It's almost time for the 2017 Tucson Festival of Books, held March 11-12 at the University of Arizona, which presents book lovers with a dizzying array of panels, exhibitors, and activities.
The UA College of Social and Behavioral Sciences is pleased to partner with the Tucson Festival of Books, because it provides a unique opportunity to gather authors and readers for conversations that transcend ink and paper. This year, the College of SBS will sponsor a pavilion (#154) dedicated to author presentations, as well as a separate tent (#150) for activities. The topics of the SBS talks are diverse, and include social justice, race, politics, and the Southwest. https://sbs.arizona.edu/festival-books
The theme of our pavilion this year is “share your story.” We believe it is important for people to listen to diverse voices, which promotes empathy and understanding, and to share their own perspectives. In the SBS pavilion, attendees will hear poems by prisoners; stories about race and hate speech; reflections on migrant deaths; and tales from history. We will give away “Share your story” pocket notebooks, and invite festival goers to write “what would you title your story” on our chalk wall!
UA Faculty at the Festival
The college’s 300+ faculty publish dozens of books annually to share their work with a broad audience. Our faculty can be found throughout the festival as featured authors and panel moderators, including:
- Professor Ander Monson, director of the Creative Writing Program, will explore the essay as a vibrant and multifaceted literary genre.
- Professor Emeritus of English Richard Shelton (with guest author Reginald Dwayne Betts) will discuss his experience teaching creative writing in prison and the transformative power of poetry.
- Anthropologist Jennifer Roth-Gordon and historian Tyina Steptoe (with guest authors Jeff Chang and Reginald Dwayne Betts) will explore the ways in which racially segregated spaces are constructed. Professor Maribel Alvarez will moderate.
- English Professor Jennifer Jenkins will examine how Western Ways films helped create the Southwest's regional identity.
- English Professor Alison Hawthorne Deming will explore what animals can teach us about our humanity. In another session, she will read from her latest poetry collection, "Stairway to Heaven."
- English Professor Scott Selisker will discuss brainwashing, automation, and politics, with John Nichols of The Nation.
- Historian Jeremy Vetter will discuss field science in the American West during the railroad era.
- Mexican American Studies Professors Raquel Rubio-Goldsmith and Anna Ochoa O’Leary will reflect on migrant deaths in the Arizona desert with Professor Emeritus of Sociology Celestino Fernandez and anthropology alumna Robin Reineke.
- UA adjunct lecturer in English John Washington will share his expertise translating books from Spanish to English.
- UA English Professor Johanna Skibsrud will read poetry from her latest collection, “The Description of the World.”
- Carolyn Lukensmeyer, director of the UA National Institute for Civil Discourse, will converse with Arsalan Iftikhar about anti-Muslim rhetoric in American culture.
- Ofelia Zepeda, Regents’ Professor of Linguistics, and Gary Paul Nabhan, the W.K. Kellogg Endowed Chair in Sustainable Food Systems – both MacArthur “Genius” award recipients – will explore creativity.
- Fiction writer Julie Iromuanya, an assistant professor of English, will participate in sessions related to immigration stories and Southwest inspirations.
- Following a live performance of the play “Smiling Brown: Gente de Bronce,” Roberto Cintli Rodriguez, an associate professor in the Department of Mexican American Studies, will lead a discussion of the phenomenon of light-skin preference.
Thanks to a collaboration between the College of SBS and the Poetry Center, the SBS pavilion will host a poetry reading with Juan Felipe Herrera, the 21st Poet Laureate of the United States! The session will be moderated by Farid Matuk, a UA assistant professor of English.
Tucson Youth Poetry Slam’s young poets will grace the SBS stage, sharing their own electric poems and engaging with the work of Emmy Pérez, winner of a 2017 National Endowment for the Arts fellowship in poetry.
And on Sunday morning at the SBS pavilion, the American Friends Service Committee of Arizona will read poems from writers on both sides of the prison walls.
In addition to featuring our talented SBS authors at the Tucson Festival of Books, the college is partnering with Tucson community groups and SBS units to sponsor the appearances of three exciting authors speaking on issues of race, hate speech, and segregation.
- Jeff Chang, whose appearance is sponsored by the Southwest Folklife Alliance, wrote “We Gon' Be Alright: Notes on Race and Resegregation,” which the Washington Post called "the smartest book of the year."
- The American Friends Service Committee of Arizona is sponsoring the appearance of Reginald Dwayne Betts, author of the poetry collection “Bastards of the Reagan Era,” which deals with the consequences of the mass incarceration of black men.
- The National Institute for Civil Discourse is bringing Arsalan Iftikhar, author of “Scapegoats: How Islamophobia Helps Our Enemies and Threatens Our Freedoms,” to the festival.
At tent #150, festival goers can enjoy family-friendly activities throughout the weekend. Activities include playing the “American Dream Game;” creating cyanotype prints; playing a Middle East trivia game and map quiz; learning about visual literacy in the Protestant Reformation; participating in interactive writing games; learning about Tucson’s local food culture and traditional medicine; and learning about various student-run literary journals and creative writing groups.
In Science City, also look for our Department of Linguistics, School of Anthropology, and School of Information!
A schedule of College of Social and Behavioral Sciences authors, moderators, and events can be found here. See you there!