• Subscribe
    Fill out the info below to sign up for our E-Newsletter.

AZ Speaks Catalog – By Speakers 2021-2022

Akua Duku Anokye

Akua Duku Anokye, Associate Professor of Africana Language, Literature, and Culture, Associate Director of the School of Humanity Arts and Cultural Studies, Director of New College International Initiatives, office of Interdisciplinary Global Learning and Engagement (IGLE). Past chair of the Conference on College Composition and Communication (CCCC), and currently Chief Reader for the College Board’s Advanced Placement English Language and Composition, she was named 2021 Outstanding Speaker of the Year by AZ Humanities. Her research focuses on African Diaspora orality and literacy practices, folklore, storytelling, and oral history. Most recent research focuses on African Diasporic women activists as community mothers.

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

Black Woman Rising: African American Community Mothers in Phoenix

African American women have had a tremendous impact on the lives of Arizonans. In a project I’ve been working on for the past 20 years, I have had the privilege of interviewing some of these amazing women. I call them othermothers/community mothers–these social activist who emerged from the Black woman-centered network of community. Let me introduce you to these powerful Black women who have risen to lead movements, create institutions, administer justice, and speak up when others were silent. Let me share the stories of women like Betty and Jean Fairfax, Jean Williams, Fatimah Halim, and Carol Coles Henry who have served their community with love, foresight, and integrity.

  • Presentation Category – Culture, Gender, and Identity Studies – African American Studies/Women’s 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, Storytelling and Folklore
Telling Arizona – Survival Stories of Covid-19

As an oral historian I have been working on an oral history/storytelling project –Telling Arizona, which identifies historical events, people and places in AZ and calls upon community folks state-wide to tell their personal stories about how they encountered and experienced Arizona life. Most recently the stories have been about surviving Covid-19. Whether stories of survival or adventure, they are funny, revealing, exciting, and sometimes chilling. Let me show you Arizona through the eyes of its residents.

  • Presentation Category – Humanities in Contemporary Issues, Storytelling and Folklore

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 115 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 Grimms’ Fairy Tales

No other collection of fairy tales has enjoyed such a popularity all over the world as the one by the Brothers Grimm. They were not newly composed by these two philologists, but collected from oral and written sources. Since the first anthology was published in 1812, the Grimms’ Fairy Tales have enjoyed a global success. This begs the question why they are so much loved, and why they continue to be so important both in the Old and in the New World, both in Germany and in China, for instance. In addition, these fairy tales have made their way into all the modern media, whether film or comic strips, video game or music. Obviously, the Grimms had understood some fundamental need people all over the world face and which fairy tales can satisfy to some extent. This presentation, which will be very interactive, addresses both a young and an older audience. We will learn much about the Grimm’s sources, their political and literary interests in writing these fairy tales, and study representative pieces regarding their reflections of political, cultural, ethical, religious issues. There are also clearly gender and racial aspects hidden in these tales, so this presentation can be geared to many different audiences.

  • Presentation Category – Storytelling and Folklore
What is Language and What Language/s Do We Actually Speak?

In Arizona, we are rather aware about the presence of different languages, with English paired with Spanish and the many different native Indian languages. But what is actually English? What is a language? What are the basic elements, and what are its history and characters, relevance and aesthetics? First of all, all languages are organic and develop all the time, whether this is an improvement or not. Language is all about communication, and it is a medium, which in turn is arbitrary and yet follows rules. We communicate with each other today differently than in the past, both in technical and in linguistic terms. This presentation thus will outline the historical context of modern-day American English, tracing it to Middle and Old English, and from there to Germanics. In fact, English is fairly closely related to German until today, which can be illustrated with historical and modern examples. In fact, studying a language/languages is a really fun type of research. I have taught medieval and early modern culture and literature for more than thirty years, and so also the history of German and English. In this presentation, which will be highly interactive, I will illustrate what we can and should know about our language/s because they constitute our cultural identity.
geared to many different audiences.

  • Presentation Category – Language

Allen Dart

Registered Professional Archaeologist Allen Dart has worked in Arizona and New Mexico since 1975 for federal and state governments, private companies, and nonprofit organizations. 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. Mr. Dart has received the Arizona Archaeological Society’s Professional Archaeologist of the Year Award, the Arizona Archaeological and Historical Society’s Victor R. Stoner Award, the Arizona Governor’s Archaeology Advisory Commission Award in Public Archaeology, and other honors for his efforts to bring archaeology and history to the public.

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

Set in Stone but Not in Meaning: Southwestern Rock Art

Ancient American Indian petroglyphs (symbols carved or pecked on rocks) and pictographs (rock paintings) are claimed by some to be forms of writing for which meanings are known. But are such claims supported by archaeology or by Native Americans? Archaeologist Allen Dart illustrates how petroglyph and pictograph styles changed through time and over different parts of the U.S. Southwest both before and after non-Indian peoples entered the region, and discusses how even the same rock art symbol may be interpreted differently from popular, scientific, and modern Native American perspectives.

  • Presentation Category – Archaeology
Southwestern Rock Calendars and Ancient Time Pieces

Native Americans in the U.S. Southwest developed sophisticated skills in astronomy and predicting the seasons, centuries before non-Indian peoples entered the region. In this presentation archaeologist Allen Dart discusses the petroglyphs at Picture Rocks, the architecture of the “Great House” at Arizona’s Casa Grande Ruins, and other archaeological evidence of ancient southwestern astronomy and calendrical reckoning, and interprets how these discoveries may have related to ancient Native American rituals.

  • Presentation Category – Archaeology

Amber Workman

Amber Workman holds a Ph.D. in Hispanic Languages and Literatures from the University of California, Santa Barbara. She is currently Instructor of Spanish at Arizona State University. Her research focus is Mexican literary and cultural studies.

Contact Info: amber.workman@asu.edu/ 805-637-0701

Teresa Urrea, the 19th-Century Mexican Mystic, in the Novel and the Newspaper

This presentation is on Teresa de Urrea, a nineteenth-century Mexican healer, mystic, and social justice advocate who was revered by many, especially the poor and oppressed and those of indigenous background. After being blamed for inciting locals to take part in what would eventually become one of the rebellions that led to the Mexican Revolution, Urrea was exiled to Nogales, Arizona. This talk looks at different representations of this folk saint in fiction and in the press, who remains a fascinating, although not always widely known, part of our Southwestern history.

  • Presentation Category – Arizona/Southwest History

Anthony Pratcher

Dr. Anthony Pratcher II is a Lecturer and Honors Faculty Fellow in Barrett, the Honors College, at Arizona State University. He was awarded a B.A. in History from Howard University and a Ph. D. in American History from the University of Pennsylvania. His scholarship uses oral interviews, census data, and archival collections to explore how urban policies influence community formation in the metropolitan Southwest. His research has been funded by an NEH/ODH Fellowship on Space and Place in Africana/Black Studies and he has been published by Pennsylvania Magazine of Biography and History, Southern California Quarterly, and Technology and Culture.

Contact Info: anthonypratcher2@gmail.com / 623-451-7266

Diggin’ in the Crates : The Role of Community Archives in Suburban History

Historians try to represent the past as experienced by the people who lived it – as opposed through the lens of our present reality. However, academic scholars struggle to identify sources that document everyday experiences in suburban communities. Suburban Phoenix has transformed Arizona, primarily rural at the time of the Great Depression, into one of the most urbanized states in the Union. This talk illuminates the historical experience of Women’s Auxiliaries at the Maryvale Community Hospital to show the relationship between healthcare and suburbanization after World War II. Community archives – like those at local historical societies – are critical for understanding suburban history; however, academic historians often overlook these sources in lieu of research materials housed at large repositories. The scholarly intervention in this narrative was made possible with archival materials stored at the Glendale Arizona Historical Society and shows how community archives are critical sites for future scholarship on suburban history..

  • Presentation Category – Arizona/Southwest History

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

They Did More than Just Drink: How Black Social Clubs Created Communities in Tucson from 1860-1900

Between 1865 and 1870, Black people from slave states emigrated to Tucson. As skilled cooks, domestics, barbers, scouts, surveyors, and builders, they came in search of place to start life as free people. Historians described this first wave of Black pioneers as passive Tucsonans disinterested in the politics and governance of the city. Yet, these early arrivals were quite vocal and active members of Tucson society. They established several political and social clubs, creating Black only spaces. Within the safe spaces of the clubs, they were able to discuss national, territorial, and local politics. The clubs faced backlash from white town persons, who feared that the congregating of minorities would lead to the degradation of the city. The unprovoked attacks included false legal actions against the club, city ordinances banning black socializing, and even refusal of hall spaces to meet. However, with each new obstacle the early Black social clubs found new and innovative ways to persevere. This presentation will trace the rise of social and political clubs established by early Black Tucsonans. It will discuss how social clubs like the Arcade Club was more than a social club and happy hour for Black men. Rather, Black social clubs became instrumental in supporting black businesses, building and strengthening the black community, and setting the Black political agenda in Tucson.

  • Presentation Category – Arizona/Southwest History, Culture, Gender, and Identity Studies – African American Studies
You Can’t Quit Being White: Arizona Territories Intriguing First Inter-Racial Marriage Trial

Prior to the U.S. Supreme Court Case Loving vs. Virginia, the validity of an inter-racial marriage was dependent upon the state or territory a person lived. In the Arizona territories the laws governing miscegenation, or inter-racial marriage, focused on the prevention of creating mixed racial persons, rather than actual marital unions. In 1892, a couple would face multiple trials defending their right to be treated as a married couple in the eyes of the law. The citizens of Tucson were not offended at the co-habitation or miscegenation of an inter-racial couple or a millionairess marrying several stations below her economic station, but the renouncing of a privileged ethnicity and perpetration of lie would not be tolerated. Newspaper editorials stated David was “…entitled to a good licking at a whipping post…” for renouncing his white heritage to marry a mulatto millionairess. This lecture concludes with a most unusual inclusion of the Rockefeller businesses and the unfortunate passing of miscegenation laws in Arizona.

  • Presentation Category – Arizona/Southwest History, Culture, Gender, and Identity Studies – African American Studies
The Rise of Black Barbers in Tucson from 1860-1900

In search of prosperity, social and economic mobility, and above all the freedom to be treated as a human being, black barbers emigrated from the southern United States to cities and towns, in the western United States. Though their initial efforts to establish barbershops were thwarted by the same racism they left, in the southern United States; they persisted in their efforts. Moreover, not only did the first black barbers in Tucson thrive but they helped new black barbers, who arrived after the 1870’s. New Black barbers in Tucson were offered financial assistance, aid finding lodging and knowledge for navigating the city safely. This communal system established a community in which each member uplifted and aided a fellow member of the tonsorial arts. Within this community, social and political clubs were created with the hope of supporting their goals of prosperity and freedom. This presentation will explore the lives of black barbers, from 1870 to 1910, in Tucson, Arizona.

  • Presentation Category – Arizona/Southwest History, Culture, Gender, and Identity Studies – African American Studies

Betsy Fahlman

Betsy Fahlman is Professor of Art History at Arizona State University, where she has taught since 1988. She is also Adjunct Curator of American Art at the Phoenix Art Museum. Fahlman has been on the roster of the Speakers Bureau since 1992. A specialist in American art history, she has particular interest the historical art of Arizona, the subject of most of her talks for Arizona Humanities. Her books include New Deal Art in Arizona (2009) and Landscapes of Extraction: The Art of Mining in the American West (forthcoming November 2021).
Contact Info: fahlman@asu.edu/ 480-517-0064

Landscapes of Extraction: The Art of Mining in the American West

Mining is the transformative industry of the American West—one that competes in scale and in color with the scenic landscape on its own terms, with the industrial sublime dynamically coexisting with the natural one. These landscapes are located at the bedrock of economic development—the risky speculation from which huge fortunes could be made and lost—and reframing our understanding of an equally mythic chronicle of the American West. Mining was one of the five Cs of the Arizona’s economy, and remains central to its cultural and economic identity. This lecture presents the rich historical heritage of a significant body of regional art—particularly painting and prints—that was inspired by an important industry considered over a vast region. Historical artists portrayed the extractive industries that meant jobs and profits, while contemporary artists are more concerned with the vexed legacies of altered landscapes, environmental degradation, and public-health challenges.

  • Presentation Category – Art/Art History, Arizona/Southwest History

Björn Krondorfer

Björn Krondorfer is Regents’ Professor and the Director of the Martin-Springer Institute at Northern Arizona University. As Endowed Professor of Religious Studies, he also teaches in the Department of Comparative Cultural Studies. His field of expertise is religion/gender/culture and (post-) Holocaust and reconciliation studies. He received a Senior Research Fellowship at the Vrije University in Amsterdam and held visiting faculty positions in Germany and South Africa. He is currently the VP of the “Association for Public Religion and Intellectual Life”; in 2020 he became chair of the “Consortium of Higher Education Centers for Holocaust, Genocide, and Human Rights Studies.”

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

Women’s Resilience and Survival in the Holocaust

This talk will trace the lives of two women Holocaust survivors who both grew up in traditional Jewish families in Bedzin, Poland and later became residents of Arizona: Jane Lipski (Tucson) and Doris Martin (Flagstaff). They managed to survive the Nazi onslaught as adolescent girls. While Jane was able to escape the ghetto and join the resistance movement in Slovakia, Doris was sent to Auschwitz and selected for labor at a women’s camp near the Gross-Rosen concentration camp. While Doris was liberated in 1945 by the advancing Soviet forces and ended up in a Displaced Person Camp in Germany, Jane was arrested by the Soviets as a suspected spy and remained in captivity in Soviet labor camps until 1947. I will introduce the complex history of the Holocaust through the lives of Doris and Jane, with particular attention to women’s resourcefulness in their struggle so to survive

  • Presentation Category – Culture, Gender, and Identity Studies, World History
Taking My German Father to Nazi Labor Camp: A Journey

A personal look at the effects of the Holocaust and war memories in German society after 1945, especially as they are passed on intergenerationally in German families. We hear about the author’s father who was drafted into the German army at age 17 and ended up in the vicinity of a Jewish slave labor camp in Poland. More general themes about German society are also addressed. The talk concludes with brief remarks on the value of dialogue between the communities affected by historical trauma due to violent, state-sponsored ideologies

  • Presentation Category – World History

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, Environmental Humanities
Plants of the Mojave Desert and the Traditional Tribal Uses

Although the desert may seem like a desolate landscape devoid of life, it is actually home to hundreds of unique species. Some are only visible or appear alive for a short time, others grow for hundreds of years, and many are not found anywhere else on earth. Participants will learn about the many traditional Tribal plants uses, what plant life makes North American Deserts so unique, and how the Mojave stands apart from the rest of America.

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

Chris Glenn and Sandy Sunseri

Chris and Sandy have been speaking about the land and people of the Colorado Plateau since 2012, after completing docent training at the Museum of Northern Arizona. In-depth research and related interviews have resulted in lectures to their fellow docents, local social and educational groups, and at public venues such as Riordan Mansion in Flagstaff. Some topics are presented in costumes of the time period, at some we serve food, and in every case with a thorough exploration of the events and personalities of the time from multiple points of view.

Contact Info: cglenn757@gmail.comu / 480-745-5786, thesunseris@msn.com/ 928-526-1868

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 – Arizona/Southwest History

H. Christine Reid

Christine Reid is intrigued by Arizona’s diverse and rich western heritage as a writer and researcher with the Pinal County Historical Society and Community Scholar for the Anthem at Merrill Ranch lifelong learning program. 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

They Beat the Heat: How Arizonans Survived the Desert Heat in the Days Before Air Conditioning

Drawing from multi-cultural influences of the variety of people who helped build Arizona, discover how creative adaptations in lifestyle, architecture, building materials, town planning and even humor all contributed to surviving intense desert temperatures. What have we forgotten and what can we learn from the wisdom of those who came before as climate becomes a vital and daily issue in life today? Using newspaper clippings, anecdotes, and photographs, the story is told how Arizonans adjusted to life in the desert before the arrival of air conditioners.

  • Presentation Category – Arizona/Southwest History, Environmental Humanities

Gregory McNamee

Gregory McNamee is a writer, editor, photographer, and publisher. He is the author of forty-five books and of more than 7,000 articles and other publications. He is a contributing editor to the Encyclopædia Britannica and a research fellow at the Southwest Center of the University of Arizona. For more about him, visit his web page at www.gregorymcnamee.com.

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

Desert Rats, River Runners, and Canyon Crawlers: Four Arizona Explorers

Francisco Garcés, a Franciscan friar, arrived in what is now Arizona in 1768. Assigned to the church at San Xavier del Bac south of present-day Tucson, he traveled widely throughout Arizona and California, charting overland routes that later travelers would follow. Near where Garcés would meet his death in 1781, an American soldier named Joseph Christmas Ives embarked on an arduous expedition up the Colorado River, one of the first Americans to see what he called the Big Canyon. A dozen years later, the river-running explorer John Wesley Powell would name it the Grand Canyon, and a hundred years after that a writer named Edward Abbey would explore the canyon country, writing classic books such as Desert Solitaire and Black Sun. In this talk, Gregory McNamee will look back on the accomplishments of these four explorers, each of whom shaped our understanding of this wild, sometimes challenging place called Arizona.

  • Presentation Category – Arizona/Southwest History

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 six historical nonfiction books about the people who first ventured west. She lectures around the state about 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

Saviors and Saints on the Arizona Frontiers

Health care in early Arizona was hardly reliable and frequently nonexistent. Often, settlers were on their own when tragedy struck with women taking on the responsibility for the well-being of their families. And if women were considered incapable of earning the title “Doctor,” they could certainly save souls. Meet a handful of women who influenced the history of the territory through their medical expertise and their spiritual leadership. Theresa Ferrin’s comprehensive understanding of healing herbs earned her the title “Angel of Tucson.” Florence Yount is recognized as Prescott’s first woman physician while Teresita Urrea was sometimes lionized for her hands-on healing powers. Saint Katharine Drexel invested much of her vast fortune in educating Navajo children. The Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet trudged across the blazing desert enduring untold hardships before arriving safely in the territory to administer to the health and well-being of the children of the desert.

  • Presentation Category – Arizona/Southwest History, Culture, Gender & Identity Studies – Women’s Studies

Janice Jarrett

A jazz singer, lyricist, arranger, bandleader, speaker, and journalist, Janice Jarrett has taught and performed across the country and abroad. She earned her B.A. in voice and composition at Antioch College, and both her Masters, World Music and Ph.D., Ethnomusicology at Wesleyan University. As a journalist, her profiles and reviews have appeared in periodicals and newspapers. She is the owner and instructor at Vocal Technique Studio in Tucson, where she offers voice lessons, music theory, songwriting, and other musicianship skills. This fall she will launch a Web site to publish many of her collaborations with renowned composers.

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

The Science of Music, The Music Of Science

Why would so many physicists compare the universe to an orchestra? Why did Einstein use his violin playing to enhance his contemplation of the nature of the cosmos? The connection of music and math was illuminated early on when Pythagorus divided a string. Not surprisingly, from astro physicists to quantum theorists, the common base is mathematics. And clearly the study of sound, acoustics and the vibrational spectrum intricately entwine science and music. Learn about the correlations between these two overlapping worlds and why so many scientists are also musicians, and musicians, scientists.

  • Presentation Category – Music

Jay Craváth

Jay Craváth is a composer, writer and scholar in the field of music, humanities and Indigenous studies. Dr. Craváth has been on the Arizona Humanities Speakers Bureau since 1992. With a Ph.D. in humanities education, he enjoys crafting programs from these interests into discussions that include stories, musical performance and media. Dr. Craváth’s goal is to create engaging learning experiences—“scholarship with a zing!” His latest album of original music is entitled “Songs for Ancient Days.” You can hear his band, Dr J and the Botanicals, on his website www.jaycravath.com and around Arizona. His website also holds original documentaries, poetry, essays, and a novel, being serialized: The Wisdom of Blood.

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

Miners, Cowboys and Washerwomen: The Worksongs of Arizona

In a narrative and musical portrait of working-class music, Dr. Craváth explores its roots and rhythms in our state. From Hopi basket songs, the Yavapai acorn gathering songs, to the cotton fields of Chandler and the crooked streets of Jerome, songs were companions to the immigrants who explored and built our state. Through performance and discussion, these tales, which reveal so much of the nature and character of a people, are explored.

  • Presentation Category – Arizona/Southwest History, Music
Romancing Arizona: Songs of Love and Marriage

The abundance of love songs did not begin with Italian opera or Top 40 radio. Although troubadours and trouvere’ of the 11th and 12th centuries created the notion of romantic love through their music, song born out of or revised by the travels of lonely soldiers, cowboys and adventurers of the pioneer west, are as poignant as any. They can also be maudlin, hyperbolic and downright nonsensical. The courting flute of the Apache boy, the Navajo circle “teen” dances and pan-Indian pow wow laments called forty nines, represent some of the Indigenous offerings. Various other pioneers brought their favorites, revised “oldies” based on their current adventures, and new odes were penned that are widely included in folklore anthologies. Dr. Craváth shares the history and genres using live, recorded music and images.

  • Presentation Category – Arizona/Southwest History, Music
Pathways of Water: Historical Journeys Along Arizona’s Rivers

Water sustains life and has a significant role in our state’s history. The myths and stories of our indigenous tribes are rich with its references. Immigrants trod and floated Arizona’s waterways enduring great peril. Government surveyors explored and mapped our river systems. Huge dams blocked their flow to create vast reservoirs. This program will share some of these great adventures and the music and stories that accompanied them.

  • Presentation Category – Arizona/Southwest History, Music, Environmental Humanities

Jay Mark

A recipient of the Arizona Historical Society Al Merito award, Jay Mark, a resident of Arizona for more 50 years, brings a lifetime of experience and knowledge to his lively, casual and engaging presentations. He is a writer of more than 800 articles about local and Arizona history. Frequently invited to speak to a variety of groups, he has also taught, since 1984, popular continuing education classes in the Maricopa Community College District. He is regularly invited to share his expertise as a guest lecturer at ASU. Awards like the SHPO/APF Governor’s Heritage Preservation award have recognized his expertise.

Contact Info: jaymark@twtdbooks.com/ 480-270-4816

Specters of the Past –Ghost Towns That Built Arizona

In addition to an entertaining, visual display of the communities, towns and settlements that contributed to the early growth of the state, this presentation also focuses on respect for these diminishing historic resources. Most of the photographs represent a comprehensive exploration of Arizona ghost towns made by Mr. Mark in the 1960’s and 1970’s. This occurred just prior to a major period of incursion and destruction by off-road and all-terrain vehicles. Many sites are no longer extant or have been seriously degraded since, over the last fifty of sixty years. This presentation emphasizes the need to respect these valuable, but fragile and vulnerable resources. Most are on public land with little or no protection afforded. From Mr. Mark’s personal library of nearly one thousand photographs of nearly three dozen ghost towns, the presentation features ghost towns from the area in which it is made.

  • Presentation Category – Arizona/Southwest History

Jim McWilliams

Following a career as an English professor, I retired in May 2018 and moved to Tucson. My teaching and research focused on modern British and American literature. Since my retirement, I’ve spent my time taking courses, primarily in anthropology and archeology, and volunteering.

Contact Info: jlm58601@yahoo.com / 314-540-0214

The Finger-Pointing Songs: Bob Dylan and the Civil Rights Movement

This presentation will explain how the singer-songwriter influenced and was influenced by the protests of the mid 1960s. After listening to a few of Dylan’s protest songs and reviewing what prompted their composition, we’ll discuss how they reflect the concerns of the Civil Rights Movement of the early 1960s and why they are still relevant today.

  • Presentation Category – Humanities in Contemporary Issues, Music

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 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

Arizona Goes to the Movies: A Filmmaking History

From Douglas Fairbanks filming in Nogales in 1917 to “How the West Was Won” statewide in 1963, the state of Arizona has always been a photogenic favorite for movie producers. The program looks from “Real to Reel” to see how Hollywood has affected popular views of Western settlement and continues to impact social interactions. The show runs the gamut from Tom Mix to Val Kilmer with information about the plots, players, and behind-the-scenes anecdotes about Tom Mix, Jean Harlow, John Wayne, and Elvis in this history of Arizona-filmed movies from silents to Cinemascope.

  • Presentation Category – Arizona/Southwest History, Film and Media
Arizona Legends, Myths, and Folklore

From the time humans began to live in communities myths and legends have sought to explain the universe and teach social values. “Arizona Legends, Myths, and Folklore” presents stories from Hopi, Navajo, Apache, and Tohono O’odham cultures as well as Hispanic, Euro-American and others. You will learn about Navajo constellations, Spider Woman, Hopi katsinas, the Tohono O’odham “Man in the Maze,” and Apache Big Owl stories. You’ll hear about “El Tejano” the ghost who guards a treasure cave, La Llorona (crying woman), lost gold mines, and how Wyatt Earp became a legend.

  • Presentation Category – Storytelling and Folklore
Arizona: A History of the Grand Canyon State

This brief history starts with Conquistador Francisco Vasquez de Coronado’s 1540 expedition and covers Catholic missions, mining, Native American conflicts, Mormon immigration, ranching, farming, health seekers, education, tourism, moviemaking, and biographies ranging from Father Eusebio Kino to Sandra Day O’Connor. You can’t cover Arizona history without Wild West legends like Wyatt Earp, stage robbers, and dance hall girls but this presentation focuses more on Arizona’s diverse cultures, unusual characters, and unsung heroes like Hi Jolly, the Greco-Syrian camel driver, The Baron of Arizona, Nellie Cashman, the “Miner’s Angel,” and the Navajo Code Talkers.

  • Presentation Category – Arizona/Southwest History

Joshua Sellers

Joshua Sellers is Associate Professor of Law at Arizona State University, Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law. He teaches courses on Constitutional Law, Election Law, and Civil Procedure.

Contact Info: joshua.s.sellers@gmail.com / 773-450-8628

The Right to Vote in America

Dozens of new voting measures have been introduced this year in Arizona and across the country. Why do these voting bills matter? Do they protect or suppress the public’s access to vote in local and national elections? How exactly does the electoral process work, and what will it look like in the future? Join us for a comprehensive examination of voting rights and election laws in the U.S. from the past to present day.

  • Presentation Category – Humanities in Contemporary Issues, Jurisprudence/Justice Studies
The Supreme Court and its Role in American Politics

Many of our nation’s most contentious disputes occur in federal courts, with the Supreme Court occupying a preeminent role in deciding winners and losers. Why is the Court so powerful? Should it be reformed? And what are the most controversial issues it is considering at present?

  • Presentation Category – Humanities in Contemporary Issues, Jurisprudence/Justice Studies

Ken Zoll

Ken Zoll is the Executive Director of the Verde Valley Archaeology Center in Camp Verde, and the Regional Coordinator of the site steward program of Arizona State Parks and Trails, charged with the monitoring of several prehistoric sites in the Verde Valley. Ken is also a volunteer docent at the cultural heritage sites in the Coconino National Forest. His archaeology specialty is ancient astronomy practices and he has conducted many studies within the Coconino National Forest and for the City of Springerville Arizona. He is a certified instructor in ancient astronomical practices with the Arizona Archaeological Society. Ken has authored three books, Sinagua Sunwatcher and Understanding the Rock Art of Sedona and the Verde Valley. All proceeds from the sale of his books go to Verde Valley Archaeology Center. His latest book entitled Heart of the Sky: Ancient Astronomy Practices in Central Arizona describes his astronomy discoveries over the past eight years.

Contact Info: zollken88@gmail.com/ 928-593-0364

Ancient Snapshots: Verde Valley Family Life from the 11th to the 14th Centuries

Ever wonder what Arizona was like one thousand years ago? Step back in time to the eleventh through fourteenth centuries and discover how ancient people in the Verde Valley of Central Arizona lived. Showcasing some of the 50,000 artifacts recovered from the Dyck Cliff Dwelling in Rimrock, Arizona, this program offers a snapshot of daily life including shelter, diet, tools, household goods, clothing, and leisure time activities. Unlike so many other cliff dwellings in the Verde Valley that were robbed of their archaeological materials by pot hunters seeking treasures, the collection of artifacts and ancient food remains from the Dyck Cliff Dwelling provides a rare window into the Verde Valley’s ancient past. The site, on private property, was professionally excavated from 1962 to 1972 by the Southwest Museum of Los Angeles.

  • Presentation Category – Archaeology
Star Wounds: Meteorites from Ancient Native American Sites

The occurrence of meteorites on archaeological sites in North America has been known since the early 19th century. From the Hopewell culture in the eastern United States to the Indians in the American Southwest and northern Mexico, meteorites have been found on these ancient sites. Much like meteorite hunters of today, ancient Native American cultures actively engaged in meteorite collecting. Several meteorite fragments from Meteor Crater near Flagstaff have been discovered at ancient dwellings in Central Arizona. This talk will describe these meteorite locations, how they were associated with Meteor Crater and how one of the meteorites, using radiocarbon dating, established its location within a ruin and confirmed the date of the ruin’s destruction.

  • Presentation Category – Archaeology

Li Yang

Dr. Li Yang has been an Arizona Humanities Road Scholar in the AZ Speaks Program since 2015. A recipient of the C.L. Sonnichson 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. Additionally, Dr. Yang is also a prolific translator. She has translated three books from English to Chinese in the areas of modern Chinese history and Sino-American relations during the Cold War era. Li received her Ph.D. in East Asian Studies from the University of Arizona in 2004 and taught variously at the University of Arizona, the Arizona State University and Pima Community College. She also held a full-time faculty position at the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University from 2010-2013.

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

Paper Sons: Tales of Chain Migration in Tucson

A “paper son” is a term used for young Chinese immigrants coming to the United States prior to 1943 who claimed to be a son of a citizen but were, in fact, sons on paper only. In 1882, the Chinese Exclusion Act was passed to curb Chinese immigration to the U.S. The passage of this federal law and many other legislations subsequently ushered in a long period in the U.S. history when the Chinese were systematically and severely restricted from entering the country and excluded from becoming naturalized citizens. To counter these unjust, discriminatory legislations, the Chinese created ingenious ways of bringing in their close kin, clan relatives or even fellow villagers. Using false identities and claiming to be sons of American citizens of Chinese ancestry was one of the most widely adopted immigration strategies. But such processes were long, complex and painful and had enduring negative effects on the lives and psyches of the immigrants involved, as revealed by the stories of the paper sons among the Gin clan in Tucson’s Chinese community.

  • Presentation Category – Arizona/Southwest History, Culture, Gender, and Identity Studies – Asian American Studies

Laura Tohe

Laura Tohe is Diné and the current Navajo Nation Poet Laureate. She is Sleepy Rock People clan and born for the Bitter Water People clan and the daughter of a Navajo Code Talker. She published 3 books of poetry, an anthology of Native women’s writing and an oral history on the Navajo Code Talkers. Her librettos, Enemy Slayer, A Navajo Oratorio (2008) and Nahasdzáán in the Glittering World (2021), performed in Arizona and France, respectively. Among her awards are the 2020 Academy of American Poetry Fellowship and the 2019 American Indian Festival of Writers Award. She is Professor Emerita with Distinction from ASU.

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 were stereotyped in films and remain invisible in the media. Nevertheless, they have been honored in all areas of public service—law, medicine, literature, military and activism with awards such as, the Presidential Freedom, the McArthur (genius award), the Secretary of Interior, and 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 four Code Talkers who reflect on their lives growing up on the Navajo Nation homeland before after the war, including my father. 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. They tell their stories with poignancy that reflect their resiliency and self-determination. A power point presentation accompanies this talk.

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

Marshall Shore

An Emmy nomination for sharing Arizona history is the latest acknowledgment for Marshall Shore, Arizona’s Hip Historian. His passion, which is uncovering the weird, the wonderful, and the obscure treasures from our past: the semi-forgotten people, places, and events that have made us who we are today. Shore uses storytelling magic, found film footage, old photographs, ephemera, and artifacts to bring our state’s heritage to life in entertaining and educational presentations. He has developed an almost cult-like following for sharing history through in-person and virtual events.

Contact Info: marshallshore@gmail.com / 602-373-5421

LGBT+: A History in Arizona

Arizona’s history of the LGBT+ community begins long before Arizona was a state with the Native American belief of two-spirits, continuing on through to the seismic shift of Civil Union/ Marriage Equality. There are some surprises along the way as we talk about artists and Arizona connections to Warhol, Keith Haring, and those muscle magazines by George Quaintance. Where was the Trans Flag created and where is it now? There is also the little known story of a 1906 Russian gender pioneer named Nicolai De Raylan.

  • Presentation Category – Arizona/Southwest History, Culture, Gender & Identity Studies – LGBTQ+
 Arizona’s Vintage Signs: Lighting the Future

Arizona has become a hotbed of preserving vintage signage and neon. No wonder, with the rise of Arizona and automobile travel in the 40s, 50s and 60s. Thousands of people were traversing the broad expanses of highways and byways across the Southwest. As the cars sped past, restaurants, motels, curio shops and gas stations needed large, bright signs to make an impression. This informative and entertaining visual presentation explores the social significance of the rise of commercial neon signs, and references the designers whose signs became iconic. What efforts are afoot to save our signage history.

  • Presentation Category – Film and Media
 Arizona: The Beat Goes On

Arizona’s music history is rich and diverse…from musicians to singers to song writers, and more. The music of Arizona has made its way to ears across the globe; influencing other musicians, affecting society, and entertaining so many. Included will be stories of music by: indigenous people; the first recorded woman singing country and western; the guitar that was heard round the world; and, a performer that may have kicked off the sexual revolution.

  • Presentation Category – Music

Matthew Goodwin

Matthew has a Ph.D. in Philosophy and has taught environmental ethics, media ethics, and technology and human values at Northern Arizona University, Coconino Community College, and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. Matthew recently participated 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

Dams, Mines, and Hotels: Media and Misinformation Affecting the Grand Canyon

In 1961 a newspaper article discussed a proposal to build an 18-story, 600-room hotel inside the Grand Canyon descending from the south rim to the canyon floor. A letter-writing campaign ensued that succeeded in blocking the hotel. But lawmakers instead passed a bill that allowed the company to mine uranium there—they never had any intention of building the hotel. In 1967 a newspaper ad asked, “Should we also flood the Sistine chapel, so tourists can get nearer the ceiling?” This ad is famously attributed with successfully mobilizing people to oppose construction of two dams in the Grand Canyon. This also resulted in the construction of the coal-fired Navajo Generating Station. This presentation will cover these and other historical and contemporary examples of propaganda, misinformation, and disinformation campaigns in which public opinion has been shaped to respond, or not respond, to environmental concerns.

  • Presentation Category – Environmental Humanities, Film and Media
Why Arizona Dark Skies Matter

Flagstaff, Arizona was the world’s first community designated an International Dark Sky Place for its active efforts reduce light pollution and protect the visibility of the night sky. There are now over 130 dark-sky communities, places, and parks globally. Arizona alone has 17 dark-sky places, which is more than any other country in the world. Why is it so important that we protect our nighttime views of the starry sky? Why should we turn out the lights at night and can we learn to enjoy the darkness? This presentation will explore the importance of dark skies from a philosophical perspective. Some philosophers argue that the darkness of night is a gift that helps to restore our moral sense. We will discuss what connections can be found between darkness and the night sky with our sense of morality, our sense of who we are as human beings, and our understanding of our place in the universe.

  • Presentation Category – Environmental Humanities

Nanibaa Beck

Nanibaa Beck is a 2nd generation Diné (Navajo) jeweler. Being intricately connected to the creation process motivated Nanibaa to become more knowledgeable about the multifaceted areas surrounding Native American Art. In November 2013, Nanibaa founded NotAbove Jewelry. Her a-ha moment to pursue jewelry occurred after a small thank you card project sparked the idea for the original language necklaces. They were the beginning of the thoughtful and intentional handmade creations that connect to her Diné culture. Today, NotAbove reflects vibrant Native creative expressions and the growth of an Diné ‘Asdzáá (woman) as a metalsmith.

Contact Info: notabove.jewelry@gmail.com / 270-505-2817

Metalsmith Matriarchs: Makers, Memory, and Reciprocity

Nanibaa Beck addresses the ways Native women metal smith integrate indigenous knowledge, practice and tradition into their craft. She focuses on four to five metal smiths with a rotation in place, person, and style. This presentation and Nanibaa’s work demonstrate the connection of Native artists to Arizona and beyond as a place and identity.

  • Presentation Category – Art/Art History, Culture, Gender & Identity Studies – Native American Studies
 Dine’ History’s Impact on Jewelry

This presentation provides a history of Dine jewelry over the century, focusing on changes in each decade. It highlights the shifting techniques, styles, and meaning of the art over the years. Also incorporated is the impact of boarding schools, training schools and access to new styles and materials on Navajo jewelry over this expanded period of time.

  • Presentation Category – Art/Art History, Culture, Gender & Identity Studies – Native American Studies
 Matriarchs Behind the Art Scene

This presentation will highlight the lives of Native women change makers beyond the show, the jewelry, and the catalog. This presentation is intended to flesh out the female metal smith in a variety of roles; academics, mothers, podcasters and overall change makers.

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

Natalie J. Stewart-Smith

A native of the Adirondacks of New York, Natalie Stewart-Smith’s careers included military service and education, from the elementary to college levels. Her research most often addressed women in the military, and as military aviators.

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

Flying through Arizona: The Story of the First National Women’s Air Race

In 1929, the first national women’s air race from Santa Monica, CA to Cleveland, OH passed through Arizona. Stopping in Yuma, Phoenix, and Douglas, the intrepid fliers solidified their determination and sisterhood along these Arizona waypoints. Who were these aviators? What were their planes like in 1929? What challenges did they encounter along the way? And what about that telegram sent to pilot Thea Rasche, “Beware of sabotage”? There is much to explore!

  • Presentation Category – Arizona/Southwest History, Culture, Gender, and Identity Studies – Women’s Studies

Nina Bogdan

Nina Bogdan is a historian and translator. She holds a PhD in U.S. history from the University of Arizona and is currently an adjunct professor at the University. She is certified by the American Translators Association in the Russian to English language pair and worked for many years as a language analyst and translator in the public and private sectors. Her recent article, “Keeping to the Sober Truth: A Jewish Lutheran White Russian in San Francisco,” based on material drawn from her doctoral dissertation, was published in the Journal of Russian American Studies in May of 2021.

Contact Info: ninabogdan@comcast.net / 520-390-7899

Strolling into Nogales: Interwar Russian Migrations through the Southwest

The Russian Civil War (1918-1922) displaced millions of Russian people, many fleeing to China and Japan. Events and circumstances in those countries, however, forced many refugees to seek sanctuary elsewhere. The United States accepted some Russian refugees, who had to apply for regular visas as they had no special status, but the U.S. drastically decreased quotas for eastern Europeans in the early 1920s. Consequently, some Russians traveled to Mexico and waited for opportunities to enter the United States across the U.S.-Mexico border. The quota limits, particularly after 1924, divided families, with some members living in the U.S. and others in Mexico, creating a stream of cross-border travel, often via Arizona. Complicating the situation for would-be immigrants, U.S. authorities automatically rejected unaccompanied women as “LPCs” (Liable to be Public Charges), leading to undocumented crossings as migrants made their way through Arizona to Los Angeles and San Francisco to existing Russian communities.

  • Presentation Category – Arizona/Southwest History, Borderland and Immigration

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 discussions of immigration, refugee resettlement, and citizenship are louder and more heated 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 native greeter. What’s it like going to a place where you don’t know the language or culture? Where you have little if 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 – Borderland and Immigration, Humanities in Contemporary Issues

Rosemarie Dombrowski

Rosemarie Dombrowski is the inaugural Poet Laureate of Phoenix, AZ and the founding director of Revisionary Arts, a nonprofit that provides therapeutic poetry workshops for vulnerable populations, the medical community, and the community at large. She’s published three collections of poetry including The Book of Emergencies (Five Oaks Press, 2014), a lyrical ethnography of the culture of nonverbal Autism. She’s the recipient of an Arts Hero award, a Great 48 award, a Fellowship from the Academy of American Poets, and others. She serves on the advisory board of the Narrative Medicine program at the University of Arizona Biomedical campus and teaches courses in literature and the medical humanities at Arizona State University’s Downtown Phoenix campus.

Contact Info: poetryphd@outlook.com / 602-525-2774

Where Healthcare Meets the Humanities: The Therapeutic Value of Poetry (virtual only)

In this presentation, we’ll explore the history of poetic therapy in America in both clinical and communal environments. We’ll also discuss the features that make poetry an ideal (and efficacious) form of augmentative therapy—in other words, how it can help us discover creative ways to explore our vulnerabilities, re-cast our narratives, and encourage hope and healing. Given these properties, we’ll also be addressing how poetry can potentially revolutionize the ways in which we educate future practitioners and, most importantly, the ways in which it can revolutionize patient care.

  • Presentation Category – Medical Humanities, Poetry

Scott Warren

Scott Warren lives in Ajo, Arizona where he pieces together work as an academic geographer. His research, teaching, and experience is at the intersection of people and place in the broad Mexico-U.S. borderland. The landscapes of Arizona and the continental southwest inspire my work.

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

Assembling the Southwest: The History and Geography of a Region

Our region is a diverse and contrasting patchwork of cultures, resources, and environments. So how did the Southwest and its cultural and natural icons become so distinctive in our collective imagination? In this richly illustrated presentation we will pull from the broad discipline of cultural geography to explore the historical processes that made the Southwest into both a geopolitical reality and a distinctive region in our imagination. With an understanding of how the Southwest was assembled, we can perhaps better relate to our neighbors, to the land, and to our own position in this special place.

  • Presentation Category – Arizona/Southwest History, Borderland and Immigration
The Mexico-US Borderland as Authentic Place: How to See the Border and Its Issues with Clarity

Authenticity contrasts with stereotype. It is regrettable that much of the public image of the borderland between Mexico and the U.S. is shaped by persistent stereotypes rather than complex understanding. When policy solutions are tailored to these stereotypes they almost always fall short of their objectives in the real borderland. The notion of authentic place, therefore, contrasts with the notion of stereotyped place. With the tools of cultural geography at hand we will interrogate the stereotypes of the border in order to deepen our relationship to the borderland as the rich, nuanced, and authentic place it is.

  • Presentation Category – Arizona/Southwest History, Borderland and Immigration, Humanities in Contemporary Issues

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

Western Pulp Fiction

Pulp fiction magazines sold for a dime and in the 1920s to 1950s, they filled American newsstands. Nobody admitted that they liked them, but everybody read them. They were American pop culture at its best and worst. Western magazines were the most popular. Western pulp fiction, along with movies, helped to create the myths of the American West. Pulp writing was usually formulaic and cliched, but not always and writers like Elmore Leonard, Jack London and Louise L’Amour wrote for pulp magazines. Also, several classic Western films like “The Searchers, Red River, and 3:10 to Yuma” first appeared as pulp stories. The cover art was fantastic. It was American illustration at its best – bright, bold and energized – made to attract magazine readers like bees to a field of wildflowers. Unappreciated, even by the artists themselves, the original cover art was nearly all lost or destroyed. Pulp fiction magazines disappeared from newsstands in the 1950s. Hardly anyone lamented their loss or noticed when they were gone.

  • Presentation Category – Arizona/Southwest History, Film and Media

Tamika Sanders

Dr. Sanders’ work revolves around bringing a diversity of real-world perspectives into programming initiatives and creating strategic community partnerships that can generate revenue and provide access to resources and opportunities for marginalized groups. In 2009, Dr. Sanders started her company Savvy Pen to provide interactive programs that incorporate arts learning and multicultural training to bridge cultural and socioeconomic divides between educators and their students. She is also a producing collaborating partner of the Bi-National Arts Residency (BNAR), which connects cultural communities in the Sonoran Desert together with issues of social justice and identity through art. Dr. Sanders hopes to continue using the arts to break barriers, unite people, and create social change.

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

The Underground and Overground Railroad

Using storytelling, historical artifacts and songs, this presentation will depict the ingenuity and resiliency used by those involved in the Underground Railroad to help over 100,000 enslaved people escape to freedom between 1810 and 1850. We’ll then fast forward to the Jim Crow era and explore the Overground Railroad created by the Green Book which helped foster a network of safe spaces that allowed Blacks to travel, live and work despite illegal and legally sanctioned discrimination through Jim Crow laws.

  • Presentation Category – Culture, Gender, and Identity Studies – African American Studies
Be the Change: Youth Led Social Movements

Our country has a long history of youth-led movements that brought about significant social change. Young people have advocated for child labor laws, voting rights, civil rights, school desegregation, immigration reform and LGBTQ rights are just a few examples. Through their actions, the world has changed. Because young people often have the desire, energy and idealism to do something about the injustice they see in the world, they are powerful agents for change. Dr. Tamika Sanders will lead an interactive discussion on how students’ feelings of anger, sadness and hopelessness can be transformed into concrete actions that can make the world more equitable.

  • Presentation Category – Humanities in Contemporary Issues

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 the University at Buffalo School of Law in New York. He has been an AZ Humanities Public Scholar Nominee and served as Arizona’s State Scholar for the 2020-21 Voices and Votes: Democracy in America, Museum on Main St. (MoMS), Smithsonian Institution, traveling exhibition. AZ Humanities bestowed on him its 2021 Founder’s Community Partner Award, recognizing his work “to further public humanities through sustained collaboration and exemplary community outreach.”

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

Arizona v. the United States: Challenging the Constitution

Comparatively young, Wild West, borderland that Arizona is with its rich indigenous heritage, pioneer, settler mentality, and fierce, independent spirit, the state has given rise to challenges that have shaped understanding of the US Constitution. For example, any reader or viewer of US police procedurals is familiar with Miranda v. Arizona (1966), treating the Fifth Amendment rights of a suspect interrogated in custody. From the death penalty to immigration, involuntary confessions, the right to work, search and seizure, voting rights, and more, court cases arising in Arizona have tested the scope and substance of fundamental personal rights, the power of police, and the balance of authority between states and the federal government. As an opportunity to engage the ever-ongoing process of building a just and civil society, this presentation contributes to understanding of the US Constitution and the structure of federalism by exploring several significant US Supreme Court decisions arising from Arizona.

  • Presentation Category – Humanities in Contemporary Issues, Jurisprudence/Justice Studies
Immigration and the American Dream: “We the People” Today and Tomorrows

The ongoing crisis at the US-Mexico border has fueled often ugly arguments about US immigration policy. The arguments are not new. Nor are their basic questions. The US has long touted itself as a land of immigrants, but repeatedly closed doors belie its boast. For its policies and practices have hardly been consistently welcoming. Almost every generation of US citizens has needed to answer questions about immigration and the American dream, about who should be allowed to become their fellow citizens, about what that process should be, and about what the policy and process mean for people, communities, and the nation itself. This presentation briefly reviews US immigration and naturalization policy and invites reflection on the history of Arizona and the nation’s response to questions of what it means to be an American and how immigrants fit into the American dream.

  • Presentation Category – Borderland and Immigration, Humanities in Contemporary Issues

Virgil Hancock

Virgil Hancock was born and grew up in Tucson, Arizona. He completed medical school in 1984 and finished his psychiatric residency in 1988. His first portfolio of photographs was published in “Arizona Highways” in 1990. His photographic subjects have been primarily the Southwest and Mexico. He has four books of photography. He has had individual shows at art museums in the Southwest and his work is in statewide collections including the Center for Creative Photography at the University of Arizona. He is currently working on a photobook with text on Bisbee, Arizona.

 Contact Info: hermestri@mac.com / 520-991-1238

Bisbee: The Alchemical City of the Copper Borderlands

My presentation covers the 150 years of Bisbee’s history. The presentation includes a historical deep dive into the copper borderlands, as well as contemporary photographs of greater Bisbee. The presentation will use the concept of alchemy to focus on the transformation of an early mining camp in the Mule Mountains of Southern Arizona into the city of Bisbee. Alchemy also provides an excellent metaphor for the continuing transformation of the town from a half company-owned copper mining town to a contemporary, vibrant, democratic, small-town tourist leader. The indigenous peoples, the immigrants to Bisbee, the fraternal organizations, the history of violence and war, the border, the central role of women, the role of the federal government and the importance of the arts will all be reviewed.

  • Presentation Category – Arizona/Southwest History, Art/Art History, Borderland and Immigration

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

The Evolution of an Icon — The 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 – Arizona/Southwest History, Film and Media

Zarco Guerrero

As a sculptor, muralist, storyteller and performance artist Zarco has dedicated his career to creating positive social change through the arts. Born in Arizona, he has been instrumental in the development of Latino Arts statewide. His art has been exhibited in Mexico and throughout the United States. He has received international acclaim, and awards, such as a National Endowment for the Arts Japan Fellowship, a Governor’s Arts Award, a Zony Award, became the Southwest Folklife Alliance Master Artist, and has been awarded grants for artistic projects by The Doris Duke Foundation, Valley Metro and Arizona Community Foundation. Visit www.zarkmask.com.

Contact Info: zarkmask@msn.com / 623-202-1596

Our River Stories: The Gila and the Salt

Join Zarco for a series of stories that share the vibrant and tragic history of water and the River People, over a 2,000 year period. Beginning with the Toltec trade route that brought agriculture and corn to the Southwest. The history of the O’Odham before and after the expansion west is revealed. We learn about the Yaqui Indians who fled persecution and found refuge in Arizona rebuilding the ancient canal system. A descendant of the first Mormon settlers tells his families’ story of finding an oasis in the desert given to them by God and their determination to tame the mighty Salt River. Our story culminates when an endearing elderly woman shares the hope that there still is to protect our water resources and to right the wrongs committed against the land and its River People.

  • Presentation Category – Arizona/Southwest History, Art/Art History, Environmental Humanities
Dia de los Muertos Storytelling

Dia de Los Muertos is a highly celebrated and significant holiday held throughout Mexico, Latin America and the Southwest. It is a day when homage is paid with prayers, offerings of food and the building of altars to those who have gone before us. Join Zarco and his unique masked characters as they celebrate Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) with hilarious and moving story telling. Among the characters making appearances are: the poetry spouting “El Vato Poeta,” the flirtatious “La Comadre,” the clueless “Special Ed,” the wise “El Abuelito,” and other beloved roles that Zarco, a prolific playwright, has created to express the humor and sadness of our lives. Musical accompaniment is provided by Carmen de Novais. This storytelling puts life into perspective in a delightful and engaging way, helping us to accept and even to laugh at our most primal fears about death.

  • Presentation Category – Art/Art History, Culture, Gender, and Identity Studies
Quick Links


602-257-0335 or info@azhumanities.org