Tucson Humanities Festival Focuses on Justice

September 30th, 2020

For 2020, the Tucson Humanities Festival will highlight contemporary and historic efforts at fighting racism, erasing prejudice and uplifting the marginalized.


In selecting the theme of “Toward Justice,” for its 11th annual series, the College of Humanities felt the responsibility to address systemic inequalities, both in the United States and abroad, says 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 says. “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 healthcare, 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 for the Tucson Humanities Festival that brought ballroom-sized audiences for featured guests Sandra Cisneros and Colson Whitehead, transitioning to an all-virtual festival required rethinking the best ways to connect remotely with audiences, Durand says.


“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 says. “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.”






Thursday, Oct. 1

Everyday Justice: How Students Can Create Equality on Campus

Moderated by Marcus Hastings and Karina Rodríguez, College of Humanities

With College of Humanities Student Panel

Webinar Panel LIVE on Zoom, 4 p.m.


Monday, Oct. 5


Film commentary by Tani Sanchez, Africana Studies

Web premiere, 4 p.m.


Wednesday, Oct. 7

Freedom in Africa: A Documentary & Digital Humanities Archive

Introduction by Phyllis Taoua, French & Italian

Web premiere, 4 p.m.


Thursday, Oct. 8

Black Lives Matter: A Global Call for Justice and Liberation

Moderated by Daisy Jenkins

Panelists: Bryan Carter (Africana Studies), Erika Gault (Africana Studies), Obenewaa Oduro-Opuni (German Studies), and Praise Zenenga (Africana Studies)

Webinar Panel LIVE on Zoom, 4 p.m.


Monday, Oct. 12

Purgatorio: A Journey into the Heart of the Border

Film commentary by Chuck Tatum, Humanities Seminars Program

Web premiere, 4 p.m.


Thursday, Oct. 15

Religion, Race & Health: Solutions to Disparities in Care

Moderated by Dr. David Beyda, College of Medicine-Phoenix

Panelists: Jerome Dotson (Africana Studies), Kristy Slominski (Religious Studies & Classics), Johnathan Vaknin (Spanish & Portuguese), and Dr. Francisco Garcia (Pima County)

Webinar Panel LIVE on Zoom, 4 p.m.

Part of the UA Foundation’s Wonder at Home Series


Friday, Oct. 16

The Criminal Song: Voicing Soviet Intelligentsia’s Dissent

Guest DJ: Anastasiia Gordiienko, Russian & Slavic Studies 

Live on KXCI, 5 p.m.


Monday, Oct. 19

Fire at Sea

Film commentary by Francesco Rabissi, French & Italian

Web premiere, 4 p.m.


Wednesday, Oct. 21

Art for Justice: New Poems & Digital Humanities Archive

Introduction by Diana Delgado, Poetry Center

Web premiere, 4 p.m.


Thursday, Oct. 22

Justice Across Boundaries: Migration, Multilingualism & Exchange

Moderated by Liudmila Klimanova, Russian & Slavic Studies.

Panelists: Carine Bourget (French & Italian), Wenhao Diao (East Asian Studies), David Gramling (German Studies), and Anita Huizar-Hernández (Spanish & Portuguese)

Webinar Panel LIVE on Zoom, 5 p.m.


Friday, Oct. 23

Race and Religion in Contemporary Hip-Hop

Guest DJ: Alex Nava, Religious Studies & Classics

Live on KXCI, 5 p.m.


Monday, Oct. 26

Tuesday, Oct. 27

Thursday, Oct. 28

Toward Justice for All: The Global Impact of Humanities Research  

PechaKucha Presentations by College of Humanities Faculty:

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

Web Premieres, 4 p.m. daily


Friday, Oct. 30

Makes Me Wanna Holler: The Minefield and Hopes of Being Black in America 

Guest DJ: Ntare Gault, Africana Studies

Live on KXCI, 5 p.m.


Visit humanitiesfestival.arizona.edu for more information.