Latest Episodes

Trust, Faith & Trump

Whose Century Is It? November 18, 2016

Trust and faith help any relationship, including the relationship between citizens and their government. What happens when trust is at a record low, and faith seems to be in mutually incompatible beliefs in a polarized society? Garry Wills, professor emeritus at Northwestern University, and an author of many books on faith and on politics, reflects on how the challenges of democracy and faith, and how America might seek a better path.

How do US elections stack up?

Whose Century Is It? November 03, 2016

What could America learn from emerging democracies around the globe? More than you might think. David Carroll, who heads the Carter Center's Democracy Program and has worked for decades helping to monitor elections and strengthen democracies worldwide, weighs in.

Borders and belonging

Whose Century Is It? October 21, 2016

Few issues hit more of an emotional chord, or an emotional nerve than those around borders and belonging, immigration and identity. Bringing it home in this third of a three-episode series on these issues, host Mary Kay Magistad visits the lands of her ancestors — Ireland and Germany — and explores the ways in which they are wrestling with these issues — and have wrestled with them in the past.

Rule Britannia

Whose Century Is It? October 06, 2016

Britain long ruled the waves, and many of its citizens have now voted for it to control its own borders, and make its own decisions, free of EU control. Is this about sovereignty, or identity, or something else entirely? It's complicated, and often not in the ways you'd expect.

Who are 'we'?

Whose Century Is It? September 22, 2016

People have been moving around, and borders have been shifting around, for as long as there have been people. Who gets to say who belongs, and who doesn't? Chandran Kukathas, who heads the London School of Economics' department of government, argues that a free society should tolerate difference, and (relatively) open borders, and quit fearing Muslims as a group.

Propaganda primer for post-War on Terror America

Whose Century Is It? September 09, 2016

Emotional events are opportunities for people in power with an agenda, and Nina Khrushcheva, great-granddaughter of former Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev, now a US citizen and New School professor who teaches propaganda, says the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks was such a time. She talks here about what Americans need to know about propaganda, at home as well as abroad, and about her own experience, growing up in the Soviet Union.

Fab Labs, Fab Cities, & an Indian dream of becoming an Internet of Things hub

Whose Century Is It? August 25, 2016

Aiming to help everyone make almost anything, Fab Labs have opened around the world, and Fab Cities are taking the movement big-scale. Featuring Neil Gershenfeld, director of MIT's Center of Bits and Atoms, talking about the movement he started, and a visit to Kochi, formerly Cochin, a former ancient Indian trading port turned aspiring Internet of Things hub, and the first state or region to sign on to the Fab Cities movement.

Maker Movement meets China

Whose Century Is It? August 11, 2016

The Maker Movement started to reconnect Americans with the creativity and joy that comes from making things with your hands, after years of outsourcing manufacturing jobs. It's now been embraced by dozens of countries, including China. And in China, factory of the world for decades, what does the Maker Movement mean? Depends whether you're a Maker, or a government official — and therein lies the rub.

Conspiracy theories, China & the real John Birch

Whose Century Is It? July 28, 2016

Conspiracy theories thrive amidst distrust — distrust of power, distrust of the "other," distrust of the unknown. They can limit what's possible, and create conflict when none is necessary. One story, about a young Baptist missionary-turned-US military intelligence officer in China during World War II, killed in action, spun conspiracy theories into anti-Communist activism and suspicion. Terry Lautz, author of "John Birch, A Life," talks conspiracies, China-US mutual perceptions, and the myths and realities in the brief life of the real John Birch.

The precarious American Dream

Whose Century Is It? July 14, 2016

Living the "American Dream" is getting harder, as prices rise faster than average wages, and work itself shifts toward a gig economy. How and why did this happen, and how might things change from here? Economic historian Louis Hyman, an associate professor at Cornell University, and author of "Borrow: The American Way of Debt," and "Debtor Nation: The History of America in Red Ink," talks about the emerging gig economy and what it might mean for America's future.


Latest Stories


Borders, belonging, identity, immigration and refugees in Ireland and Germany

Trace your family tree back far enough, and you'll likely find an immigrant or a refugee. Even seemingly homogenous populations, like Ireland's, have had plenty of them over time, coming in and going out. Germany is now integrating almost a million refugees who have come in over the past year. In the face of such changes, how do people in each country consider, expand or defend their identities?


Propaganda, American style: A Khrushchev's perspective

Many Americans might think propaganda is something that happens elsewhere, but in the War on Terror, Nina Khrushcheva saw and heard tropes familiar to her, having grown up in the Soviet Union as the great-granddaughter of former leader Nikita Khrushchev. Now a US citizen and New School professor in New York, she teaches propaganda, and hopes more Americans will become more propaganda-literate. She shares some ideas on where to start.


The Maker Movement that was born in the USA has taken on Chinese characteristics

The Maker Movement was made in the USA, but it's now gone global, to dozens of countries, encouraging people to (re)discover the joy and satisfaction that comes from making something with your own hands, to go from just consuming to also producing. But what if you've already been making for decades, as the factory of the world? Chinese makers embrace the fun and creativity in the movement; the government sees it as a tool to increase China's innovation and drive economic growth. They want to add structure and control. But what if unstructured fun is a path to innovation?


An uneasy history of US-China conspiracy theories

Conspiracy theories can appeal to the cynical, the distrustful and the anxious. They've been woven through the past century of China-US relations, on both sides, more often at some times than others. Here's a look at one of them, that starts with a young American missionary turned military intelligence operative, and the myth and reality behind why a staunch anti-Communist group decided to make him their patron saint, with Terry Lautz, author of "John Birch: A Life."


What the rise of the gig economy means for the American Dream

The future of work in America is likely to be more flexible, possibly more precarious, for many people, as the gig economy expands. Why is this happening, how can more people thrive in this transition, and what does it mean for America's place in the world in this century? Economic historian Louis Hyman of Cornell University, author of "Debtor Nation" and "Borrow: The American Way of Debt," weighs in.