Speakers Forum

Thursday, 9:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m. on KUOW

Sarah Vowell, Gloria Steinem, Michael Pollan: you can't make it to every lecture in town but you can hear plenty here. We record talks all over the Puget Sound region, from uber–famous intellectuals to lesser–knowns. From soldiers to urban farmers to humorists; we tape it, then air it on Speakers Forum.

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In a way, Majora Carter’s dog is partially responsible for the existence of a Bronx park. More than a decade ago, Carter was pulled by her dog into a vacant, trashed lot and onto the banks of the Bronx River. After securing a USDA Forest Service program grant, Carter worked with community groups over five years to build the award-winning Hunts Point Riverside Park.

Carter is an urban revitalization strategist who examines the connection between urbanization and the environment. She spoke at the University of Washington’s Kane Hall on January 22, 2014, as part of the UW Graduate School lecture series.

Ian Haney Lopez's book "Dog Whistle Politics."

Dog whistle politics means using language that appeals to one group of people but may have coded meanings to another. For example, one reason Ronald Reagan did so well with white voters was because he told stories of the “welfare queen” – a woman with “eighty names, thirty addresses, [and] twelve Social Security cards [who] is collecting veteran’s benefits on four non-existing deceased husbands. She’s got Medicaid, getting food stamps, and she is collecting welfare under each of her names. Her tax-free cash income is over $150,000.”

Dr. Deborah Cohen's book, “A Big Fat Crisis."

Candy by the cash register, 24-hour drive-throughs and constant food advertisements have all contributed to America’s obesity epidemic. More than one-third of Americans are obese, and natural scientist Dr. Deborah Cohen has some new ideas for solving this problem.

In her new book, “A Big Fat Crisis: The Hidden Influences Behind the Obesity Epidemic — and How We Can End It,” Cohen argues in favor of government regulation of unhealthy foods and stricter restaurant guidelines. She spoke at Town Hall on January 22, 2014.

Nancy Bartley's book "The Boy Who Shot the Sheriff."

In 1931, Asotin County Sheriff John Wormell was shot and killed by a 12-year-old boy. Herbert Niccolls, Jr., was almost hung by a lynch mob before he was sentenced to life in prison.

Journalist Nancy Bartley is the author of “The Boy Who Shot the Sheriff: The Redemption of Herbert Niccolls, Jr.” The book reveals Niccolls’ troubled past and early Washington state history. She spoke at the Elliott Bay Book Company on January 7.

Joshua Klein's book "Reputation Economic."

In today’s world: Avis discounts car rentals based on its Twitter followers; Carnival Cruise Lines offers upgrades based on Klout scores; Amazon is this-close to pricing goods based on a customer’s online reputation.

Online reputation is replacing currency, technology Joshua Klein argues. How will this affect our future interactions with each other and with businesses? Klein is the author of “Reputation Economics: Why Who You Know is Worth More Than What You Have.” He spoke at Town Hall on January 9.

KUOW Photo/Jeannie Yandel

The Cold War might be over, but the nuclear weapons and the threat of destruction remains.

Joseph Cirincione is the president of Ploughshares Fund, a global security foundation. He’s also the author of “Nuclear Nightmares: Securing the World Before It Is Too Late.”

He spoke at Town Hall on January 14 about today’s most pressing international security issue — and the steps governments are taking to make the world safer.

Daniel Siegel's book "Brainstorm."

The teenage brain can be a mystery to adults. UCLA psychiatry professor Daniel Siegel debunks myths about adolescence to show how teens learn new skills, connect with others and demonstrate limitless creativity.

Siegel is the author of “Brainstorm: The Power and Purpose of the Teenage Brain.”

He spoke at Town Hall on December 13, 2013, in a lecture presented by ParentMap.

Dave Isay's book "Ties That Bind."

Ten years ago, Dave Isay began StoryCorps by building a soundproof booth in Grand Central Terminal. People arrived in pairs to interview each other about their lives.

Today, StoryCorps airs stories weekly on NPR, and more than 30,000 interviews have been recorded and archived in the Library of Congress. Isay has also compiled some of the stories into books. His most recent is called “Ties That Bind: Stories of Love & Gratitude from the First Ten Years of StoryCorps.”

He spoke at the Elliott Bay Book Company on December 17, 2013.

In 1963, one of the most controversial books of the twentieth century was published. “Eichmann in Jerusalem” presented Adolf Eichmann not as a sociopath — but as an ordinary person who simply believed his actions were normal. The author of this book, political theorist Hannah Arendt, refers to this theory as the “banality of evil.” Arendt was a Jew who fled Germany in the early 1930s. 

Yale professor Seyla Benhabib offers an overview of the controversy surrounding Arendt’s book, and what lessons it can teach us about humanity. Benhabib spoke at the University of Washington’s Kane Hall on October 24, 2013 as part of the Graduate School lecture series.

Julia Serano's book "Excluded."

Julia Serano has challenged exclusion in the feminist and queer movements for years. As an activist and trans woman, Serano was shocked to see some people challenge one type of sexism while ignoring — and sometimes furthering — others.

In her new book, "Excluded: Making Feminist and Queer Movements More Inclusive," Serano calls for a new, inclusive approach to battling sexism. She spoke at the Elliott Bay Book Company on December 4.

Joshua Greene's book "Moral Tribes."

As humans, we’re designed to work together with certain groups of people while fighting off others. In modern times though, our tribes have been forced closer to others, sparking clashes. What is a practical way to solve these problems? And how can different tribes move forward together?

Psychologist Joshua Greene traces the roots of morality and conflict in his new book, “Moral Tribes: Emotion, Reason, and the Gap Between Us and Them.” He spoke at Town Hall on November 15.

Flickr Photo/Randy Stewart

What would you say if you had five minutes onstage and a captive audience?

That's the premise of Ignite Seattle, a regular worldwide event where presenters get five minutes and twenty PowerPoint slides to get a point across. Speakers at November’s event touched on a variety of topics, including living in two cities, superbugs, and little-known facts about "Hamlet."

Ignite Seattle 22 took place at Town Hall on November 20. The talk was moderated by Seattle Times columnist Monica Guzman.

Flickr Photo/las-initially

If there's one tradition that's never faded away in our history as people on this earth, it's storytelling. StoryCorps is a massive oral history project whose mission is to record, preserve and share the stories of Americans from all background and beliefs. It was founded in 2003 by radio documentary producer Dave Isay.

People tell their stories in mobile booths all around the country, and selected stories air nationally on NPR. All of the stories are preserved in the Library of Congress, with the hope that it will one day become a public, searchable database. Isay spoke at Seattle's Town Hall on February 7, 2012.

Dean R. Owen's book "November 22, 1963"

November 22 marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Journalist Dean R. Owen collected interviews from notable civil rights leaders, White House staff, and others connected to Kennedy for his book, “November 22, 1963: Reflections on the Life, Assassination, and Legacy of John F. Kennedy.”

Owen spoke at the Elliott Bay Book Company on September 14. He was joined by Patricia Baillargeon, a contributor to his book who served as assistant to Eleanor Roosevelt.

A. Scott Berg's book "Wilson."

It’s been a century since Woodrow Wilson’s inauguration, and the president has a compelling history. He was 10 years old by the time he learned to read, and yet he ultimately became a scholar and the president of Princeton University.

He led the United States through WWI and helped establish the League of Nations. A serious stroke left his entire left side paralyzed, and his disability became the argument for the 25th Amendment.

A. Scott Berg’s new biography of Wilson came out earlier this fall. Berg spoke on September 18 at Town Hall in a talk moderated by KUOW’s Steve Scher.

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