Newberry Teachers’ Consortium

An Illustrated Map of Chicago. Tudor Press (Boston). 1931. Map 6F G4101.C6A3 1931.T8
An Illustrated Map of Chicago. Tudor Press (Boston). 1931. Map 6F G4101.C6A3 1931.T8

The Newberry Teachers’ Consortium offers a series of intellectually stimulating, content-based seminars led by scholars from Chicago-area universities and colleges. The seminars aim to reconnect teachers with the world of scholarship in their content areas and re-inspire them to model the love of learning for their students.

During the 2013-14 school year, approximately 700 teachers participated in 39 seminars on diverse topics, such as “Television and American identity,” “Interpreting the Ottoman Past,” “The Great Gatsby on Screen and In Context,” “The EU Financial Crisis,” “Reading and Writing with Comics,” and “Home Front: Daily Life in the Civil War North.” Participating teachers came from 61 schools representing over 28 school districts in the Chicago area.

Subject Groups

NTC offers seminars in eight subject areas:

  • American history
  • American studies
  • European history
  • Geography and environmental studies
  • Literature and drama
  • Political science and economics
  • World history
  • World language

Seminar Format

Each seminar is three hours long and takes place on weekdays at the Newberry. Seminars are always scheduled from 9:30 am to 12:30 pm unless otherwise indicated. Participants earn three CPDU credit hours for attending an NTC seminar.

Participating in NTC

NTC is a subscription-based program that requires the purchase of an annual membership. School districts, schools, departments, or individuals are welcome to purchase any level of membership to fit their professional development needs. Districts, schools, and departments that are NTC members use a central contact person to coordinate seminar requests, track seminar participation, and monitor membership status.

Registration is limited to 20 participants per seminar and are filled on a first-come, first-served basis. Each NTC member may only send two teachers to any given seminar.


  • Individual Membership: $140 per seminar
  • Department Membership: $690 for six seminar slots
  • School Membership: $1,200 for 12 seminar slots
  • District Membership: $1,700 for 20 seminar slots

Download the current NTC Membership Form.

Access the seminar readings.

For questions or more information, please contact Teacher Programs staff.

View past Newberry Teachers’ Consortium seminars

Upcoming NTC Seminars

Wednesday, October 8, 2014
The Economics of Emerging Markets

One of the most important developments in the past twenty years is the rise of economies outside of North America and Europe (the so-called “first world”). The center of world economic growth has shifted to formerly poor and marginal economies.

Thursday, October 9, 2014
Fashioning Modesty : Clothing and Morality in American Culture

Clothing is a moral issue.

Friday, October 10, 2014
Art as a Weapon : The Black Chicago Renaissance of the 1930s and 1940s

This seminar will examine the questions of how and why an African American “Renaissance” in the arts emerged in 1930s Chicago and what impact it had on the ideas about race, class, and politics, both in Chicago and across the nation.

Thursday, October 16, 2014
Middle East Politics after the Arab Spring

In 2011, the sudden eruption of popular demonstrations across the Arab world filled participants and observers alike with hope in a new dawn of democracy. Three and a half years later, outcomes are decidedly mixed.

Friday, October 17, 2014
Putting the Founding Fathers in their Place : Popular Politics in the Early American Republic

In present-day historical memory, the words and deeds of the “Founding Fathers” cast a shadow so large that it often obscures our understanding of the development of American political ideas and institutions.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014
Native American Journey Stories

The journey story represents a well-traveled literary path. In countless Euro-America novels and films, an individual moves away from home in search of something better, bigger, or just different, experiencing a reinvention of self.

Thursday, October 23, 2014
The Decline and Fall of the Ottoman Empire : Culture and Politics in the Ottoman Balkans

The Ottoman Empire was one of the longest-lasting empires in world history, stretching across the Middle East, Northern Africa, and Eastern Europe since the 1500s.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014
Homer on Marriage and the Ideal Society

The Odyssey is popularly thought of as one of the world’s greatest adventure stories, thanks to Odysseus’ famous encounters with the Lotus-Eaters, the cyclops, Circe, the Sirens, and others. Yet these encounters do not actually take place in the narrative present of the poem, and they only occupy four of The Odyssey’s twenty-four books.

Monday, November 3, 2014
The Mexican Revolution and Its Legacy

This seminar will take stock of the Mexican Revolution more than a century after its outbreak in 1910. Traditional histories tell a story of rough-hewn revolutionaries like Pancho Villa and Emiliano Zapata raising armies of peasant warriors to overthrow the dictator Porfirio Díaz in a bid for social justice and national honor. But how accurate is that version?

Wednesday, November 5, 2014
Challenges Facing Russia and Ukraine in the 21st Century

This seminar will build on a historical perspective on the problems facing countries with a post-Communist legacy and will turn to the contemporary internal and external challenges of political control, economic development, and societal management.

Monday, November 17, 2014
The First World War : The Significance of the "Great War" Then and 100 Years Later

“The war to make the world safe for democracy,” “the war to end all wars,” and “the great war.” All these phrases were used to describe the First World War until Europe experienced the rise of dictatorships of the right and the left, and a second world war occurred which was greater in magnitude and destruction.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014
Sandburg to Brooks to Dybek : Identity, the City, and Nature in Chicago Poetry

When Americans think about Nature, we tend to sort the world into “wilderness” and “the city.” Nature is beautiful, the city is ugly. Nature is life-enhancing, the city is a moral threat. The built environment is thought to oppose or contradict or ruin the natural world, no matter how many parks and beaches we also build into our cities. But how do Chicago poets see this relationship?

Wednesday, November 19, 2014
"New" Immigrant Fiction

Historians generally recognize two landmarks in US twentieth-century immigration policy: the Johnson-Reed Act of 1924, which restricted immigration from southern and eastern Europe; and the Hart-Cellar Act of 1965, which did away with national-origins quotas and opened up immigration from Asia and Latin America in unprecedented numbers.

Friday, January 30, 2015
Serious Clowning

Shakespeare created two kinds of comic characters: the clown and the fool. In this seminar we will explore the way his drama uses these comic creations for serious purposes.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015
The 1960s

Mention the 1960s and a handful of places come to mind: Dallas, Selma, San Francisco, Saigon. This seminar will add another place to the list, exploring the key dynamics of that iconic decade as they played out in the nation’s Second City.

Friday, February 6, 2015
Shakespeare's Women on Film : Sorcerers, Celebrities, Grrrls and Other Upstarts

From Lady Macbeth to Ophelia to Desdemona to Cleopatra, Shakespeare’s female characters have become useful shorthand for exploring highly recognized, highly charged images of femininity in the contemporary moment.

Monday, February 9, 2015
Hard-Heartedness, Freedom of Expression, and the Romantic Response

The modern tradition of freedom of expression stems from Western religious traditions. What we call the classical liberal tradition today represents an adaptation of Christian thought, blended with market-derived doctrine.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015
South Asia from World War II to the War on Terror

This is a longue-durée look at South Asia from the fall of the British Empire to the current period.

Thursday, February 12, 2015
The Cultural Enlightenment (1650-1800)

In this seminar we will discuss the social and cultural history of the Enlightenment. Through an exploration of the forms and locations of the Enlightenment—such as the press, salons, clubs, and coffeehouses—we will explore how Enlightenment ideas were disseminated.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015
American Populisms

“The People” have rampaged throughout American history. But for good, or for ill? This seminar will explore how populism has influenced the course of our past, from the 18th century to the present.

Friday, February 20, 2015
Food and Politics

This seminar explores the relationships and connections between food and politics. To study the politics of food is to study the power relationships involving the production, distribution, subsidizing and marketing of food. Although not always apparent, government and corporations are inextricably bound in food policies that directly and profoundly affect our lives.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015
America's Response to the Holocaust

Although there is widespread agreement that American authorities knew by 1942 of Hitler’s plan to annihilate Europe’s Jews, there is no consensus about the nature and effectiveness of America’s response to the Holocaust.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015
"A comic book can be true!?!" : Considering Non-fiction Comics

While the term “non-fiction comics” may not be familiar, you have likely heard of the following comics, even though they are often referred to as “graphic novels”: Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis, Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home, and, of course, Art Spiegelman’s Maus, to name a few.

Thursday, February 26, 2015
The Politics of International Law

Aerial drones, humanitarian intervention, cyber attacks, torture. The big debates in world politics today are entangled with international law and with controversy over what is legal and what is not.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015
The Vikings : Medieval Ambassadors of Terror, Trade and Multiculturalism

This seminar explores teaching methods and tools (e.g. images, sources, documentaries) for approaching the social, religious, economic, political and cultural history of the Vikings, from the first recorded Viking attacks in England, c.

Friday, March 6, 2015
Le cinéma "français" accenté : Construire les faces et les espaces de "l'Autre"

On ne peut définir le cinéma et la culture de la France métropolitaine actuelle, sans se référer au mélange des cultures et espaces identitaires qui forment le paysage français actuel. Une façon d’examiner la culture française d’aujourd’hui est d’interpréter comment le cinéma reflète le métissage courant ou les frictions culturelles qui se voient en métropole.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015
Family in Latin American Cinema

This seminar will examine the strategies that Latin American filmmakers use to represent families, and the trope of the family more broadly, to explore the social, political and historical realities that mark the region.

Friday, March 13, 2015
Are We Running Dry? : The Future of Water Supply and Demand in the USA

Water resources are essential to society and ecosystems. Unabated urbanization has placed incredible stress on water supply, demand, and quality, and these stresses are likely to be compounded by climate change. In some areas climate change is likely to increase the demand for water, while at the same time shrinking already scarce water resources.

Friday, April 24, 2015

The economic, political, social, and cultural aspects of gentrification are all important, both in terms of the foundations of the process and potential responses to it. This seminar will overview the key terms and theories necessary to understand the process of the ‘upgrading’ or ‘revitalization’ of previously disinvested urban neighborhoods.