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​AZ SpeaksIllustration of a desert landscape in purple hues

AZ Speaks presenters represent a diverse range of expertise, from a variety of professional backgrounds including: history, cultural and gender studies, and more. Speakers are selected based on their expertise and ability to offer content and insight that inspires discussion with audiences of all ages and backgrounds.

Learn more about AZ Speaks events below or browse all events in our online calendar.


​Celebrities, Artists... and Good Places to Drink

Saturday, March 2 from 2 to 3 p.m.
Juniper Library

Arizona has always been a geographical muse for writers, artists and composers, as well as a getaway for the rich and famous.  In this talk, learn about some of the people who have had adventures, weddings and unusual experiences here, while also learning about some of the places they lifted a glass, and why you might want to follow their example.

​Hellraising, Heroic and Hidden Women of the Old West

Saturday, March 30 from 2 to 3 p.m.
Mesquite Library

Saturday, May 11 from 3 to 4 p.m.
Agave Library

Although history tries to tell us ONLY men settled the Old West, that is shattered by Jana’s verbal tour through some of the amazing women who made all the difference. Any woman who came West in the 1800s had to be full of grit and spit to survive and Jana has collected the stories of dozens of women who prove it. Ever heard of Donaldina Cameron or Biddy Mason? Sharlot Hall or Pearl Hart—Arizona’s infamous stagecoach robber? Jana reveals the contributions of women like Lozen, the Apache warrior considered the “Joan of Arc” of her people, and Terrisita, the most famous Mexican woman in the nation at the turn of the century. Meeting these women, you will never think of the Old West the same again! 

Set in Stone but Not in Meaning: Southwestern Indian Rock Art

Saturday, April 13 from 3 to 4 p.m.
Agave Library

Ancient Indian pictographs (rock paintings) and petroglyphs (symbols carved or pecked on rocks) are claimed by some to be forms of writing for which meanings are known. However, are such claims supported by archaeology or by Native Americans themselves? Mr. Dart illustrates southwestern petroglyphs and pictographs, and discusses how even the same rock art symbol may be interpreted differently from popular, scientific, and modern Native American perspectives.

​LGBTQ: A History in AZ

Wednesday, April 3 from 5 to 6 p.m.
Burton Barr Central Library

Saturday, June 1 from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Ocotillo Library & Workforce Literacy Center

Arizona’s history of the LGBTQ community begins long before Arizona was a state with the Native American belief of two-spirits, continues on through to the seismic shift of Marriage Equality. There are some surprises along the way as we talk about artists such as Keith Haring and George Quaintance. There is also the little known story of Nicolai De Raylan. This multi-media presentation includes music, video clips, still photos, and Shore’s storytelling magic.  

​On the Road Since 1925: The Colorful History of Arizona Highways Magazine

Saturday, April 20 from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Mesquite Library

The first issue of Arizona Highways magazine was published in April, 1925. In this presentation, former publisher Win Holden will share the fascinating story of how a brochure produced by the Arizona Highway Department evolved into one of the most respected and revered publications in the world. 

With annual economic impact of over $65 million, Arizona Highways reaches all 50 states and over 100 countries around the world. But the journey has been anything but uneventful. With a unique publishing model not dependent on advertising, the magazine has had to unearth new sources of revenue to sustain its operations. And, as part of the Arizona Department of Transportation, has had to survive without state funding. 

Learn how this remarkable magazine has beaten the odds and is thriving in a competitive environment that has seen respected national magazines fall by the wayside.

​Climate and Moral Responsibility in Arizona

Saturday, April 27 from 2 to 3 p.m.
Saguaro Library

Global warming presents humanity with one of the most difficult ethical challenges ever faced. More than just a scientific problem this is a collective action problem requiring that we work together to find appropriate strategies for adaptation. It requires recognizing attribution of cause and effect and careful consideration of the likely outcomes of harm to others. Future generations will have their quality of life impacted through the loss of species habitat and with it many of the creatures that have inspired us for millennia. In this presentation and discussion, we will pursue these and other philosophical and ethical questions that confront us today with human caused global warming.

Landscapes of Migration in the Arizona-Sonora Borderland

Saturday, September 21 from 2 to 3 p.m.
Saguaro Library

The dividing line of the U.S.-Mexico border may be the most significant feature of the Arizona-Sonora borderland today, but the region is also at the center of major north-south corridors of human migration. In this talk, Scott Warren offers an in-depth look at historical and contemporary patterns of south-north migration through this region, from ancient Hohokam trade routes, to Spanish colonizers, to contemporary migrants—both documented and undocumented. While in some cases migration routes and patterns have changed over time, in other cases they have largely stayed the same. This talk is intended to increase awareness of Arizona's south-north connections and how they shape our cultural landscape.

​AZ Speaks programming is provided by AZHumanities and the Friends of the Phoenix Public Library.


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