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Episode 6: Dismantling systems of state violence

Emily Russell (2020 cohort) discusses combining theatrical performance with political science, how she uses both fields to understand state violence, and much more.
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In this episode of Imagine A World, Emily Russell (2020 cohort), a Ph.D. candidate in political science, discusses her upbringing in a large family, combining theatrical performance with political science, how she uses both to understand state violence, her sweet tooth, and so much more.

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Photo courtesy Micaela Go

Emily Russell (2020 cohort), from St. Clair, Michigan, is pursuing a PhD in political science at the Stanford School of Humanities and Sciences. At the University of Michigan, she received bachelor's degrees in political science and the environment. Emily plans to research state security forces and work toward a just, global transition to human-centered security and peacebuilding. As a Kathryn Davis Projects for Peace fellow, she co-founded Playwriting for Peace in Pristina, Kosovo, which uses applied theatre techniques to prevent security force enlargement. She has also written and staged Hopwood award-winning political plays.

Emily was awarded the Beinecke Scholarship for independent research, which included a global examination of disarmament conducted on-site at the UN monitoring body for human rights law in Reykjavik, Iceland, as well as a multi-year project on post-colonial security forces, involving archival data collection in London, England, and fieldwork in Delhi, India. She is an NSF research fellow.


two men wearing imagine a world t-shirts seated on stairwell

Imagine A World is hosted by Willie Thompson, left, and Taylor Goss, right.

Taylor Goss (2021 cohort), from Lacassine, Louisiana, is pursuing an MA in music, science, and technology and an MPP in public policy at Stanford School of Humanities and Sciences. He graduated with college honors from Louisiana State University with bachelor's degrees in music and entrepreneurship. Taylor aspires to connect musicians and policymakers, using the arts to communicate societal needs and provoke policy change.

Willie Thompson (2022 cohort), from Griffin, Georgia, is pursuing a master's degree in business administration at Stanford Graduate School of Business. He graduated summa cum laude from Morehouse College with a bachelor’s degree in economics and a minor in Chinese Studies. He intends to create and contribute to organizations using the arts as a conduit for community building and intercultural education.

Imagine A World's theme music was composed and recorded by Taylor Goss. The podcast was originally conceived and led by Briana Mullen (2020 cohort), Taylor Goss, and Willie Thompson, along with Daniel Gajardo (2020 cohort) and Jordan Conger (2020 cohort).

Special thanks to Sanaa AlamRachel DeschSydney Hunt, Chan LeemKara SchechtmanTakondwa Priscilla Semphere, and Rahul Thapa.

Knight-Hennessy scholars represent a vast array of cultures, perspectives, and experiences. While we as an organization are committed to elevating their voices, the views expressed are those of the scholars, and not necessarily those of KHS.

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