Vital Voices to focus on writings of Chicana scholar

June 13, 2012

The writings of the late Chicana scholar Gloria Evangelina Anzaldúa will be the focus of Vital Voices, an evening of discussion, performance and reading, from 6:30 to 9 p.m., June 21, at the Arizona Latino Arts & Cultural Center, 147 E. Adams, Phoenix.

Vital Voices is a partnership between Arizona State University’s Project Humanities, Performance in the Borderlands, and the community organization Savvy Pen Productions. Download Full Image

The program’s purpose is to bring together individuals and communities to “talk, listen, and connect” through literature, language and performance in cultural spaces around the Valley.

Anzaldúa was born and grew up on the Mexican-Texas border and was a scholar of Chicano cultural theory, feminist theory and queer theory. She loosely based her most well-known book, “Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza,” on her life in the border area, incorporating her lifelong feelings of social and cultural marginalization into that and her other works.

She edited or co-edited such publications as “This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color,” “Making Face, Making Soul/Haciendo Caras: Creative and Critical Perspectives by Women of Color” and “This Bridge We Call Home: Radical Visions for Transformation.”

Her works weave English and Spanish together as one language, an idea stemming from her theory of "borderlands" identity.

Anzaldúa also is noted for her reported out-of-body spiritual events involving narcotics, such as a night when she mixed alcohol and “percada” and, she said, her soul left her body. In her later writings, she developed the concepts of spiritual activism and “nepantleras” to describe the ways contemporary social actors can combine spirituality with politics to enact revolutionary change.

Performance in the Borderlands is part of the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts’ School of Theater and Film. Project Humanities is a President’s Initiative based in the Office of Knowledge Enterprise Development under the direction of associate vice president Neal Lester.

Following the June event, the next Vital Voices will take place from 6:30 to 9 p.m., July 19, at Sunshine’s Motor City Café, 7425 S Harl Ave., Tempe. The Vital Voices event series runs the third Thursday of every month.

Vital Voices’ format includes a facilitator who is connected with the local arts, music and performance scene; one musician and one performer; locally owned or culturally significant venues; and local caterers who utilize local produce.

For more information, contact Patrick D. Reid, project assistant, Project Humanities, at 480-727-7030 or

ASU team excels at international entrepreneurship competition

June 13, 2012

A team of ASU engineering students have emerged as award winners in the finals of the international Dell Social Innovation Challenge for student entrepreneurs.

Team 33 Buckets is developing a project designed to provide clean water in communities in rural Bangladesh, where contaminated water is a leading cause of disease and other health problems. Download Full Image

33 Buckets was one of only five teams that made it to the Dell Challenge world finals from among some 1,700 teams that initially entered the competition.

For its performance in the finals, team members will get mentoring from professionals over the next year to advance their project and some Dell computer hardware.

The team members are mechanical engineering senior Paul Strong and four biomedical engineering students — senior Pankti Shah, senior Varendra Silva, senior Mark Huerta and junior Connor Wiegand.

Team leader Huerta won a scholarship to attend the Dell Challenge Summer Innovation Lab. Only 20 students from throughout the world are invited to participate in the lab, and only several receive a full scholarship.

The team’s project evolved from the Engineering Project in Community Service (EPICS) program in ASU’s Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering. Eight EPICS teams were among the 200 teams chosen in the spring as semifinalists for the Dell Social Innovation Challenge.

Read more about award winners in the 2012 Dell Social Innovation Challenge. 

Joe Kullman

Science writer, Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering