show episodes
 
The Civics series at Town Hall shines a light on the shifting issues, movements, and policies, that affect our society, both locally and globally. These events pose questions and ideas, big and small, that have the power to inform and impact our lives. Whether it be constitutional research from a scholar, a new take on history, or the birth of a movement, it's all about educating and empowering.
 
Love Town Hall? Become an insider! In The Moment with Jini Palmer offers a slice of Town Hall culture and puts you in the room for exclusive behind-the-scenes conversations. Listen in as a rotating cast of prominent local voices, along with Chief Correspondent Steve Scher, get to know upcoming speakers before they visit our stages. Get an insider perspective you won’t find anywhere else—a weekly snapshot of all things Town Hall. Fans of Seattle public radio will recognize Steve Scher from hi ...
 
The Arts & Culture series enriches our community with imagination and creativity. Whether reinventing the classics for a new audience or presenting an innovative new art form, these events are aimed at expanding horizons. From poetry to music to storytelling, this series leaves our audiences inspired, encouraged, and seeing the world with new eyes.
 
The Science series presents cutting-edge research about biology, physics, chemistry, ecology, geology, astronomy, and more. These events appeal to many different levels of expertise, from grade school students to career scientists. With a range of relevant applications, including medicine, the environment, and technology, this series expands our thinking and our possibilities.
 
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show series
 
On January 5, the run-off election in Georgia flipped the state and created opportunity for a Democrat-led Senate. On January 6, armed insurrectionists stormed the United States Capitol Building, resulting in dozens of injuries and several fatalities. UW Professor Christopher Sebastian Parker believes that Donald Trump as chief executive was making…
 
In an era of increasing social isolation, platforms like Facebook and Twitter are among the most important tools we have to understand each other. But user behavior suggests that these platforms are also powering deep social divisions online. What is the truth? What can we do to find a balance? Sociologist Christopher Bail joined us to challenge co…
 
How does being othered in America impact our awareness of difference, and how does that lens affect our lived experience? In this episode of Lyric World, host Shin Yu Pai talks with poet Brian Komei Dempster, whose work explores this othered space both through a national and personal history of anti-Asian bigotry, and his own experiences as a paren…
 
Have you ever wanted to ask Enrique Iglesias, Descemer Bueno, and Gente De Zona about their 2014 hit “Bailando”? What’s the story behind that Gloria Estefan and the Miami Sound Machine hit “Conga,” the one you that makes it irresistible to move? How does Daddy Yankee feel about being the “King of Reggaeton,” and were he and Luis Fonsi surprised by …
 
Many believe that partisan politics has created a roadblock in efforts to reach across the aisle and forge ahead. Nationally, the chasm separating Democrats and Republicans can be felt to be vast, but what about here in Washington state? Is it possible that similar divisive politics could be holding up progress beneficial to all? If so, what are re…
 
We live at a time in which scientists race to reanimate extinct beasts, our most essential ecosystems require monumental engineering projects to survive, chicken breasts grow in test tubes, and multinational corporations conspire to poison the blood of every living creature. No rock, leaf, or cubic foot of air on Earth has escaped humanity’s clumsy…
 
In cities large and small across America, universities have become the dominant companies—and our cities their company towns. But Davarian L. Baldwin argues there is a cost to those who live in their shadow. In this week’s episode, Baldwin talks with Senior Correspondent Steve Scher about the ever-expanding campuses in America. Drawing upon his boo…
 
Tracing his grandparents’ exile from Eastern Europe to South America through to his own experiences, anthropologist Claudio Lomnitz joined us with a stunningly personal study of the intersections between Jewish and Latin American culture. Drawing on his memoir about his immigrant family, Nuestra America: My Family in the Vertigo of Translation, Lom…
 
The coronavirus pandemic reignited a debate that has been raging for years: healthcare. There are few issues as consequential in the lives of Americans as healthcare. Every single American will interact with the healthcare system, and most people will find that interaction less than satisfactory. And yet for every dollar spent in our economy, 18 ce…
 
What exactly are flavors? Why are some so pleasing while others are not? What is the relationship between Paleolithic art and cheese? Ecology professor Rob Dunn joined us to offer bold new perspectives on why food is enjoyable and how the pursuit of delicious flavors has guided the course of human history. In Delicious: The Evolution of Flavor and …
 
A young woman outlaw in 1894 and a new look at the life of George Washington: what could these two stories have in common? Perhaps more than you’d think. Both introduce a new look at an often romanticized area of American history, seen through a feminist lens. Authors Anna North and Alexis Coe joined us in conversation about rewriting history in ge…
 
Betsy DeVos may be the most prominent face of the seeming push to dismantle public education, but educational policy experts Jennifer Berkshire and Jack Schneider believe she’s part of a larger movement that’s been steadily gaining power for decades. While support for public education today is stronger than ever, Berkshire and Schneider argue, the …
 
From the outside, the Galvin family seemed to be living the American Dream: a happy family with twelve children who perfectly spanned the baby boom, and a trajectory of upward mobility. Behind the scenes was a different story: psychological breakdown, sudden shocking violence, hidden abuse. By the mid-1970s, six of the ten Galvin boys, one after an…
 
In this week’s episode, writer Maria Reva joins Senior Correspondent Steve Scher to discuss her bitingly funny, satirical collection of stories, Good Citizens Need Not Fear, which unites around a single crumbling apartment building in Ukraine where a bureaucratic glitch omits the entire building and its residents from municipal records. Together, t…
 
Born to two parents who never graduated high school, Dr. Ronald A. Crutcher grew up to become a leader at the highest levels of academia and the arts. As a child musician, he met with Coretta Scott King. As an adult educator, he sat at Maya Angelou’s holiday table. But it is Dr. Crutcher’s success as a Black intellectual steering through highly cha…
 
How can educators help destroy entrenched inequalities and enact the values of Black Lives Matter in their classrooms, schools, and communities? Jesse Hagopian and Denisha Jones, both educators and members of the Black Lives Matter at School movement, joined us to discuss this question. They believe that the United States is in the midst of an urge…
 
In 2017, a scientist and her team of researchers completed a major study. They found that over the past four decades, sperm levels among men in Western countries have dropped by more than 50 percent. The result sent shockwaves around the globe—but the story didn’t end there. It turns out our sexual development is changing in broader ways, for both …
 
In 1965, a new act transformed the American immigration system by abolishing national quotas in favor of a seemingly egalitarian approach. But the intended effect and the actual result were worlds apart. In this week’s episode, historian Sarah R. Coleman talks with local journalist and correspondent Lilly Fowler about her book The Walls Within: The…
 
A tiny, fastidiously dressed man emerged from Black Philadelphia around the turn of the century to mentor a generation of young artists including Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, and Jacob Lawrence and call them the New Negro — the creative African Americans whose art, literature, music, and drama would inspire Black people to greatness. Profes…
 
“Over the last three years in cities and on reserves and reservations across the continent, I have listened to Native people’s stories of loss, injustice and resilience. They are stories that echo Chief Peguis’ story. In myriad ways, each narrator’s life had been shaped by that same struggle: how to share space with a settler nation whose essential…
 
In the non-stop pace of the modern world, it might be a surprise to learn that a 400-year-old story is more relevant today than ever before. But that’s exactly what astrophysicist Mario Livio believes about the life story of Galileo, and he joined us with a fresh interpretation of one of history’s greatest and most fascinating scientists. Drawing o…
 
In 2016, Treaty tribes from across the Puget Sound region came together on March 9 to celebrate the first Billy Frank Jr. Day. The annual environmental day honors the work of Nisqually tribal member Billy Frank Jr., who was a lifelong environmental leader and treaty rights activist, especially tribal fishing rights. Now, JJ, Lailani, and Kayla—memb…
 
Colin Bryar started at Amazon in 1998; Bill Carr joined in 1999. With twenty-seven years of Amazon experience between them, much of it in the early aughts—a period that brought products and services including Kindle, Amazon Prime, Amazon Studios, and Amazon Web Services to life—Bryar and Carr joined us, in conversation with Chris Devore, to offer u…
 
Women make up fewer than ten percent of national leaders worldwide, and behind this eye-opening statistic lies a pattern of unequal access to power. Julie Gillard and Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, both political leaders in their own countries, set about exploring this gender bias in their book Women and Leadership: Real Lives, Real Lessons. Gillard and Okon…
 
Even before a global pandemic introduced us to terms like “social distancing,” loneliness was a defining condition of the twenty-first century, academic Noreena Hertz posits. She argues that the fabric of community was unraveling, and our personal relationships were under threat. Combining a decade of research with firsthand reporting, Hertz joined…
 
Grammy Award-winning bass player and author Victor L. Wooten invites us to imagine a world he has created in his book The Spirit of Music. This is a world where three musicians are mysteriously summoned to Nashville, the Music City, to join together with Victor himself to do battle against the “Phasers,” whose blinking “music-cancelling” headphones…
 
What strategies have worked to build lasting peace in conflict zones, particularly for ordinary citizens on the ground? Researcher and peacebuilder Séverine Autesserre joins Senior Correspondent Steve Scher to share stories of ordinary yet extraordinary individuals and organizations who are confronting violence in their communities effectively. She…
 
What’s ahead for Republicans, Democracts, and Independents when it comes to civics in our country and communities? How can we work together when parties are often divided themselves? This February Civic Cocktail is the first of an intended multi-part, multi-party series. Join CityClub as they explore a few—certainly not all—of the varying viewpoint…
 
Dip below the ocean’s surface and you are soon confronted by forms of life that could not seem more foreign to our own: sea sponges, soft corals, and serpulidae worms, whose rooted bodies, intricate geometry, and flower-like appendages are more reminiscent of plant life or even architecture than anything recognizably animal. Yet these creatures are…
 
In the mid 2010s, the Ebola outbreak devastated West Africa, sending a message that diseases recognize no borders, political parties, or faiths. In this week’s episode, correspondent Kevin Kibet sits in conversation with poet and novelist Veronique Tadjo about her novel In the Company of Men, which presents a timely fable that illustrates the terri…
 
For over two decades, family constellations facilitator and therapist Lisa Iversen has been working with groups, including descendants of ancestors who have perpetrated harm or been victimized in circumstances of injustice. This work has led to a timely and thoughtful discussion about the intersection of gender and white privilege, a collection of …
 
The United States was born in a struggle against the oligarchs of the British aristocracy, and ever since then the history of America has been one of dynamic tension between democracy and oligarchy, asserts author Thom Hartmann. And much like the shock of the 1929 crash woke America up to glaring inequality and the ongoing theft of democracy by tha…
 
The climate emergency is intensifying while international responses continue to falter. With every day that passes, another day of action is lost, and a day closer we are to unsustainability. But professor Anatol Lieven believes he has a revolutionary solution: he advocates for redefining climate change as a threat to nation-states, and leveraging …
 
Most of us grew up with images of African women that were purely anthropological–bright displays of exotica where the deeper personhood seemed tucked away. Or they were chronicles of war and “poverty porn.” But now, curator Catherine E. McKinley draws on her extensive collection of historical and contemporary photos to present a visual history span…
 
You’re told that if you “do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.” Whether it’s working for “exposure” and “experience,” or enduring poor treatment in the name of “being part of the family,” all employees are pushed to make sacrifices for the privilege of being able to do what we love. But Sarah Jaffe, a preeminent voice on labor, in…
 
In late 2017, scientists at a Hawaiian observatory glimpsed an object soaring through our inner solar system, moving so quickly that it could only have come from another star. That begs the question: what exactly was that object? Harvard’s top astronomer Avi Loeb joined us to share his theory: that the object was the first confirmed interstellar vi…
 
In this week’s episode, correspondent and poet Shin Yu Pai shares another installment of Lyric World, now in its second year of programming. Lyric World engages poets in conversations about the concerns and themes that preoccupy their work. As part of Black History Month, Pai hosts poet and musician Gary Copeland Lilley in a dialogue about the crea…
 
Fujitaro Kubota, whose unique gardens transformed Seattle’s landscape in the 20th century, immigrated to the US in the early 20th century, worked as a nurseryman, and eventually bought 20 acres of clear-cut forest in southern Seattle that he shaped into a beautiful and enduring Japanese garden. He also created a memorable garden in the Minidoka pri…
 
Many experts find that Howard Gardner’s book Frames of Mind was a rare publishing phenomenon—a mind-changer. Widely read by the general public as well as educators, it laid out Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences: the idea that rather than seeing human intelligence as dominated by a single general ability, it could actually be differentiated…
 
How did the US and Iran lapse from a once-friendly relationship to that of hostile enemies? Historian John Ghazvinian joined us to discuss the answer, the two-centuries-long entwined histories of Iran and America. With support from his book America and Iran: A History, 1720 to Present, he shared years of archival research to lead us through the fou…
 
The civil rights movement was among the most important historical developments of the twentieth century and one of the most remarkable mass movements in American history. Yet, despite a vague, sometimes begrudging recognition of its immense import, historian Thomas C. Holt contends, more often than not the movement has been misrepresented and misun…
 
The era of the Enlightenment, which gave rise to our modern conceptions of freedom and democracy, was also the height of the trans-Atlantic slave trade. How were those conceptions impacted by the coinciding racism? History professor Tyler Stovall believes they are intricately intertwined, and argues that being free has long meant being white. In th…
 
Even before a national pandemic that sent the country into a crisis, almost 40% of Americans wouldn’t be able to cover a $400 emergency. Nearly a third of Americans have medical debt, and over half have defaulted on it. Student loan debt has surpassed $1.6 trillion, and the average college graduate has $32,000 in student loans, going up every year.…
 
Institute for Systems Biology (ISB) is a collaborative cross-disciplinary nonprofit biomedical research organization based in Seattle. ISB and Town Hall proudly present ISB President Jim Heath in conversation with Rod Hochman, President and CEO of Providence. Join them for a discussion exploring what the future of healthcare might look like in a po…
 
Four decades ago, the areas around Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks sheltered the last few hundred surviving grizzlies in the Lower 48 states. Their population has surged to more than 1,500 under the protection of the Endangered Species Act, and this burgeoning number of grizzlies now collides with the increasingly populated landscape. In thi…
 
Today over half a million immigrants are caged each year, some serving indefinite terms in what history professor Elliott Young argues is the world’s most extensive immigrant detention system. These men, women, and children remain almost completely without rights, unprotected by law and the Constitution, and their status as outsiders, even though m…
 
Amidst the danger of Nazi-occupied Island of Jersey in the British Channel, two French women, Lucy Schwob and Suzanne Malherbe, drew on their skills as Parisian avant-garde artists to write and distribute “paper bullets”—wicked insults against Hitler, calls to rebel, and subversive fictional dialogues designed to demoralize Nazi troops. History pro…
 
If exercise is healthy, why do many people dislike or avoid it? Is sitting really the new smoking? Can you lose weight by walking? Does running ruin your knees? Should we do weights, cardio, or high-intensity training? Professor of human evolutionary biology Dan Lieberman joined us to answer these questions and bust some common myths about exercisi…
 
For decades, the conflict between Israel and Palestine has been one that has crossed borders and become of international interest. In this week’s episode, professors Jeremy Pressman and Mira Sucharov share, with singular knowledge, their point of view on the conflict—and the way forward. In conversation with Daniel C. Kurtzer, they examine the defa…
 
Art is fundamental. While in some places and times, it may be deemed nonessential or decorative, the reality is that it is a fundamental expression from one human to another, of curiosity, of perspective, of connection. Now an icon of theatre and film, Andre Gregory, joined us to share stories from a life lived for art. With his co-writer Todd Lond…
 
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