Humanities Now

January 2021

Courage is to Remember

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I do not remember Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. How could I? I was not born when at 26 years old Dr. King helped lead the Montgomery Alabama bus boycott of 1955. His house was bombed. He was a husband and a father. I was only 2 years old when 250,000 people marched on Washington, where Dr. King told the world “I Have A Dream.”  He was a deeply religious man, as was his father Martin Luther King Sr., an esteemed clergyman and civil rights leader. His father taught Martin to be courageous in the fight against injustice and intolerance. He also taught Martin to love and to forgive those who failed to recognize the basic human dignity of others. From 1956 -1968 Dr. King traveled six million miles and spoke over 2500 times. Despite many arrests and countless death threats he never stopped pursuing freedom for all men. He was only 39 years old when he was assassinated. “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” To the men, women and children who boycotted buses and walked to work and school for 381 days, to the women who refused to give up their bus seats before Rosa Parks did, to the children who walked past screaming mobs to go to school, to the parents who lost jobs, their land, and lives so their children could get an education, to the white teacher who taught one little black girl in an empty classroom for a year, and to the young people of all hues who rode buses south, desegregating lunch counters and public facilities, beaten, jailed, and even murdered…we remember. There are so many definitions of courage. What is yours? Mine is to remember.

Brenda Thomson

Executive Director

Mini Grants Now Open!

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Apply Today!

Arizona Humanities aims to stimulate thoughtful community exchange, build new audiences for the humanities, innovate new methods in the humanities, and advocate for the importance of the humanities for a lively and engaged democratic public. Mini Grants are small grants of up to $2,000 that are available year-round to support innovative public programs that increase understanding of the human experience. Applicants may request up to $2,000. 

Mini Grants are restricted to organizations with budgets of $500,000 or less, larger institutions may partner with a smaller institution that will lead the program or project.

For more information visit our grant opportunities page and view our Mini Grants webinar.

Register for Upcoming Events!

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Where Do You Live? How Did You Get There?:

Housing Segregation In America

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January 12th at 6 PM MST

Everybody needs a place to live, but not everyone gets to live where they want to. Who lives in your neighborhood? Who doesn’t live in your neighborhood? For many decades American cities have been divided by race. This was not caused indirectly by individual or organizational actions or prejudices, but deliberately through laws and policies of local, state and federal governments. Today we can see how a long history of discriminatory housing policies has determined who can purchase and own homes, and where people can live. Beginning in the 1930s, color-coded maps drawn along racial lines, a practice known as redlining, became a tool to regulate who could qualify for home loans. More recently, subprime mortgage practices that targeted minority borrowers leading up to the 2008 housing crisis have continued to define access to homeownership by race. How do these policies impact our lives and communities? Join us for an interactive discussion on the history of housing segregation in the U.S. and its lasting impact on the geography of our cities. 

About the Speaker:

Rashad Shabazz is Associate Professor in the School of Social Transformation and the School of Geographical Sciences & Urban Planning at Arizona State University. His teaching and research include race relations, social justice movements, and the relationship of race and place. He is the expert on how race, sexuality, and gender are informed by geography. With an interdisciplinary approach, his academic work brings together human geography, Black cultural studies, gender studies, and critical prison studies. Dr. Shabazz’s most recent book publication, Spatializing Blackness (2015), examines the impact of carceral power on the geographies of African Americans in Chicago’s South Side.

Register Here!

Petitioning for Freedom: Habeas Corpus in the American West

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January 20th at 6 PM MST

Throughout history the U.S. legal system has controlled and regulated the lives of people in marginalized communities. Perhaps less known is that some people were able to successfully challenge these injustices using the very same legal system. Petitioners have opposed enslavement, deportation, federal Indian agents and much more, using the constitutional protection of habeas corpus. What is habeas corpus? How did Black, Indigenous, and immigrant petitioners in the American West, including Arizona, effectively use this legal right in the 19th and early 20th century? What impact does habeas corpus have today? Join us as Dr. Katrina Jagodinksy explores stories of people petitioning for freedom in the U.S.  

About the Speaker:

Katrina Jagodinsky is Associate Professor of History at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln. Her research examines the lives and legal history of marginalized people in the 19th- and 20th-century American West. She has published extensively on the history of Indigenous and mixed-raced women leveraging the American legal system to assert their freedom. Her first book, Legal Codes & Talking Trees: Indigenous Women’s Sovereignty in the Sonoran and Puget Sound Borderlands, 1854-1946, tells the stories of Indigenous women’s fight to protect themselves and their land within an oppressive legal system. Most recently, Dr. Jagodinsky has received funding from the National Science Foundation for her research project: Petitioning for Freedom: Habeas Corpus in the American West. 

Register Here!
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Cotton, Cattle, Citrus--and Climate: Will Arizona have water to grow food and fiber? 


January 26th at 6 PM MST

Arizona has a long history of thriving agriculture: For generations, agricultural production was the linchpin of the state’s economy, and cotton, cattle and citrus production had a significant influence on how Arizona communities grew. Today, while agriculture comprises only a small fraction of the state’s gross domestic product, it still accounts for over 70% of the consumptive use of water. As Arizona adjusts to a hotter, drier future, can farming survive? How can the state sustain agricultural production and do so more sustainably? Join us for an important conversation about farming, water and our future.

About the Speaker:

Sarah Porter is Director of the Kyl Center for Water Policy at Arizona State University’s Morrison Institute for Public Policy. The Kyl Center promotes research, analysis, collaboration, and open dialogue to build consensus in support of sound water stewardship solutions for Arizona and the West. Before leading the Kyl Center, Porter served as the Arizona state director of the National Audubon Society and led the Western Rivers project, a multi-state initiative to protect and restore important river habitats in the Intermountain West. As deputy directory of Audubon Arizona, Porter was a key team member in the effort to launch the Nina Mason Pulliam Rio Salado Audubon Center, a nature education center located in a restored riparian habitat in South Phoenix. She is a member of the Governor’s Water Augmentation, Innovation and Conservation Council and Phoenix’s Environmental Quality and Sustainability Commission. 

Register Here!

Apply for the Academy of American Poets Fellowship


Applications Now Being Accepted for the 2022 Poets Laureate Fellowships

The Academy of American Poets are doing another round of their Laureate Fellowships. In 2022, these fellowships will be $50,000 awards given in June 2022 to honor poets of literary merit appointed to serve in civic positions and to enable them to undertake meaningful, impactful, and innovative projects that engage their fellow residents, including youth, with poetry, helping to address issues important to their communities.

You can learn more about their eligibility and submission guidelines by clicking here.

Call for FRANK Talks Facilitators 2022

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Interested in facilitating small group discussions with people across Arizona? Apply to become a FRANK Talks Facilitator!

FRANK Talks are free, thought-provoking discussions on important issues facing our communities produced in partnership with Arizona Humanities and the Arizona State Library, Archives & Public Records. FRANK Talks inspire people to practice the skills of citizenship—to listen respectfully and engage thoughtfully on issues that affect our communities. Facilitators lead 60-90 minute virtual and/or in-person discussions with community members co-hosted by local libraries across Arizona. Topics can include education, immigration, democracy, human and civil rights, voting and elections, and more. We are especially interested in issues related to the environment and sustainability; journalism and the media; and diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility.

Deadline to apply is Feb. 6. 

Learn More Here

Book an AZ Speaks program now!

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Bring engaging humanities-based programs and speakers to your community with AZ Speaks.

Click Here!

What does it mean to be a US citizen? What is the American dream? This new year, learn more about immigration and citizenship with…


Rodo Sofranac

Teacher, Translator, and Community Organizer

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?


Thomas J. Davis

Historian, Lawyer, and Professor Emeritus at ASU

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.

Learn more about these presentations, our speakers, and more here!

January Programs

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Attend Virtual AZ Humanities Programs

AZ Speaks are 60-minute presentations hosted by non-profits, libraries, educational institutions, and governmental and tribal entities to engage the public in humanities-based topics. FRANK Talks span 60-minutes and are highly interactive discussions. The purpose is to connect people to one another to talk about current issues affecting our communities. Click the links below to learn more about the events.

🧑 In-person events

📹 Virtual events

📹/🧑 Hybrid events offered both in-person and virtually

🧑Western Pulp Fiction January 8 at 1 PM MST | Co-Hosted by The Phippen Museum

📹Dams, Mines, and Hotels: Media and Misinformation Affecting the Grand Canyon January 10 at 6 PM MST | Co-Hosted by Flagstaff City- Coconino County Public Library

📹/🧑The Evolution of an Icon-The History of Arizona Highways Magazine January 11 at 2:30 PM MST | Co-Hosted by Apache Junction Library

🧑Flying through Arizona: The Story of the First National Women’s Air Race January 13 at 1 PM MST | Co-Hosted by Coolidge Public Library

📹Race, Privilege and Access to Education Resources January 13 at 3 PM MST | Co-Hosted by Coolidge Public Library

📹Landscapes of Extraction: The Art of Mining in the American West January 13 at 6 PM MST | Co-Hosted by Phoenix Public Library

🧑Race, Privilege and Access to Education Resources January 15 at 1 PM MST | Co-Hosted by Friends of the Florence Community Library

🧑Miners, Cowboys and Washerwomen: The Worksongs of Arizona January 15 at 1 PM MST | Co-Hosted by Sounds of Kingman

📹/🧑Flying through Arizona: The Story of the First National Women’s Air Race January 16 at 2 PM MST | Co-Hosted by Prescott Public Library

📹/🧑Desert Rats, River Runners, and Canyon Crawlers: Four Arizona Explorers January 18 at 2:30 PM MST | Co-Hosted by Apache Junction Library

📹Plants of the Mojave Desert and the Traditional Tribal Uses January 18 at 5:30 PM MST | Co-Hosted by Copper Queen Library

🧑Flying through Arizona: The Story of the First National Women’s Air Race January 20 at 1 PM MST | Co-Hosted by Coolidge Public Library

📹Specters of the Past-Ghost Towns That Built Arizona January 20 at 7 PM MST | Co-Hosted by Old Pueblo Archaeology Center

🧑Our River Stories: The Gila and the Salt January 21 at 1:30 PM MST | Co-Hosted by Casa Grande Public Library – Downtown Branch

🧑 Southwest Rock Calendars and Ancient Time PiecesJanuary 22 at 12 PM MST | Co-Hosted by Cochise College – Center for Lifelong Learning

🧑 Dog Whistle Language in the Media: How Can We Hear It? January 24 at 6 PM MST | Co-Hosted by Maricopa County Library District – Southeast Regional Branch

📹/🧑Western Pulp Fiction January 25 at 2:30 PM MST | Co-Hosted by Apache Junction Library

🧑The Right to Vote in America January 25 at 5:30 PM MST | Co-Hosted by Mohave Community College – Lake Havasu Library

📹Western Pulp Fiction January 26 at 11 AM MST | Co-Hosted by City of Surprise

🧑Southwest Rock Calendars and Ancient Time Pieces January 27 at 4 PM MST | Co-Hosted by Arizona Archaeological Society – Verde Valley Chapter

📹Understanding and Learning to Talk About Systemic Racism January 28 at 12 PM MST | Co-Hosted by Avondale Public Library

🧑Specters of the Past-Ghost Towns That B January 29 at 1 PM MST | Co-Hosted by The Phippen Museum

🧑 What is Patriotism? January 31 at 6 PM MST | Co-Hosted by Glendale Public Library - Foothills Library

Are you a non-profit, library, educational institution or governmental and tribal entity interested in hosting a program?

Visit our website to learn more about our exciting new list of topics. We can help you cross-market these programs to the public. 

To schedule a program or to learn more, contact Julianne Cheng at or call (602) 257-0335 x26.

Humanities Programs in the Community

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Tohono O'odham Storytelling - Jesse Navarro

January 6 at 6 PM MST

You are invited to a special storytelling event for 2021 Conference Registrants featuring Jesse Navarro of the Tohono O'odham Nation. For this evening webinar, Mr. Navarro will share Tohono O’odham stories and images appropriate for the winter season along with some historical context. This virtual event is open to those who registered for the 2021 WRRC Annual Conference, Tribal Water Resilience in a Changing Environment. Learn more here.


Reading: Forrest Gander

January 6 at 7 PM MST

Forrest Gander is a writer, translator, and editor of several anthologies of writing from Spain and Mexico. He is the author of more than a dozen books, including Twice Alive; Be With, which was longlisted for the 2018 National Book Award; and Core Samples from the World, a finalist for both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award. His other books include two novels, As A Friend and The Trace; the poetry collections Be With, Eye Against Eye, Torn Awake, Science & Steepleflower; and the essay collection Faithful Existence: Reading, Memory & Transcendence. Gander’s essays have appeared in The Nation, The Boston Review, and the New York Times Book Review. He is the recipient of fellowships from the Library of Congress, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Guggenheim, Howard, United States Artists, and Whiting Foundations. Learn more here.


Celebrate Hip Hop

January 8,9 from 9 AM - 5 PM MST 

Break into the New Year during Celebrate Hip Hop at MIM on January 8 and 9. Experience the elements of hip hop with performances by Furious Styles Crew and local live hip hop band The Stakes. All weekend, you can bust a move at a dance workshop led by instructors from the Jukebox Dance Studio, learn the basics of creating your own beat with AZ Beat Lab, and enjoy more family-friendly activities. Learn more here.


The Life of the Buddha

January 9 8:30AM MST 

The Tubac Buddhist Meditation Center

provides a gathering place for anyone interested in Buddhist studies. Their intention is to provide a setting for meditation, instruction and reflection, and to offer a harbor of safety and community for all who are interested in learning about Buddhism. Learn more here.


Indigenous Interests

January 11 7 PM MST 

The “Indigenous Interests” online presentations series is a collaboration between Old Pueblo Archaeology Center and Arizona Humanities. It is designed to provide an avenue for communication between Native Americans and non-Indians that can result in more understanding of each other’s cultures, traditions, histories, viewpoints, philosophies, and ways of life. The presenters, all members of Native Nations, will share their thoughts about the human experience; what it means to be human and Native American; how peoples of different cultures relate to one another; compar­a­tive religions, ethics, history, jurisprudence, language acquisition and retention, and philosophy; and how Native Americans view the archaeologists and anthropologists who study them. Learn more here.


Hallelujah Hats: Fashion History of Washington Park Black Churches

January 13 at 6 PM MST

From the early time of slavery to today, the African American community has embraced the church as a symbol and site for inspiration, guidance, and hope. The celebration of adorning oneself has deep roots dating back to the first African slaves in America. Join Bruce Nelson and AHS on January 13th for a virtual presentation of Hallelujah Hats. Learn more here.


Let the Crows Come

January 13 at 7:30 PM MST

Evoking mythography and ancestry, Let the Crows Come uses the metaphor of crows as messengers for the living and guides for the departed. This dance for three with live music explores how memory and homeland channel guidance and dislocation. Featuring Ramaswamy (Bharatanatyam technique), Alanna Morris-Van Tassel (Contemporary/Afro-Caribbean technique), and Berit Ahlgren (Gaga technique), Bharatanatyam dance is deconstructed and recontextualized to recall a memory that has a shared origin but is remembered differently from person to person. Composers Jace Clayton (dj/rupture) and Brent Arnold extrapolate from Prema Ramamurthy’s classical Carnatic (South Indian) score, utilizing centuries-old compositional structures as the point of departure for their sonic explorations. Let the Crows Come premiered in November 2019. Learn more here.


Arrowhead-making and Flintknapping Workshop

January 15 at 9 AM MST

Learn how to make arrowheads, spear points, and other flaked stone artifacts just like ancient peoples did. In this workshop, flintknapping expert Sam Greenleaf provides participants with hands-on experience and learning on how pre-European Contact people made and used projectile points and other tools created from obsidian and other stone. All materials and equipment are provided. The class is designed to help modern people understand how Native Americans made traditional crafts and is not intended to train students how to make artwork for sale. Learn more here.


We Share the Same Sky: A Memoir of Memory & Migration

January 20 at 2 PM MST

A granddaughter's decade-long journey to retrace her grandmother's wartime escape and weave together the thin threads of family history. In 2009, Rachael Cerrotti, a college student pursuing a career in photojournalism, asked her grandmother, Hana, if she could record her story. Rachael knew that her grandmother was a Holocaust survivor and the only one in her family alive at the end of the war. Rachael also knew that she survived because of the kindness of strangers. It wasn't a secret. Hana spoke about her history publicly and regularly. But, Rachael wanted to document it as only a granddaughter could. Learn more here.


Can California Solve it's Air Quality Inequality?

January 27 at 7 PM MST

While smog in Los Angeles and wildfire smoke in San Francisco dominate headlines, California’s rural communities are also besieged by a constellation of forces that foul their air. In the San Joaquin Valley, one of the most polluted parts of the state, one in four children have asthma, and the impacts of air pollution cost the region $6 billion annually. Air quality is a statewide issue—more than half of California’s counties fail to meet federal pollution standards. But the burden isn’t evenly distributed: Black and Latino people are exposed to about 40 percent more fine particulate matter from cars, trucks, and buses than white Californians, and low-income communities about 20 percent more than their higher-income counterparts. Learn more here.

Humanities Across the Nation


NEH Statement on the Death of Jonathan Spence

With sadness, the National Endowment for the Humanities notes the death of Jonathan Spence, the British-born scholar of modern China, prolific author, and long-serving professor at Yale University. In 2010, Spence delivered the Jefferson Lecture in the Humanities, the highest honor in the humanities bestowed by the United States government. He was also the recipient of four separate grants from NEH, three of which were education grants in support of programs for college faculty involved in the teaching of Chinese history and helping to otherwise improve the quality of instruction in this important subject. Read more here.

Thank You to Our December Donors

Linda and Jim Ballinger

Betsey Bayless

Erik Berg

James Blasingame*

Gail Browne and Frances Sjoberg

Laura Byers

Margaret Gay Chanler

Catherine F. Connolly

Jay Cravath

Allen Dart

Michelle DiMuro

Virginia R. Foster

Lawrence and Beverly George

Rory Gilbert

James E. Hays

Matthew Jewett

Andrew Krahe

JJ and Ken Lamb

Roberta Medina

Eshé Pickett*

Martha Prumers

Jorge Ramirez

Tamika Lamb-Sanders*

Mary Schroeder

Melissa and Brian Shackelford

Alexandra Shafer

Katrina Shawver

Dan Shilling

Rodo and Susan Sofranac

Laura Tohe

Kevin and Judy Walden

Judy and Jim Walsh

Ed and Beverly Womack

American Online Giving Foundation, Inc.

Central Arizona Project Employee Giving Fund

*Board Member

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Humanities Now is published monthly by Arizona Humanities.

About Arizona Humanities

Arizona Humanities is a statewide 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and the Arizona affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Since 1973, Arizona Humanities has supported public programs that promote the understanding of the human experience with cultural, educational, and nonprofit organizations across Arizona.


Arizona Humanities builds a just and civil society by creating opportunities to explore our shared human experiences through discussion, learning and reflection.

To request this or any other agency publication in an alternative format, contact Arizona Humanities at (602-257-0335) or email

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