The College of Social and Behavioral Sciences (SBS) is proud to announce its sponsorship of the 2016 Tucson Festival of Books, held on March 12-13 at the UA campus. This partnership not only indicates that the College has committed greater financial support to the Festival, which raises money for literacy programs across Southern Arizona, but also marks the beginning of an upswing in the College of SBS’s involvement with Festival programing.
As part of its sponsorship, the College of SBS will be premiering the Social and Behavioral Sciences tent as a new event venue at the Festival. The SBS tent will include a stage for discussions and readings as well as two activity areas highlighting the work of individual departments and programs within the college. The tent will be situated on the UA Mall next to the UA Bookstore tent (#162)/
The topics of the SBS talks are diverse, but tend to circle around the themes of social justice and the environment. In addition, the college is hosting events to appeal to teenagers and families, such as a Poetry Slam and a session on fairy tales and myths.
“The College of Social and Behavioral Sciences is pleased to help the festival achieve its goals for childhood literacy in our community and is excited to showcase the exemplary work of our faculty and students,” said Lydia Bruenig, director of outreach and special projects for the College of SBS. “This is the single best opportunity for SBS friends and alumni to engage faculty and students through conversation and hands-on activities and to experience the diversity of new ideas inspiring their scholarship.”
SBS tent activities will begin Saturday morning at 9:00 a.m. with a Meet Your Marxists Welcome Event, hosted by the college’s newly created student ambassadors program. Beginning at 10 a.m., the tent will host a panel discussion on “Difference and Inequality in American Capitalism” (featuring Sociology Professor Corey Abramson and Gender and Women’s Studies Professor Adam Geary, along with Cornell University historian Edward E. Baptist and moderator John Nichols of The Nation magazine) to be followed by a talk at 11:30 a.m. on “The Perils of Women on the Border” (featuring UA Professor of English Cristina Ramirez and local journalists Kathyn Ferguson and Margaret Regan). At 1 p.m., the tent will feature a discussion on “The Changing Face LGBT Literature” (featuring Fenton Johnson and Jos Charles from the Department of English and poet Kazim Ali) and at 2:30 p.m. will host the Tucson Youth Poetry Slam’s annual Festival of Books performance. At 4 p.m., Thomas Sheridan of the Southwest Center will present the work he compiled with Stewart Koyiyumptewa, exploring Hopi history through the Conflicting Narratives of the Hopis and Spaniards.
Sunday morning the SBS tent will open with a Morning of Fairy Tales and Myths, a compilation of student-led readings and discussions of these classic literary forms put on in conjunction with Fairy Tale Review and UA undergraduate-run literary journal Tiny Donkey. At 1 p.m., the tent will host a program of Social and Behavioral Sciences student readings to highlight the work of its student writers. The tent will close its Festival programming with an afternoon dedicated to Nature Writing, featuring, among others, the work of UA English Professor, Haury Endowed Chair, and recent Guggenheim recipient Alison Hawthorne Deming (Zoologies and Death Valley: Painted Light), UA English Professor Christopher Cokinos (Hope Is the Thing with Feathers: A Personal Chronicle of Vanished Birds), and poet Michael Ratcliffe (Shards of Blue), whose appearance has been made possible by the School of Geography and Development.
Along with its tent events, the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences has partnered with its 22 units to bring in some of America’s leading writers, thinkers, and social advocates. The National Institute on Civil Discourse (NICD) has provided support for lawyer and social advocate Linda Hirshman to attend the festival. Hirshman will discuss her dual memoir Sisters in Law, which tells the stories of Justices Sandra Day O’Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, as well as join UA professor Adam Geary (Antiblack Racism and the AIDS Epidemic) and UA graduate student Jos Charles (Safe Space) in a conversation of the changing ways politics has and does influence those who identify on the LGBTQ spectrum. Other visitors to the Festival will include former American Philosophy Association President Linda Alcoff (The Future of Whiteness); Juniper Prize winning fiction writer Andrew Malan Milward (I was a Revolutionary); University of Illinois Professor Emily J.M. Knox, whose work explores book banning in 21st century America; and poet Kazim Ali (Wind Instrument, published by Tucson-based Spork Press).
Many Voices, a University-recognized club that supports UA writing students of color, helped organize two panels related to race. The panel "Race in American Life and Poetry" will be held on Sunday at 1 in the Kiva Room. In addition to Kazim Ali, the panel features Susan Briante, a UA professor of creative writing, and Adam Sirgany, an MFA alumnus of the creative writing program. The panel "Race in America: Changing Cultural Landscapes" will be held Sunday at 2:30 p.m. in the UA BookStore tent. Samara Klar, an assistant professor in the UA's School of Government and Public Policy, will moderate the discussion.
More than a dozen SBS faculty members will also participate in panels at the Festival of Books. Like the college, these artists, researchers, and educators represent a wide variety of concerns and interests. Professor Christopher Cokinos (English/Creative Writing) and Eric Magrane (Geography), along with Tucson-based artist Paul Mirocha, will make several appearances at the Festival, promoting their recently released anthology of more than 60 writers and artists appreciating our particular landscape, The Sonoran Desert: A Literary Field Guide. Meanwhile, Sociology Professor Corey Abramson (The End Game) will introduce audiences to his research on social inequality and end-of-life matters.
Fenton Johnson, a LAMDA-award-winning author and UA professor of creative writing, will present not only his newest novel, The Man who Loved Birds, addressing worship, race, and police violence in Reagan-era Kentucky, but he will also discuss reprints of his earlier novels Crossing the River and Scissors, Paper, Rock. Lovers of fiction and aspiring novelists may also enjoy the work of English Professor Julie Iromuanya (Mr. and Mrs. Doctor, recently longlisted for the PEN Literary Awards) and her panel discussion with retired UA English professor Elizabeth Evans and local writer Becky Masterman on how to begin a novel.
A complete list of College of Social and Behavioral Sciences authors, moderators, and events can be found here.