The final UAA Bookstore special event discusses the legacy of Gandhi

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was born on Oct. 2, 1869. Hugh Gunner Deery III, a term philosophy instructor at UAA, will discuss Gandhi’s relevance to modern civil disobedience on the 150th anniversary of the activist’s birth.

“Basically, I want to get at the bottom line question about Civil Disobedience, which I think is the most pertinent thing a young person can gain from Gandhi’s life story,” Deery said. “His life can be used to help you assess your readiness to participate in alternative politics.”

A wall in the UAA Bookstore loft displays posters from past events. Photo by Robert Gant.

This will be the last special event hosted at the current UAA Bookstore location. The UAA Bookstore is temporarily moving to the Alaska Airlines Center, which cannot accommodate events. Previously scheduled events will be hosted in the library.

Unedited recordings of all previous bookstore events are available on iTunes. Rachel Epstein, the special events coordinator of the bookstore, has also provided the recordings at the Archives and Special Collections at the UAA/APU Consortium Library to be uploaded in the future.

The bookstore special events have left a lasting impact on the UAA and Anchorage communities, Epstein says. 

Poet Joan Kane reads from the Alaska Quarterly Review and discusses Alaska Native opportunities in the bookstore
loft during a previous event. Photo courtesy of Rachel Epstein.

“I’ve been doing this for a long time,” Epstein said. I think there are a lot of really good events that aren’t time-sensitive. They’re not just something that happened in the past, they are relevant today.”

Records of previous special events are not confined to recordings. In addition to the posters and books left behind on the walls of the bookstore loft, memories hang in the minds of previous attendees. Deery recalled many fond memories from the bookstore loft.

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“Between inviting authors and speakers and opening their presentations up to the public for free, the bookstore and bookstore loft has functioned as the sort of classroom where actual, literal, life-long learning occurs,” Deery said.

Epstein passionately shared a similar sentiment to Deery about the format of the loft. 

“We’ve had a lot of different types of events,” Epstein said. “[Event speakers] are local, they’re remarkable, but when they’re here, they’re approachable. You can get to know them in a certain way that you wouldn’t have at a book signing event.”

Hugh Gunner Deery III has discussed other topics, such as Buddhist epistemology, using the UAA Bookstore as a forum. Photo courtesy of the Green & Gold.

Epstein has fond memories of Deery’s event on Buddhist Epistemology from last year. She recounted how he engaged the audience and related the qualities of teachers like Socrates and Jesus to qualities modern professors should possess.

“What came out of [Deery’s previous event] was a great conversation,” Epstein said. “It is the perfect day, the perfect time and the perfect place for [an event about Gandhi].”

Epstein said she is saddened that she had to turn away future opportunities for events.

“There are so many changes, I don’t know if [bookstore events] can fit in anywhere,” Epstein said. “I hope someone out there would want it to continue.”

Deery said he is honored to be the last speaker in the bookstore loft. He wants students to attend the last event at the bookstore and foster the sense of community and communication that he believes is important for the final time.

 “Come celebrate the end of an icon of the exchange of free ideas and the expression of high culture in the arctic,” Deery said. “Share in a discussion about the life and motivations of Gandhi, centered around contemporary application and led by the dazzlingly brilliant H. Gunner Deery III while you still can. If you don’t make this one, you never will again.”

This event will take place from 4-6 p.m. on Oct. 2 in the bookstore loft. All UAA Bookstore events are free and open to the public. Free event parking is available at the South Lot, West Campus Central Lot and the Sports Complex NW Lot.