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  Tanner Talks | 2019-20 

An annual lecture series generously endowed by the O.C. Tanner Foundation 

The following events have been cancelled because of the pandemic. Many of these events will be rescheduled for next fall. We will announce the schedule for the 2020-2021 academic year as soon as we can.

Logo with drawing of O.C. Tanner

The Tanner Talks series brings in scholars, authors and influencers of all stripes to USU to introduce them to students, spark ideas, and start conversations.

All lectures are free and open to students and the public.

'Social Justice in Digital Spaces'

This series is brought to CHaSS by Merrill-Cazier Library; Inclusion Center; the Mountain West Center for Regional Studies. Organizers are a subcommittee of the DH@USU Digital Humanities Working Group, led by Mattie Burkert (English).

Image of Jody Byrd

Jody Byrd
March 12, 2020
3-4:30 p.m., Merrill Cazier, Rm 154

Jody Byrd, English professor at the University of Illinois and a specialist on digital media's effect on indigenous communities.

Image of Jacqueline Werninont 
Jacqueline Wernimont
April 7, 2020
3-4:30 p.m., Merrill Cazier, Rm 154
Jacqueline Wernimont, professor of women and gender studies at Dartmouth College and a "network weaver" across arts, humanities and sciences. 

'Surviving the Atomic Bomb'

A woman (Shigeko Sasamori) wearing a hat

Tuesday, March 17, 2020, 3 p.m.
Russell Wanlass Performance Hall 

“I looked like a monster." Shigeko Sasamori was a 13-year-old schoolgirl when Hiroshima was decimated by the atomic bomb on Aug. 6, 1945.  Ten years later, she and 24 other scarred and disfigured girls, all now known as the Hiroshima Maidens, came to the United States for multiple plastic surgeries.
She now shares her story with a presentation titled "Surviving the Atomic Bomb: Towards World Peace."

Sponsor: Atsuko Neely, lecturer in Asian Languages/Japanese.

Carol Anderson on Voting Rights

Carol Anderson speaking in a TV news interview

Thursday, March 19, 2020, 7 p.m.
Eccles Conference Center auditorium

Dr. Anderson is the keynote speaker of the two-day symposium titled "Voting Rights: 1870, 1920, 1965, 2020." A professor of African American Studies at Emory University, Dr. Anderson is the author of the acclaimed 2018 book, One Person, No Vote: How Voter Suppression is Destroying our Democracy.
She is a human and civil rights advocate and expert on African American history and 20th century politics. She is also the author of White Rage (2016).
The title of her presention will be "One Person One Vote: How Voter Suppression is destroying our Democracy."
A full agenda outlining other speakers, events,and panels at the March 19-20 symposium can be found here. 

Sponsors: Professors Joyce Kinkead (English), Tammy Proctor (History), Jeannie Thomas (English), Sue Grayzel (History) and Christy Glass (Sociology).

Actors from the London Stage

Graphical image of Tempest poster

March 19-21, 2020
Three public performances of 'The Tempest' in Morgan Theater

This program, founded in the 1990s by the actor Patrick Stewart, brings world-class Shakespearean performance to American universities.  In a week-long residency, five professional actors will visit classrooms and present public performances of "The Tempest" in the Morgan Theatre on March 19-21.

The play will be presented by Actors From the London Stage, a self-directed five-actor ensemble that tours the U.S. twice yearly.

All performances begin at 7:30 p.m. in the Morgan Theater. Tickets are $8-$13 at the Caine College of the Arts Box Office.  Purchsae them at or email

Organizers: Phebe Jensen, professor of English and an authority on William Shakespeare; and Stephanie White (Theatre Arts)
Co-sponsor: Caine College of the Arts


Previous Tanner Talks speakers

Fall 2019:

Sept, 18: Sylvia Mendez, Latino advocate

Mendez and her family were key players in the landmark desegregation case of 1946 (Mendez v.Westminster) that prompted California to be the first state to integrate schools. the lecture was titled "The Latinx Experience in Public Education."

Sept. 25: Symposium on the First Amendment and the Bill of Rights

A panel titled "The First Amendment: Its Legacy and Continuing Value," included Utah Supreme Court Justice Paige Petersen, U of U Professor RonNell Andersen Jones, and Dr. Thomas Terry. Keynote lecture, "First Amendment Rights: Threats and Triumphs," by Dr. Donald Shaw.

Oct. 4: Seminar: "Race, Ethnicity, and Health: Historical and Contemporary Disparities"

Featuring nationally known scholars with keynote by Joseph P. Gone, professor of Anthropology and of Global Health and Social Medicine; also faculty director of the Harvard University Native American Program. 


God and Smog: Religion and Environmentalism
Philip Barlow, history professor and former Arrington chair of Mormon Studies.

Merry Wiesner-Hanks
Distinguished Professor of History at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee, as well as senior editor of The Sixteenth Century Journal: The Journal of Early Modern Studies.

Krista Tippett

Creator and host of the public radio program and podcast, "On Being," a Peabody Award-winning program (as heard at Utah Public Radio, 

Paul Losensky
Professor of Central Eurasian Studies and Comparative Languages at Indiana University Bloomington and an authority on Persian language and literature in primarily Iran, India and Central Asia. 

Ayesha Ramachandran 
Associate professor of Comparative Literature at Yale, Dr. Ramachandran is a literary critic and cultural historian of early modern Europe.