Festival Staff / February 6, 2017
The College of Social and Behavioral Sciences is proud to partner with Tucson community groups to sponsor the appearances of three exciting authors speaking on issues of race, hate speech, and segregation on the SBS Stage at the 2017 Tucson Festival of Books.
Southwest Folklife Alliance and Jeff Chang
The Southwest Folklife Alliance, which works to “build more equitable and vibrant communities by celebrating the everyday expressions of culture, heritage and diversity in the Greater Southwest,” has graciously sponsored the appearance of Jeff Chang, author of We Gon’ Be Alright: Notes on Race and Resegregation and Executive Director of the Institute for Diversity in the Arts at Stanford University.
Chang’s previous work on race, politics, culture, music, and the arts—which has been described as provocative, thought-provoking, troubling, though ultimately hopeful— has afforded him a USA Ford Fellowship in Literature and a North Star News prize. He also won the American Book Award and the Asian American Literary Award for Can’t Stop Won’t Stop: A History of the Hip-Hop Generation (2005). His 2014 book Who We Be: The Colorization of America (St. Martin’s Press) was re-released by Picador Press in January 2016, re-titled Who We Be: A Cultural History of Race in Post-Civil Rights America.
Chang will kick off the Festival on Saturday, March 11 at 10:00 a.m. in the SBS Pavilion on a panel with Reginald Dwayne Betts and two SBS faculty authors, Tyina Steptoe (History) and Jennifer Roth-Gordon (Anthropology), exploring the many ways in which racially segregated spaces are constructed through language, law, and culture in the United States and beyond.
Chang will also appear in conversation with Executive Director of the Southwest Folklife Allliance and School of Anthropology Professor Maribel Álvarez on Sunday, March 12 at 11:30 a.m. in the SBS Pavilion. The two will discuss Chang’s latest work in We Gon’ Be Alright, which the Washington Post called “the smartest book of the year.” He will offer a sharply analytic and compelling look at American society, touching on themes of America’s resegregation in cities, rural areas, and schools; the history and origins of student protest movements and affirmative action policies; social movements such as #BlackLivesMatter and #OscarsSoWhite; changing notions about Asian Americans; and how ending resegregation “is key to moving the nation forward to racial justice and cultural equity.”
The American Friends Service Committee and Reginald Dwayne Betts
The American Friends Service Committee of Arizona—dedicated to advocating for incarcerated people and their families, to changing state policies, to improving prison conditions, and to reducing the number of incarcerations in Arizona— has kindly sponsored the appearance of Reginald Dwayne Betts, author of the recent poetry collection Bastards of the Reagan Era.
Betts recently graduated from Yale Law School and works as a public defender in Connecticut, as well as serving as the national spokesperson for the Campaign for Youth Justice and on the Coordinating Council of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.
His latest book of poems, Bastards of the Reagan Era, deals deftly with both the themes and the consequences of the mass incarceration of black American males and the Reagan-era War on Drugs. His first book of poetry, Shahid Reads His Own Palm (2010) won the Beatrice Hawley Award, while his memoir, A Question of Freedom: A Memoir of Learning, Survival, and Coming of Age in Prison (2009) won an NAACP Image Award. Betts’ lyrical, insightful work has also afforded him many prestigious awards, including a Pushcart Prize, a Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Fellowship from the Poetry Foundation, and a Soros Justice Fellowship.
Betts will appear in the conversation on Segregated Spaces with Jeff Chang, Tyina Steptoe, and Jennifer Roth-Gordon on Saturday, March 11 at 10:00 a.m. and will read from his poetry alongside Agnese Nelms Haury Chair of Environment and Social Justice and UA Professor of Creative Writing Alison Deming in the Kiva Room on Sunday, March 12 at 2:30 p.m.
Betts will also speak with UA Emeritus Professor Richard Shelton in a panel on “Poetry and Prison” on Sunday, March 12 at 10:00 a.m. in the SBS Pavilion. This session forms part of a programming arc sponsored by the American Friends Service Committee and will feature the two poets and memoirists discussing their personal experiences teaching and learning creative writing in prison, as well as highlighting the transformative power of poetry.
The National Institute for Civil Discourse and Arsalan Iftikhar
The National Institute for Civil Discourse is a nonpartisan center for advocacy, research, and policy currently devoting its efforts to combatting the rising incivility between political factions in its Revive Civility campaign. Their generous sponsorship makes possible the appearance of Arsalan Iftikhar, an international human rights lawyer and author of the recent book Scapegoats: How Islamophobia Helps Our Enemies and Threatens Our Freedoms, which President Jimmy Carter called “an important book that shows Islamophobia must be addressed urgently.”
Iftikhar is a popular global media commentator on Islam and Muslim issues, the founder of TheMuslimGuy.com, and serves as Senior Editor for The Islamic Monthly, in addition to contributing weekly to National Public Radio (NPR) broadcasts for almost a decade. Iftikhar has appeared in most of the major media outlets throughout his career, including CNN, BBC World News, Al-Jazeera English, FOX News, MSNBC, C-SPAN, Washington Post, The New York Times, Rolling Stone, The Economist, and many more.
Iftikhar will present in the SBS Pavilion on Saturday, March 11 at 2:30 p.m., engaging in conversation with Carolyn Lukensmeyer, Executive Director of the National Institute for Civil Discourse. The two will discuss his recent book, Scapegoats, and the rising tide of anti-Muslim rhetoric in American popular culture, as well as exploring ways to combat hate speech and fight Islamophobia.
SBS is thrilled to partner with the Southwest Folklife Alliance, the American Friends Service Committee, and the National Institute for Civil Discourse to invite these accomplished authors and to hold such varied and vital discussions on its stage.
The 2017 Tucson Festival of Books will take place on the University of Arizona campus on Saturday, March 11 and Sunday, March 12 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The SBS Pavilion, located between the UA BookStore and the Food Court, will feature further programming during each of these blocks.
This article was originally published on the University of Arizona College of Social and Behavioral Sciences website. Written by Danielle Bishop, Outreach Coordinator at the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences.