Deep Background with Noah Feldman

Every story has a backstory, even in today's 24-hour news cycle. In Deep Background, Harvard Law School professor and Bloomberg View columnist Noah Feldman will bring together a cross-section of expert guests to explore the historical, scientific, legal, and cultural context that help us understand what's really going on behind the biggest stories in the news.

News Commentary
Remembering Justice Ginsburg
Richard Primus, a professor at University of Michigan Law School and a former clerk of Justice Ginsburg, discusses what it was like to work for the Justice, her legacy, and what comes next.
34 min
Why a Leading Election Scholar Can’t Sleep
Nathaniel Persily, a Stanford Law professor who specializes in election law, discusses his biggest concerns about the upcoming election.
32 min
The Allure of QAnon 
Adrian Hon, the CEO of the gaming company Six to Start, says the conspiracy theory QAnon is compelling to believers because it operates a bit like a virtual quest,
28 min
“Where Is The Truth Going to Come From?”
Dr. Walid Gellad, the Director of the Center for Pharmaceutical Policy and Prescribing at the University of Pittsburgh, discusses a misleading statement from the FDA about convalescent plasma as a treatment for COVID-19.
30 min
Can the Post Office Handle the Election?
Elaine Kamarck, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution who studies the post office and electoral politics, discusses whether the agency can handle a pandemic election.
28 min
How to Safely Reopen Schools
Dr. Sean O'Leary discusses what factors school officials should consider when deciding whether or not to reopen schools for in-person learning.
27 min
FREEDOM OF SPEECH: Nadine Strossen
Nadine Strossen, a former president of the ACLU and author of the book HATE: Why We Should Resist it With Free Speech, Not Censorship, explains what the left needs to know about free speech.
28 min
Eugene Volokh, a professor of law at the University of California, Los Angeles, discusses workplace harassment, racial discrimination, and the First Amendment.
30 min
Osita Nwanevu, a staff writer at The New Republic, explains why he’s not worried about “cancel culture.”
30 min
To kick off our Freedom of Speech series, Suzanne Nossel, the CEO of Pen America discusses her new book Dare to Speak: Defending Free Speech for All.
31 min
SPECIAL: Turning Fact into Fiction with Roxane ...
Roxane Gay discusses her new short story "String Theory."
19 min
A Commitment to Justice
Debo Adegbile, who twice defended the Voting Rights Act before the Supreme Court, discusses John Lewis’ legacy.
29 min
Is Coronavirus the End of Cities?
Jennifer Bradley, the Founding Director of the Center for Urban Innovation at the Aspen Institute, discusses how the coronavirus has changed cities.
32 min
The Coronavirus is Mutating
Neville Sanjana, a geneticist at the New York Genome Center and New York University, discusses his research into a coronavirus mutation that may be helping the virus spread faster.
31 min
Vaccines and New Treatments for COVID-19
Dr. Saad Omer, the director of the Yale Institute for Global Health, brings us up to speed on the latest coronavirus research.
27 min
How to Have a Life in the Pandemic
Julia Marcus, an epidemiologist and assistant professor at Harvard Medical School, discusses how to assess risk when engaging in different social activities.
30 min
LGBTQ Rights and the Supreme Court
William Eskridge, a professor at Yale Law School and author of the forthcoming book "Marriage Equality: From Outlaws to In-Laws," discusses this week's historic Supreme Court ruling that protects gay and transgender rights in the workplace.
32 min
Protests in a Pandemic
Dr. Manisha Juthani, an infectious disease specialist and associate professor of medicine at Yale School of Medicine, provides tips for protesting safely.
28 min
The Barriers to Reform
Paul Butler, a law professor at Georgetown, a former federal prosecutor and the author of the book "Chokehold: Policing Black Men," on policing, George Floyd, and the Black Lives Matter movement.
28 min
Why Debt Isn't Always a Bad Thing
Jason Furman, a professor of the Practice of Economic Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School, explains why we don't need to be too concerned about the mounting federal debt caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
29 min
A Top Obama Official on Police Brutality
Vanita Gupta, the former head of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division, discusses the reforms she would make to how policing works in the U.S.
32 min
How Accurate Are Antibody Tests?
Dr. Alex Marson, the Director of the Gladstone-UCSF Institute for Genomic Immunology, explains what antibodies tests can and cannot tell us.
27 min
On the Front Lines
Dr. Emily Rubin, a critical care pulmonologist at Massachusetts General Hospital, discusses what she has learned from treating coronavirus patients since March.
27 min
The Second (and Third, and Fourth) Wave of COVI...
Yonatan Grad, an assistant professor at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, explains why we may have to practice social distancing intermittently until 2022.
31 min
Coronavirus and Climate Change
Bill McKibben, who was one of the first people to warn us about climate change more than 30 years ago with his book "The End Of Nature," discusses what COVID-19 and climate change have in common.
30 min
BONUS: How the Bond Market Broke in March
In this bonus episode, Boaz Weinstein, founder of the hedge fund Saba Capital, tells the story of how the bond market broke for a few days in March.
19 min
The Financial Markets and COVID-19
Boaz Weinstein, founder of the hedge fund Saba Capital, discusses why the stock market seems to be doing relatively well when the economy is in shambles.
25 min
SPECIAL: Noah's New Book
Jacob Weisberg, the CEO of Pushkin Industries, interviews Noah Feldman about his new book "The Arab Winter: A Tragedy."
34 min
The Global Fight Against COVID-19
Nader Mousavizadeh, who formerly served in the Executive Office of UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, explains why international organizations like the WHO and the UN have not been able to effectively coordinate a global response to the pandemic
25 min
When Will We Have a Vaccine?
Akiko Iwasaki, a professor of immunobiology at Yale University School of Medicine, explains what types of coronavirus vaccines are currently being researched.
25 min
What to Read During a Pandemic
Marta Figlerowicz, an associate professor of comparative literature at Yale, discusses classic works of literature about pandemics from Boccaccio's The Decameron to Camus' The Plague.
22 min
A New Strategy in the Fight Against COVID-19
Dr. Louise Ivers, the executive director of the Massachusetts General Hospital Center for Global Health, explains why states like Massachusetts are investing in a strategy called contact tracing.
26 min
The Way Out of the Pandemic? Generosity.
Pardis Sabeti, a computational biologist at Harvard and the Broad Institute, discusses when and how to re-open colleges and universities, and more.
24 min
The Roadblocks to Mass Testing
Omai Garner, the director of clinical microbiology testing at UCLA Health, explains why more Americans have not been tested for COVID-19.
27 min
Modeling the Coronavirus
Carl Bergstrom, a computational biologist at the University of Washington, explains how to make sense of all the different coronavirus models.
28 min
A Profound Economic Problem
Former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers has some ideas about how to get through this financial crisis.
29 min
Passover, Plagues, and Coronavirus
To mark the start of Passover, Idan Dershowitz, a biblical scholar and junior fellow at the Harvard Society of Fellows, discusses the ten plagues of Egypt.
18 min
What Happens If We Run out of Ventilators?
Lydia Dugdale, the Director of the Center for Clinical Medical Ethics at Columbia University, discusses how medical supplies will likely be allocated if there are shortages.
25 min
The Search for a Treatment
Angela Rasmussen, a virologist at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, discusses what treatments for COVID-19 are currently being researched.
29 min
A Nobel Prize Winner’s Suggestion for Fixing th...
Paul Romer, a Nobel Prize-winning economist at New York University, argues that we can keep the economy from tanking during the coronavirus pandemic without risking people's health.
25 min
How to Stay Sane During a Pandemic
Laurie Santos, a Professor of Psychology at Yale, shares tips for dealing with coronavirus-induced anxiety.
30 min
Fighting Coronavirus with Data
Farzad Mostashari, the former National Coordinator for Health Information Technology at the Department of Health and Human Services, says we need to collect better data to effectively fight the spread of the virus.
28 min
Prisons and Jails Are a Coronavirus Time Bomb
Homer Venters, the former Chief Medical Officer for the NYC Jail system, says that we need to stop the spread of coronavirus in prisons, jails, and detention centers.
26 min
Signs and Symptoms of COVID-19
Dr. Rebecca Berman, program director for UCSF’s Internal Medicine Residency, discusses the signs and symptoms of COVID-19.
25 min
Cooking Through the Crisis with Mark Bittman
Mark Bittman, the author of best-selling cookbooks like How to Cook Everything and Vegan Before 6, reflects on what he has learned from over two decades of writing about food.
33 min
Civil Liberties in the Time of COVID-19
Richard Lazarus, a law professor at Harvard and a leading Supreme Court advocate, discusses where public health stops and our individual liberties begin.
36 min
The Economic Impact of COVID-19
Stefanie Stantcheva, Professor of Economics at Harvard, discusses the economic harms of COVID-19.
27 min
What We Know About How Coronavirus Spreads
Siddhartha Mukherjee, physician, researcher, and author of the 2011 Pulitzer-Prize winning book The Emperor of All Maladies, discusses what we know about how coronavirus spreads.
29 min
The View from Beijing
In an effort to curtail the spread of coronavirus, much of China is essentially under lockdown.
35 min
The Coronavirus Isn't Going Away
Marc Lipsitch, an epidemiologist at Harvard University, predicts that between 40 to 70 percent of adults in the world will become infected with the coronavirus.
25 min
Elif Shafak's "Multiple Belongings"
Best-selling British-Turkish writer Elif Shafak discusses her latest novel: "10 Minutes 38 Seconds in this Strange World."
30 min
An Interview with the Next Vice President of th...
Stacey Abrams talks about how to create lasting social change.
29 min
Malcolm Gladwell and "Magical Technical Fixes"
Malcom Gladwell and Noah Feldman discuss whether we should add more states to the union.
34 min
Bonus: The Oscars
Charles Randolph, the screenwriter behind “The Big Short” and “Bombshell” discusses turning real life stories into Hollywood movies.
28 min
We Testified for Impeachment and It Made No Dif...
Noah Feldman and University of North Carolina School of Law Professor Michael J. Gerhardt both testified in front of the House Judiciary Committee as part of the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump.
38 min
The History of Policing in Cars
28 min
Truth in the Time of Deepfakes
33 min
The Gig is Up
43 min
The Opioid Epidemic and the Courts
34 min
The End of Ebola
35 min
An Experiment in Universal Basic Income
34 min
Why Economists Should Act More Like Weather For...
31 min
The Lawyer and the Mobster
35 min
The Impeachment Episode
51 min
Saudi Arabia's "Genius" Crown Prince
42 min
Live Episode: Noah Feldman and Malcolm Gladwell 
67 min
Trump's "Dangerous" Iran Policy
34 min
A Solution for Algorithmic Bias
35 min
Affirmative Action Isn't Enough
35 min
The Party of Ideas
34 min
A Genetic Engineer's Perspective on "Designer B...
35 min
Inside MS-13
39 min
Disappearing Species
33 min
What is a Concentration Camp?
35 min
Democracy's Midlife Crisis
34 min
A Hidden Reason Behind France's "Yellow Vest" P...
29 min
How to Report on the Russia Investigation
35 min
Living Stonewall
23 min
Inside the Mind of a Dictator
44 min
What to Watch in 2020
44 min
Trade Wars
44 min
Roe v Wade Overturned
35 min
Staring into a Black Hole
38 min
How Socialism Was Weaponized
31 min
Criminal Justice Reform and The Abolition of Pr...
47 min
The History of the White Power Movement
48 min
Is Merit Real?
42 min