Black Faculty Speaker Series

2022-2023 Theme: Afrofuturism

Out of this World: Afrofuturist Expressions across Science, Art, Tech and Design

The Black Faculty Speaker Series will create a campus culture in which Black thought, experience, and creativity are visible and vital. Each visiting speaker provides a unique voice and perspective on Black futurity.

Afrofuturism is this year’s theme for the Black Faculty Speaker Series. It is an orientation or a way of thinking that defies simple classification. It is expansive, interdisciplinary, and revolutionary beyond conventional notions of resistance. Afrofuturism’s practitioners blend imagination, research, experimentation, and Black ancestral knowledge to invent worlds that transcend our present condition and fuel new possibilities for a more just and sustainable planet.

Past Events

Ibrahim Thiaw | Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Black Faculty Speaker Series Poster image of guest speaker Mr. Ibrahim Thiaw on a yellow backgroun

Ibrahim Thiaw was appointed as Under Secretary General of the United Nations and UNCCD Executive Secretary on 31 January 2019. The Mauritanian brings 40 years of experience in sustainable development, environmental governance and natural resource management. Executive Secretary Thiaw is well-poised to lead the global effort on land restoration, build drought resilience; and improve food security, gender equality and land rights for vulnerable populations. Before joining UNCCD, he was Special Adviser to the Secretary-General for the Sahel, where he supported the implementation of the United Nations Integrated Strategy for the Sahel (UNISS) and the development of a UN Support Plan for the Sahel.  From 2013 to 2018 he served as Assistant Secretary General and Deputy Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). Before that he was the Director of UNEP’s Division for Environmental Policy Implementation, and he also served as the Regional Director for West Africa, and later Acting Director General of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).   

Ruha Benjamin | Wednesday, January 25 & Thursday, January 26, 2023

Black Faculty Speaker Series Poster with an image of Ms. Ruha Benjamin on a yellow background

"Viral Justice: How we Grow the World We Want"
Ruha Benjamin is Professor of African American Studies at Princeton University, founding director of the Ida B. Wells Just Data Lab, and author of the award-winning book Race After Technology: Abolitionist Tools for the New Jim Code, among many other publications. Her work investigates the social dimensions of science, medicine, and technology with a focus on the relationship between innovation and inequity, health and justice, knowledge and power. She is the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including the Marguerite Casey Foundation Freedom Scholar Award and the President's Award for Distinguished Teaching at Princeton. Her most recent book, Viral Justice: How We Grow the World We Want, was born out of the twin plagues of COVID-19 and police violence, and offers a practical and principled approach to transforming our communities and helping us build a more just and joyful world.
Race/Remix Podcast Episode 1: "When Justice Goes Viral: Ruha Benjamin"
Listen to the podcast "When Justice Goes Viral: Ruha Benjamin" featured on Race/Remix, a program of Racial Justice Studio, a member of Arizona Arts Division.


Silas Munro | Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Black Faculty Speaker Series poster with image of Mr. Silas Munro on a yellow background

“Future Forces of History”
Silas Munro is an artist, designer, writer, curator, and partner of Polymode, a studio that leads the edge of contemporary graphic design for clients in the cultural sphere. Collaborations include the City of Los Angeles, Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum, David Kordansky Gallery, MoMA, and MOCA. He is a curator and author of Strikethrough: Typographic Messages of Protest  that opened at Letterform Archive in 2022. Munro’s writing appears in the book, W. E. B. Du Bois’s Data Portraits: Visualizing Black America. Munro expanded this research as a co-author of the first BIPOC centered Design History course: Black Design in America: African Americans and the African Diaspora in Graphic Design, which will be published in book form in 2023. Munro holds an MFA from CalArts and a BFA from RISD. Munro is Founding Faculty and Co-Chair for the MFA in Graphic Design at Vermont College of Fine Arts.
Race/Remix Podcast Episode 2: "A Typeface for Change: Silas Munro"
Silas Munro was featured in this podcast "A Typeface for Change: Silas Munro" on Race/Remix, a program of Racial Justice Studio, a member of the Arizona Arts Division.


This series is organized by a sub-committee of the Black Faculty Affinity Group including:

  • Dr. Mamadou Baro, Chair of BARA, Associate Professor, School of Anthropology
  • Dr. Amy Kraehe, Associate Professor, School of Art, Associate Vice President, Equity in the Arts
  • Dr. Tarnia Newton, Assistant Clinical Professor, College of Nursing
  • Dr. Gloria J. Wilson, Associate Professor, School of Art, Co-Director – Racial Justice Studio

Coordination of the series is supported by Faculty Affairs and funded by the Office of the President.

Co-Sponsors & Collaborators include: Racial Justice Studio – Arizona Arts, Arizona Institute for Resilience, Biosphere 2, BIO5 Institute, Beyond Juneteenth Committee, Center for Digital Humanities, College of Fine Arts, College of Education, College of Science, Department of Africana Studies, Faculty Affairs, Honors College, Indigenous Resilience Center, John and Sandi Flint, The Nurse-Midwifery Specialty - College of Nursing, The Office of Diversity and Inclusion, Research, Innovation & Impact (RII)