2020 Table Topics

Native American Literature

with Heather Cahoon

Heather Cahoon is an award-winning multi-genre writer, artist and policy scholar as well as a member of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes. Join her for a discussion of Native American literature and poetry. In her work, she focuses on the role of suffering in human transformation. 

Adapting & Overcoming Adversity

with Meg Fisher

Dr. Meg Fisher knows a thing or two about resilience. Join Meg as she discusses the importance of resilience and defining your future. She is an accomplished athlete for Team USA and Doctor of Physical Therapy. When Meg was 19 years old, a tragic accident stole the life of her best friend, put Meg into a coma, and resulted in the amputation of her left leg. She was told she would never walk again and doctors questioned if she would be able to return to college. With grit, determination and the support of others, she has gone on to win 11 World Championships, Paralympic medals including gold, and graduate with her doctorate.

Motherhood and the Media

with Elke Govertson

Join Mamalode founder, Elke Govertson in a conversation about how motherhood is evolving in modern times and the additional public scrutiny on parents today. She is revolutionary in the scope of bringing resources and people together to foster community and support for mothers and parents. Elke is a modern entrepreneur and fierce role model that will share what modern parenting can look like and how media shapes our definition of parenting.

From Glacial Lake to A River Runs Through It: Climate Change Over Time

with Dr. Jon Harbor

Missoula looked very different 15,000 years ago when Glacial Lake Missoula filled our valley. Perhaps other places familiar to you have changed just in your lifetime. Join Provost Jon Harbor as he draws from four decades of glacier and climate change research to lead a discussion reflecting on the past and looking at community response to changes over time. He has been engaged in scientific research around the world about glacier mechanics, how glaciers shape landscapes, and glacier changes over recent to geological timescales.

Brewing a Community

with Fernanda Krum & Robert Rivers

Join Imagine Nation Brewery co-founders, Fernanda and Robert, for a tasty discussion on brewing and bringing people together.

Forever Fixes on the Richest Hill

with Nora Saks

Butte’s 30+ year Superfund cleanup site, the Berkeley Pit, is an attempt to deal retroactively with the environmental consequences of 150 years of metal mining on the Richest Hill in Butte, Montana. Nora Saks, host and producer of the Richest Hill podcast, leads this table’s discussion on the future of Butte and its deep (literally, deep) past. Butte is facing perpetual environmental problems that will require perpetual solutions. So in this day and age, what does “clean” mean? Will Butte ever be “fixed”? What comes after Superfund, and who gets to decide?

Flying Mammals

with Nate Schwab

Which group of mammals is the second-most diverse after rodents, occupies every continent except Antarctica, and can sustain a heart rate from 1-1,000 beats per minute? Well, it’s not a bird, it’s not a plane, it’s a bat! 

Nate Schwab has studied bats from Maine to Hawaii, working for all manner of organizations, including the military. This table is an excellent opportunity to get out of the dark about your knowledge of these fascinating flying mammals and learn about their unique role in agriculture and federal environmental policy.

Striking at the Sacred: The Civil Rights Movement and the Violence of Prayer

with Dr. Tobin Miller-Shearer

In this thought-provoking discussion, UM’s Director of the African-American studies program asks insightful questions about the uses of religious resources by both white segregationists and civil rights activists during the Civil Rights Movement. Table guests will have the opportunity to ponder how this period changed our understanding of the nature of religion and the challenges and opportunities of social change.

Happiness and the Well-Lived Life

with Drs. Rita and John Sommers-Flanagan

Dive into a pool of answers on one of the perpetual questions of humankind: How do we define happiness and a well-lived life? Drs. Rita and John Sommers-Flanagan, accomplished clinical psychologists and notable writers on the subject, will lead their table through discussion on happiness and a well-lived life. Rita and John will focus on how savoring, gratitude, and optimism activities can serve us. They will also take tablemates into a deep conversation on how mindful acceptance or cognitive-behavior therapy can help anyone cope with challenging life events.

Our Brains and Relationships

with Dr. Christina Yoshimura

Mental health and interpersonal communication are deeply connected. Dr. Christina Yoshimura will offer the opportunity to reflect on types of interpersonal relationship communication most related to our brain functioning (parent/child, romantic relationship, etc.). Guests will talk about “tricks” of the brain that might lead us to focus on the relationally negative, and also strategies for maximizing the brain-related benefit of our close, personal relationships.