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AZ Speaks – Speakers 2019-2020

Akua Duku Anokye

Akua Duku Anokye, Associate Director, School of Humanities, Arts, and Cultural Studies, Director, International Initiatives, Associate Professor, Africana Language, Literature, and Culture in Arizona State University’s New College; is past chair of the Conference on College Composition and Communication, and Chief Reader of College Board’s Advanced Placement English Language and Composition. Anokye’s research centers on African Diaspora orality and literacy practices, folklore, and oral history focusing on Ghanaian culture, religion, storytelling, and dance. Her work in oral history on community mothers has led to the production of 20 documentaries on African American women activists and other notable African American figures.

Contact Info: Akua.Anokye@asu.edu / (602) 543-6020

By the Time They Came to Phoenix: African American Women Activists

Hear the stories behind a group of African American women who migrated to Arizona and have made a difference in the lives of Arizonans. These women are Community Mothers. They have cared for and nurtured other people’s children, and they have been activists providing guidance, mentoring, and leadership for the many woes that attach themselves to the African American community. Based on oral histories collected over the past 20 years, these women have stood and delivered in the face of racial and gender obstacles to become beloved members of the Arizona community. Women like Betty and Jean Fairfax, Judge Jean Williams, Fatimah Halim, and others have forged safe, vibrant, and meaningful communities that we celebrate today.

  • Presentation Category – Culture, Gender, and Identity Studies – African American Studies
A Story, A Story:  Ananse Tales to Live By

Ananse the Spider, a trickster hero of Ghana, is one of the most important characters of West African and Caribbean folklore. Ananse’s tales are told to not only explain the origins of the Akan people, but used to reinforce the belief system that enriches their society. Not just found in Ghana, these stories are likened to Brer Rabbit and John Tales in the American South. Here in Arizona, the stories are compared to Coyote stories of Native lore. Hear these stories and connect them to everyday experiences and the lessons learned.

  • Presentation Category – Culture, Gender, and Identity Studies – African American Studies

Erik Berg

Erik Berg is an award-winning historian and writer with a special interest in the early twentieth century southwest. Raised in Flagstaff, Berg has been exploring, hiking, and researching the southwest for over twenty years. In addition to contributing to several books and numerous conferences, his work has appeared in the Journal of Arizona History, Arizona Highways, Astronomy, and Sedona Magazine. A past-president of the Grand Canyon Historical Society, Berg currently lives in Phoenix.

Contact Info: eoberg@cox.net/ (480) 221-5541

Aviators and the Archaeologists: The Lindberghs’ 1929 Aerial Survey of the Southwest

Famous pilot Charles Lindbergh (the “Lone Eagle”) is best known for his pioneering 1927 flight across the Atlantic Ocean, but few people know that Lindbergh, and his wife Anne, also played an important role in southwestern archaeology. Come see some of their amazing aerial photographs, and learn how Charles and Anne helped share Chaco Canyon, Canyon de Chelly, and the Grand Canyon with the rest of the world.

  • Presentation Category – Archaeology
Rock Hounds and River Rats: The 1937 Carnegie-CalTech Grand Canyon Expedition

In 1937, a team of CalTech geology professors and rough-and-tumble boatmen set out in three small wooden boats on a six-week journey through the Grand Canyon to study the ancient rocks of the canyon’s Inner Gorge. At the time, fewer than a dozen river parties had successfully run the canyon–often with a loss of boats or crew. Leveraging excerpts from several of the members’ trip journals, as well as original photographs and video footage, learn about the adventures, hardships, conflicts, and triumphs of this important early science expedition. Highlights include famous boatman Frank Dodge’s mishap in Upset Rapid and their on-river meeting with Buzz Holmstrom (the first person to run the canyon solo).

  • Presentation Category – Arizona/Southwest History

Jana Bommersbach

Jana Bommersbach is one of Arizona’s most honored and respected journalists. She has won accolades in every facet of her career— investigative reporter, magazine columnist, television commentator and author of nationally acclaimed books. She currently writes for True West magazine, digging up the true stories behind the popular myths, with an emphasis on Arizona’s real history and women of the Old West. Her insight, knowledge and wit produce exuberant, riveting speeches that always garner rave reviews.

Contact Info: janabomm25@yahoo.com / (602) 918-9906

“Hyenas in Petticoats”–How Women Struggled Against Every Dirty Trick in the Books to Win the Vote!

As we celebrate the 100th birthday of the 19th Amendment in 2020, it’s time to look back at the enormous effort it took for women to be granted full citizenship and the vote. History has downplayed suffrage, as if it were just a footnote in American history, when in fact, it was the nation’s largest civil rights movement. Western women got the vote long before their Eastern sisters, but don’t dare tell an Arizona suffragette that she had it easy. Arizona had its own dirty tricks. Jana exposes it all—the heroines, the heroes and the haters.

  • Presentation Category – History – Arizona/Southwest History
The Most Courageous Arizona Journalist You’ve Never Heard Of

You can’t find Laura Nihell in the Arizona Archives, or any history book on early Arizona, or any chronicle of Arizona journalists—but she was not only there, she proved herself one of the most courageous journalists of territorial days. Laura owned the Copper Belt in Jerome from 1909 to 1912—in the midst of Arizona’s quest for statehood and voting rights for women—and stood up against one of the ugliest chapters in our history: The Chinese Purge. Jana discovered this woman in an obscure book and has spent years tracking down her remarkable story, finding history wrote her out precisely because she was so courageous. It’s a fascinating tale.

  • Presentation Category – History – Arizona/Southwest

Carrie Cannon

Carrie Cannon is a member of the Kiowa tribe of Oklahoma and is also of Oglala Lakota descent. She has a B.S. in Wildlife Biology, and an M.S. in Resource Management. She began working for the Hualapai Tribe of Peach Springs, Arizona in 2005 where she began the creation of an intergenerational ethnobotany program for the Hualapai community. She is currently employed as an Ethnobotanist for the Hualapai Department of Cultural Resources. She administers a number of projects promoting the intergenerational teaching of Hualapai ethnobotanical knowledge working towards preservation and revitalization to ensure tribal ethnobotanical knowledge persists as a living practice and tradition.

Contact Info: calisay17@hotmail.com / (928) 727-1338

For the Love of Turquoise

Turquoise has a long standing tradition amongst Native cultures of the Southwest, holding special significance and profound meanings to specific individual tribes. Even before the more contemporary tradition of combining silver with turquoise, cultures throughout the southwest used turquoise in necklaces, earrings, mosaics, fetishes, medicine pouches, and made bracelets of basketry stems lacquered with piñon resin and inlaid turquoise. Found on six continents across the world, turquoise forms in arid regions through the process of water seeping through rock and interacting with copper, aluminum, and iron deposits. In the southwest, used decoratively for millennia, this iconic art form has a compelling story all its own. This talk explores a long tradition of distinctive cultural styles, history, and transition of this wondrous stone.

  • Presentation Category – Culture, Gender, and Identity Studies – Native American Studies
Mescal Agave Use in Arizona: Food, Fiber, and Vessel

The agave plant was used by Native peoples for numerous utilitarian items. Mescal served as a valuable food source still being harvested and prepared to this day by many Indigenous groups. For millennia people have pit roasted the heart of the plant yielding a nutritious food staple rich in calcium and zinc. This talk includes the life history of mescal, and the multitude of Tribal uses of this intriguing plant and their long relationship with this plant from centuries ago to the modern era.

  • Presentation Category -Culture, Gender, and Identity Studies – Native American Studies

Albrecht Classen

Dr. Albrecht Classen is a university distinguished professor of German Studies at the University of Arizona – where he teaches and researches the European Middle Ages, the early modern age, and modern German-speaking lands, focusing on literature, the visual arts, politics, philosophy, and religion. He has published more than 100 scholarly books, such as On the Forest in Medieval Literature(2015) and Toleration and Tolerance in Medieval Literature(2018). He has given lectures all over the state of Arizona, the nation, and globally. Over the last 30 years, he has received numerous teaching, research, and service awards, and has been repeatedly nominated for the Dan Shilling Public Humanities Scholar Award.

Contact Info: aclassen@email.arizona.edu / (520) 327-7609

The History of the (Berlin) Wall: German Experiences for Arizona

The issue of the US/Mexico border, or any border today, is of central importance. This presentation takes the history of the Berlin Wall as a starting point to address what walls have done to people and cultures throughout time. Can the Berlin Wall help Arizonans understand the critical issues better? Even if that might not be the case, the history of that ominous wall and the cultural implications deserve our close attention.

  • Presentation Category – Humanities in Contemporary Issues

Jan Cleere

Award-winning author, historian, and lecturer Jan Cleere writes extensively about the desert southwest, particularly the people who first settled the territory. She is a magna cum laude graduate of ASU West with a degree is American Studies, and the author of five historical nonfiction books about the people who first ventured west. She lectures around the state on early pioneers who were instrumental in colonizing and civilizing Arizona Territory. Jan writes a monthly column for Tucson’s Arizona Daily Star, “Western Women,” detailing the lives of some of Arizona’s early amazing women. Her freelance work appears in national and regional publications.

Contact Info: Jan@JanCleere.com / (520) 909-2299

Picturing Arizona: Celebrating Early Arizona Women Artists, Writers, Photographers, and Songsters

Artistry in its many forms makes us think, sing, dance, and enjoy the wonders of our surroundings. The arts also allow us to document the lives of our ancestors and learn from the past. Some of the finest early Arizona artists were women who wrote, painted, photographed, and vocalized the magnificence and history of their communities and their circumstances. Painters provided visual images, while writers pictured the west with their prose and poetry. Singing voices soared above the highest mountains, and photographers imprinted vivid pictures that made the landscape stand still before being swept away by time. This presentation celebrates women who tendered these creative legacies, leaving reminders of our past for future generations to enjoy and reflect.

  • Presentation Category – Culture, Gender & Identity Studies – Women’s Studies
Nevertheless She Persisted! Women Who Made a Difference on the Arizona Frontier

Meet an array of early Arizona women who endured troubles and hardships, along with achieving amazing feats and triumphs during the territory’s early days, bringing a unique perspective to a harsh, strange country. Some of these women faced and fought discrimination, some laid down their lives. Learn about Native women warriors and peacemakers as well as women who rode into the territory to discover a completely different way of life. Journey back to a time in history when women explored, conquered, settled, and civilized this raw, new land. This presentation celebrates Arizona women who persisted and persevered in their quest to explore, discover, and conquer new lands and new beginnings.

  • Presentation Category – Culture, Gender & Identity Studies – Women’s Studies

Jay Craváth W/ Dan Shilling

Jay Craváth, Ph.D. is a composer, writer, and scholar in the field of music and Indigenous studies. He crafts programs from these interests into interactive discussions that include stories, musical performance, and illustrations/photography. One of his most recent publication is Iretaba: Mohave Chief and American Diplomat. Dr. Craváth will begin an Arizona tour in late May of 2017 for his latest album: Songs for Ancient Days.

Dan is the former executive director of Arizona Humanities, where he worked for nearly 20 years. Since leaving AH, Shilling has co-directed three NEH summer institutes on environmental ethics, given dozens of presentations on place-based economic development, and authored or edited several publications, including Traditional Ecological Knowledge: Learning from Indigenous Methods for Environmental Sustainability(Cambridge 2018). A former high school teacher, Dan holds a PhD in literature from ASU. He has served on dozens of boards and commissions. To acknowledge his many contributions to the state, ASU presented him its most prestigious honor, the Distinguished Alumnus Award.

Contact Info: cravath@gmail.com / (928) 231-9754

The Ballad of Arizona

Originally conceived to celebrate Arizona’s Centennial in 2012, “The Ballad of Arizona” has been updated to provide a more complete survey of important, but often little-known, chapters of Arizona’s unique history. A blend of music, video, and lecture, “The Ballad of Arizona” is similar to “A Prairie Home Companion” but with an Arizona twist. The dozen vignettes featured in the presentation include the Buffalo Soldiers, dude ranch history, the Code Talkers, forester Aldo Leopold, Japanese-American Internment, famous cattle drives, the assassination of reporter Don Bolles, and more stories that explore Arizona’s unique cultural and natural diversity. Jay Craváth is joined by Dan Shilling for this entertaining two-person presentation that combines song and story.

  • Presentation Category – History – Arizona/Southwest History
Honky Tonks, Brothels and Mining Camps: Entertainment in Old Arizona

In pioneer Arizona, among the best places to experience the performing arts were in the mining towns. Striking it rich meant having disposable income, and miners, like the well-heeled of the Gilded Age, wanted to demonstrate their sophistication with culture. From the early popular music of ragtime and minstrelsy during the forming of these communities, evolved orchestras, opera and glee clubs—all in hamlets like Tombstone. Dr. Craváth shares stories and music of a time when performing live was the only way to enjoy the arts.

  • Presentation Category – History – Arizona/Southwest History

Allen Dart

Registered Professional Archaeologist Allen Dart has worked in Arizona and New Mexico since 1975 and has been an Arizona Humanities speaker since 1997. He is the executive director of Tucson’s nonprofit Old Pueblo Archaeology Center, which he founded in 1993 to provide educational and scientific programs in archaeology, history, and cultures. Al has received the Arizona Governor’s Archaeology Advisory Commission Award in Public Archaeology, the Arizona Archaeological Society’s Professional Archaeologist of the Year Award, and the Arizona Archaeological and Historical Society’s Victor R. Stoner Award for his efforts to bring archaeology and history to the public.

Contact Info: adart@oldpueblo.org / (520) 603-6181

The Antiquity of Irrigation in the Southwest

Before AD 1500, Native American cultures took advantage of southern Arizona’s long growing season and tackled its challenge of limited precipitation by developing the earliest and most extensive irrigation works in all of North America. Agriculture was introduced to Arizona more than 4,000 years before present, and irrigation systems were developed in our state at least 3,500 years ago – several hundred years before irrigation was established in ancient Mexico. This presentation by archaeologist Allen Dart provides an overview of ancient irrigation systems in the southern Southwest and discusses irrigation’s implications for understanding social complexity.

  • Presentation Category – Archaeology
The Salado Phenomenon in the U.S. Southwest

In the early 20th century, archaeologists in the southwestern U.S. viewed a constellation of distinctive cultural traits – multicolored pottery, houses arranged in walled compounds, and monumental architecture – as evidence of a cultural group they termed “Salado.” Subsequent discoveries cause us to question what the Salado traits really represent. In this presentation archaeologist Allen Dart illustrates some of the so-called Salado culture attributes, reviews theories about Salado origins, and discusses how Salado relates to the Ancestral Pueblo, Mogollon, Hohokam, and Casa Grandes cultures of the U.S. Southwest and Mexico’s Northwest.

  • Presentation Category – Archaeology

Carolyn O'Bagy Davis

Carolyn O’Bagy Davis, a fourth-generation descendant of Utah pioneers, is the author of 14 books on archaeology, quilting and the history of the Southwest. Her book Hopi Summer was selected for OneBook Arizona for 2011 and Desert Trader was named one of the Best Books of the Southwest in 2012. She was founding president of the Tucson Quilters Guild and Old Pueblo Archaeology Center, and is an inducted member of the Society of Women Geographers and the Arizona Quilters Hall of Fame. Davis has appeared on HGTV, PBS, and Lifetime television programs and has curated many traveling museum exhibits.

Contact Info: cobagy@aol.com / (520) 390-7659

Nora Cundell: An English Artist at Marble Canyon

In her Windsor home, Nora Cundell was a proper English spinster, painting portraits of local children and dignitaries. After discovering Marble Canyon and the Vermillion Cliffs along the Colorado River on a 1934 trip to America, she returned each winter to don boots and pants for exploring and camping expeditions on horseback, while also falling in love with her handsome, capable—and younger—guide. Nora’s Arizona paintings reveal the land that became the home of her heart. A friend recalled that Nora did not just love the desert, “the desert took her prisoner.” Nora’s story is told through her autobiographical book, photographs, interviews, and her wartime letters, as well as through her paintings and sketches.

  • Presentation Category – Art, Architecture, and Music
Kate Cory: Arizona Artist, Adventurer, and Photographer

Artist Kate Cory, 1861-1958, learned of the Hopi Mesas in 1905 through a lecture at the Pen and Brush Club in New York City. By fall of that year, Kate Cory made the decision to travel to Arizona and spend time among the Hopi People. For the next seven years Kate lived in the mesa-top villages where she painted and photographed ceremonies and everyday Hopi life, becoming the first artist to extensively spend time among the Hopis. Kate’s lifetime of writings, paintings, and photographs document an important time in Hopi culture, as well as Arizona scenes. Kate Cory was an adventurer, and an uncommon woman of her time. The works of her life are a priceless Arizona legacy.

  • Presentation Category – Art, Architecture, and Music

Thomas J. Davis

Thomas J. Davis is an historian, lawyer, and professor emeritus at Arizona State University, Tempe, where he taught U.S. constitutional and legal history. He taught also as a visiting professor of law at the ASU College of Law. He received his PhD in U.S. history from Columbia University in the City of New York and his JD cum laude from New York’s University at Buffalo School of Law. Among his more than 50 scholarly articles and books, is his Plessy v. Ferguson(2012), a volume in ABC-CLIO’s Landmarks of the American Mosaic series.

Contact Info: tjdavis@asu.edu / (480) 812-0823

Fixing the U.S. Constitution: What Needs Changing, How and Why

The U.S. Constitution set as its primary purpose “to form a more perfect Union,” and ever since its drafting, often raucous calls have demanded changing its provisions or processes to “perfect” that Union. Perennially heated arguments have attached to how changes were to occur and what changes should be. What needs fixing has been a question for every generation since 1789. Exploring what has changed over time and why, opens perspectives on calls today to change the nation’s fundamental and organic law.

  • Presentation Category – Humanities in Contemporary Issues
Impeachment: The U.S. Constitutional Process and How It Works

The U.S. Constitution set in place a process for removing from office elected and non-elective executive and judicial officers of the United States: that process is commonly called impeachment. It is a power of the national legislature, the Congress; and both the House of Representatives and the Senate play roles, separately but in coordination. On occasion the Chief Justice of the United States also plays a role. Understanding the impeachment power and how the process operates has recently become much discussed. So a discussion of the bases and principles of impeachment appears particularly appropriate.

  • Presentation Category – Humanities in Contemporary Issues

Betsy Fahlman

Betsy Fahlman is Professor of Art History at Arizona State University. An authority on the art history of Arizona, her books include New Deal Art in Arizona(2009) and The Cowboy’s Dream: The Mythic Life and Art of Lon Megargee(2002). She is the author of two essays in catalogues published in 2012 by the Museum of Northern Arizona in Flagstaff: “New Women, Southwest Culture: Arizona’s Early Art Community” (in Mary-Russell Ferrell Colton: Artist and Advocate in Early Arizona) and “Making the Cultural Desert Bloom: Arizona’s Early Women Artists” (in Arizona’s Pioneering Women Artists: Impressions of the Grand Canyon State).

Contact Info: fahlman@asu.edu/ (480) 517-0064

A Staggering Panorama: Women Artists and the Grand Canyon

The iconic image of the Grand Canyon, the state’s signature landscape, has inspired countless artists with its geologically impressive and colorful beauty. In the nineteenth century, there were few women who participated in the national enthusiasm for landscape painting, but in the twentieth century, women emphatically claimed this subject. The Santa Fe Railway formed the first corporate art collection in America, focusing its efforts on the Southwest, and purchasing many works by women to promote their routes. The Canyon was the earliest and most developed tourist site in the state, and it was Mary Jane Colter who created attractive parkitecture for the Fred Harvey Company at the South Rim.

  • Presentation Category – Culture, Gender, and Identity Studies – Women’s Studies

Dan Fellner

Dan Fellner is a seven-time Fulbright fellow with over 35 years of experience in corporate public relations, television news, travel writing and university teaching in the United States, Eastern Europe and Southeast Asia. Fellner began his career as a television news and sports reporter at stations in four different American cities. He later spent 10 years in corporate public relations. In 1998, Fellner joined Arizona State University as a faculty associate and has taught courses in print and broadcast journalism, public relations, international mass media, intercultural communications and travel writing. Fellner is a faculty affiliate with ASU’s Melikian Center for Russian, Eurasian and East European Studies, and currently teaches courses in travel writing, Eastern Europe, Asia, and other foreign destinations for ASU’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. Fellner is a three-time Fulbright Scholar (Latvia, Moldova and Bulgaria) and four-time Fulbright Senior Specialist (North Macedonia, Lithuania, Latvia and Indonesia). He also works as a travel writer and has published more than 85 travel articles in publications around the world.

Contact Info: dan.fellner@asu.edu / (480) 326-3756

Curry and Kreplach: A Look at 12 Unique Jewish Communities around the World

Take a virtual journey across some of the most interesting and off-the-beaten path Jewish communities on four different continents: from India’s historic Bene Israel community, to Alaska’s tight-knit “Frozen Chosen,” to Ecuador’s opulent JCC located just miles from the center of the world, to Myanmar’s miraculous Musmeah Yeshua Synagogue in Yangon. This talk will explore the survival and resilience of Jewish life in places you might least expect to find it.

  • Presentation Category – Philosophy, Religion, and Ethics

Chris Glenn and Sandy Sunseri

Chris and Sandy are docents at the Museum of Northern Arizona and have been speaking about the land and people of the Colorado Plateau since 2012. In-depth research and related interviews have resulted in presentations to local social and educational groups, museum groups, public venues such as the Riordan Mansion State Park in Flagstaff, and AZ Speaks locations throughout Arizona. Some topics are presented in costumes of the time period, and in every case with a thorough exploration of the events and personalities of the time from multiple points of view.

Contact Info: chris.ferguson@scottsdalecc.edu / (480) 745-5786, thesunseris@msn.com/ (928) 526-1868

The Vanishing Trading Posts

“The Vanishing Trading Posts” presents a snapshot of life in the southwest that has disappeared. In a little over one hundred years, trading posts in the Four Corners were founded, traders and Native Americans flourished, and then the posts faded away. The challenges and unexpected gifts of cross-cultural exchange and stories of trading family dynasties are discussed against a background of social and economic changes on the reservations and in the U.S. that still impact relationships today.

  • Presentation Category – History – Arizona/Southwest History
Chiles & Chocolate: Sweet and Spicy Foods in the American West

Come have a taste of the rich and savory history of these food favorites, explore how early peoples used them, and how they have evolved and spread to all corners of the world. Food is a portal into culture and can convey a range of cultural meaning including occasion, social status, ethnicity, and wealth depending on the social context. Discover how chiles and chocolate became identity markers in gender roles and relationships, essential in rituals and religious customs, popular in aesthetic fashions and lifestyles, and how they changed through time and space.

  • Presentation Category – History – Arizona/Southwest

Matthew Goodwin

Matthew Goodwin has a Ph.D. in Philosophy. He is currently a Senior Lecturer in the Philosophy Department of Northern Arizona University (NAU) where he specializes in environmental ethics and phenomenology. Matthew was recently a participant in a National Endowment for the Humanities summer seminar on extending Aldo Leopold’s “Land Ethic.” He is co-founder of Sedona Philosophy, which offers guided hikes and retreats in Sedona and northern Arizona.

Contact Info: matthew.goodwin@nau.edu / (928) 523-0320

Is it ‘Global Warming’ or ‘Climate Change’? The Philosophy of Communicating Climate Science

Why do so many people not accept the science of global warming? What are the rhetorical devices most often used to confuse people about the science? What are more effective ways to talk about and communicate what is happening with our climate? Most challenges made are not really about the science, but about previously held behavioral commitments. Learn some surprising theories about best practices for communicating climate science, such as the importance of storytelling.

  • Presentation Category – Geography & Environment
A Philosophy of Light and Space: Introducing James Turrell’s Roden Crater Art Project

Roden Crater is a cinder cone volcano near Flagstaff, Arizona where, for the past 40 years, artist James Turrell has been working on his magnum opus. Here he has built dramatic ‘sky spaces,’ rooms and tunnels with openings oriented toward celestial and atmospheric events. The place invites visitors to explore perception itself, and to question their place in the cosmos. This talk will introduce some of the intriguing philosophical, psychological, and scientific issues this one-of-a-kind work of art in Arizona will confront us with when it finally opens to the public.

  • Presentation Category – Art, Architecture, and Music

Win Holden

Win Holden was named the sixth Publisher of Arizona Highways Magazine in May 2000. The publication is recognized as one of the finest travel magazines in the world. The magazine has over 120,000 subscribers in all 50 states and 100 countries. As Publisher, Mr. Holden led a diverse group of businesses centered on the world-renowned magazine including licensing, book publishing, calendars, e- commerce, new product development, product marketing and retailing. A Valley resident since 1980, Mr. Holden was recognized by the Arizona Office of Tourism and the Arizona Lodging and Tourism Association as their 2017 and 2018 Lifetime Award recipient and received the 2015 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Business Journal. He was the 2007 inductee into the Arizona Tourism Hall of Fame.

Contact Info: wholden1@me.com/ (602) 820-2181

On the Road Since 1925: The Colorful History of Arizona Highways Magazine

The first issue of Arizona Highways magazine was published in April, 1925. In this presentation, former publisher Win Holden will share the fascinating story of how a brochure produced by the Arizona Highway Department evolved into one of the most respected and revered publications in the world. With annual economic impact of over $65 million, Arizona Highways reaches all 50 states and over 100 countries around the world. But the journey has been anything but uneventful. With a unique publishing model not dependent on advertising, the magazine has had to unearth new sources of revenue to sustain its operations. And, as part of the Arizona Department of Transportation, has had to survive without state funding. Learn how this remarkable magazine has beaten the odds and is thriving in a competitive environment that has seen respected national magazines fall by the wayside.

  • Presentation Category – Film, Media, and New Media

Janice Jarrett

Janice Jarrett has extensive experience teaching in schools, colleges, community programs and as a speaker, from numerous free lance talks, to Arts Encounters (UA Presents), to the Arizona Humanities Council. Post Ph.D. she continued her scholarly interdisciplinary research including music and the brain, science, healing, and in culture. She runs a private music studio and like many musicians, she is a multi-professional: adding jazz singer, lyricist, arranger, band leader and journalist. She earned her Ph.D. in Ethnomusicology, a masters in World Music, and a B.A. in voice and composition.

Contact Info: jjjazz@mac.com/ (520) 888-2690

The Science of Music, The Music Of Science

Why do so many physicists compare the universe to an orchestra? Why did Einstein use his violin playing to enhance his contemplation of the workings of the cosmos? The connection of music to science was illuminated early on when Pythagoras divided a string. Not surprisingly, from astrophysicists to quantum theorists, the common key to unlocking mysteries is math. And clearly, the study of sound, acoustics and the vibrational spectrum intricately entwine science and music through mathematical computations. Understanding music’s physiological effects on our brains and the body is the goal of a growing number of studies by neuroscientists. Learn about the correlations between these two overlapping worlds and why so many high professionals are musicians and musicians, scientists.

  • Presentation Category – Art, Architecture, and Music

Björn Krondorfer

Björn Krondorfer is Director of the Martin-Springer Institute at Northern Arizona University and Professor of Religious Studies. His scholarship focuses on reconciliation, gender, and religion. Dr. Krondorfer has presented and facilitated seminars in Armenia, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Canada, Finland, Germany, Italy, Israel & Palestine, Poland, South Africa, South Korea, Switzerland, Netherlands, UK, and the US. Publications include “Reconciliation in Global Context”; “Male Confessions: Intimate Revelations and the Religious Imagination”; “Men and Masculinities in Christianity and Judaism”; “Remembrance and Reconciliation.” He created & curated exhibits on the Jewish Ghetto in Bedzin; the Berlin Wall; “Wounded Landscapes”; and “Echoes of Loss: Artistic Responses to Trauma.”

Contact Info: bjorn.krondorfer@nau.edu / (928) 523-5029

Unsettling Empathy: Working With Groups in Conflict

Based on over 30 years of facilitating groups in conflict nationally and internationally, Dr. Krondorfer will talk about the dynamics of such work and how to bring groups together: Germans and Jews; Palestinians and Israelis; Christians, Jews, and Muslims; ethnically diverse students; Bedouins and indigenous people. This presentation is about responsibility: What it takes to become responsible toward each other, how we might approach such a task, and why embracing a relational practice of care releases us from the restraints of our enclaves of sameness.

  • Presentation Category – Humanities in Contemporary Issues

Megan LaRose

Megan LaRose is a member of the Navajo Nation. She comes from Klagetoh, Arizona but currently resides in Mesa, Arizona. She is a student at Mesa Community College where she studies American Indian Studies. Megan has volunteered for the Morning Star Leaders Youth Council for more than four years and has taken on a variety of leadership positions. She continues to serve as a great role model for her two younger siblings.

Contact Info: meganlarose110@gmail.com / (480) 628-2007

Cultural Inclusivity in Schools from an Indigenous Perspective

Current public school systems often brainstorm ways to increase the student success rate. However, many factors are overlooked and not considered. As a recent high school graduate, Megan teamed up with other Indigenous youth to find what peaks a student’s interest in learning. Join Megan LaRose as she shares and uncovers the barriers in education from an Indigenous perspective.

  • Presentation Category – Culture, Gender, and Identity Studies – Native American Studies
It Takes a Nation to Heal

Indigenous tribes today are finding themselves in crisis. Community initiatives are mobilizing to sustain water, land, language, youth, and heritage. Megan will shine light on the root causes of these major issues in “Indian Country,” and what healing looks like in the modern day.

  • Presentation Category – Culture, Gender, and Identity Studies – Native American Studies

Royce and Debbie Manuel

As a tribal member of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, Royce Manuel has long played an important role in perpetuating cultural knowledge within the tribal nation by service to the Auk Mierl Aw-Aw-Thum. Royce maintains the distinction of keeping the Calendar Stick. Today, he continues to record and initiate collaborative projects that will engage the Aw-Thum (O’odham) sister tribes in creative strategies of integrating the Calendar Stick concepts into projects, design, wellness, math, science and critical learning.

Debbie Nez-Manuel (Diné) has a Masters in Social Work, Arizona State University and is experienced in both non-profit and tribal communities. Debbie’s traditional and bi-cultural lifestyles, provides valuable insight and practices in both urban and tribal community settings while preserving, strengthening, and renewing cultural identity.

Contact Info: headquarters@debbienezmanuel.com / (480) 406-9152

Keeping Heritage Real in Arizona.

One may hear varying points of view when it comes to heritage – timeless creation or historical storytelling, all are imperative. Keeping heritage ‘real’ is important as it ensures the posterity for Native Americans. The vivid landscape, the many footprints, timeless settings, high and low points, conflict and adversity – all are real. In this era, people are continually evolving, some focus on ideas, some share, some don’t. Still, all are simply working every day to balance a modern lifestyle. Hear about some of the old ways to help participants begin to relate to what’s happening here and now.

  • Presentation Category – Culture, Gender, and Identity Studies – Native American Studies
Sorting Through Southwest Arizona Tribal Symbols

Symbols come in a variety of forms and can be found in art, speech, and in writing. Knowing and understanding the southwest symbolism from a tribal perspective is one more way Arizona celebrates its heritage. Today symbols among tribal nations describe life or convey a much deeper meaning in clothing, footwear, baskets designs and even etched animals designs along the freeway. Join Royce & Debbie to learn more about translating the beautiful meaning from everyday southwest symbols.

  • Presentation Category – Culture, Gender, and Identity Studies – Native American Studies

Gregory McNamee

Gregory McNamee is a writer, editor, photographer, and publisher. He is the author of 40 books and more than 6,000 articles and other publications. He is a contributing editor to the Encyclopædia Britannica, a research fellow at the Southwest Center of the University of Arizona, and a lecturer in the Eller School of Management, at the University of Arizona. For more about him, visit his web page at www.gregorymcnamee.com.

Contact Info: gregorymcnamee@gmail.com / (520) 615-7955

The Gila: River of History

Six hundred miles long from its source in the mountains of southwestern New Mexico to its confluence with the Colorado River above Yuma, the Gila has been an important avenue for the movement of birds, animals, plants, and peoples across the desert for millennia. Many cultures have sprung up on its banks, and millions of people depend on the river today—whether they know it or not. Gregory McNamee, author of the prizewinning book Gila: The Life and Death of an American River, presents a biography of this vital resource, drawing on Native American stories, pioneer memoirs, the writings of modern naturalists such as Aldo Leopold and Edward Abbey, and many other sources. Think of it as 70 million years of history packed into an entertaining, informative hour.

  • Presentation Category – Geography and Environment
Arizona for Newcomers

What is it that makes Arizona unique, that gives it a different flavor from neighboring New Mexico, California, Utah, Colorado, Sonora, and Chihuahua? In part the answer lies in Arizona’s longstanding habit of absorbing influences from its neighbors in matters such as architecture, music, and cuisine, incorporating them into an already vibrant tradition made up of influences taken from around the globe, and serving up a blend of visual arts, literature, and folk life that is unlike any other. In part it’s because Arizonans, throughout history, have insisted on being different—and in surprising and delightful ways. Tailored to newcomers to Arizona, this humor-laden talk is an introduction to those various traditions and to sources for the further exploration of Arizona’s culture and all the things that make it unlike any other.

  • Presentation Category – Geography and Environment

Evangeline Parsons Yazzie

Dr. Evangeline Parsons Yazzie is a Navajo woman, originally from the community of Hardrock on the Navajo Reservation. She is a Professor Emerita of Navajo at Northern Arizona University (NAU). She obtained a Masters of Arts degree in Bilingual Multicultural Education (NAU) and a Doctorate degree in Education (NAU). Evangeline retired from NAU after 24 years of teaching. Evangeline is a novelist, the author of four novels in Navajo and English which are based upon the Navajo Long Walk (1864 through 1868). She is an author of a popular Navajo language textbook, and the author of an award-winning bilingual children’s book.

Contact Info: evangeline.parsons-yazzie@nau.edu / (928) 890-9819

Three Generations of the American Indian Boarding School Experience

The U.S. federal government’s harsh policy of compulsory Indian education in the form of boarding schools began in 1879 and continued through the Great Depression, with boarding schools on and off Indian Reservations remaining prominent through 1970. Presently, boarding schools are still the main means of K-8 education in rural Indian communities. This presentation will impart the dramatic stories of three individuals: a grandfather, his daughter, and his granddaughter who all attended boarding schools throughout the 1920s, the Great Depression, and the mid-1950s through 1971. Telling these stories promotes an understanding of how boarding schools changed the language, culture, lifestyle, and traditions of American Indian people.

  • Presentation Category – Culture, Gender, and Identity Studies – Native American Studies
The Navajo Long Walk (1863 through 1868): Through the Eyes of Navajo Women

The Navajo people of old were forced to leave their homes and walk over 450 miles to Fort Sumner in eastern New Mexico where they were imprisoned on a small reservation. For four long years the Navajo people faced hunger, loneliness, disorientation, illnesses, severe environmental conditions, and hopelessness. Navajo women were forced to become warriors. It was the nurturing role, words and actions of women that spared the lives of the ones who survived. Before their release from prisoner of war status in 1968, it was the demands of the women that led the Navajo people back to their original lands in northeastern Arizona and northwestern New Mexico. The Long Walk has been collected in historical literature by non-Navajo authors. Absent from the literature is the Navajo perspective. The audience will hear the Navajo female elders’ version of the Long Walk in this presentation.

  • Presentation Category – Culture, Gender, and Identity Studies – Native American Studies

Robin Pinto

Robin Pinto studies the evolution of cultural landscapes in Arizona and focuses on four issues of historic change: early settlement and homesteading, New Deal federal work programs, ranching on public lands, and development of our national parks. She has an MLA and PhD from the University of Arizona. She writes historical landscape assessments for the National Park Service, works with the BLM Heritage Technical Team to study landscape change at the Empire Ranch and Cienega Creek watershed, and volunteers for numerous non-profit preservation organizations. With three other historians, she recently completed a book, Cowboys and Cowgirls around Ajo, Arizona.
Contact Info: rpinto@email.arizona.edu / (520) 403-4064

The Value and Importance of Water in the Desert: the History of Agua Caliente Spring

Water. In our desert environment, it is a precious resource that none of us can live without. It has significant values, both natural and cultural. A spring of cool, clear water is an oasis, a respite from the heat; it is seen as a place of healing; and many are drawn to it as a traditional, sacred site. Agua Caliente Spring in southern Arizona has been an important community attraction for millennia. Over the last 150 years, owners, both private and public, have struggled to protect, and at the same time, to share this remarkable resource and its surrounding landscape. The challenge of balancing different, and sometimes conflicting, values is instructive for us today.

  • Presentation Category – Geography & Environment
The New Deal and the Civilian Conservation Corps in Arizona: Connections to Our Historic Landscapes

The history of the New Deal, and how Arizonans responded to its challenges, is an inspirational story of how individuals worked to better themselves; a story of how communities took care of inhabitants and total strangers during drought and Depression; and a story of how we, as a state, could improve the lives of all and leave an important built legacy for generations to come. That legacy is still written in our landscapes, buildings, and communities. We use those historic sidewalks, schools, and post offices without knowing that they were built for us more than 80 years ago. Today we enjoy our parks and forests that were restored for us long ago. We can celebrate those ‘bootstrap’ labors and remind ourselves that we, too, can rise above adversity to improve our lives and the lives of others around us.

  • Presentation Category – History – Arizona/Southwest History

H. Christine Reid

Christine Reid is intrigued by Arizona’s diverse and rich western heritage as a writer and researcher at the Pinal County Historical Society and Community Scholar for the ASU Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. She continues that deep interest while serving on many of the town of Florence’s heritage projects and agencies. Committed to sharing history in a lively manner, she presents the sometimes hidden or forgotten aspects of Arizona’s characters and history.

Contact Info: 2010dogwood@gmail.com / (520) 868-3185

Arizona: a History of Snake Oil Salesmen, Scams, and Hoaxes

Since the earliest days, Arizonans have been visited by entrepreneurs offering all kinds of get rich quick schemes. Benefitting from tales of abundant resources in the territory, limited law enforcement and communication, a scoundrel could create enticing promise of riches and success without much external oversight. Newspapers often fanned the hysteria only to later denounce and expose the schemes. People from across America came west to seek a better life. When that better life proved too slow in materializing, they often fell prey to a quick and easy alternative being offered by the schemer. Sometimes even the well-educated and worldly could not resist the lure, despite later admitting they should have known better. Using newspaper articles, quotes, photographs and ephemera, this program illustrates some of the most famous and some of the lesser known embarrassing scams and hoaxes that have found the gullible in Arizona.

  • Presentation Category – History – Arizona/Southwest
Pearl Hart, the Lady Bandit- Victim or Vixen… or Both?

Separating fact from fiction is no easy task with flamboyant stage coach robber Pearl Hart. A mountain of conflicting stories abound, thanks in no small part, to Pearl herself. Enamored of the Wild West, she embellished her own tale to accommodate the interest of newspapers and public fascination. This presentation follows Pearl from her modest beginnings in Canada to discover what set her down the road that led from Canada to Ohio, Illinois, New Mexico, and finally, Arizona. The road that took her from innocent teenager to a life of crime is littered with stories of abuse, abandonment, and poor choices. Why does a woman who committed a fairly insignificant crime still garner so much interest that even a Broadway show was created to highlight her life? This presentation, explores Pearl’s life from many angles, and sheds some light on an Arizona figure surrounded by mystery.

  • Presentation Category – Culture, Gender & Identity Studies – Women’s Studies

Steve Renzi

Steve Renzi, a University of Arizona graduate with a degree in history, believes that every generation must learn about who and what came before them or else the lessons learned are lost. As a writer and photographer with a teacher’s certificate in secondary education, Renzi is always searching for new ways of exploring our history. He has been published in over 200 magazine and newspaper articles and is currently a writing and photography teacher, as well as a basketball coach.

 Contact Info: stevenrenzi@hotmail.com / (520) 327-3089

Barbed Wire, Windmills and Railroads – The Technology that Really Won the West.

In Arizona and throughout the West, three innovations helped make farming and living possible: Windmills brought groundwater to the surface, barbed wire sectioned the vast landscape into parcels, and railroads moved men, women, families and materials from back east. In the old West, there were over 8 million windmills, a man caught cutting down a barbed wire fence was often found hanging from a rope, and railroads gave us time zones and the Blue Plate Special. Brave men and women won the West but the new technology made it possible.

  • Presentation Category – History – Arizona/Southwest
Arizona’s Great Escape

During the night of Christmas Eve in 1944, twenty-five Nazi German prisoners of war escaped from Papago Park POW camp on the outskirts of Phoenix and headed towards Mexico. These men were hardcore Nazis, ex U-boat commanders, and submariners, who had successfully dug a nearly 200-foot underground tunnel that took four months to complete. Many people may have heard of this event, but few know the details. This presentation tells the story of what happened to these German POWs and the Arizona residents who encountered them.

  • Presentation Category – History – Arizona/Southwest History

James Rice

Dr. James Rice, is an Astrogeologist with over 30 years research experience specializing in the exploration of the Solar System, especially the Moon and Mars. His career includes working for NASA, The Astrogeology Headquarters of the United States Geological Survey, the Mars Spaceflight Facility (ASU), and the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory (UA). He has a PhD from Arizona State University, MS from the University of Louisiana and BS from the University of Alabama.

Currently, Rice is a Senior Scientist and Geology Team Leader on the NASA Mars Exploration Rover Project (Spirit and Opportunity). Rice trained and briefed NASA astronauts in geology and Mars exploration. He has been a leader and team member on numerous international geological field expeditions around the world including a 6 month long NASA/Russian expedition to Antarctica. This work included being a member of the SCUBA diving team to first investigate the perennially frozen lakes of eastern Antarctica. Rice served on numerous NASA Science Analysis Groups for manned missions back to the Moon and Mars. He received numerous NASA Moon and Mars Mission Achievement Awards and was inducted into the inaugural class of the United Space Camp Hall of Fame.

Contact Info: rice@psi.edu / (480) 236-9431

The Golden Age of Solar System Exploration

Mankind has dreamed about and longed to explore space for ages. We are indeed fortunate to be living in this slice of time when we actually have the ability and technology to do it! This presentation will discuss the successes, failures, adventures, and discoveries of the final frontier.

  • Presentation Category – Geography and Environment
The Planet Mars in our Dreams and Reality

The Red Planet, Mars, has always held our fascination, more so than any other planet. The very word ‘Mars’ conjures up visions of Martians as well as great voyages of exploration in our imagination. What was once a distant, mysterious, cinnamon colored orb in our night sky is now literally a New World that we are currently exploring with rovers and landers on the surface and orbiters from above. Arizona scientists are playing a very important role in many of these missions. These robotic missions are the pathfinders for future human missions. And at some point humans will make Mars our second home in the Solar System. This presentation will discuss the major discoveries that have been, and are now being made about Mars by our robotic missions. This program discusses the dangers, challenges and plans for human missions to the Red Planet.

  • Presentation Category – Geography & Environment

Tamika Sanders

Dr. Tamika Sanders is an entrepreneur who decided to become an educator to help address the lack of minority faculty in higher education, and serve as a role model for minority students who rarely see people of color in academia. Through her company Savvy Pen, Dr. Sanders prides herself on working with schools to build inclusive classrooms, conducting multicultural training for educators, and creating interactive programs that incorporate arts learning to bridge cultural and socioeconomic divides. She hopes to continue using the arts to break barriers, unite people, and create social change.

Contact Info: info@savvypen.com / (480) 266-9747

Coded Messages and Songs of the Underground Railroad

Communication and secrecy were key to the successful operation of the Underground Railroad. Safety was more important than quickness. Both fugitive slaves and members of the Underground Railroad learned to code and decode hidden messages, and to disguise signs to avoid capture. There were code names for routes and code numbers for towns. A quilt hanging on a clothesline with a house and a smoking chimney among its designs indicated a safe house. The song, “Follow the Drinking Gourd” served as directions to Canada. Using storytelling, activities and songs, this presentation will depict the ingenuity and resiliency used by those involved in the Underground Railroad to help over 100,000 slaves escape to freedom between 1810 and 1850.

  • Presentation Category – Culture, Gender, and Identity Studies – African American Studies

Kevin Schindler

Kevin Schindler is an award-winning educator and writer who has worked for more than 20 years at Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff. Schindler was sheriff of the Flagstaff Corral of Westerners for 14 years and a board member of the Flagstaff Festival of Science for 16 years. Combining a dual passion for history and science, he has presented hundreds of educational programs, authored 6 books, written more than 500 magazine and newspaper articles, and contributes a bi-weekly astronomy column for the Arizona Daily Sun. In 2019 Kevin was awarded the Friends of the Humanities Award by Arizona Humanities.

Contact Info: kevin@lowell.edu / (928) 607-1387

Theodore Roosevelt Slept Here

Theodore Roosevelt exhibited a greater influence on Arizona than perhaps any other president. He was the first sitting president to visit Arizona, employed an executive order to preserve the Grand Canyon, established a variety of wildlife refuges and reclamation projects, and enjoyed outdoor recreation in the area. This program will share Roosevelt’s widespread influence in Arizona, and also explore some stories of dubious accuracy that inevitably sprout from such a larger-than-life character.

  • Presentation Category – Arizona/Southwest History
The 1894 Lowell Expedition to Arizona

In 1894 an Easterner named Andrew Douglass explored Arizona Territory in search of an ideal site to establish an astronomical observatory for Bostonian Percival Lowell. Traveling by train and stagecoach, Douglass visited Tombstone, Tucson, Tempe, Prescott and Flagstaff. While making scientific observations at each locale, he experienced a variety of unforeseen episodes. This expedition is a classic tale of western adventure with a twist of scientific intrigue.

  • Presentation Category – History – Arizona/Southwest

Lisa Schnebly Heidinger

Lisa believes everyone is given certain puzzle pieces to contribute to the overall picture of the world, and that hers involves collecting and sharing stories. She loves discovering bright bits of Arizona history that combine with others to make kaleidoscope images, sometimes surprising and always interesting. Working on her 11th and 12th books concurrently about aspects of her beloved native state, Lisa serves on the Arizona Trail Board of Directors, on the Rural Activation Innovation Network Board of Directors, and is an NAU President’s Associate.

Contact Info: lisa@arizonawriter.com / (602) 788-6558

Fierce Femininity: Arizona Women Who Stepped Up

We’re talking about Arizona women who were (sometimes) well-behaved while blazing trails. We aren’t a state where fragile means feminine. Suffrage was a century ago, and even though Arizona women already had the right to vote, they helped their sisters in other states obtain it. This is a colorful collection of our first female politicians, some early fearless businesswomen, and pioneers who defined bravery in a whole new way. Meet bold and independent females who saw what needed doing in Arizona and did it.

  • Presentation Category – Culture, Gender, and Identity Studies – Women’s Studies
How We Survived Prohibition (100 Years Ago)

Arizonans often didn’t play well with others where they’d lived before, and that made them well-suited to survive a society that (supposedly) didn’t serve alcohol. Hear some of the stories of how places you can still drink today made it through the speakeasy era… as well as what makes some of our other historic watering holes memorable besides what’s slid down the bar. These include what thirst for spirits inspired in Arizonans, and the colorful, creative rascals and rakes who were drawn here. What some of them did here will surprise you.

  • Presentation Category – History – Arizona/Southwest History

Katrina Shawver

Katrina Shawver is an experienced writer, speaker and author of the award-winning book HENRY: A Polish Swimmer’s True Story of Friendship from Auschwitz to America. She spent fifteen years researching Poland, WWII, and the Holocaust. The Polish American Congress of Arizona awarded Katrina their 2018 Polish Heritage Award and the Arizona Authors Association named HENRY the 2018 Best Nonfiction Book. She is a graduate of the University of Arizona and wrote for the Arizona Republic from 1997–2008. In Spring 2019 Katrina served as Writer in Residence at the Glendale Public Library where she presented multiple writing workshops.

Contact Info: katrina@katrinashawver.com / (480) 329-9738

Poland under Hitler and Stalin during World War II (1939-1945)

This overview of Polish history during wartime Poland 1939-1945 is presented through Polish eyes. In 1939, Poland was divided in two by Hitler and Stalin, the Polish government was exiled to England, and all Poles were targeted for slave labor, imprisonment or to be killed. More than six million Poles were killed, and more than two million were deported for slave labor in Russia and Germany. This presentation goes beyond the history of the German occupation and Holocaust to include the devastating impact of the Russian occupation and ultimate betrayal by the US and Britain that paved the way for three generations of Russian communist rule in Poland. PowerPoint. Internet access helpful but optional.

  • Presentation Category – History – World History
Polish Christians, Political Prisoners and Martyrs in Auschwitz and Buchenwald

This workshop begins with an overview of German concentration camps of World War II from 1933-1945, and then focuses on two specific camps: Auschwitz in Oświęcim, Poland, and Buchenwald in Weimar, Germany. The Holocaust of six million Jews remains the best documented genocide in history, yet it is a subset of World War II history and Nazi terror. This discussion will focus on the suffering and murder of other categories of prisoners who are far less recognized and studied, and includes photos, original documents, and the voice of Henry Zguda, an Arizona resident until his death in 2003. Zguda survived both Auschwitz and Buchenwald from 1942-1945 as a Polish (Catholic) political prisoner. His experience offers a window to millions of others murdered by the Nazi regime, and a comparison of concentration camps built in Germany beginning in 1933 vs German death camps built in Poland after 1940. PowerPoint.

  • Presentation Category – History – World History

Rodo Sofranac

Rodo spent his first few years in a tiny village called Rijeka Crnojevića, Montenegro—former Yugoslavia. His family fled to Austria and later immigrated to the United States. He speaks, reads, and writes Serbo-Croatian and German. Interestingly, the Montenegrin connection brought him to Arizona in 1974. This diversity of cultures and languages inspires Rodo to read, write, and enjoy sharing stories. As a teacher, translator, mentor, and community organizer, he has worked with people of all ages—from birth to over 100—and in numerous settings, including over 30 years at the university level. Rodo‘s award-wining work embraces varied storytelling, the latest being eight fun children’s books.

Contact Info: rodowrites@cox.net / 602-992-5547

Coming Home to a Place You’ve Never Been Before: Immigration, Refugee Resettlement, & Citizenship

The politics and policies of immigration, refugee resettlement, and citizenship are louder than ever. While the politics get noisier and the policies are mired, what about the people? This talk focuses on the personal stories of immigration. Participants will have the opportunity to discuss and share their experiences as a new settler and/or local greeter. What’s it like going to a place where you don’t know the language or culture? Where you don’t have any family or friends? Where you don’t know what you’re eating or where you’re sleeping? Where you have almost no money in your pocket? And now it is your home!? Could you do it? Did you do it? How is it going for you?

  • Presentation Category – Humanities in Contemporary Issues

Natalie J. Stewart-Smith

Natalie J. Stewart-Smith has been an educator for over 25 years and taught at the elementary, high school, and college levels. As a former Army officer and historian, she is interested in women’s contributions to the military, particularly those who served as military aviators.

Contact Info: waspsfly@gmail.com / (575) 921-5352

The Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) of WWII

During World War II over one thousand women served as Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP), freeing male pilots for combat roles at a critical time during the war. The WASP ferried planes from factories to embarkation points; performed engineer test flying of repaired aircraft and did target towing for gunnery training. By the spring of 1944, every P-51 Mustang flown in combat had already been flown by a WASP. This presentation shares their stories as fliers, patriots, and women who had to fight for the right to be called veterans.

  • Presentation Category – Culture, Gender, and Identity Studies – Women’s Studies
Women’s Contributions to Aviation

Women began contributing to aviation from the very beginning. Whether it was training men for the Layfaette Escadrille in WWI, plotting aviation maps in the 1930s, or training men in WWII, women fliers have been at the forefront of aviation. Learn their stories and be inspired.

  • Presentation Category – Culture, Gender, and Identity Studies – Women’s Studies

Laura Tohe

Laura Tohe is Diné. She is Sleepy Rock clan born for the Bitter Water clan. She holds a Ph.D. in Indigenous American Literature. A librettist and an award-winning poet, her books include No Parole Today, Meeting the Spirit of Water, Sister Nations, Tséyi, Deep in the Rock, and Code Talker Stories. Her commissioned libretto, Enemy Slayer: A Navajo Oratorio, was performed by the Phoenix Symphony. Her new work, Nahasdzaan in the Glittering World, makes its world premiere in France 2019. She is Professor Emerita with Distinction at Arizona State University and is the Navajo Nation Poet Laureate for 2015-2019.

Contact Info: l.tohe@asu.edu / (480) 820-8358

More than Pocahontas and Squaws: Indigenous Women Coming into Visibility

This visual presentation shows how Indigenous American women have contributed service to Arizona and the US, yet remain invisible in the media and stereotyped in early films. Nevertheless, they have been honored in all areas of public service—law, medicine, literature, military, education, and activism with awards such as, the Presidential Freedom, the McArthur (genius award), among others. Among some traditional tribal cultures, women’s lives are modeled after female heroes and sacred women who exemplify and express courage and kinship values. Rites of passage celebrate female creativity and the transformative nature of women, hence there was not a need for the concept of feminism. This talk presents cultural aspects of Indigenous culture and how women have contributed in significant ways, not only to their tribal nations, but to contemporary American life.

  • Presentation Category – Culture, Gender & Identity Studies – Native American
 From “Chief” to Code Talker: Four Profiles of the Navajo Code Talkers

During WWII a group of young Navajo men enlisted in the Marines without knowing that they would be called on to develop a secret code against the Japanese military. This select group of Code Talkers devised a Navajo language code that was accurate, quick, never broken, and saved many American lives. This talk profiles 4 Code Talkers who reflect on their lives growing up on the Navajo Nation homeland, their military service as Code Talkers, and the personal and spiritual costs of war that many struggled with after the war. They returned home without fanfare to continued poverty and lack of economic opportunity, yet persevered and overcame obstacles that helped change the Navajo Nation and their communities. Their stories are told with poignancy that reflect their resiliency and self-determination. A PowerPoint presentation accompanies this talk.

  • Presentation Category – Culture, Gender & Identity Studies – Native American

Jim Turner

Before retiring from the Arizona Historical Society, Jim Turner worked with more than 70 museums across the state. He co-authored the 4th-grade textbook The Arizona Story, and his pictorial history, Arizona: Celebration of the Grand Canyon State, was a 2012 Southwest Books of the Year selection. Jim moved to Tucson in 1951, earned a M.A. in U.S. history in 1999, and has been presenting Arizona history for more than forty years. Jim is an author/editor for Rio Nuevo Publishers, author of The Mighty Colorado from the Glaciers to the Gulf and Four Corners USA: Wonders of the American Southwest.
Contact Info: jimturnerhistorian@gmail.com / (520) 576-8678

The Shadow Catchers: 150 years of Arizona Photography

For more than a century and a half some of the world’s best photographers focused their lenses on Arizona. In addition to the renowned Edward S. Curtis, Kate Cory lived with the Hopi and represented them in photographs and on canvas, while C. S. Fly gave us the famous Geronimo pictures. In the 20th century Josef Muench’s pictures brought the movies to Monument Valley, Dorothea Lange captured Dust Bowl families, Barry Goldwater depicted Navajo and Hopi culture, and Ansel Adams glorified Arizona’s skies, canyons, and mesas. This presentation’s powerful images make the land and its people come alive.

  • Presentation Category -Art, Architecture, and Music
Lives of Arizonans from Memoirs and Fiction

Arizona pioneers tell their stories in diaries, letters, and memoirs. Martha Summerhayes’s beloved Vanished Arizona and Captain John Bourke’s On the Border with Crook, plus biographies of Hopi, Pima, and Tohono O’odham women describe their lives and feelings. But we’ll also look at fiction, including Willa Cather’s Death Comes for the Archbishop, Zane Gray’s Riders of the Purple Sage, and contemporary authors like Marguerite Noble’s Filaree and Nancy Turner’s These is My Words. Richly illustrated with historic photographs and artwork, this presentation gives audiences a personal understanding of what life was like for Native Americans and pioneer emigrants.

  • Presentation Category – Literature and Linguistics

Scott Warren

Scott Warren is a cultural geographer who lives in Ajo, Arizona. As an academic geographer he researches and teaches about the intersection of people and place at the Mexico-U.S. border. He works to bring the experiences of the Arizona-Sonora borderlands into his classrooms, while at the same time getting students out of the classroom and into the Arizona-Sonora borderlands. Scott favorite past time is exploring Arizona’s beautiful landscapes and important places.

Contact Info: scottdw1@gmail.com / (928) 318-7083

Borders, Walls, and Immigration in Arizona

The Arizona-Mexico border is a line of separation and a place of coming together. This paradox shapes the borderland region and its people in fascinating and important ways. In this talk, Dr. Warren offers a historical and geographical overview of the formation of the Arizona- Mexico border and its evolution since the 1800s. The program discusses historical and contemporary efforts to demarcate the boundary through bi-national surveys, the construction of fences and walls, and policing. Warren will also offer a contemporary survey of what the border looks like today, from the New Mexico line to Yuma. This talk is intended to increase awareness of the current state of the Arizona-Mexico border and the policies that affect the borderland.

  • Presentation Category –Humanities in Contemporary Issues
Arizona Communities in Transition

Boom and bust. Growth and decline. Urban renewal and urban blight. Rural development, Suburban sprawl, de-industrialization, and gentrification. We worry when our communities change, and we even worry when our communities stay the same. In Arizona, our cities, towns, and rural areas have undergone great changes in a generation. In this presentation, Dr. Warren discusses, region by region, how a changing economy has affected Arizona’s society and environment writ large. He will also invite your community to participate in the discussion, to reflect on these big changes, and to consider what it means for your community to prosper in the future.

  • Presentation Category –Humanities in Contemporary Issues

Bernard Wilson

Bernard Wilson is an independent researcher, who began his humanities research as part of a personal genealogical investigation into his family. He has spent the past twenty-three years researching Tucson’s African-American pioneers and community. His first book, The Black Residents of Tucson and Their Achievements: A Reference Guide, exposed that Tucson had a large and thriving African- American community that included mining millionaires. His subsequent publications derived from the research for his book. Currently, his research focuses on the individual lives of the Old Pueblo’s African-Americans.
Contact Info: bjwilsonassociates@yahoo.com / (520) 579-3437

Tucson’s Black Community and School Segregation

In 1909 the Territory of Arizona amended its compulsory school attendance bill to give cities and counties the ability to segregate their schools. Inspired by the change in the law, the Tucson school board conducted a rapid search of available buildings, settling on an abandoned mortuary. Shocked by this unsettling turn of events, Tucson’s Black community, white clergy and newspaper editorials banded together to argue against the use of the building, but, despite pleas and outrage, Tucson’s school board trustees would not yield. This talk explores the Tucson school board trustees’ decision to segregate the school system and the impact it had on the children, the Black community, and the city.

  • Presentation Category – Culture, Gender, and Identity Studies – African American Studies
The Mistreatment of Women at the Arizona Territorial Penitentiary in Yuma

The Arizona Territorial Penitentiary at Yuma was described as a “state of the art” prison in 1878, but the treatment of women at the prison remained deplorable and negligent. This talk focuses on the women incarcerated between 1878-1909, their treatment inside and outside the prison, and how they, living in man-made caves, had to fend for themselves within the prison’s walls.

  • Presentation Category – Culture, Gender, and Identity Studies – Women’s Studies

Súle Gregory C. Wilson

Educator, musician, storyteller, dancer, and alleviator, D.C.-born Súle Greg Wilson has served as an American Griot all his life, absorbing, and sharing, elders’ words and deeds, and adding his experience to the flow. This modern “Edu-Tainer” and Urban Shaman has shared healing story and music in concert halls, community centers, ceremonies, and classrooms from Juneau to Miami Beach, Ghana to Hawaii, and Hermosillo to Antrim. Wilson’s music has graced Grammy Award-winning CDs, and lauded documentaries. As an archivist, He organized historical records for the World Bank, the New York Stock Exchange, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture–the NYPL, and for Phoenix’s Sky Harbor airport, and the Pueblo Grand Museum. He also served as Director of the Smithsonian Institute’s Afro-American Index Project–precursor to the National Museum of African American History and Culture. Wilson has written and published celebrated books, plays, and music, produced CDs and instructional media, and taught and professed, Primary School to College. Súle lives in Tempe, Arizona with his wife and two lovely daughters. For more, visit www.sulegregwilson.com

Contact Info: Open@SuleGregWilson.com / (480) 495-2858

The Spirit of Spirituals: Famous and Stirring Songs of Faith, and their Stories

People the world over express Divine Devotion through humbly coming together and creating blessed sounds, blending their energies and hearts to help bridge that sometimes narrow, sometimes great, divide between us, as temporal beings, and the Infinite. One example of this bridge is African American sacred music: Negro Spirituals, and the Gospel tradition. Many have heard them, but few know their historical, or cultural context, much less their African precedents. What better way to learn about it than to hear, and sing it? Join educator, musician, storyteller, and dancer Súle Greg Wilson in exploring African and Post-African music, the stories behind the songs, their cultural significance, and why they continue to endure.

  • Presentation Category – Culture, Gender, and Identity Studies – African American Studies
In Our Own Image: African American Folkloric Models for Survival

As Post-African, U.S. culture evolved, its archetypes did, too, mirroring and reinforcing the community’s needs. This presentation brings to life legendary Heroes/Heroines from the 13th, 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries. Meet African kings and tricksters, clever slave-time characters, post-bellum rural desperados, organizers, jilted lovers, and wily urbanites through discussion, story, and song. We ask: what does this, or that, memorable character bring to the cultural table? Where do these icons fit in the African pantheon? Where are they today? And, why do they endure?

  • Presentation Category – Culture, Gender, and Identity Studies – African American Studies

Li Yang

Li is currently a faculty associate at Arizona State University. She was an AZ Speaks Road Scholar from 2015 through 2017. A recipient of the C. L. Sonnichsen Award for best article in The Journal of Arizona History in 2011, her writings, concerning topics ranging from Chinese history to Chinese-American history, have appeared in The Journal of Arizona History and some major magazines and newspapers in both Taiwan and mainland China. Li received her doctorate in East Asian studies from the University of Arizona in 2004. Since graduation, she has taught at several institutions, including Embrey-Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott.

Contact Info: yangli200683@gmail.com / (520) 248-7792

China Mary: History and Legend

A 1960 episode of The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp, the first Western television series, immortalized China Mary as a strong, powerful and ruthless Asian female figure in American popular imagination. The legend of her as an infamous Dragon Lady who ruled Tombstone’s Chinatown with an iron fist cannot be substantiated by historical research. Yang’s presentation will debunk the myth of China Mary and tell the real story of her as well as other Chinese who lived in Tombstone, Arizona during the exclusion period.

  • Presentation Category – Culture, Gender, and Identity Studies – Asian American Studies


Pershing’s Chinese: Asylum Seekers amid Chinese Exclusion

In 1917, Gen. John J. Pershing brought 527 Chinese refugees from Mexico. These men had attached themselves to the punitive expedition conducted by Gen. Pershing in pursuit of the Mexican revolutionary leader Francisco “Pancho” Villa from 1916 to 1917. When Pershing withdrew, aware that the lives of the Chinese who had served his troops were in danger, he requested official permission to grant asylum to the Chinese. The majority of the Pershing’s Chinese refugees were sent to Fort Sam Houston in Texas, where the U.S. government employed them as “army wards,” working as unpaid laborers in support of the war effort. There they remained confined until 1921, when they were finally released by special federal legislation that allowed them to live and work freely anywhere in the United States, but not become citizens. Most stayed in Texas, while a few made their way to Arizona. Lee Wee Kwon (1878-1965) was one of the Arizona-bound Chinese immigrants. He made Arizona his new home and played a significant role in the development and growth of Chinese enterprise in Tucson.

  • Presentation Category – Culture, Gender, and Identity Studies – Asian American Studies