Why it Matters: Civic and Electoral Participation

News Shift: Working Toward a More Informed Electorate

Never before has the nature of news changed so quickly and dramatically than now, driven by a crumbling economic model, “#FakeNews” attacks, “filter bubbles,” and declining public support. What is the state of journalism today? What is its impact on government and elections? Many forces can threaten or undermine an independent press. What are potential solutions for saving quality journalism for the good of citizens and civic engagement? How can we build a strong and sustainable civic information ecosystem for the sake of our communities and society as a whole? Join us for an important conversation about journalism today, and learn how to become a savvy and discerning media consumer.

Time: 1:00:49


David Cuillier, Ph.D., is an associate professor at the University of Arizona School of Journalism, president of the National Freedom of Information Coalition, and a board member of the First Amendment Coalition of Arizona. He is a former newspaper journalist from the Pacific Northwest and served as director of the UA School of Journalism for seven years. He was national president of the Society of Professional Journalists in 2013-14 and received the organization’s highest honor, the Wells Key, for his work in advocating for press freedom nationally. He has testified three times before Congress regarding the Freedom of Information Act, and is currently editor of the peer-reviewed Journal of Civic Information.

From Hollywood Stereotypes to Social Activism: Asian Americans in Media

Time: 0:58:39

Perceptions of Asian Americans have long been shaped by stereotypes perpetuated by the media. We have seen the “model minority,” “asexual nerd,” “sexually submissive mistress,” “tongue-tied immigrant,” and “kung-fu master” portrayals in movies, cartoons, books, and news for decades.  These stereotypes reflect historical inaccuracies, and embody racist, sexist and misogynist characterizations of Asian American women and men. How do these negative and reductive media portrayals impact the treatment of Asian people today? Have media stereotypes contributed to the rise in anti-Asian hate crimes? How is the Asian American community responding? This virtual talk will examine the history of Asian American stereotypes in the media, from old Hollywood to the present, and explore Asian American activism today.


Karen Kuo is an Associate Professor of Asian Pacific American Studies in the School of Social Transformation at Arizona State University. Her fields of interest include literary and cinematic studies and social and cultural theories of race, gender, and sexuality. Her book, East is West and West is East: Gender, Culture, and Interwar Encounters between Asia and America (Temple University Press, November, 2012) examines the geopolitical imaginaries of US orientalism in film and literature during the interwar period. Her two current projects include an edited anthology on Taiwanese Americans, Remembering the Beautiful Island: Critically Considering Transnational Taiwanese/America, and a monograph on representations and discourses of reproduction and mental illness through Asian/American women’s narratives. Dr. Kuo also actively works within the APA community in Arizona by giving presentations about the role of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in US history and culture.

Who is American? The Story of Chinese Americans in the United States

Chinese Americans have a long and complex history in the United States. Chinese people first immigrated to the U.S. in 1815.  Since then they have contributed to all aspects of American life, business, science, arts, culture and more.  Despite over a century of contributions Chinese Americans are often still treated as outsiders. When do immigrants become Americans? What does it mean to be an American citizen? Who gets to decide? How has the question of who is American changed over time? Join us as we explore the story of Chinese immigrants and their path to citizenship and civil rights in the United States.

Time: 1:04:37


Karen J. Leong is an Associate Professor of Women and Gender Studies and Asian Pacific American Studies in the School of Social Transformation at Arizona State University.   She received her doctorate in US History from UC Berkeley, and has been at ASU since 1999. Her book, The China Mystique: Pearl S. Buck, Mayling Soong Chiang, Anna May Wong and the Transformation of American Orientalism was published by University of California Press in 2005. As with most of her research and teaching, it explores the intersections of gender, race, class,  and nation by analyzing how these three very public women came to represent China to Americans during the 1930s and 40s. Her current research projects address Japanese American experiences in transnational Arizona, federal Japanese American and American Indian relocation policies, and Asian American and Pacific Islander women’s sexual health.

Who Gets to Vote? A Discussion of Voting Rights Today

Time: 1:02:32

Dozens of new voting measures have been introduced this year in Arizona and across the country. Why do these voting bills matter? Do they protect or suppress the public’s access to vote in local and national elections? How exactly does the electoral process work, and what will it look like in the future? Join us for a comprehensive examination of voting rights and voting and election laws in the U.S. from the past to present day.


Joshua Sellers is an Associate Professor of Law in the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University. He received his J.D. and Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Chicago. Prior to joining the ASU faculty, he was an Associate Professor at the University of Oklahoma College of Law, and a Postdoctoral Fellow in Law and Politics at Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. His principal areas of research and teaching are election law, legislation and regulation, constitutional law, and civil procedure. His scholarship has been published or is forthcoming in the NYU Law Review, Vanderbilt Law Review, and Stanford Law Review, among others.  

In Partnership with: The Arizona Humanities

Arizona Humanities builds a just and civil society by creating opportunities to explore our shared human experiences through discussion, learning and reflection.

This program is hosted by Arizona Humanities and the George Washington Carver Museum and Cultural Center. This program was funded by the  “Why it Matters: Civic and Electoral Participation” initiative, administered by the Federation of State Humanities Councils and funded by Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

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