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Interchange – Ukraine: 25 Years of Revolution

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Over the past year Americans have been hearing about the escalating conflict in Ukraine as a story of separatist movement stoked by Russian expansionism under Putin.

The human cost of the partisan war as of February 2015 is sobering. According to the UN, 5,700 people have been killed; 14,000 wounded. Meanwhile, 5.2 million Ukrainian people are living in conflict areas; and over 950,000 people have been displaced within Ukraine, while 600,000 have fled to neighboring countries, of whom 400,000 have gone to Russia.

All this is taking place in a country already suffering from a crisis in health and demographics. Between 1990 and 2013, Ukraine’s population declined by over 12 percent. The fertility rate is well below replacement rates, and the mortality rate among working-age and younger men is said to be at crisis levels. Income inequality is among the worst in the world and there is widespread environmental depredation, and a deteriorating infrastructure.

While the suffering in Ukraine is clear, a clear divide between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ forces there may not be. Most of us struggle to understand the ongoing conflict because our knowledge of Ukraine during the post-Soviet era is very incomplete. We are told by our leaders and by the mainstream press that the fight reflects a clear conflict between pro-Russian and pro-Western ideologies. We have very little idea of what it has been like to live in Ukraine during the past 25 years.

Guests
Sarah Drue Phillips, IU Professor of Anthropology and the Director of the Russian and East European Institute. She has been conducting anthropological research in Ukraine since 1995. Her broad research interests have concerned the variable effects of socialist collapse on people’s lives, especially in terms of gender formations, health, social inequalities and social justice, and changing citizen-state relations. She has studied the role of women in Ukraine’s civil society, the Ukrainian disability rights movement and, most recently, HIV prevention strategies.

Padraic Kenney, IU Professor of History and International Studies at Indiana University. He is the author or editor of seven books on Polish, Eastern European, and global history including most recently, 1989: Democratic Revolutions at the Cold War’s End (Boston, 2010).

Polina Vlasenko, a Ph.D. student in Anthropology at IU who is a native of the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv. She was an active volunteer in bringing medical aid to participants in the 2014 EuroMaidan protests, and has seen family members forced to flee from the eastern region of Ludansk.

Music
“Stand Up!” by Okean Elzy
“It’s My City” by ONUKA
“Carpathian Rap” by DakhaBrakha

Credits
Producer & Host: Doug Storm
Research & Script: Nancy Jones
Board Engineer: Carissa Barrett
Executive Producer: Joe Crawford

Interchange – Making Love to Siri: The Seductiveness of Robots

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Tonight’s show “Making Love to Siri,” seeks to understand what is seductive to us about robots. Which question should we ask: Can we make love to Siri?, or, Can Siri make love to us?

Guests
Colin Allen is the Director of the Cognitive Science Program, Provost Professor in the Department of History and Philosophy of Science, and Associate Editor of Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

Selma Sabanovic is an Assistant Professor of Informatics at Indiana University, Bloomington, whose work combines the social studies of computing, focusing particularly on the design, use, and consequences of socially interactive and assistive robots in different social and cultural contexts, with research on human-robot interaction (HRI) and social robot design.

Related Interchange Programs
Interchange – Thinking About Thinking Machines
Interchange – Terror Skies: The Drone as Judge and Jury

Related Popular Articles
We Know How You Feel
How Robots & Algorithms Are Taking Over
Why we have to get smart about artificial intelligence
Bot or Not?
Ex Machina and sci-fi’s obsession with sexy female robots
Her: the movie every internet addict should be forced to watch

Music
“One Note Song” by Tenacious D
“The Robots” by Kraftwerk
“Human After All” by Daft Punk

Credits
Producer & Host: Doug Storm
Board Engineer: Jonathan Richardson
Executive Producer: Joe Crawford

Interchange – Forbearance and Fighting: Parsing Jihad and Martyrdom

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Host Doug Storm is joined by Asma Afsaruddin to discuss her book Striving in the Path of God: Jihad and Martyrdom in Islamic Thought.

In her essay “Inventing ‘Jihad‘,” Afsaruddin writes:

Privileging the legal literature above other kinds of literature—particularly the exegetical literature on the Qur’an and ethical treatises—in discussions of jihad almost inevitably leads to the conclusion that it is primarily a collective military obligation incumbent upon able-bodied Muslim men in the service of state and religion. And because what we call Islamic law is assumed to be derived directly from the Qur’an and the hadith (the sayings of the Prophet Muhammad), such an obligation is assumed to be mandated by Islam itself.

But if we put on our historical glasses a considerably different picture emerges. The earliest connotations of jihad had to do with patient forbearance in the face of harm and stoic, nonviolent resistance to wrongdoing….

Some were also of the opinion that the Qur’anic command to fight was only applicable to the first generation of Muslims who were contemporaries of Muhammad, known as the Companions, since the historical referent in the verses that deal with fighting are the hostile pagan Arabs of Mecca.

Such understandings, however, could and did prove inimical to the process of empire-building, and the need was soon felt in official and certain legal circles to promote the military jihad as a religiously meritorious activity. This is precisely what happened during the expansion of the Islamic empire after the death of Muhammad during the late seventh and eighth centuries of the Common Era….

This progressive watering-down in later exegetical and legal literature of the categorical Qur’anic prohibition against initiating hostilities is revealing of the triumph of political realism over scriptural fidelity.

Some scholars from the later period continued to dispute this cooptation of jihad in the service of Realpolitik. These scholars’ main area of contention was with the legal position which came to view lack of adherence to Islam, rather than aggression on the part of the adversary, as the casus belli for the military jihad, a position they regarded as unethical and morally impermissible.

Of Related Interest:
How Do We Talk About Islam After Charlie Hebdo?
Egypt and the Problem of Religion
Islam and Modernity: Issues for the Classroom (Podcast)

Guest:
Asma Afsaruddin is professor of Islamic Studies and chair of the Department of Near Eastern Languages & Cultures at Indiana University, Bloomington. She was named a Carnegie Scholar in 2005. Her previous books include The First Muslims: History and Memory (2008), and Excellence and Precedence: Medieval Islamic Discourse on Legitimate Leadership (2002) She was awarded the World Book Prize for the best new book in Islamic Studies given by the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance of the Republic of Iran on February 8th in Tehran, Iran’s capital and largest city.

Credits:
Producer & Host: Doug Storm
Board Engineer: Jonathan Richardson
Executive Producer: Joe Crawford

Interchange – A Measure of Choice: Vaccine Opposition and Public Health

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“A Measure of Choice” explores the reasons that some parents are choosing not to vaccinate their children. The so-called “anti-vax” movement has been lumped in with what many in the popular press are calling a “war on science.” Along with trying to understand what the reasons are for this position on vaccinations, we’ll also examine the ethical and social justice issues surrounding these parental decisions and how they affect the public health.

Guests
Jennifer Reich is an associate professor of sociology at the University of Colorado-Denver whose research examines how individuals and families make decisions about healthcare, welfare, and policy. She has authored an article to be published last September in the Journal Gender & Society titled “Neoliberal Mothering and Vaccine Refusal.”

Stuart Yoak is Executive Director of the Association for Practical and Professional Ethics at Indiana University. APPE is an international, multidisciplinary association advancing ethical understanding and practice in the classroom, the workplace, and society.

Discussed in the program:
Neoliberal Mothering and Vaccine Refusal

Credits
Producer & Host: Doug Storm
Board Engineer: Jonathan Richardson
Production and Research: Nancy Jones
Executive Producer: Joe Crawford

Interchange – Primary Candidates for Mayor: A Conversation

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Host Doug Storm welcomes the primary candidates for Mayor of Bloomington.

Democrats: John Hamilton, John Linnemeier, Darryl Neher
Republican: John Turnbull

Some Topics Discussed: growth and development projects; job creation; minimum wage; tech sector; Party politics; IU Health’s decision to move the hospital out of downtown; city-wide broadband; political appointments.

The Primary Election is Tuesday, May 5th, 2015.

Interchange – The Prick of Noon: Romeo & Juliet

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We have two guests with us tonight to discuss the play both as production or performance and as text; the deed and the word. As Harold Goddard said, “Drama is a portrayal of human passions eventuating in acts. Poetry is a picture of life in its essence.” Shakespeare toils to mend the two.

In Act One, “The Play’s the Thing,” we’re joined by the director of the IU Theater Production of Romeo & Juliet, Nancy Lipschultz to talk about producing the play for the stage.

In Act Two, “The Prick of Noon,” we’re joined by Ellen MacKay, a scholar of early modern English drama and public culture whose approach to the Shakespearean stage is “driven by the epistemological problems that the theatre poses to a culture eager to draw a clear line between artifice and authenticity.” We discuss Shakespeare’s treatment of time.

We don’t need to withhold any plot points tonight as our subject is a play that was written sometime near the end of the 17th century and like all of Shakespeare’s plays is based on a prior text or two. It’s an ancient plot, warring tribes, political enmity in city-states, and even star-crossed lovers: all nothing new. We can even find Dante referencing historical Montagues and Capulets as feuding political parties in the Purgatory of his Divine Comedy.

And so you know, Romeo and Juliet are always dead before we even begin. It is the outcome that begs a reason why and the play begins with the Prologue giving up our ghosts.

Credits
Producer & Host: Doug Storm
Board Engineer: Jonathan Richardson
Social Media: Carissa Barrett
Executive Producer: Joe Crawford

Interchange – Bloodier Than Tarantino: The Real Slave Narrative and Its Complexities

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The last few years in particular have seen a re-popularization of slave narratives: from Tarantino’s fictional Django Unchained to the award-winning 12 Years a Slave. But why did ex-slaves argue for their humanity through narratives rife with depictions of life in a brutal system which treated them as beasts? What were the stakes and aims for ex-slaves narrating their fight from savage beast to man? And what can we learn from them now?

Guests

Maisha Wester, an Associate Professor in Indiana University’s Department of African American and African Diaspora Studies, and author of African American Gothic: Screams from Shadowed Places.

Stephanie Li, the Susan D. Gubar Chair in Literature and professor in the Department of English, and author of Something Akin to Freedom: The Choice of Bondage in Narratives by African American Women, and most recently of Signifying without Specifying: Racial Discourse in the Age of Obama.

Discussed in the program:
Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl. Written by Herself, by Harriet Jacobs.
My Bondage and My Freedom, by Frederick Douglass
The Bondwoman’s Narrative, by Hannah Crafts

Credits
Producer & Host: Doug Storm
Board Engineer: Jonathan Richardson
Social Media: Carissa Barrett
Executive Producer: Joe Crawford

Interchange – Shadows Are Black: Slavery’s Long Setting

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Tonight’s show, Shadows are Black: Slavery’s Long Setting, features a discussion on the text and context of Herman Melville’s 1855 novella “Benito Cereno.” “Benito Cereno” is clearly about slavery; but it also seems a deep meditation on the limits of the mind; on the ignorance of other ways to be minded; on the commonality of humanness (for “good” or “bad”). It is about America, it is about Spain, it is about Africa, and it is about cultural blindness and interpretive misconstrual. The stage setting is borrowed from Spain, the actors are nearly all African, and the play we’re watching turns out to be “The Ignorant American,” and the director is Babo.

Guests

Maisha Wester, an Associate Professor in Indiana University’s Department of African American and African Diaspora Studies, and author of African American Gothic: Screams from Shadowed Places.

Christopher Freeburg, an Associate Professor of English at the University of Illinois, and author of Melville and the Idea of Blackness: Race and Imperialism in Nineteenth Century America.

Related

Books Unbound – “Benito Cereno” by Herman Melville

Books Unbound – “Benito Cereno” by Herman Melville, Part Two

Books Unbound – “Benito Cereno” by Herman Melville, Part Three

Credits

Producer & Host: Doug Storm
Board Engineer: Jonathan Richardson
Social Media: Carissa Barrett
Executive Producer: Joe Crawford

Interchange – Terror Skies: The Drone as Judge and Jury

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In Part One, we’re joined by Majed Akhter, an Assistant Professor of Geography at Indiana University Bloomington whose current research examines how state power shapes, and is in turn shaped by, mobile objects such as drones and rivers. His writing focuses especially on Pakistan and the United States.

And in Part Two we’ll joined by Stephen John and Greta Wohlrabe to discuss a new play being produced by The Cardinal Stage Company called “Grounded” by George Brant about a female Air Force fighter pilot “grounded” by pregnancy who becomes a drone pilot operating out of a trailer in the Nevada desert. John is the play’s director and Wohlrabe its star.

Morse Peckham had this to say about state violence and terrorism back in 1987 (“Literature and the State”).

It cannot be that the state objects to terrorism because its citizens are being killed. In this country the citizens kill each other by murder and automobiles, fifty percent of the latter by drunken driving, and the state remains on the whole quite unruffled, except when some group of citizens forming itself as an organ of the state manipulates the state to take some action….No, the state objects to terrorism for quite different reasons. A state maintains its legitimacy by maintaining a monopoly on the use of violence for politics and governance. Terrorism is a challenge to the state’s monopoly on violence for such purposes….The trouble with violence is that if it is used in its ultimate forms there is no further recourse. So we may understand civilization as the strategy by which control and position are maintained without resorting to violence. Legal texts are of the first importance, of course, in circumventing the use of violence as well as justifying violence.

Related
Dronification of State Power

Grounded (Cardinal Stage Company)

Credits
Producer & Host: Doug Storm
Board Engineer: Jonathan Richardson
Social Media: Carissa Barrett
Executive Producer: Joe Crawford

Interchange – Let the Sunshine In: The Politics Obstructing Solar Energy in Indiana

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Host Doug Storm is joined by two local solar energy activists and a climate scientists to discuss the state of renewable energy policy in Indiana. Last week Republican State Representative for District 65, Eric Allen Koch, filed a bill (HB1320) with the General Assembly that would change the relationship between our area’s electric utility company, Duke Energy, and its solar customers who participate in the popular net metering program. We’ll do our best here tonight to describe the consequences of that bill should it find its way to becoming law.

Solar energy is a major form of renewable energy used to produce electricity. It poses a major alternative to coal, Indiana’s traditional source of energy. Residential energy use totals over $3.2 billion in Indiana, making residential solar a very real threat to the coal economy.

HB1320 seeks to eliminate the productive incentive of returning energy to the power grid from a home photovoltaic system.

Links:
Monroe County Energy Challenge
Indiana’s State Energy Plan
SIREN
HB1320 in the news

Guests
Ben Brabson is a climate scientist at Indiana University and retired professor of physics, whose research focuses on extreme temperatures and their connection to soil moisture. The courses he teaches at Indiana University identify our sources of energy and the critical need to move away from climate damaging fossil fuel use.

Woodie Bessler is an electrical engineer and spokesperson for SIREN, the Southern Indiana Renewable Energy Network, a non-profit promoter of the adoption of solar energy. He speaks widely on solar energy issues. He and his household were the grand prize winners of SIREN’s 2010 Energy Showdown Going Solar programs. He currently serves on committees for GUEP (Georgetown University Energy Prize), about which we hope to get an update.

Arvind Gopu is an IT professional who does Going Solar presentations for SIREN and provides individual home site assessments.

Credits
Producer & Host: Doug Storm
Assistant Producer: Nancy Jones
Board Engineer: Carissa Barrett
Social Media: Carissa Barrett
Executive Producer: Alycin Bektesh

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