Humanities Lecture Series

“The Humanities Lecture Series provides us with opportunities to analyze, discuss, and interpret current research and events. We look forward to public discussions that help us understand and appreciate various points of view on political, social, and cultural issues.”

Frederick C. Corey
Vice Provost of Undergraduate Education



Spring 2020

Thursday, Feb. 6 
The Last of the Islamists: A Humanist Approach

with Abdullahi GallabAssociate Professor, School of Social Transformation, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences 

Shiekh Hasan al-Turabi (1932–2016) was a Sudanese politician and an Islamist leader. The Sudanese experience of Hasan al-Turabi Islamism stands as an important one in the history of Sudan, the region and in general—not because of its success but because of its total failure. How did what was advocated as al-Islam howa al-Hal (Islam is the solution), turn into violence is the solution? and into an experience, as Hasan al-Turabi has stated, in which Islamists “tarnished the image of Islam”?

6:30 – 8 p.m. Cronkite/Eight, Room 128, 555 N. Central Ave., Phoenix

Wednesday, March 4  
‘Ghosting’ and Other Behaviors: Social Media’s Influence on Human Interactions 

with Maura PriestAssistant Professor of Philosophy and Bioethicist; School of Historical, Philosophical, and Religious Studies

Drawing from her book-in-progress, “The Ethics of Dating,” Maura Priest discusses some of the core ethical issues that arise in early relationships, or the “pre-relationship” phase often called dating (e.g. ghosting, physical preferences, gender norms/roles, honesty about one’s self, honesty about intentions, and breaking up). 

6:30 – 8 p.m. Cronkite/Eight, Room 128, 555 N. Central Ave., Phoenix

Thursday, April 2  
Digging in the Crates: DJ Culture as a Model for Inquiry, Creativity in the Humanities

with Michael PfisterInstructor, Faculty of Languages and Cultures, College of Integrative Sciences and Arts

What does it mean to be obsessed with a sound? A breakbeat? An idea? How do our research-based practices shape the quality of information we acquire? With a guest DJ practitioner demonstrating the art of “crate digging,” scholar and drummer Mike Pfister explores the ways that research is creatively connected to the process of discovery—and the potential for “crate digging” to act as a means of strategically developing ideas and modes of inquiry in the arts and humanities.    

6:30 – 8 p.m. Cronkite/Eight, Room 128, 555 N. Central Ave., Phoenix

Fall 2019

Thurs., Sept. 26, 2019 |6:30-8:00 p.m.

Islam, Women and Feminism

Souad Ali

Faculty Head, Classics and Middle Eastern Studies; Associate Professor, Arabic Literature and Middle Eastern/Islamic Studies, ASU’s School of International Letters and Cultures;

Founding Chair, ASU Council for Arabic and Islamic Studies

Many Muslim scholars have argued that it is not the religion but culture and patriarchal interpretation and implementation of the Qur’an that have kept women oppressed in most Muslim societies. In light of what is seen by these scholars as Qur’anic evidence in favor of women, it is quite ironic that gender reforms in many Muslim societies have been adamantly resisted. This presentation will discuss these challenges as a contribution to understanding the issue of women, Islam, and feminism.


Thurs., Oct. 24, 2019 | 6:30-8:00 p.m.

Crazy, Rich, when Asian: A geopolitical critique of Asian representation in “Crazy Rich Asians"

Terrie Wong

Lecturer, Faculty of Languages and Cultures, College of Integrative Sciences and Arts

The movie "Crazy Rich Asians" was a celebration of Asian representation, or was it? A critical textual analysis of the film and English-language media reports on the movie will be used to unpack visual and discursive constructions of the notion of “Asian representation" and to articulate the workings of geopolitical yellowface logics for complicating our understanding of Asian identities in transnational power relations. 


Thurs., Nov. 21, 2019 | 6:30-8:00 p.m.

Living with the Past: Remembering Communism in Romania

Marie-Louise Paulesc

Lecturer, Faculty of Languages and Cultures, College of Integrative Sciences and Arts

Museums, fridge magnets, movies, quirky celebrations or somber commemorations? Thirty years after the fall of Communism, Romanians are still trying to figure out what is the “right” way to remember it. 


Always free and open to the public.

All presentations are at ASU’s Downtown Phoenix campus

Cronkite/Eight Building, Room 128
555 N. Central Ave., Phoenix

Spring 2019

Thurs., Jan. 24

Sardines & Pork and Beans: Harness the Power of Hip Hop

Camille Sledge, William Sledge, and James Heiskell
Musicians and teachers, School of Hip Hop, Phoenix

Enjoy an interactive session using an exercise called "Sardines & Pork and Beans" to explore how grassroots culture and arts nonprofits can sustain growth and engage the community through five elements of Hip Hop culture.

Thurs., March 28

Parenting the Transgender Child in Transition: The Guilt of Grief

Stephanie L. Downie, Lecturer in English, Faculty of Languages and Cultures, ASU College of Integrative Sciences and Arts

In a culture torn between celebrating the transgender community and trying to erase its very existence, your choices as a parent of a child who comes out seem straightforward: you either accept and support, or you don’t. But even for those of us who unhesitatingly choose love, we may find ourselves ill prepared to make the transition from parenting the child we knew to the one who needs us now--especially when guilt resulting from a sense of loss leaves you feeling like a bad parent.  

Fall 2018

Details are subject to change

Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018, 6:30 p.m., CRONK 128

“Community, Compassion, and Creation: Social Activism and Documentary Filmmaking”

Michael Pfister, writing instructor, College of Integrative Sciences and Arts; Matty Steinkamp and Pita Juarez, documentary filmmakers  

What does it mean to live in somebody else's shoes? When we meet someone new, how do we encounter them as individuals and really listen to them, rather than mapping all of our background, preconceptions, and identity on them? When we see interesting stories in the world that aren't being told, how might we respectfully share them? Arizona documentary filmmakers Matty Steinkamp and Pita Juarez, and ASU writing instructor Michael Pfister lead a discussion meant to get you thinking about these questions, as well as about your own identity and story. Steinkamp and Juarez will share clips from their soon-to-be-released documentary "You Racist, Sexist, Bigot." A panel of individuals who were featured in or consulted on the film, including musician Camille Sledge and ASU School of Social Transformation faulty associate Angeles Maldanado, and ASU journalism student Carmen Marquez from Radio Camposina, will enrich the conversation.  


Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018, 6:30 p.m., CRONK 128

“Queer Visibility and the Emerging Pink Market in China”

Terrie Wong
Lecturer in Communication, Faculty of Languages and Cultures
College of Integrative Sciences and Arts

While queer marriage isn’t legal in mainland China, more gays and lesbians are coming out, creating a just-beginning-to-be-addressed economic force. Taobao (China’s e-commerce platform akin to Amazon in the United States), for example, recently sponsored a wedding competition in which gay and lesbian Chinese couples vied to win 10 all-expense paid trips to marry in Los Angeles and, essentially, a marriage certificate from a foreign country. 

Join ASU faculty member Terrie Wong as she uses the Taobao "Rainbow Love" contest to discuss her research on the growing pink market in China and how corporations are joining with LGBTQ NGOs to market to China’s gays and lesbians. This lecture is based on Wong's co-authored article "More Coming Out, Bigger Market”: Queer Visibility and Queer Subjectivity in the Chinese Pink Market," which is currently under review. 


Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018, 6:30 p.m., CRONK 128

“Goddesses, Beer and the Bible”

Stephen Davis
Anthropologist, Cultural Geographer, Encyclopedist, Artist-in-Desert, and Lecturer, Faculty of Leadership and Interdisciplinary Studies, College of Integrative Sciences and Arts  

Stephen Davis, anthropologist, cultural geographer and encyclopedist shares his expertise in an engaging presentation drawing on Biblical texts and the cultural and chemical history of beer and spirits.

Spring 2018

Thursday, Feb. 1

Human Rights Violations and Corruption Affecting the People of Venezuela

6:30  p.m.
with Eduardo Caro Melendez, Course Coordinator, Languages and Cultures, College of Integrative Sciences and Arts


Thursday, March 1

Women in Sports Reporting

6:30 p.m.
with Paola Boivin, Professor of Practice, Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication


Thursday, April 5

Humanistic Management: The Art of Conscious Capitalism

6:30  p.m.
Elizabeth A. Castillo, Assistant Professor, Leadership and Interdisciplinary Studies, College of Integrative Sciences and Arts

Previous programs

Spring 2017

The Price of the Ticket': James Baldwin, a True Literary and Community Hero

Film viewing and discussion with Venita Blackburn, MFA; ASU College of Integrative Sciences and Arts

James Baldwin became the voice of a people and, in many ways, a nation, eloquently articulating realities that went otherwise misunderstood. Dominant cultures will often distort the stories of others, romanticizing horrors or erasing them completely from history, vilifying heroes and sanctifying villains. The documentary "The Price of the Ticket" is the narrative of Baldwin's life as a person but also as an author and spokesperson for the twentieth-century African American experience as he lived it from within, closing the gap between cultures while making room for understanding.

Works by Venita Blackburn have appeared in American Short Fiction, the Georgia Review, Pleiades, Madison Review, Bat City Review, Nashville Review, Smoke Long Quarterly, Café Irreal, Santa Monica Review, and elsewhere. Blackburn was awarded a Bread Loaf Fellowship in 2014 and three Pushcart Prize nominations. In 2016 she won the Prairie Schooner book prize in fiction, which will result in the publication of her collected stories, “Black Jesus and Other Superheroes,” in 2017. Her hometown is Compton, Calif., and she now teaches writing courses at ASU’s Downtown Phoenix campus as an instructor in the College of Integrative Sciences and Arts. Blackburn earned her MFA from ASU and is finishing a new novel, “Guts.”

The Original Tweets: Tiny Poems of the Ancient Greeks

A lecture and discussion with Mike Tueller, PhD; ASU School of International Letters and Cultures

Professor Mike Tueller outlines the characteristics of the ancient Greek genre of epigram, tiny literary compositions that tried to make a big impact in just a few lines. Using epigram as a model, he discusses ways that we might understand Twitter, a medium whose brevity is not just a limitation, but a productive source of innovative expression as well.

Mike Tueller earned a bachelor’s from Harvard University and, after a brief stint in the U.S. Navy, completed Harvard's doctoral program in classical philology. On the ASU faculty since 2008, Tueller teaches courses in ancient Greek language and literature. His reseach is primarily in the Hellenistic period, the time after Alexander the Great but before Augustus, when Greek language and culture spread broadly across the Mediterranean. At that time, the Greek people had to deal with their own disconnect (in space and time) from their heritage, and with their constant contact with very different peoples. In response, their literature became erudite, allusive, and, strangely, both nostalgic and cosmopolitan (sometimes at once). Tueller is working on a revision of the Greek Anthology (the primary source for Hellenistic epigram) for the Loeb Classical Library.

Tiny Treasures, Giant Legends: Women’s Sports History through Trading Cards

A lecture and discussion with Cindy Dick, MS; ASU School for the Future of Innovation in Society

Sports cards have a long history in the United States but few people associate them with female athletes, and even fewer know that women have been covered on trading cards as far back as the mid-1850’s. Cindy Dick will share the international collection of more than 1,100 original cards that she has acquired over the past 23 years. The collection, which includes cards from the 1850s to 1972, tells an important story of women’s sports history, the athletes’ challenges and accomplishments, and about society in the times in which they competed.

Dick earned a master’s degree in kinesiology from James Madison University, where she wrote a thesis on newspaper coverage of men’s and women’s sports. Her athletic career spans 15 years at three different colleges and universities, including six years working in intercollegiate athletics at ASU. She has been a board member of the Phoenix Women’s Sports Association and currently participates in ASU’s IHR (Institute for Humanities Research) Gender in Sports group.

Fall 2017

November 16, 2017, Kevin Sandler

“Business of the Cartoon”


October 19, 2017, Lorena Cuya Gavilano

“Migrants (re)Inventing Their World”


September 7, 2017, Kermit Brown

“Know Better, Do Better”

Fall 2016

This semester's theme was Where Is Our Humanity?

Black Music in Minneapolis: Prince and the Geography of the Minneapolis Sound

Black Music in Minneapolis from CISAASU on Vimeo.

Rashad Shabazz
Associate Professor, ASU’s School of Social Transformation
Wednesday, Sept. 14

The talk will look at the migration of Black musicians to Minneapolis (and St. Paul) in the years after the Second World War. More than just a history, this talk seeks to demonstrate how Black musicians brought a number of sonic forces (sounds) with them from different parts of the county to create a unique musical style that the next generation adopted, perfected, and popularized. That sound we identify with Prince was not solely his, but rather it was the product of push and pull factors that brought Black people from all over the South who were escaping southern Jim Crow and looking for a better life.

The Art of War: Chaos, Deception, Redemption

Pamela Stewart
Lecturer Senior, ASU’s College of Integrative Sciences and Arts
Thursday, Oct. 6

Picasso described art as “an instrument of war.” Revealing the many possibilities of that statement, this presentation exposes artists’ depictions of war, the human condition, and allegiance—or resistance—to wartime causes. Highlighted are artists who have been soldiers or artists who have personally experienced the effects of war.

Anti-Immigrant Rhetoric and Policies in Arizona Archives

Nancy Liliana Godoy-Powell
Archivist and Librarian of ASU’s Chicano/a Research Collection
Thursday, Nov. 10

This presentation will highlight archival material from the ASU Chicano/a Research Collection. It will also focus on important events and policies in Arizona’s immigration history and how the Bracero Program (1940s-1950s), Hanigan Case (1976), Arizona Farm Worker Movement (1970s-1980’s), and SB 1070 (2010) affected the Mexican and Mexican American communities.

Spring 2016

Latin American Cinema: Meanings, Symbols and Message

Eduardo A. Caro MeléndezPhD, ASU College of Integrative Sciences and Arts, Faculty of Languages and Cultures

Through some salient examples from the current, strongest Latin American film industries, this presentation will focus on "new" forms of (re)presentations of cultural realities and voices that had historically and traditionally been ignored or left out in the construction of national socio-cinematic identities. At the same time, by way of comparing and contrasting, and taking into account the nature of this (post)globalized world we live in, this presentation will discuss what these new trends from Latin America have to do with film production in the United States, in general, and what role they (can) play in American academia and  in the promising, growing field of English/Spanish for Specific Purposes, in particular.

Poetry as Cognitive Exploration: A Lyrical Study of Autism

Rosemarie Dombrowski, PhD, ASU College of Integrative Sciences and Arts, Faculty of Languages and Cultures

This discussion is born out of an amalgamation of ethnographic field work, biomedical research, personal experience, and my work as a poet, specifically, my collection titled The Book of Emergencies (Five Oaks Press, 2015). In the spirit of Carolyn Forche, the collection functions as a kind of ³poetry of witness.² In the vein of more recent work by Rafael Campo (associate professor of medicine at Harvard and MFA Creative Writing faculty at Lesley University), it attempts to craft a lyrical portrait of cognitive disability and biomedical illness. My intention is for it to serve as both a platform for discussion as well as a creative conduit into the unchartered territory of the autistic mind.

The Good Soldier: War, Love, and PTSD

Paul Steffy, Vietnam Veteran and Author

How writing a book and speaking about my time in Vietnam helps me to live a fuller life with my PTSD. I consider the following when explaining my story: For forty-seven years after I had returned from Vietnam my family had no idea what I¹d done or experienced during my year in the infantry. By writing this book and talking about my experiences I am able to live with my PTSD more fully than if I had kept my thoughts and feeling locked inside. If you haven’t read my bio, I did retire from two responsible careers.

Fall 2015

'26 Blocks' Art Program and Its Meaning

Joey Parks, Artist and Founder of '26 Blocks'

Phoenix writer, creative director and social entrepreneur Joey Robert Parks leads a panel discussion about the '26 Blocks’ art project, in which 26 photographers, 26 writers and 1 sculptor collaborated on a celebration of Downtown Phoenix by focusing on the past, present, or imagined future of 26 randomly selected city blocks.

The exhibit is on display in the Renaissance Phoenix Downtown Hotel’s lower lobby through 2018.


Technology, eBooks: A Story of Redemption and Meanings

Matthew McCarthy, W.P. Carey School of Business 

Epic of Beowulf of the Many Faces and Meanings

Robert Bjork, PhD, ASU Professor of English