2016 Tucson Humanities Festival

Where do you find refuge in a world of political and cultural upheaval? Finding refuge is challenging in a global society affected by migration, climate change and displacement. Join us for a series of topical lectures, panel discussions and events at the Tucson Humanities Festival (formerly Humanities Week) presented by UA College of Humanities faculty and special guests.

2016 Tucson Humanities Festival Videos

NO TRESPASSING: Bodies and Beaches for Sale in the Contemporary Caribbean
Presenter: Jennifer Donahue, Africana Studies
The Caribbean has long been portrayed as a place of paradise, relaxation, and adventure. Yet, this exotified image is largely a myth that masks the conditions residents face. The hypersexualized image of the Caribbean has spurred the growth of tourism and the companion industry of sex tourism. Learn how paradise is being sold to the highest bidder. Discover how women’s bodies function as spaces of refuge for tourists and how repressive social norms result in violence and exclusion. Join us to discuss how the growth of mass tourism yields grave consequences for those who call the Caribbean home.
FATHERLAND & MOTHER TONGUE: German-Jewish Identity in the 21st Century
Presenter: Joela Jacobs, German Studies
In the midst of increasingly diverse Jewish life in contemporary Germany, a new generation of writers is redefining questions of German-Jewish identity. The descendants of those who decided to remain or return after 1945 mingle with those who arrived in large numbers from Eastern Europe after the fall of the Iron Curtain in the early 1990s. Increasingly, young Israelis and Americans have joined them and declared cities like Berlin their new home. In the shadow of the Holocaust, the decision to live in Germany has raised enduring questions. Moreover, the sustained engagement of German society with the legacy of this history permeates many facets of everyday German-Jewish life. This has resulted in internal debates and conflicts about what it means to be Jewish, and specifically German-Jewish in the 21st century.
SAFE(R) PLACES: Intercultural Competency and International Students

Presenter: Nick Ferdinandt with Student Panel: Kaylee Wong, Myles Shell and Alyssa Martin

A true melting pot, the UA and Tucson landscapes have changed dramatically in response to social changes and our ever-evolving world. As a community, how do we make adjustments to help us be as successful as possible in such a diverse and global world? In creating safe places for everyone, students, staff and the community must learn how to adapt to new situations and cultures. Discuss key concepts of intercultural competence with a panel of faculty and international students as they share their efforts to make the UA a refuge for people from across the globe, who bring with them cultural diversity that enriches the entire UA and Tucson community.
EPIC DISCOVERIES: From the Birthplace of Zeus at Mt. Lykaion

Presenters: David Gilman Romano, Mary E. Voyatzis with Arum Park & Courtney Friesen

Since 2004 the UA has fielded an excavation project at the remote Sanctuary of Zeus at Mt. Lykaion, known in antiquity as the “birthplace of Zeus.” Located high in the Arcadian mountains of Greece is an altar composed of the ash of animal dedications, mostly from goat and sheep. Ritual use has been documented from as early as the 16th century B.C. during the early Mycenaean period, reflecting that this practice of offering burnt animal sacrifice began much earlier than previously known in the Greek world. Renewed excavation this past summer has yielded a stunning discovery amid the ash and burnt animal bones: a human skeleton. Likely an adolescent male, the skeleton was found near the middle of the ash altar at the highest part of the mountain peak. Faculty involved in the project will present these exciting new excavation results. Faculty colleagues will look at relevant ancient literary texts, including sources from the Judeo-Christian tradition, that may shed light on this discovery.
BUDDHIST ESCAPES: Caught Between Two Worlds

Presenter: Albert Welter, East Asian Studies

The three refuges – the Buddha, the Dharma (Buddhist teaching), and the Sangha (Buddhist community) – mark the pivotal transformation in Buddhism and official commitment to embarking on the Buddhist path. But what does this path entail? How is refuge understood when you are of the world and seeking to transcend its limitations at the same time? While the Buddhist quest has been accommodated across Asian cultures, it is also dependent by social and political realities and the cultural conditions of where refuge is sought. Explore some of the ways seeking refuge and finding refuge has manifested itself in history.
NOTES FROM THE MARGINS: Minority Voices in Russian Culture

Presenter: Naomi Caffee, Russian & Slavic Studies

Russia is one of the world’s largest countries in terms of land mass, but it may come as a surprise to learn that it is also one of the most diverse. Learn about Russia’s ethnic and religious minority groups, including their relationship to mainstream society in the Soviet and post-Soviet eras. By discussing works of literature by Siberian indigenous writers, as well as theater performances by Central Asian migrant workers, discover how the country’s most vulnerable voices can offer new and crucial perspectives on life in contemporary Russia.