Explore Arizona and the World with AZ Speaks!

By Kassy Rodeheaver

AZ Speaks

Searching for fall and winter programming to engage audiences with history and culture? Look no further than AZ SPEAKS (formerly known as the Speakers Bureau)! AZ SPEAKS is Arizona Humanities’ longest running and most popular program and is a great way for libraries, non-profits, educational institutions, K-12 schools, and governmental and tribal entities to enjoy interesting and engaging humanities-based programs.  Each year, AZ SPEAKS delivers hundreds of engaging presentations to big cities and small towns across Arizona.

AZ SPEAKS programs are easy to arrange and inexpensive to host. You can also book several speakers for a series to pique different interests and tastes. The 77 speakers on the roster represent a diverse range of scholarship and expertise, including anthropology, art history, film studies, history and heritage, jurisprudence, and philosophy. Speakers cover many different humanities subjects that include: sustainability issues, cities and urban planning, memory and family, humor, storytelling, placemaking, media, filmmaking, writing, and more!  Their presentations offer content and insight that inspires discussion and critical thinking among audiences of all ages and backgrounds.  Program participants have good things to say: “Speaker was knowledgeable & engaging!” and “I’m a newcomer to Arizona and I love these programs!” and “Great learning experience!”

AZ Speaks

There are two categories of speaker, Road Scholars and History Alive that are available for libraries.

Road Scholars give engaging lecture-based presentations. Current topics include: the Navajo Code Talkers of the Second World War, Arizona’s Civilian Conservation Corps, and Hohokam rock art.  All Road Scholars programs conclude with a lively question and answer session.

History Alive speakers portray figures from the past, making for immersive and stimulating presentations.  Audiences meet exciting figures in history, such as early 20th-century aviator Bessie Coleman, George Bird Grinnell, the founder of the first Audubon Society, and Teresa Urrea, spiritual healer and reluctant political leader.

Below is a list of just some of the thought-provoking presentations:

  • Honky Tonks, Brothels and Mining Camps: Entertainment in Old Arizona
  • Talking Machine Cowboys and Indians: The First Western Recordings, 1902-1913
  • “And Ya Don’t Stop”: Hip Hop and American Popular Culture
  • Grand Canyon: Philosophical Wonder
  • Prostitution: Legal Slavery or Victimless Crime?
  • Women of the Arizona State Prison
  • Herding Cats down the Colorado River
  • The Butterfly Effect or Travels in Search of Arizona’s Unusual Historic Events
  • Día de los Muertos: A Celebration of Life and Death
  • Chora: The Relationship Between Place and the Individual
  • Muslim Rescue and Resistance during the Holocaust
  • Humor in Arizona Politics

AZ Speaks

Visit www.azhumanities.org to view the AZ SPEAKS catalog of presentations and to book a speaker.  Questions?  Contact Whitney Klotz, Programs and Grants Coordinator, at 602-257-0335 x23 or wklotz@azhumanities.org.

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