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Town Hall Seattle: Civics Series

Town Hall’s Civics series highlights everything from local policies to world politics. These events offer perspectives on a range of topics as diverse as Seattle itself—a bustling forum for activism, discovery, and thought-provoking discussion.

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Feb 22, 2018

Political scientists have outlined and explored a growing fundamental misunderstanding between the American Right and Left. Analysts reference this divide when addressing the widespread bewilderment of many Americans at Donald Trump’s election, citing difficulties from liberals in understanding what Trump voters were thinking when they cast their ballots. For clarity we turn to Arlie Russell Hochschild, one of the most influential sociologists of her generation, as she takes our stage to present her book Strangers in Their Own Land.

Hochschild shared findings from her five-year immersion in the community around Lake Charles, Louisiana—a region strongly associated with the Tea Party. Hochschild was joined onstage by Christopher Sebastian Parker, professor of political science at University of Washington, for a discussion of Hochschild’s findings. Together they addressed how Hochschild scaled what she calls the “empathy wall” to reveal how “hidden beneath the right-wing hostility to almost all government intervention…lies an anguishing loss of honor, alienation and engagement in a hidden social class war.” Hochschild and Parker revealed an enlightening cross-section of an American microcosm—and how it represents an entrenched, epidemic, and utterly unique cultural perspective in our nation.

Recorded live at Seattle University by Town Hall Seattle on Monday, February 12, 2018.