

Episode 21: "Creating a New Political Economy Framework: Where Do We Go From Here?"

Elizabeth Anderson, Samuel Bowles, Angus Deaton, Amy Kapczynski, and Debra Satz

Co-sponsors: Open-access Resources in Economics (CORE), the IFS Deaton Review, the McCoy Family Center for Ethics in Society at Stanford University, and the William + Flora Hewlett Foundation.

Audio version on CASBS's Human Centered podcast!

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June 14, 2022

Episode 20: Building Social Science into the Foundation of AI Practice

Kristian Hammond, Daniel Ho, and Jennifer Log in conversation with Jacob Ward

Co-sponsors: Behavioral Science & Policy Association; Center for Advancing Safety of Machine Intelligence (CASMI) at Northwestern University; Stanford Institute for Human-Centered AI; Psychology of Technology Institute; Regulation, Evaluation, and Governance Lab (RegLab) at Stanford University; The Rockefeller Foundation

*Audio version on CASBS's Human Centered podcast!

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March 22, 2022

Episode 19: "Gen Z is the Future -- Like It or Not!

Roberta Katz, Sarah Ogilvie, Jane Shaw, Kat Tenbarge, and Linda Woodhead

Co-sponsors: Haas Center for Public Service at Stanford University, Knight Foundation, and Stanford Social Media Lab

*Audio version on CASBS's Human Centered podcast!

November 8, 2021

Episode 18: "High-tech Modernism"

danah boyd, Henry Farrell, Marion Fourcade, William Janeway, Charlton McIlwain, and Zeynep Tufekci

Co-sponsors: Data & Society; Ethics, Society, and Technology Hub at Stanford University; Institute for New Economic Thinking, and Social Science Matrix at UC Berkeley

*Audio version on CASBS's Human Centered podcast!

August 27, 2021

Episode 17: "The Voices of Americans in Crisis"

James Fallows, Corey Fields, David Grusky, and Hazel Markus

Co-sponsors: Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, Russell Sage Foundation, and Stanford Center on Poverty and Inequality

*Audio version on CASBS's Human Centered podcast!

June 23, 2021

Episode 16: "How Social Science Advances Our Understanding of Pandemics"

Peter Loewen, Alexis Madrigal, Adrian Raftery, Prerna Singh, and Robb Willer

Co-sponsors: CIFAR, the Pandemic Action Network, the Public Policy Forum, SAGE Publishing, and the Stanford Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society

*Audio version on CASBS's Human Centered podcast!

MAY 25, 2021

Episode 15: "What Human Flourishing Looks Like"

Jenna Bednar, Hilary Cottam, James Manyika, and Gillian Tett

Co-sponsors: Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan, McKinsey Global Institute, New America, Stanford SPARQ, and the William + Flora Hewlett Foundation

*Audio version on CASBS's Human Centered podcast!

April 28, 2021

Episode 14: "An Earth-friendly Political Economy"

Eric Beinhocker, Genevieve Bell, Arun Majumdar, and Kim Stanley Robinson

Co-sponsors: Insitute for New Economic Thinking at the University of Oxford, William + Flora Hewlett Foundation, and Precourt Institute for Energy at Stanford University

*Audio version on CASBS's Human Centered podcast!

MARCH 18, 2021

Episode 13: "America's Black-White Divide: Looking Back, Looking Around, Looking Forward"

Lawrence D. Bobo, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Margaret Levi, and Claude Steele

Co-sponsors: Program in African and African American Studies at Stanford University, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, American Philosophical Society, Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity at Stanford University.

*Audio version on CASBS's Human Centered podcast!

February 3, 2021

Episode 12: "What Institutional Courage Looks Like"

Estelle Freedman, Jennifer Freyd, Jennifer Gómez, and Carolyn Warner

Co-sponsors: Center for Institutional Courage, Gendered Violence Research Network at Arizona State University, Merrill Palmer Skillman Institute at Wayne State University, and Metro Detroit Association of Black Psychologists

*Audio version on CASBS's Human Centered podcast!

December 8, 2020

Episode 11: "The Digital Dilemma in the Time of Covid"

John Markoff, Nilam Ram, Byron Reeves, Abby Smith Rumsey, and Maryanne Wolf

Co-sponsors: Bloomberg Beta, the Council on Library and Information Resources, and The Human Screenome Project at Stanford University

*Audio version on CASBS's Human Centered podcast!

November 19, 2020

Episode 10: "Reforming Democratic Institutions and Practices"

James Fishkin, Luis Fraga, Martin Gilens, and Jane Mansbridge

Co-sponsors: Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation, Harvard University, and Center for Deliberative Democracy, Stanford University

*Audio version on CASBS's Human Centered podcast!

October 14, 2020

Episode 9: "The Persistence of Racial Inequality"

Joshua Cohen, Francis Fukuyama, Margaret Levi, Glenn Loury, and Alondra Nelson

Co-sponsors: Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law, Stanford University, and the Social Science Research Council

*Audio version on CASBS's Human Centered podcast!

September 25, 2020

Episode 8: "Can We Rebuild Social Cohesion in the U.S.?"

Danielle Allen, David Brooks, Shaylyn Romney Garrett, Eric Klinenberg, and Robert Putnam

Co-sponsors: the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University, and Weave: The Social Fabric Project at the Aspen Institute

*Audio version on CASBS's Human Centered podcast!

September 16, 2020

Episode 7: "What Will Become of Work and Workers?"

Tara Behrend, Louis Hyman, John Irons, Margaret Levi, and Phyllis Moen

Co-sponsors: Institute for Work Studies, ILR School, Cornell University; New America; Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis, The New School; Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology

*Audio version on CASBS's Human Centered podcast!

August 27, 2020

Episode 6: "Higher Ed at the Crossroads"

Nina Bandelj, Jonathan Jansen, Debra Satz, and Caitlin Zaloom

Co-sponsors: Public Books and the Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study

*Audio version on CASBS's Human Centered podcast!

August 12, 2020

Episode 5: "Reimagining the Corporation"

Paul Brest, Shona Brown, Colin Mayer, & Margaret O'Mara

Co-sponsor: The British Academy


*Audio version on CASBS's Human Centered podcast!

July 21, 2020

Episode 4: "Race and the Movement for Justice in America"

Xavier de Souza Briggs, Clayborne Carson, Douglas McAdam, & Brenda Stevenson

Co-sponsors: National Humanities Center and the Center for Comparative Studies of Race and Ethnicity, Stanford University

*Audio version on CASBS's Human Centered podcast!

July 9, 2020

Episode 3: "Polarization and Contentious Politics in the Age of Covid"

Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar, Christian Davenport, & Rachel Kleinfeld

Co-sponsors: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and Annual Reviews

*Audio version on CASBS's Human Centered podcast!

June 5, 2020

Episode 2: "America As a Developing Country?"

Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar, Margaret Levi, & Barry Weingast

Co-sponsor: Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, Stanford Univ.


*Audio version on CASBS's Human Centered podcast!

May 15, 2020

Episode 1: "Politics as the Problem and Solution During COVID-19 and Beyond"

Binyamin Appelbaum, Tim Besley, & Margaret Levi

Co-sponsor: Annual Reviews

Series creator: Margaret Levi  
Series producer: Mike Gaetani  
Live event production assistance: Janzen Alejo, Jason Gonzales  

You also can view the series playlist on YouTube.  

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CASBS presents this series for free. Please consider a donation to support the production of these webcasts and related outreach activities. A contribution now helps us to continue bringing you these great conversations.

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