Whose Century Is It?

Ideas, Trends & Twists Shaping the 21st Century.

Latest Episodes

How trust eroded within America's democracy

Whose Century Is It? January 12, 2017

Trust in government and journalism has plummeted in recent decades, particularly among conservatives. This wasn't a coincidence, nor strictly a result of bad behavior on the part of elected officials or the press, says Thomas Mann, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and co-author of "It's Even Worse Than It Was: How the American Constitutional System Collided with the New Politics of Extremism." He argues that understanding how we got here just might help Americans move to a better place.

China, the US and the lessons of history

Whose Century Is It? December 29, 2016

Talk about epic love/hate relationships. From the birth of the United States, China has loomed large in the American imagination, and America in China's, for better and for worse, often with surprising twists. Build a wall across the Mexican border? That was first proposed to stop Chinese immigrants in the 19th century. Mao Zedong's secret vice? American 'kissy' movies, to quote former Washington Post China correspondent John Pomfret, author of "The Beautiful Country and the MIddle Kingdom," an engaging new history of what America and China have meant to each other's citizens, as well as their governments, 1776 to now. And because this is a big and important topic, this is a long(ish) podcast — so break it up if you like. Want to hear about why the Founding Fathers admired China? Listen to the first 20 minutes. How America did — and didn't — promote its values in China in the 20th century? That'd be 20:00-53:00. Challenges for US-China relations now and going forward? 53:00 to the end. Enjoy!

A newsroom looks at future past

Whose Century Is It? December 15, 2016

As Americans wonder what changes a new year and a new President will bring, here's a case study of how much things can change, in unexpected ways, in a relatively short time. Host Mary Kay Magistad sits down with some of the early staff of PRI and BBC co-production PRI's The World to chat about what the future looked like in 1996, when The World first went to air, and how change has come in unexpected ways and uneven waves.

Black Lives Rising (in STEM)

Whose Century Is It? December 02, 2016

Great ideas come from diverse minds, and efforts to get more African Americans into cutting edge fields — science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine — are gaining ground, but with considerable challenges. How might efforts to increase this kind of diversity fare under a Trump presidency and beyond? Host Mary Kay Magistad explores.

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.

About the show

"Whose Century Is It?" is a biweekly podcast, exploring the ideas, trends and twists shaping the 21st century. Is this century China's, or once again America's, or someone else's entirely? It's too early to say; but creator and host Mary Kay Magistad offers interviews, stories and perspectives from around the world that provide informative — and often surprising — ways to think about the question. "Whose Century Is It?" is a coproduction between PRI's The World and Magistad, a former foreign correspondent and Asia hand who has reported from some 40 countries, on both sides of the turn of the 21st century.  

"Whose Century Is It?" is funded by a grant from the Henry Luce Foundation.