show episodes
 
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.
 
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 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 ...
 
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show series
 
College campuses in the mid-twentieth century are an oft-forgotten battle ground in the fight for (and against) civil rights. Professor Dr. Eddie Cole believes the role of campus activism in the fight for social equality has been overlooked. In conversation with writer and historian Shaun Scott, Cole joined us with findings from his meticulously re…
 
Meet the Smart Wife—at your service, an eclectic collection of feminized AI, robotic, and smart devices. Maybe she goes by Siri or Alexa, lives in your Google Home, or is a virtual anime hologram named Hikari Azuma. These feminized digital assistants are friendly and flirty—but what impact are they having on gender equity? Digital sociologist Yolan…
 
Long neglected in world history, the Ottoman Empire was a hub of intellectual fervor, geopolitical power, and enlightened pluralistic rule. Yet, despite its towering influence and centrality to the rise of our modern world, the Ottoman Empire’s history has for centuries been distorted, misrepresented, and even suppressed in the West, historian Alan…
 
Only a few years after the 2013 Sundance Film Festival premiere of Blackfish—an independent documentary film that critiqued the treatment of orcas in captivity—visits to SeaWorld declined, major corporate sponsors pulled their support, and performing acts cancelled appearances. And that was just the beginning of the impact of documentary films. Pro…
 
For more than five decades, Ron Chew has fought for Asian American and social justice causes in Seattle. He joined us for this livestreamed presentation to share stories from his deeply personal memoir My Unforgotten Seattle. In conversation with journalist Naomi Ishisaka, Chew documented the tight-knit community he remembers, describing small fami…
 
Why is the world the way it is? How did we get here? Does everything happen for a reason or are some things left to chance? Philosophers and theologians have pondered these questions for millennia, but scientist Sean B. Carroll joined us with startling scientific discoveries to assert that we live in a world driven by chance. Carroll drew from his …
 
Medina Tenour Whiteman stands at the margins of whiteness and Islam. An Anglo-American born to Sufi converts, she feels perennially out of place—not fully at home in Western or Muslim cultures. In this week’s episode, Rabbi Elana Zaiman talks with writer and poet Medina Tenour Whiteman about her searingly honest memoir, The Invisible Muslim: Journe…
 
From funding, to vouchers, to charter schools, public education policy has become a political football. Many feel that we are in the midst of a full-scale attack on our nation’s commitment to public education. And constitutional law scholar Derek W. Black contends that this assault threatens not just public education, but democracy itself. In this …
 
Institute for Systems Biology (ISB) is a collaborative cross-disciplinary nonprofit biomedical research organization based in Seattle. In 2020, ISB is celebrating its 20th anniversary with a four-part virtual speaker series highlighting some of the most important topics in science and health care. ISB and Town Hall proudly present microbiome resear…
 
In this week’s episode, Senior Correspondent Steve Scher talks with historian Ruth Goodman, who joins us with a fascinating micro-history of how English women sparked a worldwide revolution from their kitchens. With support from her book The Domestic Revolution: How the Introduction of Coal Into Victorian Homes Changed Everything, Goodman argues th…
 
Ever wondered what nonbinary and gender nonconforming really mean? Genderqueer writer Stuart Getty joined us with a charming guide that answers that question and many more. In this livestreamed presentation, Stuart Getty unpacks all your burning questions in a fun, visual way, in conversation with local comedian Max Delsohn. With clips from their s…
 
Hugo Black, Glen Taylor, George McGovern, Robert F. Kennedy, Herbert Lehman, Theodore Francis Green, Al Gore, William Proxmire, Sherrod Brown. Did you know the common thread is a desk? Current desk occupant and Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown joined us to share stories of those who preceded him. Utilizing anecdotes and history from his book Desk 88: Eig…
 
Alzheimer’s is a global health problem, with more than 5 million people in the US alone living with the disease. Tremendous gains have been made in the understanding of the science and basic biology underlying Alzheimer’s and other dementias. In this presentation, Dr. Maria Carrillo joined us to share the latest advances. Presented by Town Hall Sea…
 
In this week’s episode, Correspondent Sally James talks with Behavioral Insights Team members Michael Hallsworth and Elspeth Kirkman, who present a definitive introduction to the behavioral insights approach, which applies evidence about human behavior to practical problems. With support from their book, Behavioral Insights, Hallsworth and Kirkman …
 
Comedian, actor, and father Michael Ian Black wants to get (mostly) serious about the trouble with masculinity. He shared a heartfelt letter to his college-bound son—which also happens to be his book A Better Man: A (Mostly Serious) Letter to My Son—to offer a poignant look at boyhood, reveal his own complicated relationship with his father, and ex…
 
What does it mean to be an American? Author Laila Lalami joinsed us to discuss this question in conversation with fellow author Viet Thanh Nguyen. Drawing from her book Conditional Citizen, she recounted her unlikely journey from Moroccan immigrant to US citizen, using it as a starting point for her exploration of the rights, liberties, and protect…
 
The fight against climate change is monumental and urgent. Yet one aspect of the international dialogue is conspicuously absent, Doug Kelbaugh argues—urban design. Professor and urban planner Doug Kelbaugh joined us to share from his book The Urban Fix: Resilient Cities in the War Against Climate Change, Heat Islands, and Overpopulation. He explain…
 
In this week’s episode, Senior Correspondent Steve Scher talks with journalist Matthew Hongoltz-Hetling, who joins us with a sometimes funny, sometimes terrifying tale of the Free Town Project, a town in New Hampshire, and bears. In A Libertarian Walks Into a Bear: The Utopian Plot to Liberate an American Town (And Some Bears), Hongoltz-Hetling wea…
 
For better or worse, Wagner is often considered the most widely influential figure in the history of music. Around 1900, the phenomenon known as Wagnerism saturated European and American culture. Anarchists, occultists, feminists, and gay rights pioneers saw him as a kindred spirit. Then Adolf Hitler incorporated Wagner into the soundtrack of Nazi …
 
Is America fated to decline as a great power? Can it recover? Foreign policy expert Andrew Imbrie joined us in conversation with former White House communications director Jen Psaki to weigh in on exactly these questions. With absorbing insight from his book Power on the Precipice: The Six Choices America Faces in a Turbulent World, Andrew introduc…
 
Institute for Systems Biology (ISB) is a collaborative cross-disciplinary nonprofit biomedical research organization based in Seattle. In 2020, ISB is celebrating its 20th anniversary with a four-party virtual speaker series highlighting some of the most important topics in science and health care. ISB and Town Hall proudly present Dr. Jennifer Rei…
 
In this week’s episode, Correspondent and Town Hall Digital Media Manager Jini Palmer talks with Puget Sound Energy’s Tyler O’Farrell about renewable energy. Town Hall is a PSE Powerful Partner, so for Energy Awareness Month in October, O’Farrell discusses the renewable energy programs at PSE that are designed to keep sustainability within reach. F…
 
During the Pacific War, more than 200,000 Korean girls were forced into sexual servitude for Japanese soldiers. Barely 10 percent survived to return to Korea, where they lived as social outcasts. Since then, self-declared comfort women have come forward only to have their testimonies and calls for compensation largely denied by the Japanese governm…
 
History often appears to consist of big gestures and dramatic shifts. But for every peace treaty signed, someone set the stage, using diplomacy to effect the outcome. Nobody knows this better than Capricia Marshall. Ambassador Marshall joined us to share unvarnished anecdotes from her time as the chief of protocol for President Obama. Pulling from …
 
From chatbots to brain-computer interfaces to the possibility of superintelligences, our reality is being transformed before our eyes. But can we actually know the nature of intelligence? Futurist and author Richard Yonck joined us to explore our past and future understanding of intelligence. Drawing from his book Future Minds: The Rise of Intellig…
 
In this week’s episode, Senior Correspondent Steve Scher talks with journalist and scholar Kevin C. O’Leary, who argues that the contemporary Republican Party is waging a counterrevolution against the core beliefs of the nation. With insights from his book Madison’s Sorrows: Today’s War on the Founders and America’s Liberal Ideal, he presents an ex…
 
Every year, Town Hall selects exceptional local artists and scholars for paid residencies. This fall, Town Hall’s Artist in Residence Hailey Tayathy designed a new piece which will serve as a visual installation of Town Hall’s land acknowledgement, written by the elders and youth of UNEA Clear Sky Native Youth Council. In this special presentation,…
 
World Without Hate seeks to replace hate and violence with empathy and love, restoring peace through storytelling and empathy education. They called together a panel of speakers from different storytelling backgrounds exploring the ways that empathy and stories help us connect with others. Through the transformative power of compassion, World Witho…
 
Birds are intelligent, sociable creatures that exhibit a wide array of behaviors—from mobbing and mimicking to mating and joint nesting. But why do they behave as they do? Biologist Wenfei Tong joined us with observations from her new book, Understanding Bird Behavior, bringing to light the remarkable actions of birds with cases from species around…
 
In this week’s episode, correspondent and poet Shin Yu Pai shares the fourth installment of Lyric World, featuring poet Yona Harvey in a conversation about Harvey’s newest book, You Don’t Have to Go to Mars for Love. Grounded deeply in the resistance of Black women, Harvey writes of ancestry, inheritance, and loss. Of Yona’s work, poet Afaa M. Weav…
 
Many in America do not feel safe in spaces that used to be seen as refuges: our churches and schools, our movie theaters and dance clubs, our workplaces and neighborhoods. But this feeling begs the question: Is America destined to always be a violent nation? Pulling from his carefully researched and deeply emotional book The Violence Inside Us: A B…
 
Imagine turning on the tap in the morning to find an unpleasant brown sludge that tastes like metal. Then imagine you were told by officials that the water was safe to drink. Would you believe them? Environmental activist and renowned crusader Erin Brockovich joined us via livestream in conversation with journalist Suzanne Boothby to explore how ca…
 
In this week’s episode, Correspondent Venice Buhain talks with Ambassador Wendy R. Sherman about her book Not for the Faint of Heart: Lessons in Courage, Power, and Persistence. Sherman brings listeners inside the negotiating room to show how to put diplomatic values to work in their own lives. With personal experiences, from her own life—from grow…
 
The Deep End Friends podcast is an exploration of liberation, healing, hope, joy, and wholeness. What does it mean to be free? What are Black people doing to heal themselves and the world? Hear from incredible people from all walks of life about their journeys, what they are doing to thrive and how they are contributing to broader movements of empo…
 
Vaccines are a documented success story, one of the most successful public health interventions in history. Yet there is a vocal anti-vaccination movement. How can we better understand the history and concerns behind that movement? Science professor Jonathan Berman joined us via livestream with revelations from his book Anti-Vaxxers: How to Challen…
 
One in five people in the United States lives with a disability. Some disabilities are visible, others less apparent—but all are underrepresented in media and popular culture. Just in time for the thirtieth anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, activist Alice Wong joined us via livestream in conversation with editor Elsa Sjunneson. Wo…
 
In this week’s episode, Senior Correspondent Steve Scher talks with Michael Schuman, who has been a foreign news correspondent in Asia for over two decades, to gain insight on the answer to a common question: What does China want? With insight from his book Superpower Interrupted: The Chinese History of the World, Schuman shares his expert opinion …
 
Dr. Madeline Levine contends that the role of parent has evolved into an unhealthy relationship with achievement and stress. The COVID-19 epidemic is throwing many into dual roles as both parent and full-time teacher, leaving many to wonder how to best serve our children—and what the long-term effects will be on their education. Levine joined us fo…
 
Can birds smell? Do robins ‘hear’ worms? Is this the same cardinal that was at my feeder last year? To answer the question of what birds are doing—and why—David Sibley joined us via livestream with insight from his new book What It’s Like to Be a Bird. Sibley answered frequently asked questions about the birds we see most often, covering everything…
 
In this week’s episode, correspondent Shaun Scott talks with acclaimed writer Calvin Baker about his new book A More Perfect Reunion: Race, Integration, and the Future of America. In this conversation about the bracing, necessary book, Baker argues that the only meaningful remedy to our civil rights efforts is integration: the full self-determinati…
 
American monopolies dominate, control, and consume most of the energy of our entire economic system–but we’ve broken the hold of behemoths like these before, author Thom Hartmann says, and we can do it again. In this livestreamed presentation, Hartmann shared how he believes monopolies threaten our systems and economy, and the damage that they have…
 
How much information is too much? Do we need to know how many calories are in the giant vat of popcorn that we bought on our way into the movie theater? Do we want to know if we are genetically predisposed to a certain disease? Not necessarily, argues behavioral scientist Cass Sunstein. Drawing from findings shared in his book Too Much Information:…
 
In this week’s episode, Senior Correspondent Steve Scher talks with poet and fellow correspondent Shin Yu Pai about her new book of poetry, ENSŌ. In this tenth collection, Pai presents a hybrid book and digital experience with insights on cultural hybridity, exchange, and appropriation; motherhood; and personal reflections on how systemic racism an…
 
Award-winning reporter Erica Barnett her first sip of alcohol when she was thirteen. By her late twenties, her addiction became inescapable. By the time she was in her late thirties, she had run the gauntlet of alcoholism, and volatile relationships, blackouts, and unsuccessful stints in detox defined Barnett’s life. Barnett joins us via livestream…
 
Online trolls and fascist chat groups. Controversies over campus lectures. Cancel culture versus censorship. The daily hazards and debates surrounding free speech dominate headlines and fuel social media storms. In our highly digitized society, free speech is often invoked as a concept but rarely understood. Suzanne Nossel, a leading voice in suppo…
 
In this week’s episode, correspondent and poet Shin Yu Pai shares the third installment of Lyric World, featuring poet Koon Woon. Koon explores the topic of displacement and the role that poetry can have in creating a sense of belonging and home. He reads from his book Water Chasing Water and speaks on his family’s history of immigration to the Uni…
 
In this week’s episode, correspondent and poet Shin Yu Pai introduces a second installment of Lyric World, featuring fellow poets Prageeta Sharma and afrose fatima ahmed. By sharing her own work on grief and grieving, Sharma explores the idea of imagined futures cut short and how a particular loss can awaken memories of previous grief. Sharma delve…
 
In this week’s interview, correspondent Shin Yu Pai talks with Arabic language and literature scholar Michael Cooperson about his translation of Iraqi author al-Harīrī’s collection of fifty tales—an essential work of Arabic literature and a masterpiece of wit and wordplay. Often declared to be “untranslatable,” the eleventh-century text follows the…
 
In this week’s interview, Chief Correspondent Steve Scher talks with cartoonist Tom Gauld as he engages everyone with a rudimentary recall of their old science classes as well as those who consider themselves buffs of the contemporary physical and natural world. Breaking his pattern of lampooning writers, poets, and literary classics, Gauld skewers…
 
In this week’s interview, correspondent Katy Sewall talks with digital security trainer Gillian “Gus” Andrews, who aims to help us relax and overcome our digital helplessness to achieve online mindfulness and escape the feeling that technology is out of our control. Andrews outlines online stressors, from the proliferation of fake news to the threa…
 
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