Southwest Humanities

Mission & Outreach

A newer focus at the Southwest Center is the incorporation of the humanities into the research, teaching, publishing, and outreach mission of the Center.  The humanities examine “the aesthetic dimensions of our lives, the diversity of excellence that comprises our cultural heritage, and artistic and scholarly expression,” as defined in the founding legislation of the National Endowment for the Humanities. The Center’s added focus on Southwest Humanities recognizes the value of investigation into the rich cultural heritage of our region in order to cultivate mutual respect and appreciation for the diverse beliefs and values of all regional stakeholders.

The Bear Canyon Center for Southwest Humanities, funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities and a bequest by Mrs. Bazy Tankersley, is dedicated to providing access to and interpretation of human response to the complex region that is the Arizona-Sonora borderlands, from Native arts to Southwestern literature to the filmic heritage of the region.


Binational Research Symposium on Shared Cultural Heritage

Brings together scholars from UA and Mexican institutions UNAM, Colegio de San Luis Potosí, University of Sinaloa, and CISAN for presentations, discussion and tours of sites of shared US-Mexico cultural heritage. The Bear Canyon Center and SBS-Mexico Initiatives are the US co-sponsors of the group, which is developing a three-volume collection of essays on Shared Cultural Heritage: US and Mexico.

Two soldiers on horses from black and white film

Film Screenings and Discussions

Film screenings and discussions of films, both classic and contemporary, feature and documentary, dealing with representations of the landscapes, peoples, and cultures of the Arizona-Sonora Borderlands. Annual events include Cine-Imagining Mexico: Shared Ephemeral Heritages in collaboration with SBS-Mexico Initiatives; Home Movie Day Tucson, and The Desert on Celluloid, both programmed in partnership with the Loft Cinema Tucson. The Bear Canyon Center is also an annual presenting sponsor of a historic restoration/preservation of a local-themed film at FilmFest Tucson.