Tucson Humanities Festival Asks, What’s Next?

Sept. 19, 2019
The 10th annual Tucson Humanities Festival features 10 events offering thought-provoking lectures, panels, readings and films by faculty and special guests, including poet and author Sandra Cisneros.

As new ideas develop and new technologies rise, what can we anticipate about the future?

The Tucson Humanities Festival will look beyond the horizon and at moments in the past that catalyzed change in a series of 10 events celebrating National Arts & Humanities Month. Held from Oct. 2 to Nov. 1, the festival with offer thought-provoking lectures, panels, readings and films presented by University of Arizona faculty members and featured guests, including poet and author Sandra Cisneros.

Topics include cities of the future, the impact of philanthropy, digital lives of young black Christians, modern lessons from ancient philosophy, the #MeToo movement's impact on religion, Russian rap, space exploration and the 100th anniversary of the German art movement Bauhaus.

"We wanted to address the challenges and opportunities that are coming with rapidly changing technology, as well as highlight how past cultures and humans dealt with the transformative moments of their own times," says Alain-Philippe Durand, dean of the College of Humanities. "Human knowledge is expanding at the same time we're growing more connected around the world. We see tremendous potential in the future, for humanity and for the humanities."

The College of Humanities began presenting an annual series of public outreach events in the spring of 2009 that has since grown to a month-long festival centered each year on a different theme that illuminates the impact of humanities on our lives now and into the future. The College of Humanities faculty consider different themes every year for the festival, with recent years exploring "Secrets," "Resistance & Revolution," "Refuge" and "Found in Translation."

The festival is intended to encourage public participation in the humanities, open a dialogue between the university and local community, and share faculty research and expertise about topics with wide interest. The events occur at a variety of on- and off-campus locations, with the Town of Oro Valley hosting a presentation for the first time.  

"This year's forward-thinking theme highlights our college's expertise in the digital humanities and the innovative and interdisciplinary scholarship of our world-class faculty," Durand says. "The changes brought about by the Fourth Industrial Revolution need the perspective and context offered by the College of Humanities, and we're excited to share these presentations with the UA and local communities."


Wednesday, Oct. 2, 5:30 p.m.
Urban Humanities: New Practices for Reimagining the City
Jonathan Jae-an Crisman, UA Public & Applied Humanities
Playground, 278 E. Congress St.
Sponsored by Rio Nuevo

Monday, Oct. 7, 3 p.m. & 5 p.m.
Designing Women: Overlooked Trailblazers of the Bauhaus
Elizabeth Otto, University at Buffalo
UA Museum of Art, 1031 N. Olive Road
$5 per person
An affiliate event of Tucson Modernism Week

Wednesday, Oct. 9, 7 p.m.
Beyond the Church: The Digital-Religious Lives of Young Black Christians
Erika Gault, UA Africana Studies
Dunbar Auditorium, 325 W. 2nd St.

Tuesday, Oct. 15, 7 p.m.
Speaking to Power: What’s Next for Religious Institutions after #MeToo?
Karen Seat, Alison Jameson, Daisy Vargas and Konden Smith, UA Religious Studies and Classics
UA Poetry Center, 1508 E. Helen St.

Thursday, Oct. 17, 4 p.m.
Space & Wonder: Humanity’s Endless Quest for Answers
Valerio Ferme, University of Cincinnati
Oro Valley Town Hall, 11000 N. La Cañada Drive
Sponsored by the Town of Oro Valley

Friday, Oct. 18, 7 p.m.
Friends or Enemies: Politics & Poetry in Contemporary Russian Rap
Philip Ewell, Hunter College
UA Poetry Center, 1508 E. Helen St.

Tuesday, Oct. 22, 7 p.m.
Ritual & Human Flourishing: Theories from Classical China
Michael Puett, Harvard University
UA Poetry Center, 1508 E. Helen St.

Thursday, Oct. 24, 7 p.m.
Puro Amor: A Reading with Sandra Cisneros
Presented by UA Poetry Center   
UA Student Union Grand Ballroom, 1303 E. University Blvd.
Advance tickets available via Eventbrite
Sponsored by Arizona Humanities, with additional support from Bookmans Entertainment Exchange and Chicanos Por La Causa

Tuesday, Oct. 29, 7 p.m.
Arrival: Film Screening & Discussion
Richard Poss, UA Humanities Seminars Program       
The Loft Cinema, 3233 E. Speedway Blvd.
Free tickets available at noon on Oct. 29 at The Loft Cinema box office. First come, first served.

Friday, Nov. 1, 10 a.m.
Transforming Lives: Empowering Philanthropy through Humanism 
Dana Vandersip, Make-A-Wish Foundation
UA Student Union, Kiva Room, 1303 E. University Blvd.
Vandersip is the 2019 Humanities Alumnus of the Year and a 1988 graduate of Russian & Slavic Studies. This presentation is part of Homecoming festivities.