Connecting History to the Present

Presented by California Institute of Integral Studies

Connecting History to the Present

How does history shape our lives every day?

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Histories – personal, cultural, political and familial – are carried with us, both connecting and dividing us from one another. As part of artist Taraneh Hemami's ongoing project, Theory of Survival, Art at California Institute of Integral Studies invites you into a conversation about history, resistance and change.

Come share food and stories in a creative setting, joined at the table by artists, scholars, activists, and lay people, all experts across disciplines and time periods. Come ready to share stories, to listen, and to raise more questions.

We'll collectively explore the ethics of connecting history to the present, as well as the roles that education and the arts might and do play in illuminating the questions that will meaningfully connect past to present.

Each table will have a facilitator start with one of the following questions, as catalyst for discussion, debate, and storytelling.


1. What piece of history do you carry with you every day?
2. Is it possible to get history right?
3. What are some of the common themes between different histories of struggle?

The Facilitators

Milton Reynolds is Senior Program Associate with Facing History and Ourselves. Educator, diversity/communications consultant, curriculum design specialist and counselor, Milton has a strong interest in understanding how the legacies of our collective history manifest themselves in our present society and specifically, how the past informs our actions and decision making processes and shapes the institutions and practices that structure our society.

Manijeh Nasrabadi is a writer and scholar of American Studies, with particular emphasis on Iranian student activism in the United States. Former co-director of the Association of Iranian American Writers, her essays and articles have appeared in Comparative Studies of South Asian, Africa, and the Middle East, Social Text online, Jadaliyya, and Callaloo.

Pireeni Sundaralingam is a poet, curator, and cognitive scientist, born in Sri Lanka and raised both there and in England. She is co-editor of Indivisible: An Anthology of Contemporary South Asian American Poetry. Her own poetry has been widely published internationally, and translated into several languages. She's currently working on a book on creativity, poetry and the brain.

Ignacio Valero is a current associate professor of humanities and sciences at CCA. Formerly with the International Center for Environmental Education, CIFCA, and the United Nations environment and development programs UNEP and UNDP, his current interests include the political economy of the image, consumption, desire, and the society of the spectacle. He is also interested in understanding practices leading to critical and creative pedagogies, and he is working on a poetry manuscript.