Humanities Week aims to showcase various cultures
The College of Humanities is illuminating its diverse world of study to the university and the Tucson community Monday through Friday in its sixth annual Humanities Week titled “Revival of the Fittest.”
Kicking off the week with science, meteorite hunting and shooting stars and finishing with a presentation by the Department of Russian and Slavic Studies, Humanities Week will blanket an entire range of studies within the language, literature and culture fields. The idea of the week-long series of events is to see involvement from not only the campus community, but Tucson residents as well, said Helen Bernard, coordinator of external and alumni relations for the College of Humanities.
“We want to engage both [the] UA and the Tucson community,” Bernard said. “We’ve had a really great response from the topics.”
Bernard said this annual event was brought to fruition when College of Humanities Dean Mary Wildner-Bassett, was looking to incorporate community outreach.
“When people think of humanities, they think of things that have happened years and years ago that have no relevance to their lives now,” Bernard said, adding that recent debate has questioned the value of the study of humanities.
In fact, the week is called “Revival of the Fittest” to demonstrate that the themes, cultures and values of the study of humanities can endure the test of time, she added.
The week will begin Monday at the Flandrau Science Center and Planetarium. English professor Chris Cokinos will discuss his book, “The Fallen Sky: An Infinite History of Shooting Stars,” about his experiences working with meteorite hunters. The book will cover the human connection between the phenomena of nature and the personal stories and experiences of people who hunt and study meteorites, he said.
“I’m struck by how vibrant the humanities are here,” Cokinos said. “I’m trying to bridge the divide between science and humanities.”
Throughout the rest of Humanities Week, a variety of programs will be presented, from A Divine Dilemma: Dante’s Representation of Jewish People to Downton Abbey as Historical Fiction. The Department of Russian and Slavic Studies will be closing the week on Friday with an hour-long recreation of a revolutionary’s life using reading, prose, poetry and music.
“We are trying to recreate important moments in the last years of [Leon] Trotsky’s life in Mexico,” said Suzanne Thompson, an adjunct lecturer in the Department of Slavic and Russian Studies. “I hope [people] will gain an understanding that Trotsky was not just a revolutionary but was a bright man who also appreciated literature and poetry … He helped put in place the system which eventually devoured him.”
By focusing on this historical figure, Thompson said, she hopes that attendees will understand a different aspect of the studies of humanities.
“We’re trying to highlight a historical figure not just through history, but through the lens of the humanities,” Thompson said.
For more information on this year’s Humanities Week, visit humanities.arizona.edu/week.
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