top of page





SEATTLE— Should we use technology to build “better” humans? How did a peace agreement between Indigenous tribes shape the United States Constitution? What are the implications when wealthy urbanites flock to rural parts of Washington?

With presentations ranging from the personal to the global, Humanities Washington has announced its new 2021-2023 Speakers Bureau participants. This slate of over 30 speakers began giving presentations on July 1st at libraries, museums, and other community venues. Speakers are chosen not only for their expertise, but for their ability to inspire discussion with people of all ages and backgrounds. Currently being held both online and in-person, all talks are free, open to the public, and last around an hour each. Anyone can find an event and register to attend at

Among the talks is a one of resilience and reconciliation by speaker Rais Bhuiyan, who was shot by a white supremacist. Yet not only did Bhuiyan forgive his attacker, he spent months trying to save him from death row. In her talk “Diamonds in the Rough,” professor Jennifer Sherman of Washington State University explores the way Washington's rural communities are rapidly changing. Formerly reliant on working-class industries, an influx of wealthy urbanites is looking for a different kind of experience and causing new inequalities in the process. In “A Nicer Kind of Murder,” author Matthew Sullivan examines the shifting role of the victim in detective novels over the past 150 years, and how crime fiction mirrors broader social changes—particularly around empathy. In “The Ancient Art of Madhubani Painting,” artist Deepti Agrawal discusses the fascinating history of a traditional form of painting native to Northeast India that is increasingly being adopted for commercial purposes.

View the full list of talks below or explore in-depth descriptions on Humanities Washington’s 2021-2023 Speakers Bureau page at

Interested in bringing a speaker to your community? Speakers Bureau events are a great way to connect with your community, boost your local profile, and bring people together to explore fascinating topics. Review Humanities Washington’s host guidelines, resources, and funding options at

2021-2023 Speakers Bureau talks:

This is the End: How Movies Prepared Us for the Apocalypse

Robert Horton, film critic and radio host

Humanity in Print: Literature and Human Rights

Richard Middleton-Kaplan, dean of arts & sciences, Walla Walla Community College

Tell Your Story: The Power of the Personal Essay

Kristen Millares Young, author and teacher

The Art of Rebellion: Social Justice and Chicana/Chicano Visual Arts

Jake Prendez, artist

Writing as Self-Love

Chelsey Richardson, poet

A Nicer Kind of Murder: The Evolution of Crime Fiction

Matthew Sullivan, author

An Appetite for Film: Food in the Movies

John Trafton, professor, Seattle University

Whiskey and Wiretaps: The Northwest's Rumrunning King

Steve Edmiston, historian

Understanding Israel

Nancy Koppelman, professor, The Evergreen State College

Hidden Histories: The South Vietnamese Side of the Vietnam War

Julie Pham, historian

American Democracy’s Indigenous Roots and Future

Fern Naomi Renville, storyteller

How Audio Technology Changed the World

Ross Reynolds, producer, KUOW

Double Crossed: The American Missionary Spies of World War II*

Matthew Avery Sutton, professor, Washington State University

Will the 2020s Roar like the 1920s?

William Woodward, professor, Seattle Pacific University

Drag Culture: Beyond Entertainment

Ceasar Hart, drag performer

What I Learned from My #MeToo Journey

Lauri Hennessey, CEO, League of Education Voters

Redefining Protest through Music

Ben Hunter and Joe Seamons, roots musicians

Hip-Hop and It Don’t Stop

King Khazm, artist and community organizer

Umoja (Unity): Sustaining African Cultural Arts

Afua Kouyaté, performing artist and teacher

Fighting for Love: Strong Women in Onscreen Romances

Allison Palumbo, professor, Big Bend Community College

The Samurai Code: How Bushido Changes Lives

Lori Tsugawa Whaley, author

Life After Prison: The Prison-to-School Pipeline

Omari Amili, author and community organizer

Diamonds in the Rough: The Gentrification of Rural Washington*

Jennifer Sherman, professor, Washington State University

How American Politics Got Uncivil (Again)*

Steven Stehr, professor, Washington State University

One Second of Hate: A Story of Forgiveness

Rais Bhuiyan, founder, World Without Hate

How Latina/Latino Representation Can Improve Democracy

Maria Chávez, professor, Pacific Lutheran University

Biased Code: Technology and Human Rights

Clyde Ford, author

Laughing Matters: Asian Americans, Comedy, and Inclusion

Michelle Liu, professor, University of Washington

Why Deny Science?*

Michael Goldsby, professor, Washington State University

Should We Build “Better” Humans?*

Bill Kabasenche, professor, Washington State University

Atomic Washington: Our Nuclear Past, Present, and Future

Steve Olson, author

After the Blast: Mount St. Helens 40 Years Later

Eric Wagner, author

The River that Made Seattle

BJ Cummings, author and environmentalist

The Ancient Art of Madhubani Painting

Deepti Agrawal, artist and instructor

* This talk is presented in partnership with The Thomas S. Foley Institute for Public Policy and Public Service.


Humanities Washington opens minds and bridges divides by creating spaces to explore different perspectives. As Washington State’s affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, we hold hundreds of free events around the state each year on everything from history to current social issues. For more about Humanities Washington, visit

Speakers Bureau is made possible with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the State of Washington via the Office of the Secretary of State, and the Thomas S. Foley Institute of Public Policy and Public Service at Washington State University, and generous contributions from other businesses, foundations, and individuals.