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Robert Vint – “The Myth of Tucson”

October 16, 2017 @ 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm

Every human place on the face of the earth – every village, town, or city – has its myth, an origin story, a real or imagined reason (or reasons) for being.

And every place has its ghosts, its secrets and hidden past. What we believe about our place in the world – where we are from, where we live, and where we belong – is a mix of fact and fiction.

This essay will consider Tucson, a place with deep roots in pre-contact Native American culture, followed upon by Spanish colonization and Anglo-American consumer-capitalism. Is there a “real” Tucson? Or are there many Tucsons? Whose origin story holds sway?

In the dramatic post-World War II expansion of the 1950s and 1960s, the image of Tucson as a western town, in the sense of the “Wild West”, was held up to attract a burgeoning population of immigrants from the eastern United States. The fascination with The West, as fueled by movie Westerns and television shows, served to promote Tucson as a destination for vacation or relocation in the broad societal pattern of sun-belt migration, expressed architecturally in sprawling suburbs of “ranch houses”.

Tucson’s origins as a Native American, Spanish, and Mexican place were overshadowed by the dominant Anglo society that was bent on supplanting the material culture of earlier inhabitants with its own image. Architecture, as the built expression of a society’s values and way of life, became a battle ground, culminating in the destruction of more than half of Tucson’s nineteenth century Mexican Barrio during “urban renewal”.

And that’s just the beginning … to be continued on October 16!



October 16, 2017
7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
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DuVal Auditorium, Banner-University Medical Center
1501 N Campbell Ave
Tucson, AZ United States
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