Episode 011 – Dr. Mark Hansen

The MonkeyBuddha Tapes has arrived in Chicago! Last week I sat down with Dr. Mark Hansen, the Faculty Director for the University of Chicago’s MAPSS Program, former Dean of the Social Sciences Division, and “one of the nation’s leading scholars of American politics.” I was delighted to find that he was as approachable as he is accredited (read: very) and happy to share his insight into our current political landscape and passion for higher education.


It seemed necessary to include a few show notes on the many figures and events Dr. Hansen referenced that are beyond the knowledge of pedestrians such as myself. I learned as much googling around about these as I did during our conversation, so I’d highly recommend checking a few of them out.


A brief explanation of the Alternative/Ranked Choice voting system

Primer on the history of primary elections in the US, including introduction of direct primaries throughout the 20th century

Take a fresh look at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in the context of changes in direct democracy

Bill Hicks bit I mentioned, “the puppet on the left” and “the puppet on the right”

Some notable Progressive Republicans from back in the day: Robert M. La Follette (“the most celebrated figure in Wisconsin history), George Norris (the very perfect, gentle knight of American progressive ideals”), and Fiorello La Guardia¬†(“The Little Flower”)

Obama’s 2004 speech on the United States of America

The MAPSS Program Dr. Hansen oversees (which I’m enrolled in)

Some frightening graphics on the cuts to funding for higher education over the past 10 years

The original, widely revered 1944 G.I. Bill, and the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill passed in 2008

The University of Chicago’s Statement on Principles of Free Expression, and Geoffrey Stone’s full address from 2016

Outro song: We Don’t Care by Kanye West (Lyrics)


A rainy afternoon on the 5th floor of UChicago’s Regenstein Library.


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