Episode for August 5, 2021
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Wajahat Ali is a columnist at The Daily Beast and a Senior Fellow at The Western States Center and Auburn Seminary. He has previously been a New York Times contributing op-ed writer, CNN commentator, host for Huff Post, and co-host of Al Jazeera America’s The Stream. He is also a recovering attorney and playwright. He is currently working on his first book, “Go Back To Where You Came From: And, Other Helpful Recommendations on How to Become American” scheduled for Spring 2022 publication. He makes Pakistani food and Lego sets “for his kids” during his free time. You can send him hate mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
Ruth Ben-Ghiat is a historian and commentator on fascism, authoritarian leaders, and propaganda — and the threats these present to democracies.
Subscribe to her newsletter at Lucid.substack.com
As author or editor of seven books with over 100 op-eds and essays in media outlets including CNN, The New Yorker, and The Washington Post, she brings historical perspective to her analyses of current events. Her insight into the authoritarian playbook has made her an expert source for television, radio, podcasts, and online events around the globe.
Ben-Ghiat is Professor of History and Italian Studies at New York University and an Advisor to Protect Democracy. She is also a historical consultant for film and television productions. She is a big fan of electronic music, which is her preferred soundtrack while writing. She practices yoga several times a week.
Ben-Ghiat’s work has been supported by Fulbright, Guggenheim, and other fellowships. Her books Fascist Modernities and Italian Fascism’s Empire Cinema detail what happens to societies when authoritarian governments take hold, and explore the appeal of strongmen to collaborators and followers. Growing up in Pacific Palisades, California, where many intellectuals who fled Nazism resettled, sparked her interest in the subject.
With Strongmen: From Mussolini to the Present, which is now available she offers a blueprint for understanding and resisting authoritarianism.