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Story in the Public Square

Lisa Genova receiving Pell Center Prize in 2015

Studying and celebrating public storytelling in American politics and culture.

Storytelling is an ancient and underappreciated element of public life. Think of Christ’s parables or Plato’s dialogues – both used stories to communicate, instruct, inspire and persuade. In the American experience, think of Harriet Beecher Stowe’s “Uncle Tom’s Cabin,” which fueled the abolitionist movement prior to the Civil War, or Upton Sinclair’s “The Jungle,” which contributed to a wave of reform and regulation in American industry.

However they are communicated (film, books, word of mouth, blogs, among other means), stories have the ability to touch listeners and viewers in a way that the cold hard facts of exposition never can.

Stories, of course, are like any tool that can be used in many ways. They can be either truthful or untruthful. They can illuminate or obscure important facts. They can educate or they can propagandize.

Hosted by Jim Ludes, Executive Director of the Pell Center at Salve Regina University, and G. Wayne Miller, senior staff writer at The Providence Journal, “Story in the Public Square” features interviews with today’s best print, screen, music, and other storytellers about their creative processes and how their stories impact public understanding and policy.

The audio version of “Story in the Public Square” airs 8:30 a.m. & 6:30 p.m. ET, Sundays at 4:30 a.m. & 11:30 p.m. ET on SiriusXM’s popular P.O.T.U.S. (Politics of the United States), channel 124. Episodes are also broadcast each week on public television stations across the United States. A full listing of the national television distribution is available at this link. In Rhode Island and southeastern New England, the show is broadcast on Rhode Island PBS on Sundays at 11 a.m. and is rebroadcast Thursdays at 7:30 p.m.

You can listen to the official podcast and download episodes for free on our Story in the Public Square show page as well as on iTunes, SpotifyGoogle Play, Google Podcast, TuneIn, and Stitcher.

“Story in the Public Square” is a partnership between the Pell Center and The Providence Journal. The initiative aims to study, celebrate and tell stories that matter.

Recent Story in the Public Square Blog Posts

Disinformation and Russian Intelligence with Michael Isikoff

Rebroadcast Dates: May 25-31, 2020 Original Air Dates: October 14-20, 2019 In the early morning hours of July 10, 2016, a young staffer for the Democratic National Committee was murdered as he walked home from a bar.  Without any real evidence, Seth Rich’s death became a focal point for efforts to debunk the story that Russia hacked the DNC to help Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign.  Michael Isikoff, however, tells us … Read More

Living with Neurological Disease with Lisa Genova

Rebroadcast Dates: May 18-24, 2020 Air Dates: July 8-14, 2019 An estimated 5.6 million Americans live with Alzheimer’s today. Another 100,000 are living with ALS—or Lou Gehrig’s disease. Lisa Genova is a brain scientist whose best-selling novels describe not what it’s like to die from these diseases, but what it means to live with them.  Dr. Genova is a Harvard-trained neuroscientist who broke into the public’s consciousness with her novel, … Read More

White Identity Politics with Ashley Jardina

Rebroadcast Dates: May 11-17, 2020 Air Dates: August 5-11, 2019 Identity politics are typically associated with marginalized groups—communities that have been defined as “other” by the dominant group in a political culture. Ashley Jardina argues that there is an emerging white-identity politics in American society today.  Jardina is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Duke University.  Her book White Identity Politics explores the nature of racial attitudes, the development of group … Read More

Gun Violence as a Public Health Crisis with Joseph Sakran

Rebroadcast Dates: May 4-10, 2020 Air Dates: September 23-29, 2019 On an otherwise typical Friday night in 1994, 17-year-old Joseph Sakran, a high school student in Northern Virginia, was shot through his throat by an errant bullet from a fight at a high school football game.  Trauma surgeons saved his life, launching him on a career as a trauma surgeon and as a leading voice against gun violence.  Dr. Joseph … Read More