Public Programs Podcast
A podcast for people who are curious about the world and themselves.
Couldn't make it to one of our events? Wish someone in your life had been there with you? Our podcast has you covered. Listen to and share our previous conversations and talks featuring world renowned scholars, leaders, authors, artists, and thinkers here. To make sure you never miss an episode, find us by searching "CIIS Public Programs" and subscribe on your favorite apps such as Apple Podcasts and Overcast.
Angela Davis: A Life of Activism
Recorded April 13, 2018
Activist, author, and former Black Panther Party member Angela Davis talks with CIIS Professor Danielle Drake about her life and work.
Kathleen Harrison: On Ethnobotany
Recorded May 4, 2018
Ethnobotanist Kathleen Harrison is joined in conversation by CIIS's Natalie Metz to explore entheogens and the rich and complex relationship between plants, mushrooms, and human beings.
Alan Lightman: Searching for Stars
Recorded April 19, 2018
Physicist and author Alan Lightman is joined in conversation by CIIS's Matthew Segell to explore our quest for truth and meaning, and the role of religion and science in that quest.
Chelsea Manning: On Activism
Recorded March 30, 2018
Chelsea Manning is joined by CIIS professor Carolyn Cooke to explore the ethical questions presented by artificial intelligence, and to discuss transgender identity and activism.
Charlan Nemeth: In Defense Of Troublemakers
Recorded April 4, 2018
Berkeley Professor of Psychology and author Charlan Nemeth is joined by CIIS Provost Liz Beaven to discuss the usefulness of dissent and how we can make better decisions by challenging the status quo.
Maria McFarland Sanchez-Moreno: Heroism and Change in Colombia
Recorded March 28, 2018
Human rights advocate and author Maria McFarland Sanchez-Moreno is joined by Brady Morales-Woolery to discuss corruption in Colombia's military and political establishment.
Laura Montoya: AI and Gender
Recorded March 22, 2018
Artificial Intelligence engineer Laura Montoya is joined by TechCrunch diversity reporter, Megan Rose Dickey to explore the role of gender in Artificial Intelligence and how it impacts society. This conversation was part of our series on Technology and Consciousness.
Stephen Murphy-Shigemastu: Transforming Self And Society
Recorded March 15, 2018
Stephen Murphy-Shigematsu explores how to live with mindfulness, compassion, and responsibility. He is joined in conversation by CIIS professor Helge Osterhold.
Sara Acevedo: Living Disability
Recorded March 14, 2018
Disability studies scholar Sara Acevedo discusses disability culture and identity, from the perspective of disability communities themselves. Click here to view a full transcription of this episode.
Ayelet Waldman: A Really Good Day
Recorded March 7, 2018
Author Ayelet Waldman is joined in conversation by CIIS writing professor Carolyn Cooke to discuss her personal experiment with the therapeutic value of psychedelics.
Celeste Headlee: Conversations That Matter
Recorded February 22, 2018
Journalist Celeste Headlee is joined by CIIS professor Zara Zimbardo to discuss ways to have meaningful conversations in a politically and socially polarized time.
Sergio Rodriguez-Castillo: Spirituality in the Workplace
Recorded January 25, 2018
CIIS professor Sergio Rodriguez-Castillo examines why it makes sense to invite spirituality into the workplace, and how to do it.
Joy DeGruy: Post-Traumatic Slave Syndrome
Recorded January 19, 2018
In this episode, author Joy DeGruy is joined in conversation by CIIS Dean of Diversity and Inclusion Denise Boston to explore how trans-generational trauma and systems of oppression have influenced race relations in America today.
Deepak Chopra: The Healing Self
Recorded February 15, 2018
In this episode integrative health pioneer Deepak Chopra explores practical ways to experience higher consciousness, transformation, and healing.
Minal Hajratwala: Where Are You From?
Recorded February 1, 2018
In this episode, journalist and poet Minal Hajratwala draws from the realms of creativity and politicized somatics to talk about migration and the body. This event was part of the Haresh and Joan Shah Lecture and Performance Series.
Ijeoma Oluo: So You Want To Talk About Race
Recorded January 31, 2018
Author Ijeoma Oluo is joined in conversation by CIIS Dean of Diversity and Inclusion Denise Boston. They explore Ijeoma's new book, So You Want To Talk About Race, and examine the racial landscape in America today.
Nadya Tolokno: Resistance and Pussy Riot
Recorded September 15, 2017
Pussy Riot founder Nadya Tolokno is joined by artist and activist Jadelynn Stahl for a conversation about how to triumph in the new political and social landscape.
Ellen Ullman: Life in Code
Recorded September 14, 2017
In this episode, author and coder Ellen Ullman is joined in conversation by CIIS writing professor, Carolyn Cooke, to explore the transformation of society through the rise of the internet.
Leslie Berlin and Mitch Altman: How Counterculture Built Silicon Valley
Recorded January 17, 2018
In this episode, historian and author Leslie Berlin is joined in conversation by hacker and inventor Mitch Altman to explore how hippies and hackers built the largest center for innovation in the history of the planet - and why it can't be replicated elsewhere.
Nikki Mirghafori and Steve Omohundro: AI and Karma
Recorded November 2, 2017
In this episode, Artificial Intelligence scientist and buddhist teacher Nikki Mirghafori and computer scientist Steve Omohundro discuss how the concept of karma can guide us as we push forward towards creating non-human intelligence.
Alexis Okeowo: Fighting Extremism in Africa
Recorded October 17, 2017
Alexis Okeowo, a writer for the New Yorker, is joined in conversation by Mimi Lok from Voice of Witness to discuss the stories of ordinary people fighting extremism in Africa.
Roopa Vasudevan: Technology as Anthropology
Recorded October 5, 2017
In this episode, artist, creative coder, and researcher, Roopa Vasudevan explores what technology and data can teach us about ourselves. This event was part of the Haresh and Joan Shah Lecture and Performance Series.
Khizr Khan: On Being American
Recorded December 6, 2017
Khizr Khan, the Gold Star father who challenged Donald Trump during the 2016 campaign, is joined by CIIS faculty May Elawar for a conversation about what an American looks like and what being a nation of immigrants really means.
Magdalena Yesil: Smart Women In The New Economy
Recorded November 30, 2017
Pioneering Silicon Valley entrepreneur and investor Magdalena Yesil came to the United States in 1976 with two suitcases and $43, unaware of the challenges she would face as an immigrant woman. In this episode, Magdalena is joined by CIIS professor Sara Salazar for a conversation about her life and the lessons she learned breaking glass ceilings to rise to the top in Silicon Valley and beyond.
Liz Beaven: Education For A New World
Recorded November 9, 2017
In this episode, integral teaching expert and CIIS Provost Liz Beaven shares ideas for changes to traditional education that can better prepare our children for the future. This talk was part of the Big Ideas at CIIS series.
Irvin D. Yalom: A Psychiatrist's Life
Recorded November 1, 2017
In this episode, Dr. Yalom is joined in a conversation with CIIS core faculty Barbara Morrill about his life, his work, and the profound power of self-reflection.
Layli Long Soldier: A Poetic Response To The US Government
Recorded November 8, 2017
Join San Francisco poet Brynn Saito for a conversation with Layli Long Soldier about her journey creating her latest collection of poetry WHEREAS, which she wrote as a response to the congressional resolution "Apology to Native Peoples."
Sasha Abramsky: Fear In American Life
Recorded Septmber 21, 2017
Journalist and author Sasha Abramsky is joined by CIIS professor Andrej Grubacic in this conversation about America's most dangerous epidemic: irrational fear.
Matthew Walker: Why We Sleep
Recorded October 19, 2017
In this conversation with CIIS professor Rachael Vaughan, award-winning neuroscientist Matthew Walker reveals his groundbreaking exploration of sleep, explaining how we can harness its transformative power to change our lives for the better.
Zoë Quinn: Life After Gamergate
Recorded September 27, 2017
Indie game developer turned social activist Zoë Quinn is joined by CIIS faculty Zara Zimbardo for a rare public conversation about her experience at the center of the Gamergate controversy and her journey to overcome it by working to make the internet a better, safer place for everyone.
Andrej Grubacic: The Hidden History Of Capitalism
Recorded September 20, 2017
In this episode, CIIS faculty Andrej Grubacic uncovers the relatively unknown history of exiles and activists and their impact on the past and future of the capitalist civilization. This talk was part of the Big Ideas at CIIS series.
Robert Wright: Why Buddhism is True
Recorded September 7, 2017
In this conversation with Steven Tierney, Professor of Community Mental at CIIS, Pulitzer Prize finalist Robert Wright shares his journey exploring psychology, philosophy, and meditation to show how Buddhism holds the key to moral clarity and enduring happiness.
Jorge N. Ferrer and Matthew T. Segall: Participatory Spirituality
Recorded May 11, 2017
Jorge N. Ferrer, professor of East-West Psychology at CIIS is joined by Philosophy, Cosmology, and Consciousness professor Matthew T. Segall for an exploration of participatory spirituality, which holds that human beings are active co-creators of spiritual phenomena and worlds.
Baratunde Thurston: Comedy and Conversation
Recorded March 24, 2017
Baratunde Thurston of The Onion and The Daily Show is joined in conversation by actor and director Rotimi Agbabiaka to discuss comedy, race, technology, politics, and everything in between.
Sean Kelly, Sam Mickey, Adam Robbert, and Kat Snow: Nature, Culture, and Knowledge
Recorded June 14, 2017
Authors Sean Kelly, Sam Mickey, and Adam Robbert are joined by public radio journalist and CIIS grad Kat Snow in a conversation about ecology as a connective science and its impact on our society.
Brewster Khale: Internet and Impermanence
Recorded June 6, 2017
This episode features Brewster Kahle, Digital Librarian and founder of the Internet Archive, and Wikimedia Foundation Creative Director Heather Walls in conversation about the Internet and how its systems exhibit impermanence as well as permanence over time.
David George Haskell: The Songs of Trees
Recorded May 10, 2017
Award-winning author and scholar David George Haskell is joined by CIIS professor Elizabeth Allison for a conversation about nature's most magnificent net workers.
Richard Tarnas: The Summer Of Love And The Stars
Recorded August 1, 2017
Richard Tarnas, founding director of the graduate program in Philosophy, Cosmology, and Consciousness at CIIS, shares historical and present day correlations between planetary movements and the archetypal patterns during the Summer of Love.
Jo Piazza: How to Be Married
Recorded May 3, 2017
Author and journalist Jo Piazza is joined in conversation by CIIS professor Nicolle Zapien to explore wedding and marriage rituals, customs, and traditions throughout the world.
Alex Reben and Mikey Siegel: AI and Ethics
Recorded June 20, 2017
In this episode, robotics engineer turned consciousness hacker Mikey Siegel is joined in conversation by Alexander Reben, an artist and roboticist. The two discuss the ethical implications of recent developments in artificial intelligence and technology.
Shefali Tsabary: Conscious Parenting
Recorded May 5, 2017
Author and psychologist Shefali Tsabary is joined in conversation by Dean of Alumni Richard Buggs to explore the ways we unconsciously pass on psychological pain to our children.
Christine Brooks: The Science of Friendship
Recorded June 7, 2017
In this episode, CIIS faculty Christine Brooks examines how nurturing our social networks increases our health and well-being. This talk was part of the Big Ideas at CIIS series.
Gabor Maté: Trauma and Healing
Recorded April 7, 2017
Author and physician Gabor Maté is joined in conversation by CIIS Professor Meg Jordan to explore his life and work in trauma and addiction.
Amina Khan: Adapting Nature's Designs
Recorded April 21, 2017
Science journalist Amina Khan is joined in conversation by curator Arianne Gelardin to discuss what nature can teach us about sustainable technology and innovation.
Tyler Knott Gregson: Poetry and Process
Recorded March 29, 2017
Poet and author Tyler Knott Gregson is joined in conversation by CIIS's Director of the Center for Writing and Scholarship Brynn Saito to discuss poetry and the creative process.
Harriet Lerner: On Apologies
Recorded March 23, 2017
Author and psychologist Harriet Lerner is joined in conversation by CIIS faculty member Barbara Morrill to explore what makes a good apology, and why they're so important.
Danielle Drake: Social Change Through Expressive Arts
Recorded April 5, 2017
CIIS faculty member and Expressive Arts Therapist Danielle Drake examines how communities who engage in creative processes can inspire social change. This talk was part of the Big Ideas at CIIS series.
Kate Levinson: Money and Gender
Recorded March 28, 2017
Author and therapist Kate Levinson is joined in conversation with CIIS's Kelly Kelly to discuss the intersection of money, business, and gender.
Jessica Zitter: A Better Path to the End of Life
Recorded March 22, 2017
In this episode, ICU doctor and palliative care expert Dr. Jessica Zitter is joined in conversation by CIIS Dean of Alumni Richard Buggs to discuss her drive to help patients find a better path to the end of life.
Acharya Shunya: Fundamentals of Ayurveda
Recorded March 10, 2017
Spiritual teacher and Vedic scholar Acharya Shunya is joined in conversation by CIIS Professor Debashish Banerji to discuss health and consciousness through Ayurveda lifestyle principles.
Natalie Metz: The Future for Psychedelics
Recorded March 8, 2017
CIIS's Natalie Metz explores the potential that psychedelics hold for the future of medicine.
Adyashanti: Transpersonal Enlightenment
Recorded February 24, 2017
Spiritual teacher and author Adyashanti discusses his belief that there are two spiritual instincts that reside deep within everyone.
Alfonso Montuori: The Future of Creativity
Recorded February 15, 2017
CIIS Professor and creativity researcher Alfonso Montuori shares his 25 years of explorations in the field, illustrating the emerging face of the new creativity.
Kristin Neff: The Power of Self Compassion
Recorded February 17, 2017
Self compassion researcher Kristin Neff joins CIIS faculty Michael Klein to examine how self compassion can lower anxiety and depression, and support more satisfying relationships.
Leslie Hill and Helen Paris: Curious
Recorded October 8, 2016
Co-founders of the performance company Curious, Leslie Hill and Helen Paris, are joined in conversation by CIIS Visiting Faculty Ryan Tacata to talk about their work. This event was part of the Dancing with the So Called Dead Festival, a collaboration with the MFA Program in Theatre-Performance Making and The Arts @ CIIS.
David Levy: On Mindful Technology
Recorded January 19, 2017
Author and researcher David Levy joins CIIS Professor Sergio Rodriguez-Castillo to explore how we might move between the "fast world" of tech and the "slow world" of contemplation.
Melissa Nelson: Listen to the Land
Recorded December 7, 2016
Indigenous scholar and activist Melissa Nelson and Zen teacher Wendy Johnson discuss ecological knowledge and how to listen to the land.
Zahra Noorbakhsh: Fighting Islamophobia with Humor
Recorded December 15, 2016
Comedian, writer, and actress Zahra Noorbakhsh is joined by CIIS faculty member Zara Zimbardo for a conversation that explores being Muslim in America today, and how to counter discrimination with comedy.
Mikey Siegel and Karla Suomala: Technology and Spirituality
Recorded December 13, 2016
Karla Suomala, a researcher and former Professor of Religion and Mikey Siegel, a robotics engineer turned consciousness hacker, discuss the intersections of technology and spirituality.
Roshi Joan Halifax: Being with Dying
Recorded November 18, 2016
Zen priest, author, and pioneer in the field of end-of-life care Roshi Joan Halifax is joined in conversation by Brenda Salgado about death and dying, Buddhism, and social activism.
Zara Zimbardo: What Can We Learn from Zombies?
Recorded December 15, 2016
CIIS faculty Zara Zimbardo explores our enduring interest in zombies, and examines what this increasingly normalized pop culture obsession points to. This talk was part of the Big Ideas at CIIS series.
Lily Siegel and Pierre-François: Inherited Memory in Art
Recorded November 29, 2016
Curators from The Contemporary Jewish Museum Lily Siegel and Pierre-François talk about From Generation to Generation - Inherited Memory and Contemporary Art, on view through April 2017. They were joined by Arts at CIIS curator Deirdre Visser for a conversation. This program was created in collaboration with The Contemporary Jewish Museum.
Dr. Christopher Bache: My Psychedelic Journey
Recorded November 16, 2016
Author and Professor of Religious Studies Dr. Christopher Bache discusses his twenty year long regimen of psychedelic exploration and therapy with CIIS Professor Sean Kelly.
Eduardo Duran: Healing the Soul Wound
Recorded November 4, 2016
Psychologist and author Eduardo Duran is joined in conversation by CIIS student Natalie Bell to discuss the legacy of historical trauma for Native American populations.
Sean San José: Ghosts in the Theatre
Recorded October 22, 2016
Theatre director Sean San José is joined in conversation by CIIS faculty and performance maker Erika Chong Shuch about ghosts, spirituality, and memory in performance. This event was part of the Dancing with the So Called Dead Festival, a collaboration with the MFA Program in Theatre-Performance Making and The Arts @ CIIS.
Frank Warren: A Night of PostSecrets
Recorded October 20, 2016
Frank Warren, the creator of the wildly popular website, PostSecret, talks about how he holds the over one million secrets he has received in the past 12 years since starting his site.
Nick Walker: Neurodiversity and Creativity
Recorded October 13, 2016
One of the leading thinkers in the emergent field of neurodiversity, CIIS faculty member Nick Walker, discusses the benefits of a more neurodiverse world. This talk was part of the Big Ideas at CIIS series.
Guillermo Gómez-Peña: The GGGPS
Recorded October 18, 2016
Chicano performance artist Guillermo Gómez-Peña is joined by author and performer Larry Bogad for this performative conversation, GGGPS: The Guillermo Gómez-Peña Positioning System. This event was part of the Dancing with the So Called Dead Festival, a collaboration with the MFA Program in Theatre-Performance Making and The Arts @ CIIS.
Meg Jordan: New Discoveries in Health Science
Recorded September 29, 2016
CIIS Professor Meg Jordan explores some of the most compelling new ideas in health from the world of science.
Deepak Chopra: Towards a Higher Health
Recorded September 28, 2016
Alternative medicine pioneer Deepak Chopra explores the question of how consciousness conceives and constructs the physical universe.
Alzak Amlani: Hearing the Soul
Recorded September 20, 2016
CIIS Professor and psychologist Alzak Amlani examines the benefits of developing the soul. This talk is part of our Big Ideas at CIIS series.
Dan Siegel: A Journey into the Heart of Being Human
Recorded September 17, 2016
Clinical psychologist and interpersonal neurobiology expert Dr Dan Siegel is joined in conversation by Rick Hanson to take a deep dive into the mysteries of the human mind.
Sil Lai Abrams: A Search for Racial Identity
Recorded August 18, 2016
Author and activist Sil Lai Abrams reads from her new memoir, Black Lotus, and is joined in conversation by CIIS’s Laura Reddick.
Ericka Huggins: Black Panthers, Activism, and Spiritual Practice
Recorded September 8, 2016
Civil rights activist, former Black Panther leader, and educator Ericka Huggins is joined in conversation by CIIS professor and restorative justice expert Sonya Shah.
Paul Stamets: Mushrooms and the Mycology of Consciousness
Recorded August 11, 2016
Mycologist Paul Stamets examines how mushrooms can help the health of people and the planet.
Stuart Mangrum: The Psychogeography of Burning Man
Recorded August 6, 2016
One of the early organizers of Burning Man, Stuart Mangrum, discusses the psychogeography of the festival.
Cat Brooks and Manolia Charlotin: Women, Media, and Activism
Recorded March 16, 2016
Cat Brooks of San Francisco's Anti Police-Terror Project is joined in conversation by journalist Manolia Charlotin of The Media Consortium to discuss race, police violence, and criminal justice reform. This event was made in collaboration with public radio program Making Contact.
Richard Rodriguez: This Writing Life
Recorded June 10, 2016
Peabody Award-winning author Richard Rodriguez is joined in conversation by CIIS writing professor Carolyn Cook for a discussion on writing and the writer's life.
Mark Wolynn: It Didn't Start With You
Recorded May 10, 2016
Intergenerational trauma expert Mark Wolynn is joined in conversation by Richard Buggs, CIIS Dean of Alumni, to discuss how inherited family trauma shapes who we are and how he works with patients to end the cycle.
Brian Swimme: Why We Study the Universe
Recorded April 20, 2016
CIIS Professor Brian Swimme explores why trying to make sense of the universe is one of the oldest projects around and how these questions lead us to regularly reinvent what it means to be human.
Joanna Macy: A Life of Spirit in Action
Recorded April 8, 2016
Author, teacher, and ecophilosopher Joanna Macy is known the world over for her workshops for social and environmental activists. She's joined in conversation by ecophilosophy teacher Renée G. Soule to discuss her life and work.
Brian Christian and Tom Griffiths: Algorithms to Live By
Recorded April 27, 2016
The authors of "Algorithms to Live By", Brian Christian and Tom Griffiths, are joined in conversation by CIIS President Joseph Subbiondo to explore how computer algorithms can be applied to our everyday lives. This conversation is part of our Technology and Consciousness Series.
Carolyn Cooke: What Is Literature For?
Recorded April 13, 2016
CIIS Professor and author Carolyn Cooke explores reading and writing as important acts of consciousness.
Kal Spelletich and Jerry Kaplan: Artificial Intelligence and Art
Recorded April 7, 2016
Jerry Kaplan, a computer scientist and AI expert talks with Kal Spelletich, an artist who works with robotics about how humans might leverage this emerging technology creatively. This conversation is part of our Technology and Consciousness Series.
Craig Chalquist: Myth in the News
Recorded March 30, 2016
CIIS professor Craig Chalquist explores how myths jump out of the myth books and into our lives, inhabiting current events, our language, politics, and more.
Jake Orlowitz: Inside Wikipedia
Recorded March 9, 2016
The head of Wikipedia’s library, Jake Orlowitz, in conversation with Dr. Matt Segall about how Wikipedia keeps it’s vast and complicated platform running.
Reggie Ray: Buddhism, Trauma, and Healing
Recorded March 4, 2016
American Buddhist scholar Reggie Ray on how trauma can be an opportunity for spiritual growth.
Michelle Glowa: Eat Like it Matters
Recorded March 2, 2016
CIIS professor Michelle Glowa talks about how our food choices affect the world, and what we can do to cultivate more just and sustainable food systems.
Sobonfu Somé: Grieving and Ritual
Recorded February 26, 2016
Author and activist Sobonfu Somé on the importance of grieving and ritual.
Jeff Chang: On Race in America
Recorded February 11, 2016
Author and hip hop journalist Jeff Chang in conversation with novelist and poet Adam Mansbach on the cultural history - and future - of race in America.
Cheryl Strayed: An Evening with Dear Sugar
Recorded February 3, 2016
Author Cheryl Strayed talks to Carolyn Cooke about her writing style, her work as Dear Sugar, and her best selling book, Wild.
Theresa Sparks: Advocating for Transgender Rights
Recorded November 11, 2015
Transgender activist and pioneer Theresa Sparks in conversation with transgender CIIS professor, Dr. Jamison Green.
Jezebel Delilah X: How Literature and Theatre Saved My Life
Recorded Nov. 4, 2015
The story of Jezebel Delilah X—a self professed "quirky, queer, black girl from South Central LA” and how literature and theatre saved her life.
This episode includes explicit language.
Gabor Mate: The Mind/Body Connection
Recorded Oct. 30, 2015
Physician and award winning author, Dr Gabor Mate, discusses his research at the intersection of addiction, science, psychology, and compassion.
Tony Bossis: Psychedelic Drug Therapy
Recorded Oct. 22, 2015
Psychologist and researcher at NYU, Doctor Tony Bossis, reviews his work as part of the recent renaissance of psychedelic research.
Brant Cortright: Building a Better Brain
Recorded Oct. 15, 2015
Author and Professor of Psychology at CIIS, Dr. Brant Cortright, talks about his work at the cutting edge of neuroscience, clinical psychology, and brain health.
Cornel West: The Burden Carried by African American Men
Recorded April 10, 2015
One of America's most provocative public intellectuals, Dr. Cornel West, whose writing weaves together the traditions of the Black Baptist Church, social justice, progressive politics, and jazz.