2018 Tucson Humanities Festival

If knowledge is power, how powerful are secrets? Throughout history, valuable information has been withheld, protected and obscured. Hidden identities, mysterious escapes and encoded meanings have reverberated across time and around the world. How have marginalized people used clandestine means to keep their culture alive?

What different power can information have when it’s concealed? How have closely guarded secrets influenced human cultures? Join us for the 2018 Tucson Humanities Festival: Secrets, a series of FREE topical lectures, panel discussions, events and special guests, presented by the UA College of Humanities.

2018 Tucson Humanities Festival Videos

SURPRISING VERMEER: An Artist In Delft, Delft In The World

Presenter: Timothy Brooks – University of British Columbia

We are all so familiar with Vermeer’s paintings—crystalline visions of domestic life in the 17th century—that we hardly notice them any more.

But he can still surprise us if we pause and connect him to the world in which he lived. Far from being sequestered in his studio in Delft, Vermeer was hugely aware of Delft’s connections to the world and drew on those links endlessly to craft his paintings. Join a China historian as he looks at Vermeer from a global perspective.

TO SPEAK OR NOT TO SPEAK? Women, Secrets And Sexual Violence

Presenter: Martine Delvaux – Université du Québec à Montréal

How do women choose to speak or not speak about personal experiences of sexual violence?

Rape culture silences victims of sexual violence, and while social movements such as #Beenrapedneverreported (2014) and #Metoo (2018) have worked to undo this silencing, they have succeeded by both facilitating collective speech and acknowledging women’s right to keep secrets. If doubt is a common response to speaking out, then for women, speaking cannot be presented as the only solution. Acknowledging that speaking does not necessarily cure, Martine Delvaux explores how women navigate secrecy, in order to think about secrets as a radical feminist tool.

Sponsored by Martha Durkin and YWCA Southern Arizona

TRANSPARENCY & TRUST: How Open Diplomacy Advances Democracy

Presenter: Andre Goodfriend, Director, U.S. Office of eDiplomacy & COH Alumnus of the Year

Andre Goodfriend’s 30-year career in diplomacy has taken him to Tel Aviv, New Dehli, Moscow, Frankfurt, London, Damascus and Budapest.

Much of his work has revolved around the role of information technology in managing consular operations and streamlining the services and safety provided to American citizens abroad.

Goodfriend is the 2018 College of Humanities Alumnus of the Year. A 1979 UA graduate, he earned degrees in French, Greek, Philosophy and Radio-TV.

2017 Tucson Humanities Festival PODCASTS

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

Presenter: Nadya Tolokonnikova of Pussy Riot

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

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

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

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

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

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.