Tucson Humanities Festival to Focus on Justice

Tucson Humanities Festival Toward Justice logo

This year's Tucson Humanities Festival will highlight contemporary and historic efforts to fight racism, erase prejudice and uplift marginalized populations.

The theme "Toward Justice" was chosen for the University of Arizona College of Humanities' 11th annual series because the college felt a responsibility to address systemic inequalities, both in the United States and abroad, said dean Alain-Philippe Durand.

"We chose the theme out of a moral necessity and obligation. The college is committed to advancing the cause of justice, and the festival will demonstrate the various ways that the work of our faculty is action toward justice," Durand said. "The humanities are critical for creating the open-mindedness, understanding and shared perspective that can eradicate racism, prejudice and intolerance in our increasingly interconnected world."

The festival will feature virtual panel discussions from College of Humanities faculty, students and guests about the Black Lives Matter movement; immigration and multilingualism; disparities in health care; student activism and experiences on campus; and the global impact of research in the humanities.

The festival will also include digital humanities presentations about the University of Arizona Poetry Center's ongoing Arts for Justice project, a documentary about freedom in Africa, a series of film introductions to accompany at-home viewing, and a guest DJ partnership with KXCI Community Radio.

After recent growth of the Tucson Humanities Festival – which brought ballroom-sized audiences for featured guests Colson Whitehead in 2018 and  Sandra Cisneros in 2019, transitioning to an all-virtual festival required rethinking the best ways to connect remotely with audiences, Durand said.

"Adapting this year's festival has been challenging, but we're excited to bring our faculty's digital humanities expertise to bear on creating an innovative series," he said. "This is a year to make the most of the voices we have. The College of Humanities is committed to supporting and sustaining the multicultural, multilingual community that grounds our research, teaching, service and outreach. We strongly advocate for equitable and anti-racist efforts in the wider world and will continue to work toward a world in which justice for all is not just a noble ideal, but a profound fact of everyone's lived experience."

For more information or to register for a specific event, visit the festival website.


Thursday, Oct. 1, 4 p.m.
Everyday Justice: How Students Can Create Equality on Campus
College of Humanities Student Panel
Moderated by Marcus Hastings and Karina Rodríguez, College of Humanities
Live on Zoom

Monday, Oct. 5, 4 p.m.
Film Commentary: "Us"
Film commentary by Tani Sanchez, Africana Studies
View on the Tucson Humanities Festival website

Wednesday, Oct. 7, 4 p.m.
Freedom in Africa: A Documentary & Digital Humanities Archive
Introduction by Phyllis Taoua, French and Italian
View on the Tucson Humanities Festival website

Thursday, Oct. 8, 4 p.m.
Black Lives Matter: A Global Call for Justice and Liberation
Panelists: Bryan Carter, Africana Studies; Erika Gault, Africana Studies; Obenewaa Oduro-Opuni, German Studies; Praise Zenenga, Africana Studies
Moderated by Daisy Jenkins
Live on Zoom

Monday, Oct. 12, 4 p.m.
Film Commentary: "Purgatorio: A Journey into the Heart of the Border"
Film commentary by Chuck Tatum, Humanities Seminars Program
View on the Tucson Humanities Festival website

Thursday, Oct. 15, 4 p.m.
Religion, Race & Health: Solutions to Disparities in Care
Panelists: Jerome Dotson, Africana Studies; Kristy Slominski, Religious Studies and Classics; Johnathan Vaknin, Spanish and Portuguese; Dr. Francisco Garcia, Pima County
Moderated by Dr. David Beyda, College of Medicine-Phoenix
Live on Zoom
Part of the UA Foundation’s Wonder at Home Series

Friday, Oct. 16, 5 p.m.
The Criminal Song: Voicing Soviet Intelligentsia's Dissent
Guest DJ: Anastasiia Gordiienko, Russian and Slavic Studies 
Live on KXCI

Monday, Oct. 19, 4 p.m.
Film Commentary: "Fire at Sea"
Film commentary by Francesco Rabissi, French and Italian
View on the Tucson Humanities Festival website

Wednesday, Oct. 21, 4 p.m.
Art for Justice: New Poems & Digital Humanities Archive
Introduction by Diana Delgado, Poetry Center
View on the Tucson Humanities Festival website

Thursday, Oct. 22, 5 p.m.
Justice Across Boundaries: Migration, Multilingualism & Exchange
Panelists: Carine Bourget, French and Italian; Wenhao Diao, East Asian Studies; David Gramling, German Studies; Anita Huizar-Hernández, Spanish and Portuguese
Moderated by Liudmila Klimanova, Russian and Slavic Studies
Live on Zoom

Friday, Oct. 23, 5 p.m.
Race and Religion in Contemporary Hip-Hop
Guest DJ: Alex Nava, Religious Studies and Classics
Live on KXCI

Monday, Oct. 26, 4 p.m.
Tuesday, Oct. 27, 4 p.m.
Thursday, Oct. 28
, 4 p.m.
Toward Justice for All: The Global Impact of Humanities Research  
College of Humanities faculty will give PechaKucha presentations. PechaKucha is a storytelling format in which a presenter shows 20 slides for 20 seconds of commentary each, totaling six minutes, 40 seconds. Presentations are grouped together for a fast-paced, simple and engaging showcase of new topics and ideas.

  • Bryan Carter, Center for Digital Humanities
  • Sonia Colina, Spanish and Portuguese
  • Jonathan Jae an Crisman, Public and Applied Humanities
  • Brett Esaki, East Asian Studies
  • Colleen Lucey Russian and Slavic Studies
  • Janice McGregor, German Studies
  • Arum Park, Religious Studies and Classics
  • Daisy Vargas, Religious Studies and Classics
  • Jiang Wu, Center for Buddhist Studies

View on the Tucson Humanities Festival website

Friday, Oct. 30, 5 p.m.
Makes Me Wanna Holler: The Minefield and Hopes of Being Black in America 
Guest DJ: Ntare Gault, Africana Studies
Live on KXCI

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