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UA's Tucson Humanities Festival focuses on "Toward Justice" theme

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Screenshot of a flyer for the University of Arizona's Tucson Humanities Festival, held virtually this year. The theme for the festival is "Toward Justice."

This year’s Tucson Humanities Festival, hosted virtually throughout October, will focus on historic efforts to fight racism, erase prejudice and uplift marginalized populations.

This is the 11th year of the series, though this is the first time it will be held virtually from Oct. 1 to Oct. 30. The University of Arizona College of Humanities chose the theme because they felt a responsibility to address systemic inequalities. 

College of Humanities Dean Alain-Philippe Durand explained that what the organizers really wanted to do for this festival was to feature the outstanding research that is going on in the college on the topics of racism and the George Floyd murder. 

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“Initially the theme was going to be storytelling for 2020," Durand said. "However, with everything that was happening throughout the summer especially, I thought, 'We are the College of Humanities, we need to address this.'"

Durand also said the college strongly advocates for equitable and anti-racist efforts in the wider world and that the college will continue to work toward a world in which justice is not just a noble ideal, but a profound fact of everyone’s lived experience.

This year will be different from past years because the speakers this year are almost all faculty and students from the college. 

“The idea for this year was to show that here in the College of Humanities we have experts who are working on researching those topics,” Durand said. 

A goal of the festival is to be able to connect with the community; the festival presentations are set up to address the general public, according to Durand. 

“Even if you know nothing about the topic, you can have a good experience and learn something, and at the same time it won’t feel like you are in class,” Durand said. 

The festival will feature virtual panel discussions and digital humanities presentations, and they will also have a guest DJ partnership with KXCI Community Radio.

The lectures include topics such as:

  • How students can create equality on campus
  • Commentary on the 2019 film "Us"
  • "Freedom in Africa: A Documentary and Digital Humanities Archive"
  • Black Lives Matter
  • Commentary on the film “Purgatorio: A Journey into the Heart of the Border” 
  • Solutions to disparities in care relating to religion, race and health
  • "The Criminal Song: Voicing Soviet Intelligentsia’s Dissent" 
  • Commentary on the film “Fire at Sea.” 
  • Art for justice
  • Justice across boundaries
  • Race and religion in contemporary hip-hop
  • The global impact of humanities research
  • The minefield and hopes of being black in America

Anyone interested in attending the virtual festival or registering for one event can sign up here.  


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UA COVID-19 Test Tracker

Daily (10/20)
788 9 1.1%
Total (8/4)
52,142 2,427 4.7%
Includes tests since August 4, 2020
Data from https://covid19.arizona.edu/updates
Updated October 20, 2020