Announcing the 2017 Tucson Humanities Festival: Resistance & Revolution

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Dean Alain-Philippe Durand published a guest column in the Arizona Daily Wildcat, inviting the campus and Tucson communities to the 2017 Tucson Humanities Festival: 

When humanities scholars look out across the globe and back through the pages of human history, in every culture they see the crucial turning points when new ideas take root and create ripples of change.

Join the UA College of Humanities for its 2017 Tucson Humanities Festival: Resistance & Revolution, a series of topical lectures, panel discussions and events, including noteworthy guests. The focus of these assessments is on the grand challenges facing humanity today.

In studying the human condition through the lens of language, literature and culture, we’ve often centered on these turning points when asking timeless questions and searching for answers to what it means to be human. Individual examples of resistance often promote our shared values of creative expression, freedom of speech and equal rights. 

Dramatic shifts in human history tend to spring from small acts of resistance and revolution. Moments of principled defiance, quiet dissent and thundering discord create profound change: toppled governments, religious schisms and abrupt disruptions in the ways we live arise. What leads to those movements and those cultural breaking points? What comes after? What can the acts of resistance and revolution in the past reveal about the modern world? 

The coordinators expanded the festival this year, presenting 10 events from Oct. 3 to Nov. 7, and invite both the UA community and the broader Tucson community to explore its theme. 

October is celebrated across the U.S. as National Arts & Humanities Month, in recognition of the importance of culture in America. In cities like Chicago and Buffalo, humanities festivals this month explore topics including belief and environments, creating civic conversations on issues that have enduring resonance in our lives.  

In the UA’s College of Humanities, we’ve selected a theme that allows our faculty and guests to examine humanity’s ongoing struggle for dignity, equality and understanding. Students, both in our college and across the entire university, can benefit from the perspectives offered in these presentations. 

Join us to explore some of the most famous acts of defiance and dissent in human history and the dramatic shifts that followed: the continued reverberation of Martin Luther’s 95 Theses after 500 years, and the resilience of early Christianity in the face of Roman oppression. 

Other lectures will examine conflicts that defined the 20th century: the Spanish Civil War that served as a prelude to the forces unleashed in World War II, and the divide between national liberation and meaningful freedom in African countries. 

Consider the struggles that are featured in contemporary headlines. Listen to modern poetry of resistance and discuss the power of verse to change the world. See how the ongoing fight for freedom of expression and civil rights impacts modern politics, and how the global activism of Pussy Riot founder Nadya Tolokonnikova contains lessons with relevance beyond national boundaries. 

Examine what the humanities mean in the 21st century. How is digital technology transforming the study of human cultures and languages? How can we experience different places and cultures from a distance? How can a foundation in the humanities make scientists better as they search for knowledge about the inner workings of the human body and the formation of the universe? 

Please join the College of Humanities for any of these engaging presentations and the conversations that follow. Check humanitiesfestival.arizona.edu for the full lineup.