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Climate Conversations

The climate and landscapes are shifting in Arizona and around the globe. When does the environment begin to intersect with the human experience? Why are the humanities important to environmental issues? Join us for a series of conversations with scholars and community leaders exploring our environment through the lens of literature, history, art, climate justice, and much more.

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Bridging Law and Our Natural Resources, Yesterday and Today

October 6,  6:00-7:00 pm

Water is one of the most valuable and contested natural resources in the American West. 

Communities have been fighting for access to scarce water sources for quite some time. How are water rights determined in areas that were once part of Spain and Mexico? Why are these old laws, customs, and usages still in effect and still practiced throughout the Southwest? Disputes over natural resources require navigating both thorny historical and legal issues. Spanish colonialism and U.S. expansionism have played defining roles in shaping debates over access and control of natural resources, from water to land to minerals. Join us as historian Dr. Michael Brescia unpacks the complex historical and contemporary issues regarding water rights and policy with multiple historical threads.


Michael Brescia is Curator of Ethnohistory at the Arizona State Museum and affiliated Professor of History and Law at the University of Arizona. His research and numerous publications focus on the history of the transnational Southwest and the living legacies of Spanish and Mexican natural resource law and water rights. As a scholar working at the intersection of history, law, and the environment, he has served as an expert witness in water rights cases in Arizona and New Mexico. Dr. Brescia is an award-winning teacher, advocate for the public humanities, and the 2021 recipient of the Dan Shilling Humanities Public Scholar Award from Arizona Humanities. 

Register Here to Attend Virtually

Stay tuned for future events!

Check back as we update program information and registration:

The Changing Landscape Along the US-Mexico Border

Nov. 18, 2021  6:00 pm

Join us for another conversation with Luke Swenson and Jack Dash as they discuss their on-going visual storytelling project, Atascosa Borderlands.

The Intersection of Culture and Nature

Feb. 10, 2022  6:00 pm

Join us for a conversation with Dr. Gioia Woods, Professor of Humanities at Northern Arizona University. 

Art, the Environment, and Community

Apr. 6, 2022  6:00pm

Join us for a conversation with April Bojorquez and Matt Garcia, founders of desert ArtLAB.

Want to watch our past events? No problem! 

The Humanities, the Arts, and the Climate Crisis with Sir Jonathan Bate

Recording Coming Soon

We think of science and public policy as the only ways to fight the climate crisis, but the humanities and the arts are vital too. They give us the narratives and the emotional engagement that we need to address the environmental challenges facing our planet and our way of life. Internationally acclaimed Shakespearean scholar and eco-critic Sir Jonathan Bate will offer a wide-ranging introduction to past and present “green thinking” in literature, film and art, history, philosophy, and religion. Join us for this keynote event followed by Q&A with the audience, as we launch our new program series, Climate Conversations.

Jonathan Bate is Foundation Professor of Environmental Humanities at Arizona State University and a Senior Research Fellow in English Literature at Oxford University, where he was formerly Provost of Worcester College. The author of twenty books, he is a world-renowned expert on Shakespeare, the Romantic movement and ecological approaches to the arts and humanities. He was knighted by the Queen for his services to literary scholarship.


Watch the first Atascosa Borderlands event here

Watch Atascosa Borderlands Revisited event here