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Free, thought-provoking, expert-facilitated discussions on important issues facing our communities produced in partnership with Arizona Humanities and the Arizona State Library, Archives & Public Records.

What are FRANK Talks?

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FRANK Talks are face-to-face conversations on ideas that matter. Attendees discuss issues of local and national importance in local libraries at a single-session 75-minute program, led by a humanities scholar/expert on the topic. FRANK Talks engage participants with important issues and provide the opportunity to put them in context, weigh facts, and consider different points of view. The goal of FRANK Talks is to inspire people to practice the skills of citizenship – to listen respectfully and engage thoughtfully with one another on important issues that affect our communities. Topics can include: education, immigration, religion, civil rights, and more.

How can my library host a free FRANK Talk?

FRANK Talks launched in 2016 at Arizona Libraries. The application process is very similar to the AZ Speaks program; libraries review topics, contact scholars to schedule a program(s), and complete an online application. Unlike the AZ Speaks lecture-style format, FRANK Talks are interactive, participatory, and designed to engage people in conversation about important issues.

Libraries will be selected to participate based upon the completeness of an online application, their capacity to promote the program, and the availability of funding. FRANK Talks are FREE for approved library applicants. A partnership between Arizona Humanities and the Arizona State Library, Archives & Public Records pays for honorarium and travel for speakers and moderators.

FRANK Talks Cycles – New topics are updated each cycle. Libraries can book 1 FRANK Talk per cycle.

  • October 1, 2016 – March 31, 2017
  • April 1, 2017 – September 30, 2017

What is the process to schedule a FRANK Talk?

At this time, FRANK Talks are only available for Arizona libraries. Applications are being accepted for FRANK Talks taking place October 1, 2016 – March 31, 2017.

  1. Review the FRANK Talks scholar and topic below that your organization is interested in hosting between October 1, 2016 – March 31, 2017.
  2. Contact the scholar to schedule their participation and confirm date and time. Scholar contact information is available below under the FRANK Talks topic.
  3. Go to the Arizona Humanities FRANK Talks Host Portal and complete the online application form. You should contact the speaker and submit your application to book presentations before March 31, 2017.
  4. Once your application is processed, we will provide follow-up steps to administer your program.
  5. FRANK Talks are free for libraries. A partnership between Arizona Humanities and the Arizona State Library, Archives & Public Records pays for honorarium and travel for scholars.

Why the name FRANK Talks?

Lorraine Frank 400x265FRANK Talks is named in part to honor Lorraine W. Frank, the founding Executive Director of Arizona Humanities. During her tenure from 1973 to 1989, she elevated public discourse and understood that engaging communities in dialogue was critical to the life of our state. Lorraine W. Frank passed away in 2005, and in 2015 she was inducted into the Arizona Women’s Hall of Fame.

FRANK Talks Topics - October 1, 2016 - March 31, 2017

Colorblindness and equality: Well-intentioned American values, or myths?

Dr. Angelina Castagno, Northern Arizona University, Associate Professor, Educational Foundations

Most of us are raised to value colorblindness and equality. Lady Justice is depicted wearing a blindfold to symbolize objectivity; Dr. King’s legacy to judge each other by our character rather than skin color is a well-known mantra; and we regularly pledge our allegiance to equality for all. We are taught that these American values are what sets us apart from other nations. Does our devotion to colorblindness and equality actually promote or hinder social justice? Do these distinctly American values reduce or exacerbate racial tensions and inequities within the U.S.? Join us for a FRANK Talk about colorblindness and equality in America. Contact: angelina.castagno@nau.edu / 801-856-9509


Educational equity in Arizona: A radical idea, or a necessary goal?

Dr. Angelina Castagno, Northern Arizona University, Associate Professor, Educational Foundations

Education is a hot topic in Arizona. Legislators, educators and citizens cannot agree on funding, curricula, or testing, to name a few, or on why Arizona consistently ranks at the bottom nationally when it comes to education. While these issues are fundamental, they lose sight of the most important issue, educating Arizona’s children. Are Arizona children receiving the education they need to live, work, raise families and be productive members of society? Do all Arizona children have access to an education, regardless of class, race or geography? Is educational equity a right or a privilege? Join us for a FRANK Talk about educating Arizona children. Contact: angelina.castagno@nau.edu / 801-856-9509


Conspiracy and Credibility: Look Who’s Talking, about What — Law Talk and Loose Talk

Dr. T.J. Davis, Arizona State University, School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies

It is undeniable that words have power, the power to teach, to defend, to inspire and to offend, the power to reveal facts and falsehoods, the power to foster democracy in a civil society. But what happens when the words people choose cause harm? What is fact and what is opinion? What is protected speech and what is not? In the fast-paced world of social media the words we choose can be wielded as weapon or shield, and who is talking, makes a difference. Join us for a FRANK Talk about the law, speech and credibility. Contact: tjdavis@asu.edu / 602-430-0153


Electing the President: The Constitutional Process and History

Dr. T. J. Davis, Arizona State University, School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies

Presidential elections generate lots of heat but not necessarily much light about the indirect, layered election process the U.S. Constitution’s framers created. That process has generated contention, concern, and change. With the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November on the horizon, join us for a FRANK talk about how and why the U.S. presidential election process works the way it does. Contact: tjdavis@asu.edu / 602-430-0153


War, Liberty & Law: The U.S. Constitution and Crisis

Dr. T.J. Davis, Arizona State University, School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies

There is a fundamental tension between national security and individual liberty. The Bill of Rights guarantees certain liberties, free speech and press, peaceable assembly, the right to bear arms and be free from unlawful searches and seizures, among them. But during times of war, and even times of peace, the government’s war-making power may trample on individual rights in order to protect the nation. How do we strike a balance between liberty and security? Does the end justify the means, or can the government’s tactics violate privacy and freedom? Join us for a FRANK Talk about national security and liberty. Contact: tjdavis@asu.edu / 602-430-0153


Reframing Justice: Storytelling and Social Transformation

Dr. Grace Gamez, Program Associate, American Friends Services Committee

Stories are used to build nations, to teach social norms, and to foster community values. Stories have the power to marginalize as well as mobilize, to create community and to shape identity. The stories of people who enter the criminal justice system, those who lack access and influence, are often rewritten and their humanity erased. Branded with permanent labels such as “inmate,” “offender,” “felon,” they struggle to survive in our communities and make survival post-incarceration a struggle. Who gets to tell what stories, to whom about the criminal justice system in Arizona? What stories would emerge if the power was in different hands? Join us for a FRANK Talk about incarceration, storytelling, and humanity. Contact: ggamez@afsc.org / 520-623-9141 


Mothering for Reproductive Justice

Dr. Kathy Nakagawa, Arizona State University, School of Social Transformation

Our roles as mothers encompass caring for our children through all aspects of development, but we often falter when it comes to talking about sexuality. For our daughters, in particular, having healthy attitudes about sex can promote equitable relationships and more body-positive views and nurture more thoughtful choices regarding intimacy. Yet U.S. societal restrictions and our own attitudes toward sex and intimacy may hinder those conversations, leading our children to lack accurate knowledge about their own sexuality. How can mothers have better conversations with their children about sexuality? Can this result in greater reproductive justice in society? Join us for a FRANK Talk about mothering, sexuality and reproductive justice. Contact: nakagawa@asu.edu / 480-965-0582


Is This Racist? Racial Literacy and Social Media

Dr. Kathy Nakagawa, Arizona State University, School of Social Transformation

Many parents and educators avoid conversations about race and racism with their children and students, yet young people are regularly exposed to images, stories, videos and statements that reflect racial societal attitudes. This exposure often comes through social media, such as YouTube videos, tweets, Facebook posts and Tumblr blogs. Despite that exposure, many young people are unprepared to discuss race and racism in productive ways, and many parents and educators are unsure how to guide these discussions. So how do we develop a “racial literacy” to have these conversations? Like learning to read and write, racial literacy equips us to talk about race and understand historical and systemic contexts of race and racism, and it helps navigate the parallel dialogue occurring in media. Join us for a FRANK Talk about racism, racial literacy and social media. Contact: nakagawa@asu.edu / 480-965-0582


Faith in the Borderlands: Immigration and Religion in Arizona

Dr. Leah Sarat, Arizona State University, Associate Professor, School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies

Many immigrants facing the challenges and risks involved in traveling to and settling within the United States turn to religious beliefs and practices for strength, empowerment, and to establish a sense of belonging. How does religion impact immigrants from the U.S.-Mexico borderlands? What is the role of religion for the undocumented facing the social, economic and psychological impact of detention? What motivates some to help newly-arrived immigrants, and others to hate? Join us for a FRANK Talk about religion and immigration. Contact: leah.sarat@asu.edu / 480-298-6326 


Body Cameras, Tasers and Guns: Modern Policing or a Police State?

Michael Scott, Arizona State University, Clinical Professor, Director of Center for Problem-Oriented Policing, School of Criminology & Criminal Justice

The methods and tools used by police officers today are not the same as in the past. In some cases the police are using military tools and tactics for law enforcement. Are the police really protecting the public, or are they over-policing civilians? Is there a “war on police” that is chilling local law enforcement? Are public demands for independent investigations of police violence, demilitarized police forces, and an end to “for-profit” policing justified?  Join us for a FRANK Talk with local police. Contact: msscott5@asu.edu / 602-496-0409


Policing America: Community in Blue or Community Blues?

Michael Scott, Arizona State University, Clinical Professor, Director of Center for Problem-Oriented Policing, School of Criminology & Criminal Justice

Police officers take an oath to serve with integrity and to honor the public trust. But all too often the public does not trust the police. What is the role of the police in crime prevention and criminal justice? What is the role of the public in public safety? How can people and the police work together to make communities safe?  Join us for a FRANK Talk with local police. Contact: msscott5@asu.edu / 602-496-0409


Rescued Lives, Transformed Communities: Refugee Resettlement in Arizona

Lori Robinson, MSW Candidate, ASU School of Social Work

Emily Taylor, International Rescue Committee-Phoenix

According to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, there are currently over 60,000,000 displaced persons in the world, most of them women and children.  Less than one percent of the refugees worldwide are offered the opportunity to build new lives in another country. What does it mean to be a refugee? What do refugees experience before coming to the United States?  Is it the responsibility of the United States and other developed nations to provide protection, safety and resources to individuals who are escaping conflict and persecution? Learn about the history of refugee resettlement, the current overseas and domestic processing of refugees living in the United States and the refugee resettlement programs in Arizona. Engage in dialogue about the complexity of the refugee experience, how refugees enrich our local communities and how you can be more involved. Contact: lorierobinson@gmail.com / 602-769-8810

Civic Engagement: What is it & why is it important?

Ryan Winkle, Co-founder RAILMesa

What is civic engagement? How can you engage and empower people in your communities? Explore the idea that civic participation is not just important, but imperative for a community to be successful. Learn and reflect on how being an “engaged” citizen can play a meaningful role in discussions, decision-making and the implementation of projects and programs that take place within our schools, city councils, neighborhoods, polling places, and more. Join us for a FRANK Talk on civic engagement. Contact: Ryan.D.Winkle@Gmail.com / 602-741-6465


Additional Reading

FRANK Talks encourages further exploration and research of certain topics. From time to time, we will post materials shared during FRANK Talks programs and after by scholars and facilitators.

Shared by Dr. Angelina Castagno, Northern Arizona University

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