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Cambridge Forum is available free to public radio stations nationwide.Broadcast Schedule 2012

January 7, 2012    JAMES HANSEN: Global Climate Change

Physicist James Hansen, director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, reviews his models predicting the extent and impact of climate change due to increasing levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and discusses a political strategy to rein in this phenomenon.  Can scientific research and governmental action mitigate the effects of global warming?

January 14, 2012    REINVENTING DISCOVERY

Michael Neilsen, a pioneer of quantum computing, discusses the need to change the way scientific research is conducted and the way data is handled in the modern scientific era.  How is technology revolutionizing the way scientific problems are solved?  How can a system traditionally based on individual discovery adapt to support collaboration and teamwork?

January 20 SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES – Part 1 (New in 2012)
Author Gregory Maguire has re-imagined the stories of Oz, beginning with Wicked, which took the viewpoint of one of the wicked witches. With the recent publication of Out of Oz, the fourth and final volume of the series, he looks back on his journey of imagination. What is the relationship between the original and the story-teller’s retelling?

January 27 SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES – Part 2
Gregory Maguire continues his discussion of his writing life and the meaning that the “Wicked Years” series of books has had for him and his readers.

February 3 THE SCREWTAPE LETTERS: Celebrating the Literary Legacy of C.S. Lewis – Part 1 (Recorded in 2001)
Award-winning writer Kathleen Norris, Harvard psychiatrist Armand M. Nicholi and author Peter Kreeft lead a special panel discussion on how The Screwtape Letters (1942) would  change were Lewis to write it today, expanding into a general talk about the impact of his work on world culture and the literary landscape.

February 10 THE SCREWTAPE LETTERS: Celebrating the Literary Legacy of C.S. Lewis – Part 2 (Recorded in 2001)

Continued discussion with award-winning writer Kathleen Norris, Harvard psychiatrist Armand M. Nicholi and author Peter Kreeft on C.S. Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters (1942) and the impact of his work on world culture and the literary landscape.

February 17 THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT: Yesterday & Today (Recorded in 2001)
Congressman John Lewis of Atlanta, Georgia, reflects on his lifetime of working for civil rights, first as a young lieutenant of Dr. Martin Luther King and later as a U.S. congressman. Has he seen progress over his 40 year career? Is the United States moving closer to becoming a “beloved community?”

February 24 CREATE DANGEROUSLY: The Immigrant Artist at Work (Recorded in 2011)
Award-winning Haitian-American author Edwidge Danticat’s reflection on art and exile is introduced by Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. What does it mean to be an immigrant artist, especially in relation to one’s country of origin? When that country is suffering–from violence, poverty, oppression, or disaster–how does the artists’s responsibility change?

March 2 WHERE DOES DEMOCRACY COME FROM? Popular Uprising and Parliamentary Elections in Egypt (New in 2012)
Stanford University Middle East specialist Joel Beinin discusses the results of the Egyptian elections. What is their significance for the future of the Arab Spring movement in Egypt? In the region? What impact will the election results have on Egypt’s relations with Israel and with the Palestinian people?

March 9 THE FUTURE OF POWER (New in 2012)
Harvard University’s Joseph Nye reflects on the options for global engagement open to the United States in the 21st century. How can America’s “soft power” and “smart power” be employed to further global and domestic well-being and security?

March 16 THE EUROPEAN DEBT CRISIS: Lessons from Greece (New in 2012)
Harvard political economist Richard Parker discusses the origins of the European debt crisis in Greece. Why have European actions failed to contain the crisis? What does the faltering European economy mean for the United States and the global economy? What solutions are being proposed?

March 23 THE WAR ON TERROR AND THE WARS IN IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN (New in 2012)
Political scientist Mark N. Katz looks at the relationships between the “War on Terror” and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Could ending both wars actually help the United States and its allies to overcome radical Islam in the long term? Drawing parallels with the Cold War, Katz argues that the larger battle with militant Islam can be won only by refocusing foreign and military policy away from these two quagmires.

March 30 WORLD ON THE EDGE: How to Prevent Environmental and Economic Collapse (Recorded in 2011)
Internationally renowned environmentalist Lester Brown has been assessing the health of the earth’s ecosystems for more than two decades. Over that time he has seen increasing signs of break-down until we are now facing issues of near-overwhelming complexity and unprecedented urgency. Can we change direction before we go over the edge? In his book World on the Edge, Brown attempts to answer that question by laying out both challenges and policy solutions systemically.

April 6 THE SPIRITUAL ODYSSEY OF FORREST CHURCH (New in 2012)
Dan Cryer discusses his new biography of the Rev. Forrest Church. Church, the foremost Unitarian Universalist of our time, championed the separation of church and state, and a religion that respected the mind and fostered tolerance. In doing so, he often locked horns with the religious right, notably over discrimination against gays and the mistaken notion that the United States is a “Christian nation.”
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2011 Broadcast Schedule (Archive)

January 14   Renewing Democracy: Deadly Spin (New in 2011)

Corporate whistleblower Wendell Potter reveals the ways the insurance industry altered and tried to stop the process of healthcare reform. How is the power of corporations exercised in our nation’s capital? What can be done to counteract that power?

January 21 THE RAW DEAL: Social Security Politics and Policies (Recorded in 2005)

Best-selling author Joe Conason examines the campaign for privatizing Social Security. Who supports the privatization movement? And who benefits from it? How has the once unthinkable campaign to change Social Security, the so-called “third rail” of politics, developed support to move its agenda forward? What does the future hold for the Social Security program?

January 28 The Civil Rights Movement: Yesterday and Today

Congressman John Lewis of Atlanta, Georgia, reflects on his lifetime of working for civil rights, first as a young lieutenant of Dr. Martin Luther King and later as a U.S. congressman. Has he seen progress over his 40 year career? Is the United States moving closer to becoming a “beloved community?” (recorded in 2001)


February 4  Middle Passages (Recorded in 2007)     

Brown University historian James Campbell examines the role of migration in African American culture.

While the trans-Atlantic slave trade involved forced migration, African Americans are now making personal journeys back to the African continent. Campbell traces the history of one such “homecoming” to Sierra Leone.

February 11 BAIT AND SWITCH: End of the White Collar American Dream? (Recorded in 2005)

Social critic and author Barbara Ehrenreich exposes the economic cruelty of today’s globalized, just-in-time, lean and mean world of work. Does education still assure access to the American Dream? Has the middle class reached the limit of its potential for upward mobility? What happens to democracy without a stable middle class?

February 18 COMMON AS AIR: Revolution, Art and Ownership (New in 2011)
MacArthur Fellow Lewis Hyde defends the concept of the cultural commons. How has our cultural heritage, the store of ideas and art we have inherited from the past, come to be seen as “intellectual property.” Does the emergence of Wikileaks endanger the notion of freedom of the press? Is “net neutrality” possible in the ownership society?

February 25 PHIL OCHS SONG NIGHT–Part 1 (New in 2011)

Sonny Ochs, sister of the late song-writer Phil Ochs, brings together a group of musicians to perform her brother’s music and keep it alive. Phil Ochs’ political songs helped shape the social consciousness of the protest movements of the 1960s. These performances are a vivid expression of the power of music to move us and change the world.

March 4 PHIL OCHS SONG NIGHT–Part 2 (New in 2011)

Part 2 of the performances of Phil Ochs’ songs explores how he both captured and shaped the social protest and the musical flowering of the 1960s. His powerful songs remain relevant today.

March 11 UNRIDDLING THE WORLD: Fantasy and Children (Recorded in 2007)

What are the sources of the fantastic? Award-winning children’s author Susan Cooper explores the ways that literary fantasy helps children understand the world of adulthood. Why do children read fantasy? Does an adult understand fantasy the same way as a child?

March 18 DESCENT INTO LIMBO: Maurice Sendak’s Life in Children’s Art (Recorded in 2003)

For over five decades beloved children’s author Maurice Sendak has taken children and parents on  amazing literary adventures, from the night kitchen to where the wild things are. He traces his life-long journey in children’s literature and art.

March 25  WORLD ON THE EDGE: How to Prevent Environmental and Economic Collapse (New in 2011)

Internationally renowned environmentalist Lester Brown has been assessing the health of the earth’s ecosystems for more than two decades. Over that time he has seen increasing signs of break-down until we are now facing issues of near-overwhelming complexity and unprecedented urgency. Can we change direction before we go over the edge? In his new book World on the Edge, Brown attempts to answer that question by laying out both challenges and policy solutions systemically.

April 1 GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE: James Hansen (Recorded in 2010)

Physicist James Hansen, director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, reviews his models predicting the extent and impact of climate change due to increasing levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and discusses a political strategy to rein in this phenomenon. Can scientific research and governmental action mitigate the effects of global warming?

April 8 BEYOND THE POLLUTION PARADIGM (Recorded in 2009)

Environmental provocateur Michael Shellenberger asks whether American climate change policy is moving in the right direction. The cap-and-trade model for regulatory legislation is based on economic assumptions that have shattered in the current economic crisis. Now Shellenberger questions “the emerging climate consensus,” arguing that pollution limits are woefully inadequate, both politically and technologically. Instead of attempting to make dirty energy prohibitively expensive, can we make clean energy cheap?

Take your mind off of your taxes; think baseball instead:

April 15 REMEMBERING THE NEGRO BASEBALL LEAGUE (Recorded in 2000)

In this Cambridge Forum Classic, pitcher Henry Bow Mason chronicles his experiences playing in the Negro Baseball League. He discusses the impact that Jackie Robinson had when he broke the color line to become the first African-American player on a white professional baseball team. Robinson’s achievement opened the doors to countless athletes of color who followed him, but simultaneously closed the door on a parallel tradition in baseball – The Negro Baseball League. What was life like in American sports before racial integration? How was the Negro League important to baseball and the country as a whole?

April 22 FIRE IN THE HEART: White Activists for Racial Justice (New in 2011)

Harvard sociologist Mark Warren uncovers the dynamic processes through which some white Americans become activists for racial justice in his new book Fire in the Heart. Based on in-depth interviews, Warren shows how the motivation to take and sustain action for racial justice is profoundly moral and relational. What are the difficulties that white activists face on their path to embracing racial justice? How have these challenges evolved over the past half century?

April 29 WHY EVERYONE (ELSE) IS A HYPOCRITE: Evolution and the Modular Mind (New in 2011)

Evolutionary psychologist Robert Kurzban challenges the traditional concept of the integrated self. The human mind’s structure makes for behavioral inconsistency, so it is perfectly natural to believe that everyone else is a hypocrite. What is meant by the notion of the “modular mind”? What are the implications of human inconsistency for a world built around rational models?

May 6 THE FUTURE OF THE BRAIN – PART I (Recorded in 2005)

Steven Rose, a leading neuroscientist, explores the profound insights into the nature of the brain that neuroscience is uncovering. The distinction between brain and mind and the mystery of consciousness represent the frontiers that current research which draws on the insights of the human genome project as well as advanced imaging techniques. If the human brain is 99% identical to the chimpanzee’s, why are we so different? If your brain is in my body, do I become you?

May 13 THE FUTURE OF THE BRAIN – PART II (Recorded in 2005)

Neuroscientist Steven Rose explores the ethical questions arising out of advances in understanding of the human brain. To what extent can cutting edge technology mend or manipulate the mind? What is the downside of the promise of modern pharmaceutical treatments for depression, attention deficit disorder and other contemporary ills?

May 20 EMPIRES OF FOOD (New in 2011)

Andrew Rimas discusses his latest book, Empires of Food: Feast, Famine and the Rise and Fall of Civilizations. What does this sweeping look at the relationships between food, food availability, new food, and developing human civilizations tell us about food security in our own warming world?

May 27 GETTING A GRIP ON DEMOCRACY–Part 1 (Recorded in 2008)

Visionary social activist Frances Moore Lappé challenges citizens to examine their underlying assumptions and think about fear, power, democracy and hope itself in new ways. She argues that replacing a vicious “circle of powerlessness” with a virtuous “circle of empowerment” enables a democratic society to reach its full potential.

June 3 GETTING A GRIP ON DEMOCRACY–Part 2 (Recorded in 2008)

Author and activist Frances Moore Lappé explores living democracy’s success stories. How can individuals working at the local level overcome the challenges of hunger, poverty, and climate change?

June 10 ROGUE STATES AND SUITCASE BOMBS: Coping with the New Nuclear Threat (New in 2011)

Harvard Kennedy School expert in nuclear security Matthew Bunn discusses the nuclear threats of the 21st century: nuclear theft and terrorism, proliferation, and the nuclear energy fuel cycle. How serious are the new nuclear threats? What methods for handling them are effective?

June 17 RENEWING DEMOCRACY: SOUL OF A CITIZEN – Part 1 (Recorded in 2010)

Author Paul Rogat Loeb argue that citizenship is more than political engagement in this newly revised edition of his underground best-seller, Soul of a Citizen. How do his narratives of creative, moral, and emotional citizenship play out in our age of cynicism and fear?

June 24 RENEWING DEMOCRACY: SOUL OF A CITIZEN – Part 2 (Recorded in 2010)

Paul Rogat Loeb continues his discussion of the meaning and power of citizenship in an era of profound political divisions and deeply held beliefs about he role for American government. Why should citizens become activists in order to effect social change?

July 3 1776

Acclaimed historian David McCullough brings to life the tumult and uncertainty of 1776 and shows how the courage and perseverance of a few dedicated men were responsible for the success of the American revolutionary experiment. The noble ideals of the Declaration of Independence would have been nothing more than high-minded words, had it not been for the actions of General George Washington and his fledgling Continental Army. Through a year of suffering and discouragement, all too few victories and many defeats, Washington stood at the center of the drama, never forgetting what was at stake and never giving up.

July 1 RENEWING DEMOCRACY:  SOUL OF A CITIZEN – Part 1(Recorded  in 2010)

Author Paul Rogat Loeb argue that citizenship is more than political engagement in this newly revised edition of his underground best-seller, Soul of a Citizen.  How do his narratives of creative, moral, and emotional citizenship play out in our age of cynicism and fear?

July 8 RENEWING DEMOCRACY:  SOUL OF A CITIZEN – Part 2(Recorded in 2010)

Paul Rogat Loeb continues his discussion of the meaning and power of citizenship in an era of profound political divisions and deeply held beliefs about he role for American government.  Why should citizens become activists in order to effect social change?

July 15 CAN THE SUPER RICH SAVE US?– Part 1 (New in 2011)

Political activist and consumer advocate Ralph Nader discusses the revised edition of his book Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us!  Described as a work of imagination, but not of fiction, Nader’s book challenges our vision of the American Dream.  Are the recent efforts of Warren Buffet and Bill Gates, Jr. to exact a “billionaire’s pledge” for the public good related to Nader’s vision?  How does his provocative message square with the reality for average American citizens?

July 22 CAN THE SUPER RICH SAVE US? – Part 2 (New in 2011)

Consumer advocate and former third party presidential candidate Ralph Nader continues his discussion  of his book Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us!   How does he reconcile his call to the “super rich” with the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision on political campaign contributions?  The economic devastation caused by the on-going Great Recession?  Recent assaults on public workers and their unions?

July 29 GOD’S SECRETARIES (Recorded in 2004)

As the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible is remembered, best-selling writer and publisher Adam Nicolson details the politics and history behind the creation of this seminal cultural and religious work in a landmark book. How did a small group of men–who thought of themselves as “God’s secretaries”– create one of the most influential texts ever written?   How did their work achieve such broad-based and long-lasting success?

August 5 REFLECTIONS:  Wisdom For  Mind And Heart (Recorded in 1998)

In this Cambridge Forum Classic, the late Reverend Peter J. Gomes, author of  The Good Book: Reading the Bible with Mind and Heart described what he saw as a revival of spirituality  in American society, particularly among young people.  As he contemplates the beginning of the 21st century, Gomes reflects on the joy and inspiration religious practice can bring to everyday life.

August 12 CLIMATE CHANGE: Is Green Consumption a Solution? (New in 2011)

Author Heather Rogers discusses her investigation of green consumer movement in a new book Green Gone Wrong.  We don’t yet have proven ways to avert or ameliorate climate change, but science tells us that our consumption, what we eat, the products and services we buy, contribute to the problem. What can be done about the products that contribute most? Are earth-friendly products are a genuine solution, or more of a “feel-good”strategy for consumers and businesses?

August 19 IN PRAISE OF SLOWNESS: Challenging the Cult of Speed(Recorded in 2005)

London-based journalist Carl Honoré examines the challenges to the cult of speed in our age of multi-tasking, 24/7 work lives and overscheduled children.  Has speed made us happier and more productive? Or is the pace of life spinning out of control?  Can we slow down without turning back the clock? Or is the slow movement only for the affluent?

August 26 IMAGINATION AND FAILURE (Recorded in 2008)

Author J.K. Rowling discusses her own life story, as a lesson for young people looking for future success.  She argues that the world in which they live suffers from a failure of imagination, and she urges them to cultivate genuine imagination to solve problems, rather than falling into the trap of magical thinking.

September 2 ON OBJECTS AND INTIMACY (Recorded in 2001)

Poet Mark Doty discusses his book Still Life with Oysters and Lemon and examines our relationships with everyday objects.  How do objects become meaningful for human beings?  How do things come to hold feeling, hope, and history within themselves?

September 9 LIVING STRENUOUSLY (Recorded in 2000)

Bestselling author Bill McKibben  offers a personal journey of his year-long challenge to test his body’s limits in the world of professional cross-country skiing. During that year he also witnessed the body’s limits in another way, as his father’s declining health ended in death.  A paean to winter and endurance, the author recounts how he “came seeking sweat and found only enlightenment.”

September 16 WILDNESS AND REASON (Recorded in 2001)

Celebrated nature writers E.O. Wilson and David Abram discuss the tension between the scientific and the romantic appreciation of nature and the ways in which language can simultaneously impose a logical order on nature while inspiring a sense of wonder and awe.  How does writing about nature foster support for conservation and preservation movements?  How does it support scientific inquiry?

September 23 THE ECOLOGICAL IMAGINATION: DAVID ABRAM(Recorded in 2000)

In this Cambridge Forum Classic, best-selling writer David Abram, author of The Spell of the Sensuous, tells a story that reveals the inspiration he and other writers have gotten from the environment around them.  What lessons can we learn from our relationship with the natural world?

September 30 DEMOCRACY’S DISCONTENT (Recorded in 1997)

In this Cambridge Forum Classic, Harvard University Professor of Government Michael Sandel wonders whether American politics has lost its civic voice and asks: Do Americans really undersatand what it means to be free, to be a citizen?  If not, Sandel reasons, then an active community and a reinterpretation of Thomas Jefferson’s ideas may be the starting point for revitalizing democracy.

December 2    SYMBIOTIC PLANET

Geo-scientist Lynn Margulis of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst passed away in November 2011.  In this Cambridge Forum Classic she discusses one of the central concepts of her scientific research–symbiosis.  Margulis proposes that symbiosis–members of  different species living in physical contact with each other–is crucial to the origins of evolutionary novelty.  Her ideas give radical new shape to our understanding the origins of cells, the evolution of sex, the emergence of life on land, and even the physiology of our planet.

December 9    COLUMBUS:  The Four Voyages (NEW in 2011)

Author Laurence  Bergreen retraces the voyages of Christopher Columbus, placing the 15th century explorer into the context of the Age of Discovery.  How significant was his achievement in his own time?  What accounts for his lasting fame?

December 16    BOB DYLAN IN AMERICA (NEW in 2011)

Princeton historian and cultural commentator Sean Wilentz explores the place that legendary artist Bob Dylan holds in America.  How is he the product of a particular time and place? What are the roots of his continuing influence?

December 23    WRITING AND CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE–Part 1

Poet and environmentalist Wendell Berry reads from his work and reflects on his lifetime commitment to the land.  Using  the power of the word and acts of civil disobedience to defend fragile ecosystems and preserve threatened communities from degradation, Berry is now working on ending mountaintop removal.  How is his writing linked to his acts of civil disobedience?

December 30    WRITING AND CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE–Part 2

Writer and environmental activist Wendell Berry is joined by journalist and 350.org founder Bill McKibben in a discussion of the relationship between writing and civil disobedience.  Both men follow in the footsteps of Henry David Thoreau, using the power of the word and acts of civil disobedience to call attention to their message.

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