Guidance in troubling times.

This Fall, the Buffalo Humanities Festival kicks off our 6th year with the timely presidential campaign cycle focus: “Democracy: Of the People? By the People? For the People?” For three days of fierce and free-wheeling critical debate, we invite the Buffalo community to join prize-winning writer Ibram X. Kendi (author of the forthcoming How to Be an Antiracist), Chenjerai Kumanyika (cohost of the podcast Uncivil) and former Buffalonian and best-selling journalist, Matt Taibbi (author of the forthcoming Hate Inc: Why Today’s Media Makes Us Despise One Another) for an exhilarating series of talks designed to address the visible and troubling strain American democracy has suffered in recent years.

On Thursday September 19 (6:30pm at Asbury Hall), New York Times Best Selling Author and National Book Award winner, Ibram X. Kendi, will join us for a town hall styled conversation to discuss intersections of race, identity and citizenship. Kendi’s fearless observations in his many prize-winning books range through issues of ethics, history, law, science, alongside his own personal narrative, in order to pressure what we continue to mean by “equality” in American society, as the resurgence of white nationalism becomes a regular feature on the daily news. As he reflects in How to Be an Antiracist: “The good news is that racist and antiracist are not fixed identities. We can be racist one minute and an antiracist the next. What we say about race, what we do about race, in each moment determines what—not who—we are.” Kendi will be joined in conversation by journalist and Rutgers Communications professor Chenjerai Kumanyika, host of the Peabody award winning podcast “Uncivil,” which showcases forgotten and untold stories of race, resistance and corruption during the Civil War, highlighting ideological fractures within our concept of American democracy that have been embedded in this country since its founding.

Meanwhile, on Friday September 20 (8:00pm at Asbury Hall), New York Times Best-Selling Author, Matt Taibbi offers riveting, and often scathing insights about our media saturated political landscape, presenting a portrait of kleptocracy and corruption in late stage American democracy. “In a society governed passively by free markets and free elections,” he laments, “organized greed always defeats disorganized democracy.” The author of multiple New York Times Best Sellers, Taibbi’s forthcoming book Hate Inc: Why Today’s Media Makes Us Despise One Another builds on a noteworthy career characterized by bold and relentless investigative reporting. Often described as “our country’s most fearless journalist,” Taibbi is a regular political commentator known for speaking truth to power and for his searing accounts of political and financial corruption in the highest offices in the land.

We are thrilled to welcome to Buffalo voices characterized by gripping analysis, intellectual heft, and derisive humor—an antidote to the political spin and venom that has come to characterize both our political institutions and, too often, the media that covers them.

The Buffalo Humanities Festival is the result of significant collaborations between several community and campus organizations: the UB Humanities Institute, Canisius College, Niagara University, SUNY Buffalo State, Humanities New York, and the Office of the Vice President for Research and Economic Development at the University at Buffalo. Without their dedication and support, we would be unable to host such dynamic speakers in Buffalo every Fall.

Looking for guidance in troubling times? Please join us for the Buffalo Humanities Festival this September 19-21.