Event shines light on mysteries of American Southwest

October 24, 2012

ASU professor Eduardo Pagán hosts behind-the-scenes look at PBS ‘History Detectives’

Does a centuries-old inscription on a rock wall in South Mountain Park prove Marcos de Niza was the first European in Phoenix? Did a Navajo artist violate tribal taboos and risk mystical retribution by weaving powerful sacred symbols into a unique rug? These are two of the mysteries probed by ASU professor and public TV “History Detective” Eduardo Pagán to be revealed from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., Nov. 14, at the ASU Kerr Cultural Center. Pagán will present the results of these investigations and others he has explored for the hit PBS series. Eduardo Pagán Download Full Image

The event is a presentation of Presidential Engagement Programs (PEP), a community engagement program of the ASU Foundation for A New American University. Registration is $25 per person.

Fans of the program will be doubly interested, as Pagán promises a behind-the-cameras look inside “History Detectives,” including film clips and production stories documenting the challenges of creating an investigative history series.

“I always enjoy the chance to share these stories and the behind-the-scenes aspects of ‘History Detectives,’” says Pagán. “And the chance to bring ASU and the subject of history to the community in this type of discussion is especially enjoyable.

“History has allowed me to study broadly questions about human experiences. Folklore, sacred narratives – they provide a window into the mind of those who came before us. One of my true joys is coming across ancient sites and exploring them without disturbing anything. It is fascinating to think that people lived where we now travel.”

“History Detectives” explores the complexities of historical mysteries, searching out facts and myths connecting local folklore, family legends and interesting objects. Traditional investigative techniques, modern technology and plenty of legwork are the tools the history detectives use to give new – sometimes shocking – insights into our national history.

One of those detectives is Pagán, the ASU Bob Stump Endowed Professor of History, and an associate professor at the New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences on ASU’s West campus. In 2009 PBS recruited Pagán for the “History Detectives” team as an expert in mysteries of the American Southwest.

Pagán is ideally suited for the role. A Phoenix native, he graduated from ASU and went on to earn a master’s degree from the University of Arizona and a master's and doctorate in U.S. history from Princeton University. His book “Murder at the Sleepy Lagoon: Zoot Suits, Race and Riot in Wartime L.A.” was the basis for an episode of another PBS series, “American Experience,” for which he was lead historical consultant. Pagán is currently working on two book-length projects: an exploration of racial constructions and violence in territorial Arizona, and a history of Latino terrorism in the U.S. In addition to his numerous scholarly publications, Pagán authored “Remembering Phoenix,” and “Historic Photos of Phoenix,” an Arizona Book Publishing Association award winner. Pagán’s New College course offerings include "Constitutional History of the U.S.," "The Hispanic Southwest," "American Indians," and "Historical Methods."

Two episodes of the show, which airs on Eight, Arizona PBS, remain for this season. To find out when they will air visit azpbs.org and sign up for “Eight Insider” e-newsletter. Viewers also can watch past History Detectives episodes online at azpbs.org/historydetectives.

Erik Ketcherside, erik.k@asu.edu
communications manager, Editorial Services
ASU Foundation for A New American University

Institute for Humanities Research welcomes Donna Haraway as its Distinguished Lecturer

October 24, 2012

The Institute for Humanities Research welcomes as its 2013 Distinguished Lecturer, Donna Haraway, Distinguished Professor Emerita of the History of Consciousness Program at the University of California, Santa Cruz and author of "Simians, Cyborgs, and Women: the Reinvention of Nature."

Haraway will be speaking on “Multispecies Cosmopolitics: Staying with the Trouble,” calling upon her audience to work, play and think in terms of multispecies cosmopolitics, a new approach to recuperating the Terrapolis on which we live. Download Full Image

After centuries of genocides, environmental destruction and its unevenly distributed suffering, and rampant killing of species, as well as individuals, Haraway suggests that humans turn to SF – string figures, science fiction, speculative fabulation, speculative feminism – as mechanisms for envisioning the future.

Working homing pigeons provide guidance for SF thinking, especially as seen through the methodologies and theories of practicing zoo-ethno-graphers. Their investigations of multispecies attachment, detachment, inter- and intra- patience, and inter- and intra- action bring together the social sciences, humanities, arts, and biological and physical sciences and offer crucial tools and knowledge(s). However, these investigations also reveal stunning human ignorance(s) about how to inhabit the world with other animals, rather than to observe and control them.

The lecture will conclude with examples of innovative projects that study both human and nonhuman workers engaged in linked effort in differentiated ways that none of our cosmopolitan knowledge traditions now know how to articulate, but must learn to do so.

Haraway is an internationally recognized feminist theorist and philosopher of science and technology. She has published widely influential works in the fields of cultural and women’s studies, political theory, primatology, literature, and philosophy, including “Primate Visions: Race and Nature in the World of Modern Science” (1990), “Modest_Witness @ Second_Millennium.FemaleMan © _Meets_OncoMouse™: Feminism and Technoscience” (1997), and “When Species Meet” (2008).  In September 2000, Haraway was awarded the highest honor given by the Society for Social Studies of Science, the J.D. Bernal Prize, for lifetime contributions to the field.

In preparation for Haraway's visit, the IHR is hosting a reading/discussion group in four-parts that will be led by Joni Adamson, associate professor of English and environmental humanities, School of Letters and Sciences; and Ron Broglio, associate professor of English, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. The reading group will read and discuss selected essays, from the “The Haraway Reader” (Routledge 2003) and others, to explore the impact of Haraway’s work on social and academic thinking.

Each meeting will take place from noon-1:30 p.m., in Social Sciences, room 109 and occur on Nov. 29, Jan. 24, Feb. 7 and 21. The meetings are free and open to the public. Please bring your own lunch. For more information visit: http://ihr.asu.edu/news-events/annual-distinguished-lecturer. To RSVP visit: http://ihr.asu.edu/node/1131/register.

The Institute for Humanities Research is a research unit of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.