This year’s Society and Culture Stage at the Library of Congress National Book Festival traversed a wide range of subjects—mental health, community building, climate change and the natural world, the multi-layered costs of racism and more—and offered unique solutions to the intricate problems we face today. We’re happy to release the footage from that stage today on our site and our YouTube channel. Here’s what you’ll find among the rich conversations that took place on the Society & Culture stage:
- We kicked off the day with Robert Samuels and Linda Villarosa, two author-journalists writing about the costs of slow-growing, systemic racism. Samuels discussed the life and legacy of George Floyd and Villarosa illustrated the shocking and deadly health disparities Black and Brown people face, especially Black women, with NPR’s Eric Deggans.
- In conversation with Missing Pages podcast host Bethanne Patrick, Rachel Aviv and Daniel Bergner discussed the consequences of the treatment and mistreatment of mental health in America.
- Journalist Will Bunch discussed the radical shifts college has undergone in the last 60 years and asks a central and timely question, “How can we protect college as a fundamental and affordable right for all?” Bunch talked with Washington Post columnist Alexandra Petri.
- Writer and editor Gal Beckerman and law professor Kathryn Judge talked with the Texas Tribune’s editor-in-chief Sewell Chan about the ways modern life obfuscates direct and, in many cases, lasting communication and collaboration.
- Roswell Encina, the Library’s Chief Communications Officer, spoke to authors Brendan McConville and Elizabeth Williamson about the ways conspiracy theories mix with our nation’s history, ultimately causing real-world damage.
- Marine scientists Juli Berwald and Edith Widder chatted with Liz Neeley about equally vibrant yet different parts of the ocean: coral reefs and deep sea creatures.
- Celeste Marcus, managing editor of Liberties journal, spoke to essayists Morten Høi Jensen, Shawn McCreesh and Becca Rothfeld about the power of the essay as a form, especially in the hyper speed of our digital world.
- Award winning journalist Ed Yong explored the limits of our human reality by describing the ways animals experience the natural world. Yong spoke to the Director of the National Museum of Natural History, Kirk Johnson.
We hope you enjoy the events from this year’s Society & Culture stage!
This is a guest post by Anya Creightney, program specialist in the Literary Initiatives Office.