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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

Celebrating the Centennial of Women’s Suffrage with Susan Ware

Air Dates: April 6-12, 2020 The history of the American women’s suffrage movement is the history of determined community organizing, fierce protest, and the power of ideals. Susan Ware, however, tells us the history we know fails to reflect the diversity of the movement that won women the right to vote 100 years ago. She’s Susan Ware, this week on Story in the Public Square. A pioneer in the field … Read More

Advocacy in Crisis with Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha

Rebroadcast Dates: March 30-April 3, 2020 In April 2014, officials in Flint, Michigan, switched the source of the city’s water from the Detroit water supply to the Flint, River.  It was a cost-saving move, but it touched the lives of citizens across that city.  Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha helped blow the story open.  With science and determination, she proved the decision was poisoning the children of Flint.  Dr. Hanna-Attisha is an … Read More

Defense and Climate Change: Adapting to a Changing Physical Landscape with Michael Klare

Air Dates: March 16-22, 2020 The partisan split on climate change is unmistakable.  Democrats view the climate as one of their top-two national issues.  Republicans tend to worry more about the economic disruption that may result from efforts to reduce carbon emissions.  Dr. Michael Klare argues that for the a-political men and women who lead the U.S. military, the challenge of defending the nation and its interests in an age … Read More

The Makings of Mass Incarceration in the United States with Elizabeth Hinton

Air Dates: March 9-15, 2020 While the United States contains less than five percent of the planet’s population, it has nearly one-quarter of the world’s prison population.  Elizabeth Hinton traces the politics and policy decisions since President Lyndon’s Johnson’s War on Poverty that created the nation’s reliance on mass incarceration. Elizabeth Hinton is Professor in the Departments of History and African and African American Studies at Harvard University.  Hinton’s research … Read More