2017 Tucson Humanities Festival

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. 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?

2017 Tucson Humanities Festival Videos

PUNK PRAYER: Pussy Riot’s Fight for Global Freedom of Expression

Presenter: Nadya Tolokonnikova of Pussy Riot

Description

Nadya Tolokonnikova is a conceptual artist and political activist from Russia and the founder of the art collective Pussy Riot, which has been the world’s most prominent art group in recent years and a global symbol of activism. In a 2012 protest that attracted international attention, Nadya was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment following an anti-Putin performance by Pussy Riot. A LennonOno Grant for Peace recipient, Nadya leveraged the attention since her release to advocate for human rights and the freedom of creative expression around the world. She has spoken before the U.S. Congress, British Parliament and European Parliament and given honorary lectures at Harvard, Cambridge, the Glastonbury music festival and universities and events around the world.

IMPERFECT LEGACY: From National Liberation to Meaningful Freedom in Africa

Presenter: Phyllis Taoua, French & Italian

Description

The push for independence in African nations was ultimately an incomplete process, with the people often left to wrestle with a partial, imperfect legacy. The various transitions to independence from Ghana to South Africa produced uneven results that do not fit neatly into narratives of “failure” or “success.” Decolonization in Africa unfolded as a tug of war between the leaders of protest movements and the defenders of European colonial rule, with violent repression defining the landscape and leaders often murdered or jailed. Living with tremendous loss, survivors forged on in continued hope, while custodians of imperial domination pushed back. Rather than liberation in name alone, the ongoing struggle has been one for meaningful freedom.

SYMBOLS OF REVOLUTION: Legacies of Luther in Germany

Presenter: Steven D. Martinson, German Studies

Description

Martin Luther’s intemperate writings and unabashed public statements caused a whirlwind of religious and political turmoil that has reverberated across centuries. How has Luther been portrayed and employed at critical times of revolt and revolution in German history and culture, including National-Socialist Germany? How is Luther being received in German politics today? Martinson, the author of Between Luther and Münzer: The Peasant Revolt in German Drama and Thought, will speak as part of a year-long series of special events at the University of Arizona commemorating the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation: reformation.arizona.edu.

EXPLORING THE UNIVERSE: Science and Humanities United

Presenters: Dante Lauretta, Planetary Sciences

Description

In the 21st century, space exploration transcends national boundaries and has the potential to bring humanity together. Scientific collaboration has transformed the rivalries of the Cold War era into a shared search for knowledge. Dante Lauretta, principal investigator for the OSIRIS-REx mission, will discuss how a degree in Japanese in addition to theoretical math and physics has given him a career advantage. Since the Japanese Space Agency is heavily involved in asteroid exploration, Lauretta has applied his humanities degree to establish a cross-cultural exchange program and effectively engage his Japanese colleagues. Space exploration is an activity for all humanity and forms a natural vehicle to foster international collaboration and understanding.

2017 Tucson Humanities Festival PODCASTS

PUNK PRAYER: Pussy Riot’s Fight for Global Freedom of Expression

Presenter: Nadya Tolokonnikova of Pussy Riot

Description

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.

IMPERFECT LEGACY: From National Liberation to Meaningful Freedom in Africa

Presenter: Phyllis Taoua, French & Italian

Description

The push for independence in African nations was ultimately an incomplete process, with the people often left to wrestle with a partial, imperfect legacy. The various transitions to independence from Ghana to South Africa produced uneven results that do not fit neatly into narratives of “failure” or “success.” Decolonization in Africa unfolded as a tug of war between the leaders of protest movements and the defenders of European colonial rule, with violent repression defining the landscape and leaders often murdered or jailed. Living with tremendous loss, survivors forged on in continued hope, while custodians of imperial domination pushed back. Rather than liberation in name alone, the ongoing struggle has been one for meaningful freedom.

CROWN VS. CROSS: Resistance and Resilience of Religion in the Roman Empire

Presenter: Grant Adamson, Cynthia White & Courtney Friesen

Description

Shifting ideologies over the history of the Roman Empire exposed different religious minorities to violence and repression. This panel will explore the range of expressions of resistance and resilience in Judaism and early Christianity in the face of that trauma. After the Romans destroyed the Jerusalem Temple that had served as the center of worship for centuries, Jews and Christians responded with apocalyptic visions of God’s imminent intervention to deliver His people and to judge the world. Nearly three centuries later, in a striking historical reversal, the Emperor Julian announced his intention to rebuild the Jewish Temple, apparently as a reaction against recently ascendant and increasingly intolerant Constantinian Christianity.

FORCES UNLEASHED: Why the Spanish Civil War Still Matters

Presenter: Malcolm Compitello Spanish & Portuguese

Description

Scholars have called The Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) a “fratricidal war in Europe’s backwater.” The conflict became much more, galvanizing adversaries on the left and the right and serving as a prelude to the Second World War. More than 60 years later, that “war in Europe’s backwater” and its consequences still loom large in Spain and beyond. Because of its profound political, social and artistic influence, the war and the lessons learned from it still have much to teach us about how societies confront the crises that increasingly threaten civil society.

SYMBOLS OF REVOLUTION: Legacies of Luther in Germany

Presenter: Steven D. Martinson, German Studies

Description

Martin Luther’s intemperate writings and unabashed public statements caused a whirlwind of religious and political turmoil that has reverberated across centuries. How has Luther been portrayed and employed at critical times of revolt and revolution in German history and culture, including National-Socialist Germany? How is Luther being received in German politics today? Martinson, the author of Between Luther and Münzer: The Peasant Revolt in German Drama and Thought, will speak as part of a year-long series of special events at the University of Arizona commemorating the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation: reformation.arizona.edu.

EXPLORING THE UNIVERSE: Science and Humanities United

Presenters: Dante Lauretta, Planetary Sciences

Description

In the 21st century, space exploration transcends national boundaries and has the potential to bring humanity together. Scientific collaboration has transformed the rivalries of the Cold War era into a shared search for knowledge. Dante Lauretta, principal investigator for the OSIRIS-REx mission, will discuss how a degree in Japanese in addition to theoretical math and physics has given him a career advantage. Since the Japanese Space Agency is heavily involved in asteroid exploration, Lauretta has applied his humanities degree to establish a cross-cultural exchange program and effectively engage his Japanese colleagues. Space exploration is an activity for all humanity and forms a natural vehicle to foster international collaboration and understanding.