Then & Now

Then & Now

Then & Now connects past to present, using historical analysis and context to help guide us through modern issues and policy decisions. Then & Now is brought to you by the UCLA Luskin Center for History and Policy. Then & Now is produced by Maia Ferdman and David Myers, and features original music by Daniel Raijman.

Episodes

July 12, 2021 48 min

Political philosopher Hannah Arendt famously argued - in the case of SS officer Adolf Eichmann - that ordinary people can easily become complicit in evil acts as part of a larger system of injustice and inequality. In this special episode, we discuss the concept of "the banality of evil" with Robin Kelley, prominent scholar and professor of U.S. and African American History. As protests spread across the country over the mu...

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This week’s episode features Stephen Aron, outgoing UCLA historian and incoming CEO of the Autry Museum of the American West. Dr. Aron discussed the origins and persistence of the idea of the Western “frontier” in the American imagination, his approach to cultural “convergence” in the West, and his vision for the Autry Museum’s role in Los Angeles and the West today.



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As California lifts longtime public health restrictions and life in parts of the United States begin returning to a semblance of pre-pandemic normalcy, it is important to recall the unfolding crises of the past 15 months. In this episode, UCLA Historian Peter Baldwin, author of the recent book Fighting the First Wave: Why the Coronavirus was Tackled So Differently Across the Globe, looks back on the past year and offers intriguing ...

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This special three-part episode of Then & Now features three experts in Middle East history and politics who examine multiple dimensions of the recent outbreak of violence in Israel and Palestine. Their incisive analysis provides listeners with a thorough overview of the historical context, political consequences, and potential impact on future peace in Israel-Palestine.

The first segment features Hussein Ibish, senior resident ...

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UCLA undergraduate students Firyal Bawab and Mariam Aref Mahmoud and graduate student Phil Hoffman join Then & Now to discuss their forthcoming report on U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. They track the historical effects of American “soft” or "non-military" foreign policy in the Middle East on regional governments and economies over time, including the consequences of neoliberalism in Egypt and Jordan. They also ...

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On January 6, 2021, hundreds of far-right protestors, many of them wearing white nationalist clothing and insignia, stormed the U.S. Capitol building. On February 16, UCLA student Christian Secor was arrested for his participation in the riot. In response to these developments, the Luskin Center for History and Policy released a report on white nationalism at UCLA titled “From Student Politics Capitol Insurrection: The Intensificat...

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Henry Kissinger is arguably one of the most important and controversial contemporary figures in U.S. foreign policy. As a former Secretary of State and National Security Advisor during the Nixon and Ford Administrations, a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, and an accused war criminal, Kissinger is both revered and reviled. This week on Then & Now UCLA History Professor Kevin Kim interviews Vanderbilt University Professor Thom...

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From his childhood in Essaouira, Morocco, to his adolescence involved in Marxist politics, to his time as a successful banker in Paris, to his advocacy for peace and cross cultural understanding as senior advisor to two Moroccan kings, André Azoulay has lived an extraordinary life. He joins Then & Now in conversation with LCHP Director David Myers and Professor Aomar Boum (UCLA Department of Anthropology), to discuss his person...

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Anti-Asian sentiment and violence has spiked dramatically over the last year. Most recently on March 16, a mass shooting in Atlanta, Georgia took the lives of eight people, six of whom were Asian women. UCLA Professors David Yoo and Karen Umemoto join this special episode of Then & Now to discuss this disturbing trend and situate it in the context of race and racism in American society. They discuss policies that have stigmatiz...

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Months after the national election and despite numerous judicial decisions to the contrary, many Americans still believe the election was stolen from Donald Trump. In recent weeks various state legislatures have used the claim of voter fraud to propose new bills to change voting procedures, launching a new chapter in the long battle over the franchise in the United States. In this episode of "Then & Now," we discuss the...

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Higher education institutions in the United States can be seen as both bastions of liberalism and conservatism, as the realm of both radicals and establishmentarians. Eddie Cole, associate professor of higher education and organizational change at UCLA and author of The Campus Color Line: College Presidents and the Struggle for Black Freedom addresses this seeming contradiction. He discusses the dual nature of the university, as we...

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In 2019, Anthea M. Hartig made headlines when she became the first woman director of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History in Washington, DC. Since then, she has been a fierce advocate for public history in the nation’s capital. Join us for this President's Day episode as we learn about how Hartig, a UCLA alumna, fell in love with history, developed a rich and challenging approach to the past, and se...

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A recent LATimes investigation found that about 67% of the homeless population in Los Angeles County has either a mental illness or a substance abuse disorder. Yet, Dr. Jonathan Sherin wrote in a December op-ed, mental health policies are failing those who most need services. Dr. Sherin, the director of the LA County Department of Mental Health, joins Then & Now this week to discuss this challenge. He sits down with Dr. Kirsten...

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Between a violent attack on the U.S. Capitol and the catastrophic surge of COVID-19 across the country, the beginning of 2021 has been even more turbulent than 2020. This special episode of Then & Now, recorded on Martin Luther King Day and released on Inauguration Day, features Robin D. Kelley, prominent UCLA scholar on U.S. and African American history. He looks at the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., as well as fascism ...

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This week’s episode features UCLA PhD candidates Phil Hoffman (History), Lily Hindy (History), and Monica Widmann (Political Science), who have been spearheading a long-term research project with LCHP examining American soft power in the Middle East. They discuss their new report “Skewed Recovery: Minority Assistance Programs to Iraq in Historical Perspective,” which details the ways in which Western powers have historically distri...

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As we come to the end of an historic year, Then & Now examines one unfortunate statistic: the rise in hate crimes and hate incidences in Los Angeles County and across the country. Robin Toma, the Executive Director of the Los Angeles County Human Relations Commission, joins us to discuss the development of "hate crime" as a legal category, the ways government agencies have historically responded to hatred, and current e...

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Despite losing the national election, Donald Trump continues to exercise total control over the Republican party.  Tens of millions of voters supported him, and most prominent Republican leaders still refuse to acknowledge the results of the election. How did we get here? How did Newt Gingrich, Sarah Palin, and the election of Barack Obama lay the groundwork for Trumpism? As we head into a new presidential administration, what is t...

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UCLA researchers and graduate students Marques Vestal, Fernanda Jahn Verri, and Andrew Klein join Then & Now to discuss the Luskin Center for History and Policy's forthcoming report detailing the history of the homelessness crisis in Los Angeles County. They discuss how the last century of housing policy, racial dynamics, and policing practices all contributed to the crisis we find ourselves in today. This is the first epis...

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As a follow-up to our last pre-election episode, Professor Lynn Vavreck and Zev Yaroslavsky return to "Then & Now," joined by Professor Lorrie Frasure, to analyze the 2020 election results. They discuss a range of key topics: President Trump’s refusal to concede, the persistence of divided electorates in U.S. history, the political behavior of white men, the performance and reliability of polling, and the question of wh...

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Two of the country's -- and UCLA’s -- keenest observers of electoral politics, Lynn Vavreck and Zev Yaroslavsky, join Then & Now to discuss their take on the 2020 election in light of the previous two elections. Lynn Vavreck is the Marvin Hoffenberg Professor of American Politics and Public Policy at UCLA, a contributing columnist to The Upshot at The New York Times, and the author or co-author of five books on electoral po...

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