The humanities define and reveal what it means to live with meaning in a democratic community. Humanities Washington very effectively connects the humanities to the stories and experiences of people across our state.

Eric Liu
Former White House adviser and speechwriter for President Bill Clinton
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All events at Humanities Washington

A Reading of the Play "Citizen Min"

Join Dr. Nikki Nojima Louis and Holly Yasui, among others, for an interactive panel discussion about the play, "Citizen Min." "Citizen Min" tells the story of Minoru Yasui, a young lawyer who during World War II challenged the military orders that lead to the forced removal from the West Coast of more than 110,000 persons of Japanese ancestry and their subsequent incarceration in concentration camps. Yasui deliberately violated the first of these discriminatory orders, a curfew, in order to bring a constitutional test case to the U.S. Supreme Court. The readings will comprise about 30 minutes of the program. They depict a period in American history that has been called a “shameful chapter” due to the war hysteria and racial prejudice that lead to the wholesale violation of the human and civil rights of an entire community. The excerpts depict Yasui’s arrest and imprisonment in solitary confinement; the antecedents of racial discrimination against his family and friends; the arrest of his father as an “enemy alien” immediately after the bombing of Pearl Harbor; the dilemmas faced by the Japanese American Citizens League in the wake of the U.S. declaration of war against Japan. Similar conditions have prevailed in the U.S. since the attack on the World Trade Center, with the ongoing “War on Terror” and law-enforcement practices engendering the same type of response: discrimination against minorities, racial profiling and lack of due process. The event is free and open to the public.

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Red Rain and Monsters: A 200th Anniversary of the Shelleys and Byron at Lake Geneva

1816 was the "Year Without a Summer," a time of global, catastrophic climate change resulting from a massive volcanic eruption in Indonesia. At the same time, the Napoleonic Wars had only just ended, leaving much of Europe ravaged. It was in a gloomy atmosphere of incessant, red rain and darkness and postwar disorientation that the writers Percy Bysshe Shelley, Mary Godwin Shelley, Lord Byron, Claire Clairmont and Dr. John Polidori crossed separately through the continent to meet at Lake Geneva. There, storms and shadows led them to tell one another Gothic stories over several famously manic days, resulting in the seeds of "Frankenstein" and early vampire fiction. Those summer weeks also yielded some of Percy Shelley's and Byron's greatest poetry. "Red Rain and Monsters" is an examination of the full story of these young individuals' origins, the complicated connections between them, the lives they were fleeing, and the deep intellectual influences and radical principles they were trying to embody. This event will feature a staged reading by six accomplished Seattle actors, and is directed by Gianni Truzzi. A post-reading commentary by critic Robert Horton (author of "Frankenstein," an overview of the myth's cultural endurance) and a dialogue with the audience follows. The event is free but an RSVP is important as seating is limited. Please contact us at by July 6, so we have an accurate headcount.

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