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Free, thought-provoking, expert-facilitated discussions on important issues facing our communities produced in partnership with Arizona Humanities and the Arizona State Library, Archives & Public Records.

What are FRANK Talks?

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FRANK Talks are face-to-face conversations on ideas that matter. Attendees discuss issues of local and national importance in local libraries at a single-session 75-minute program, led by a humanities scholar/expert on the topic. FRANK Talks engage participants with important issues and provide the opportunity to put them in context, weigh facts, and consider different points of view. The goal of FRANK Talks is to inspire people to practice the skills of citizenship – to listen respectfully and engage thoughtfully with one another on important issues that affect our communities. Topics can include: education, immigration, religion, civil rights, and more.

How can my library host a free FRANK Talk?

FRANK Talks launched in 2016 at Arizona Libraries. The application process is very similar to the AZ Speaks program; libraries review topics, contact scholars to schedule a program(s), and complete an online application. Unlike the AZ Speaks lecture-style format, FRANK Talks are interactive, participatory, and designed to engage people in conversation about important issues.

Libraries will be selected to participate based upon the completeness of an online application, their capacity to promote the program, and the availability of funding. FRANK Talks are FREE for approved library applicants. A partnership between Arizona Humanities and the Arizona State Library, Archives & Public Records pays for honorarium and travel for speakers and moderators.

FRANK Talks Cycles – New topics are updated each cycle. Libraries can book unlimited FRANK Talks per cycle.

  • October 1, 2016 – March 31, 2017
  • April 1, 2017 – September 30, 2017

What is the process to schedule a FRANK Talk?

At this time, FRANK Talks are only available for Arizona libraries. 

  1. Review the FRANK Talks scholar and topic below that your organization is interested in hosting.
  2. Contact the scholar to schedule their participation and confirm date and time. Scholar contact information is available below under the FRANK Talks topic.
  3. Go to the Arizona Humanities FRANK Talks Host Portal and complete the online application form. You should contact the speaker and submit your application to book presentations. We encourage organizations to book FRANK Talks 4-6 weeks in advance.
  4. Once your application is processed, we will provide follow-up steps to administer your program.
  5. FRANK Talks are free for libraries. A partnership between Arizona Humanities and the Arizona State Library, Archives & Public Records pays for honorarium and travel for scholars.

Why the name FRANK Talks?

Lorraine Frank 400x265FRANK Talks is named in part to honor Lorraine W. Frank, the founding Executive Director of Arizona Humanities. During her tenure from 1973 to 1989, she elevated public discourse and understood that engaging communities in dialogue was critical to the life of our state. Lorraine W. Frank passed away in 2005, and in 2015 she was inducted into the Arizona Women’s Hall of Fame.

FRANK Talks Topics

April 1, 2017 – September 30, 2017

Libraries can now book unlimited FRANK Talks programs.

Reproductive Health: What does it mean and how does it affect all of us?

Jovanna Anzaldua, Arizona State University, Biology and Society

Reproductive health is a complex and important topic that meets at the crossroads of social justice and health. Social, political and economic factors intersect with reproductive health in ways that are tied to health outcomes. What is reproductive health?  What are the factors that contribute to health disparities?  What are the diverse perspectives and interrelated issues?  How do we talk to one another about the key principles of the reproductive justice framework?  Join us for a frank talk about reproductive justice. Contactjovanna.anzaldua@asu.edu / 602-367-6415


Educational equity in Arizona: A radical idea, or a necessary goal?

Dr. Angelina Castagno, Northern Arizona University, Educational Foundations

Education is a hot topic in Arizona. Legislators, educators and citizens cannot agree on funding, curricula, or testing, to name a few, or on why Arizona consistently ranks at the bottom nationally when it comes to education. While these issues are fundamental, they lose sight of the most important issue, educating Arizona’s children. Are Arizona children receiving the education they need to live, work, raise families and be productive members of society? Do all Arizona children have access to an education, regardless of class, race or geography? Is educational equity a right or a privilege? Join us for a FRANK Talk about educating Arizona children. Contact: angelina.castagno@nau.edu / 801-856-9509


Colorblindness and equality: Well-intentioned American values, or myths?

Dr. Angelina Castagno, Northern Arizona University, Educational Foundations

Most of us are raised to value colorblindness and equality. Lady Justice is depicted wearing a blindfold to symbolize objectivity; Dr. King’s legacy to judge each other by our character rather than skin color is a well-known mantra; and we regularly pledge our allegiance to equality for all. We are taught that these American values are what sets us apart from other nations. Does our devotion to colorblindness and equality actually promote or hinder social justice? Do these distinctly American values reduce or exacerbate racial tensions and inequities within the U.S.? Join us for a FRANK Talk about colorblindness and equality in America. Contact: angelina.castagno@nau.edu / 801-856-9509


Immigrants and the American Dream: We the People Today and Tomorrow

Dr. T.J. Davis, Arizona State University, School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies

The United States of America has long touted itself as a land of immigrants and has grown phenomenally from migration since its beginnings in an ever expanding global economy. Yet the source and substance of immigration have been topics of continuous debate. How do domestic conditions, regional competitions, geopolitics, and foreign policy affect the discourse about who could and should become an American?  How do immigrants become Americans?  How do immigrants affect American vitality?   Join us for a Frank Talk to ponder the question, what does it mean to be an American. Contact: tjdavis@asu.edu /480.812-0823


Securing the Borders and Stopping Terrorism: A Constitutional Framework

Dr. T.J. Davis, Arizona State University, School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies

Protecting its people is among the first priorities of any government. The Constitution’s Bill of Rights provides protections of the people from the government. How should the U.S. Constitution’s checks and balances operate in securing U.S. borders and stopping terrorism?  How do these protections turn into practical public policies that implement the government’s duty to protect its people while respecting its people’s civil liberties? What is the proper balance between the security of government protection and the civil liberties of being protected from the government? Contact: tjdavis@asu.edu /480.812-0823


Religious Liberty in America: How do we Set Limits on Free Exercise?

Steve Kilar, Arizona State University, Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication

The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution dictates that Congress “shall make no law … prohibiting the free exercise” of religion. In Arizona, we’ve been confronted with this question in recent years because of public debates over women’s reproductive rights and proposals to protect people from discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity/expression.  But what happens when a religious belief compels the believer to commit acts of violence or deny a certain group of people business services? How do we decide what actions based on religious belief are prohibited under the law? Join us for a FRANK Talk about the law and religious practice. Contact: skilar@asu.edu / 602-820-9388


Mothering & Conversations on Reproductive Health

Dr. Kathy Nakagawa, Arizona State University, School of Social Transformation

Our roles as mothers encompass caring for our children through all aspects of development, but we often falter when it comes to talking about sexuality. For our daughters, in particular, having healthy attitudes about sex can promote equitable relationships and more body-positive views and nurture more thoughtful choices regarding intimacy. Yet U.S. societal restrictions and our own attitudes toward sex and intimacy may hinder those conversations, leading our children to lack accurate knowledge about their own sexuality. How can mothers have better conversations with their children about sexuality? Can this result in greater reproductive justice in society? Join us for a FRANK Talk about mothering, sexuality and reproductive justice.  Contactnakagawa@asu.edu / 480-965-0582


Is This Racist? Racial Literacy and Social Media

Dr. Kathy Nakagawa, Arizona State University, School of Social Transformation

Many parents and educators avoid conversations about race and racism with their children and students, yet young people are regularly exposed to images, stories, videos and statements that reflect racial societal attitudes. This exposure often comes through social media, such as YouTube videos, tweets, Facebook posts and Tumblr blogs. Despite that exposure, many young people are unprepared to discuss race and racism in productive ways, and many parents and educators are unsure how to guide these discussions. So how do we develop a “racial literacy” to have these conversations? Like learning to read and write, racial literacy equips us to talk about race and understand historical and systemic contexts of race and racism, and it helps navigate the parallel dialogue occurring in media. Join us for a FRANK Talk about racism, racial literacy and social media. Contactnakagawa@asu.edu / 480-965-0582


Energy in an Uncertain World

Dr. Jennifer Richter, Arizona State University, School of Social Transformation and the School for the Future of Innovation in Society

Energy can be made affordable, accessible, and sustainable for all Arizonans.  Energy is never just about technology, but about the values and ideals that a society has about its design and distribution.  But what will it take to achieve energy justice?  What are the values that are driving energy production and distribution in today’s world?   Join us for a FRANK Talk that looks at the state of Arizona to discuss the historical context of energy production, the current webs of energy that exist in the state, and some potential ideas, policies, programs, and technologies that will shape the production of energy in the future. Contactjennifer.richter@asu.edu / 480-727-9308


Local Democracy and Politics in Education: Does it help or hinder student achievement? 

Dr. Carrie Sampson, Arizona State University, Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College

In 2008, The Atlantic published an article entitled “First, Kill All the School Boards: A modest proposal to fix the schools.” The article emphasized school boards’ failure to lead school districts in creating systems that foster student success. On one hand, school board members might not have the necessary experience to provide effective school district leadership. On the other hand, as elected or appointed officials, school boards represent local communities and are one of the closest democratic links to education. Join us as the FRANK talk will explore the role of local communities and democracy in education. How do school boards and other initiatives to involve local communities in education help or hinder student achievement? What role should community members play in education? In what ways do politics impact student opportunities to succeed? Contactcsampso4@asu.edu / 315-480-8661


Body Cameras, Tasers and Guns: Modern Policing or a Police State? 

Michael Scott, ASU Center for Problem-Oriented Policing, School of Criminology & Criminal Justice

The methods and tools used by police officers today are not the same as in the past. In some cases the police are using military tools and tactics for law enforcement. Are the police really protecting the public, or are they over-policing civilians? Is there a “war on police” that is chilling local law enforcement? Are public demands for independent investigations of police violence, demilitarized police forces, and an end to “for-profit” policing justified?  Join us for a FRANK Talk with local police. Contact: msscott5@asu.edu / 602-496-0409


Additional Reading

FRANK Talks encourages further exploration and research of certain topics. From time to time, we will post materials shared during FRANK Talks programs and after by scholars and facilitators.

Shared by Dr. Angelina Castagno, Northern Arizona University

Shared by Dr. Kathy Nakagawa, Arizona State University, School of Social Transformation

  • Kids: 20 empowering children’s books that celebrate diversity and social justice
  • Adults: Howard Stevenson’s Promoting Racial Literacy in Schools: Differences That Make a Difference is a very good way to discuss how to address the topic in relation to school practices and policies. Eduardo Bonilla-Silva’s book Racism without Racists: Color-blind Racism and the Persistence of Racial Inequality in the United States provides an accessible way of understanding how racism permeates our everyday conversations and ways of thinking.
For questions, contact:

Ellie Hutchison, Programs Manager

602-257-0335 x26 or ehutchison@azhumanities.org.

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