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Story in the Public SquareStory in the Public Square

Guest: Martin Puchner

This show—Story in the Public Square—is built on one central insight: that stories have the power to change the world.  Martin Puchner, is a scholar of the impact stories have had on minds around the world, and on human history itself.

Guest: Jacquelyn Schneider

The intermingling of traditional and emerging security challenges demands fresh thinking from a new generation of scholars and practitioners—guest, Jacquelyn Schneider tells us that some of those new thinkers and new soldiers will not look like their predecessors.

Guest: Jacob Groshek

Conventional wisdom tells us that Donald Trump’s campaign benefited mightily from his use of Twitter.  However, conventional wisdom and the truth are not always synonymous. Jacob Groshek’s research shows it was not the Tweets themselves, but the television coverage they generated that shaped the 2016 election.

Guest: Maddie McGarvey

I know I’m not alone in marveling at the work talented photographers do; the composition; the courage to go after stories; the ability to frame a subject is a skill more than “pointing and shooting” a camera. This week’s guest, Maddie McGarvey, does it better than most.

Guest: Gabriela Domenzain

The politics of immigration reform in the United States are front and center today, with calls for a wall on America’s southern border and news of more aggressive enforcement by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents. Gabriela Domenzain reminds us that these aren’t just policy debates—these are people’s lives we’re debating. 


Guest: Timothy Edgar

When Patrick Henry stood up in the Virginia House of Burgesses and said, “Give me liberty, or give me death,” he crystalized for all time the critical tension between security of the state and the desire of all people to breathe free. Guest, Timothy Edgar, has worked to help resolve those tensions at the National Security Agency and in the White House of President Barrack Obama.  

Guest: Teja Arboleda

For generations, one of the central stories of American identity has been that our diversity is our strength. That story is being openly challenged by those who see America’s changing demographics as a threat. Teja Arboleda uses storytelling to celebrate diversity and challenge those who would dismiss its value.

Guest: Omer Bartov

“What would I have done?”  It’s a central question in the student of history’s imagination when confronted by the horrors of the holocaust. Our guest this week, Omer Bartov, delves deep into the experience of one town in Ukraine changed forever by genocide.

Guest: Sulome Anderson

Even in the age of social media, we rely on journalists to find and tell the stories of people stuck in extreme circumstances.  One of the best of a new generation of journalists, Sulome Anderson, joins us this week.


Guest: Margalit Fox

Death, the old saying goes, is part of life.  That wisdom seems especially appropriate if, like today’s guest, Margalit Fox, you are a staff writer on the Obituaries desk at The New York Times.


Guest: Oona Hathaway & Scott Shapiro

The history of the period between the first and second World Wars reads like a tragedy, progressing from the horror of war, to an idealistic hope for lasting peace, before descending into cataclysm.  This week’s guests seize on one of the most idealistic moments in that history; the diplomacy to outlaw war. Oona Hathaway and Scott Shapiro argue that its importance far exceeds the respect given to it by most historians.  

Guest: Evelyn N. Farkas

Since 2013, the Pell Center at Salve Regina University has announced a “Story of the Year,” the narrative that had the biggest impact on American public life in the preceding 12 months. This week we’re joined by, Evelyn Farkas, whose work in and out of government gives her special insight into this year’s top story.


Guest: Matthew Gault

The United States is engaged in nuclear brinksmanship with a reclusive despot whose regime is determined to develop nuclear weapons and the missiles to deliver them to the United States.  Matthew Gault argues that the American public isn’t worried enough about these issues.

Guest: Tara Copp

Whether it’s a film like “Saving Private Ryan,” or a memoir like “A Helmet for My Pillow,” the temptation to romanticize war—and the Second World War, in particular—is part of American life. Tara Copp made sense of her own experience in the Iraq war, by understanding her grandfather’s service more than 70 years ago.

Guest: Rear Admiral Jeffrey A. Harley     

Among its many missions, the U.S. military also operates a system of schools that provide professional military education—or PME—to rising leaders in each service.  Rear Admiral Jeffrey A. Harley has charted a new path for the U.S. Naval War College at a time of historic global challenges.


Guest: Christopher Brown

Speculative fiction, from the most fantastic science fiction to the bleakest dystopias, shines a light on current issues and the reality we know in the here and now. Writer and lawyer, Christopher Brown uses narrative as a laboratory about governance, political violence, and even what it means to be American. His debut novel, Tropic of Kansas, depicts a fractured United States in the aftermath of another Civil War.

Guest: Esther Schor

This week’s guest on “Story in the Public Square,” Esther Schor, puts Emma Lazarus’ famous poem on the Statue of Liberty, “The New Colossus,” into historic and contemporary context.

Guest: Charles Dorn

Higher education in the United States is a nearly-$600 billion per year industry that some observers describe as unsustainable and on the verge of a fundamental crisis.  Guest, Charles Dorn argues those stories are overblown and that colleges and universities can still serve the common good.

Guest: Adam Segal

For more than 20 years, experts have warned about a “digital-Pearl Harbor” when the West’s dependence on information technology would be exploited at great cost and peril.  Guest Adam Segal argues that the reality of the cyber threat has proven even more complex and dangerous than expected.

Guest: Abigail Brooks

Cosmetic surgery was a $16 billion industry in 2016.  Abigail Brooks, says the explosive growth in cosmetic procedures is an outgrowth of deregulation in the healthcare industry, and it’s affecting the way we think about aging.

Guest: Stephen Pimpare

More than forty million Americans live in poverty today.  Guest, Stephen Pimpare, looks at the way the poor and the homeless are portrayed in public life—and it doesn’t match the reality he knows.

Guest: Julian C. Chambliss

In the August heat, the United States rejoined a battle over the Confederacy, this time, over municipal plans to remove Civil War monuments. Guest Julian C. Chambliss says the debate is not so much about history, as it is about our collective memory.

Guest: Sunshine Menezes

Science tells us that Hurricanes Harvey and Irma were stronger because of climate change.  That view is politically controversial, even if it is based on sound science. Guest Sunshine Menezes helps scientists communicate more effectively.

Guest: Allan A. Ryan

The laws of war are intended to protect the innocent as well as combatants. Guest Allan A. Ryan argues they are also intended to provide justice after conflicts end.

Guest: Jason Healey

Information technology has changed nearly everything about modern living: the way we communicate, earn a living, and even how we date.  Guest Jason Healey examines the implications of cybersecurity on war and statecraft.


Guest: David K. Jones

The politics of the healthcare debate seem to have ground to a halt in Washington—at least for now.  But guest David Jones reminds us that the healthcare needs of the public still face substantial challenges. 


Guest: Tim Gray

One of the biggest Hollywood block-busters this summer is about the earliest days of World War II.  Guest Tim Gray is an acclaimed chronicler of the Americans who defeated the Axis Powers and saved civilization.


Guest: John Marttila

Storytelling is at the heart of political campaigns. Guest John Marttila has studied those stories as part of a four-decade career in American politics.

Guest: Casey Michel

The national security community has warned us that Russia’s meddling in the 2016 presidential election is only a preview of what Russia might do in the 2018 and 2020 elections. Casey Michel argues that Russian intervention in American public life is even more serious, now, than even that dire prediction. 


Guest: Eve L. Ewing

Race in American life is still a very powerful force.  Eve L. Ewing explores its potency in her scholarship and bears often personal witness to it in her art and in her poetry.

Guest: Michael Klare

In grade school, we learned about the 19th century competition between European great powers for control of Africa’s natural resources.  Guest Michael Klare warns about a 21st century scramble for what’s left.


Guest: Daniel Drezner

Policy debates in Washington have long been dominated by think-tanks and academics who populate the marketplace of ideas. Daniel Drezner argues that new players are entering the field, such as global consultancies and billionaire-funded pet projects.

Guest: Christopher Vials

In the 1930s and early 1940s, prominent Americans publically endorsed a policy of “America First,” even if that meant turning a blind eye to the violence done in Europe by fascist political parties in Italy and, especially Germany. Christopher Vials argues that American fascism has roots that go back to the end of World War I—and is enjoying new dynamism today.  


Story in the Public Square airs on Rhode Island PBS on Sundays at 11 a.m., with rebroadcast Thursdays at 7:30 p.m. An audio version of the program airs Saturdays at 8:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. ET and Sundays at 1:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. ET on SiriusXM's popular P.O.T.U.S. (Politics of the United States) channel 124.

Story in the Public Square is a weekly public affairs series featuring interviews with today's best print, screen, music, and other storytellers about their creative processes, and how their stories impact public understanding and policy.

The series is co-hosted by Jim Ludes, executive director of the Pell Center at Salve Regina University, and by G. Wayne Miller, award-winning journalist at The Providence Journal, visiting fellow, and director of the Story in the Public Square initiative, a partnership between the Pell Center for International Relations and Public Policy and The Providence Journal. The initiative aims to study, celebrate, and tell stories that matter.

Our Twitter Handle: @pubstory

Story in the Public SquareStory in the Public Square

Dan Barry to be awarded 2018 Pell Center Prize for Story in the Public Square