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.... Show More

Episodes

September 21, 2020 50 min

Whether watching the Democratic and Republican National Conventions, reading two different news sites, or merely glancing at any given Twitter feed, one might think that Americans across the country live in alternate universes. As the 2020 election approaches, political polarization has reached a boiling point. Dr. Carolyn Lukensmeyer, a nationally renowned expert in deliberative democracy and Executive Director Emerita of the Nati...

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As the United States continues to experience a national reckoning with its long history of racial inequality, so too a debate has taken hold in the Jewish community about where and whether Jews of Color fit into the communal mainstream. This episode features Devin Naar, Isaac Alhadeff Professor of Sephardic Studies at the University of Washington, who sheds light on this question through the lens of Sephardic Jewish history. He cha...

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August 31, 2020 1 min

As we near the start of the 2020-21 academic year at UCLA, Then & Now will be moving to a biweekly schedule. Be sure to follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, and to sign up for our emails, to hear about all the great work coming out of the Luskin Center for History and Policy.

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This year marks the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which granted and protects women’s right to vote. As we mark this centennial during an election year, UCLA Historian Ellen Dubois, one of the preeminent scholars of the movement for women’s suffrage and author of “Suffrage: Women’s Long Battle for the Vote" (2020), joins us to reflect on the Amendment's legacy.  She discusse...

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The Eighth Amendment of the United States Constitution prevents the government from inflicting "cruel and unusual punishment” on those accused or convicted of a crime. Yet California’s prisons have been overcrowded, rife with violence, and lacking basic healthcare provisions for decades. In the era of COVID-19, this context translates to an infection and death rate well above that of the general population. Governor Gavin Newso...

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In the wake of the unprecedented election of President Donald Trump, and now punctuated by the COVID-19 pandemic and summer of protests, many scholars and public figures have argued that the U.S. is descending into autocracy. Following the recent violent intervention of federal law enforcement officers in Portland, concerns about the state of America’s democracy have grown.

Samuel Moyn, historian and Henry R. Luce Professor of Juris...

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What are the roots of mass deportation and incarceration, and what do the two have to do with each other? How can studying these histories allow us to confront and dismantle the racist structures at the center of today’s national conversation? Professor Kelly Lytle Hernández — UCLA historian, activist, author, and recent recipient of the prestigious MacArthur Prize — shares her insights on these vital questions on this week’s episo...

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On June 15, the Supreme Court ruled that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act protects Gay and Transgender individuals from workplace discrimination. ACLU National Legal Director David Cole, who spearheaded the victorious lawsuit, joins Then & Now to discuss this surprise ruling, how the ACLU and its allies framed the argument, what the decision's legal implications are for today, and how the Supreme Court’s approach to discri...

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The seemingly intractable Israel-Palestine conflict may well be moving into a new phase, one in which the long-dominant two-state solution is no longer viable or desirable to the parties involved.  How did this occur?  And what would replace it? 

Peter Beinart, noted journalist and editor-at-large of Jewish Currents magazine, recently published two pieces in the Jewish Currents and The New York Times about abandoning his own faith i...

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What is work? Who is a worker? How have women been perceived and treated as workers?  Who is deemed “deserving” of benefits, welfare, and pensions, and who gets excluded?  Answers to these questions have enormous implications on the the structure of society and policy and how we live our lives. 

Professor Eileen Boris, Hull Professor and Distinguished Professor of Feminist Studies and Professor of History, Black Studies, and Global ...

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From Jack Johnson to Muhammed Ali, from Tommie Smith to Colin Kaepernick, Black athletes have played a huge role in the social and cultural history of the 20th and 21st centuries.  Ben Carrington, sociologist at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, joins Then & Now to discuss the "racial project" of the Black Athlete.  He observes how Black athletes have been fetishized, commodified, controlled, an...

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This year marks the 50th anniversary of the first LGBTQ Pride Parade and Festival in West Hollywood. Activist, speaker, and founder of the TransLatin@ Coalition Bamby Salcedo joins Then & Now in conversation with LCHP’s Maia Ferdman to discuss Pride's origins as a protest movement spurred by transgender women of color. She discusses the historic exclusion of the transgender community from the gay liberation movement, so...

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“Battling Bella” Abzug was a Congresswoman, lawyer, and ardent feminist leader — during the 1970s she was one of the most recognizable women in U.S. politics. Abzug biographer and historian Leandra Zarnow joins Then & Now for a conversation with UCLA History Professor Katherine Marino about Abzug’s legacy that touches on an array of pivotal women’s rights policies, the founding of the National Women’s Political Caucus, and an i...

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The coronavirus is like rain — it falls on everyone, but some communities are better able to protect themselves.

In this week’s episode, Dr. David Hayes-Bautista talks with the LCHP's Maia Ferdman about the historical origins of these health inequities and their consequences today. A Distinguished Professor of Medicine and the Director of the Center for the Study of Latino Health and Culture (CESLAC) at the UCLA David Geffen Sc...

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"We cannot be the nation we want to be if we wrap ourselves in a flag of mythology, and refuse to look at what lies underneath that flag."

As part of our special coverage on the aftermath of the murder of George Floyd and the ensuing debate over policing and structural racism, we welcome scholar Brenda Stevenson to the program. A leading historian on slavery and the legacy of America's race problems, Dr. Stevenson ranges...

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Historians have the responsibility not only to unearth facts, but to uncover and lift up stories that have been traditionally ignored or excluded. This calling is all the more important in the midst of global pandemic -- and after the murder of George Floyd exposed anew the burdens of oppression against the Black community in the United States. 

Tyree Boyd-Pates, associate curator at the Autry Museum of the American West, sees his r...

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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 the UCLA Luskin Center for History and Policy releases its report on White Nationalism in Southern California, titled "All is Not Well in the Golden State." 

We are joined by the authors, Grace Johnston-Glick, James Nee, and Gavin Quan, a team of dedicated UCLA undergraduates who delve into the history, ideology, and present-day implications of white nationalism. 

As streets across the country are filled with protes...

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Please join for an inspiring conversation on Then & Now with Tendayi Achiume, UCLA Law Professor, the Faculty Director of the UCLA Law Promise Institute for Human Rights, and the UN Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Racism. Prof. Achiume shares her personal history, the historical development of the global human rights movement, the state of racism during the COVID-19 era, and the importance of maintaining hope about ...

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Dr. Linda Rosenstock, Professor and Dean Emeritus of the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, joins Then & Now to share her rich experience in the public health field and helps us make sense of the current response to the unprecedented COVID-19 crisis. She describes the development of local, national, and global public health infrastructures, and describes what has worked in the past and what isn't working today.

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