Keeping It Civil

Keeping It Civil is hosted by Henry Thomson and co-produced by the School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership and Arizona PBS. The podcast seeks answers to key questions about the future of American life with fast-paced interviews with scholars and intellectuals.

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Thursday Jun 09, 2022

Andrew Sullivan has been a fixture in American intellectual life for over thirty years. Josh and Henry covered several topics with him, including the role of the essayist, his journey from traditional print journalism to Substack, his thoughts on the foundations of a liberal society, the potential consequences of the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade, his fear of intellectual orthodoxy in society, and more.

Thursday May 26, 2022

Josh and Henry have a wide-ranging conversation with Lara Bazelon, the Director of the Criminal & Juvenile Justice and Racial Justice Clinics at the University of San Francisco School of Law. We discuss her thoughts on systemic racism, her work representing indigent clients, “progressive prosecutors,” and her new book on motherhood, “Ambitious Like a Mother: Why Prioritizing Your Career is Good for Your Kids.”

Thursday May 12, 2022

Former Russian journalist Regina Revazova is the fabulous producer of the “Keeping It Civil” podcast. In this personal conversation with Josh and Henry, she describes the illiberalism of life under Putin’s regime, her decision to leave Russia and seek political asylum in the United States, the state of free media in Russia today, and how the war in Ukraine has surfaced difficult memories. 

Thursday Apr 28, 2022

H.R. McMaster is a retired United States Army Lieutenant General who served for over thirty years, including as National Security Advisor from 2017 to 2018. Henry and Josh begin their conversation with him by discussing his background, his recent book, “Battlegrounds,” and his argument against what he calls “strategic narcissism” on the part of U.S. military and political leadership. They then discuss some of his experiences in Iraq and his suggested solutions for various twenty-first century challenges. McMaster argues that civic education and a better knowledge of history is essential to rebuilding trust in American civic institutions and restoring the confidence in leadership necessary to implement effective foreign policy with public support. Please note that the conversation occurred in Fall 2021 soon after the U.S. military withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Thursday Apr 14, 2022

America’s free and self-governed society was founded on a written constitution, but as Jonathan Rauch argues – following James Madison – the United States relies on an “unwritten constitution,” a body of norms, customs, and traditions, the habits of a self-governing people. For Rauch, a liberal democratic society depends also on the common dedication to pursuing knowledge through free speech, as well as the discipline of searching for and testing facts through the promotion of viewpoint diversity and the rigorous exchange of ideas. It is only in this way that knowledge and truth will prevail over cancel culture and the purveyors of outrage.

Thursday Mar 24, 2022

We speak about the relaunch and the importance of the free and open exchange of ideas inherent in the blend of liberal arts and civic leadership education that students can find if they study at ASU with the School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership. This exchange of ideas serves as the foundation for the Keeping it Civil podcast.

Thursday Mar 24, 2022

In each episode, hosts Henry Thomson and Josh Sellers interview public intellectuals, scholars and authors with diverging views on pressing issues in America today. Topics range from questions around intellectual orthodoxy to racism, to individual liberty and free speech. This podcast is a partnership between the School of Civic and Economic Thought and leadership and Arizona PBS at Arizona State University.

Wednesday Mar 03, 2021

Walter Russell Mead and Duncan Moench greatly disagree on whether the First World War was a murky battle between two equally imperfect and imperialist forces. They follow up this discussion with a prescient conversation that anticipates the attempted revolt in January, the enormous need for telecommuting to ease the country's housing crisis — and the extent to which American education can be remade in a more democratic manner. (Their conversation was originally recorded in the spring of 2019. This will be the last episode of Keeping It Civil. Thank you for listening, it's been a good run!)

Monday Nov 30, 2020

Why did American culture build strong community ties in the second quarter of the 20th century only to have it all unravel in the mid-1960s —  did immigration restriction play a role? Dr. Moench and acclaimed Harvard sociologist debate the thesis of his latest book The Upswing.   This interview was recorded in June, 2020.

Thursday Jun 04, 2020

Two scholars of political thought with highly contrasting perspectives (and totally different backgrounds) explore what promise the rise of populism may - or may not - hold. Dr. Moench and Prof. Mounk do their best to disagree amicably on the meaning of populism and the political future. (Please note: this interview was recorded on February 28, 2020)


Keeping It Civil

What can future leaders learn from today’s most prominent scholars and commentators? Keeping It Civil is co-produced by the School of Economic Thought and Leadership and Arizona PBS. The podcast seeks answers to key questions about the future of American life with fast-paced interviews with scholars and intellectuals. Hosted by Joshua Sellers and Henry Thomson. 

About Joshua Sellers:

Joshua S. Sellers joined the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at ASU in 2017. He holds an Honors B.A. in political science and Afro-American and African studies from the University of Michigan, along with a J.D. and a Ph.D. in political science from the University of Chicago.  

About Henry Thomson:

Henry Thomson is an assistant professor of political science at Arizona State University's School of Politics and Global Studies. His research focuses on the political economy of authoritarianism and democratization.


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