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Campus to Host Fourth annual Buffalo Humanities Festival

Campus to Host Fourth annual Buffalo Humanities Festival

Posted: September 22, 2017

Buffalo State will welcome the intellectually curious to campus for the fourth annual Buffalo Humanities Festival, September 28–30.

Co-sponsored by the University at Buffalo’s Humanities Institute, Canisius College, and Niagara University, the festival offers a mix of academic talks, public conversations, and performances. One event each will be held at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery and the Burchfield Penney Art Center. The remainder take place in Rockwell Hall.

Each year the festival focuses on a theme that faculty from each campus and guest speakers examine and debate. This year’s theme, “Environments,” will focus on environmental justice, economic sustainability, activism, and the global climate change crisis.

Jason Grinnell, chair and associate professor of philosophy; Amy McMillan, interim director of the Muriel A. Howard Honors Program and associate professor of biology; and Eric Dolph, assistant professor of interior design, are delivering talks on September 30.

“The Buffalo Humanities Festival provides the perfect forum for our faculty, who often are researching topics of broad interest, to shine,” said Anthony Chase, assistant dean of the School of Arts and Humanities. “They will be joined by well-regarded faculty from our academic neighbors. The array of offerings should result in thought-provoking discussions.”

The festival begins Thursday, September 28, at 6:00 p.m. at the Burchfield Penney Art Center auditorium with the forum discussion “Turning the Tide: Communicating Climate Science.” Jacqui Patterson, director of NAACP’s Environmental and Climate Justice Program; Jason Briner, UB associate professor of geology; Elizabeth Mazzolini, UB assistant professor of English; and Adam Rome, UB professor of history, will discuss the challenges of communicating climate change to the public and evaluate why many Americans distrust science in this specific context. 

On Friday, September 29, Bill McKibben, author of the groundbreaking book The End of Nature, will present the keynote speech “The Desperate Climate Fight: Ordinary People in an Extraordinary Moment” at 8:00 p.m. in the Albright-Knox Art Gallery. The Schumann Distinguished Scholar in Environmental Studies at Middlebury College and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, McKibben is a former New Yorker staff writer who currently writes for publications including National Geographic and Rolling Stone.

On Saturday, September 30, events begin at 10:30 a.m. with Deke Weaver’s performance of “BEAR and the Unreliable Bestiary,” which addresses animal extinction in a unique way.  His performance will be followed by three groups of four concurrent sessions running from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 with a break for lunch.

Grinnell and McMillan will jointly present the talk, “Human Judgment and Environmental Impact,” which focuses on the ethics of climate change, at 1:15 p.m. in Rockwell Hall 305. 

Also at 1:15 p.m., Dolph, who previously worked as a professional architect, will present, “In Our Own Image,” in Rockwell Hall 302. He will explore whether current trends in technological innovation might allow for a return to more environmentally responsible construction practices while simultaneously resurrecting historic construction methods at risk of being lost to history.

“I am proud of the faculty who are representing Buffalo State,” Chase said. “Our hope is that the festival not only introduces new voices to the community, but also spotlights all that Buffalo State has to offer.”

The day wraps up with a performance by the 12/8 Path Band. Drinks will be available from Community Beer Works.

Tickets for the September 30 events are $15 for the general public and $10 for students. Both include lunch from the West Side Bazaar if purchased online by midnight on September 25. The September 28 talk is free, but registration is required. Tickets to hear McKibben speak are $20 for the general public and $15 for students. There also are VIP options ranging from $40 to $100.

See the complete festival schedule with additional ticket information.

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