Tucson Humanities Festival will celebrate 'community'

Tucson Humanities Festival: Community

This year's Tucson Humanities Festival will center on community, with a series of presentations about how people come together to create, share, hope and celebrate.

The festival, now in its 13th year, will coincide with National Arts and Humanities Month, and the theme will focus on what unites people, said Alain-Philippe Durand, Dorrance Dean of the College of Humanities.

"Communities are the great building blocks of human cultures and societies," Durand said. "Community is what brings people together, connecting people around places or ideas or shared interests and purpose. And in this global age of technological connection and instant communication, new communities are emerging all the time to unite people in new and exciting ways."

The festival will feature former Poet Laureate Rita Dove, faculty presenters, a film screening, a reading with the American Literary Translators Association and more. Events will be held in person, with most available online via livestream as well.

"We're excited to bring more thought provoking presentations from our distinguished guests and world-class faculty to our university community and the Tucson community at large," Durand said. "Community is the means through which people create and share together and it's a privilege to share with our community everything the humanities have to offer."

Festival schedule

Tuesday, Oct. 11, 7 p.m.
"Little Shop of Horrors": Film Screening & Discussion
The Loft Cinema, 3233 E. Speedway Blvd.

"Feed me, Seymour!" In the 1986 film "Little Shop of Horrors," a bloodthirsty plant demands to be fed human flesh, and florist Seymour complies. What would you do if your salad bit you back, or even started to sing? Join us for a thought experiment about plants as intelligent beings rather than mere scenery and explore how science and fiction can work together to change the way we live together on this planet. Joela Jacobs, assistant professor of German studies and co-founder of the Literary and Cultural Plant Studies Network, will provide an opening commentary.

Thursday, Oct. 13, 7 p.m.
Playlist for the Apocalypse: A Reading with Rita Dove
Health Sciences Innovation Building, 1670 E. Drachman St.
Livestream available

Rita Dove

Rita Dove

Fred Viebahn

Rita Dove, a recipient of the 2022 Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize for Lifetime Achievement from the Poetry Foundation, was U.S. Poet Laureate from 1993-1995 and special consultant in poetry for the Library of Congress bicentennial in 1999-2000, and she served as the Poet Laureate of Virginia from 2004-2006. In 1987, she received the Pulitzer Prize in poetry for her book "Thomas and Beulah." She has received honorary doctorates from 28 institutions of higher learning, the 1996 National Humanities Medal, the 2001 Duke Ellington Lifetime Achievement Award in the Literary Arts, the 2011 National Medal of Arts and numerous other awards and honors. Her 2021 book, "Playlist for the Apocalypse," is her first volume of new poems since her NAACP Image Award-winning "Collected Poems: 1974-2004."

Tuesday, Oct. 18, 7 p.m.
Seeking Understanding: Global Religions in Our Community
Health Sciences Innovation Building, 1670 E. Drachman St.
Livestream available

Robert A. Burns, a University of Arizona religious studies professor for 45 years who died earlier this year, taught thousands of students in his popular courses on comparative religions. His scholarly approach to the world's plurality of religions centered on seeking understanding of human diversity and the human search for meaning. The UArizona Religious Studies Program, which he founded, carries on that legacy today, focused on the rich diversity of religions found around the globe and throughout human history. A faculty panel will discuss how religious studies helps us better understand humanity, past and present.

Tuesday, Oct. 25, 7 p.m.
The Book of the City: Exhibiting a Southwestern Urban Humanities
Museum of Contemporary Art Tucson, 265 S. Church Ave.

How might a Charles Dickens tale find a homeland in the Sonoran Borderlands? "The Book of the City" is a new exhibition featuring projects by a team of scholars, artists and designers who use the 1850 Dickens novel "David Copperfield" to anchor a site-specific "field studio" in the U.S.-Mexico borderlands. From digital installation to performance, sonic experiments to film, cartography to micro-publication, the exhibition explores questions about the relationship between arts and public engagement, literature and everyday places, and authors and readers.

Saturday, Nov. 5, 7 p.m.
Read the World: A Kaleidoscope of Translated Literature
Helen S. Schaefer Building, 1508 E. Helen St.
Livestream available

Listen in as the American Literary Translators Association Emerging Translator Mentorship Program cohorts present readings of literature translated into English from around the world. The program pairs emerging translators with an established translator to work together on a book-length literary translation over the course of nine months, providing the next generation of translators of world literature with support and community as they hone their craft. These 14 mentees translate collectively from 10 different languages in multiple genres, sharing a wealth of writers, languages and stories with a broad readership.

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