Programs and Events | Newberry

Programs and Events

The Newberry offers programming in the humanities for scholars, teachers, and the general public. Unless otherwise noted, events are free, and no reservations are required. Many of our programs are recorded, and you can listen to them on our website.

E.g., 12/15/2018
E.g., 12/15/2018
Tuesday, February 12, 2019
Led by Bill Savage. Six sessions, 6 – 7:30 pm
Bars have long been central to Chicago culture. From our first election—held in the Sauganash Tavern—to Gilded Age saloons, Prohibition-era speakeasies, and generations of ethnically-identified local bars, such venues have provided a “third place” where people create community and negotiate American identity…
Tuesday, February 12, 2019
Led by Brooke Heagerty. Eight sessions, 5:45 - 7:45 pm
This course will explore how the civil rights movement shaped American society and redefined life for generations of Americans. Taking advantage of new scholarship, we will explore the movement’s worldwide significance and its role in the struggle for democracy and human rights…
Tuesday, February 12, 2019
Led by Frank Biletz. Ten sessions, 1 - 3 pm (Section A) or 5:45 - 7:45 pm (Section B)
The dissolution of the Ottoman Empire in the aftermath of the First World War had consequences that have lasted to the present day. This course will survey the rise of the Ottoman Empire and its gradual decline into the “Sick Man of Europe”; the Young Turk Revolution of 1908…
Tuesday, February 12, 2019
Led by Susan Pezzino. Eight sessions, 5:45 – 7:45 pm
Are you looking for a Spanish class with the right balance of language, culture, and conversation? Here is your chance to learn not only what to say but why and when to say it, and to enjoy some relaxed practice involving real-life situations…
Tuesday, February 12, 2019
Led by John Suiter. Six sessions, 5:45 – 7:45 pm
No writer of the Beat Generation had as much influence on the literary life of Daley-era Chicago as the poet-provocateur Allen Ginsberg. Chicago likewise did a great deal to spread Ginsberg’s fame and secure his place in American letters…
Tuesday, February 12, 2019
Led by Stephen Kleiman. Ten sessions, 2 - 4 pm
In this course, we will study a selection of the most significant concertos and investigate the form’s development over the past 200 years…
Tuesday, February 12, 2019
Led by Riad Ismat. Eight sessions, 2 – 3:30 pm
Syria is a country living a contemporary tragedy. Once known as a land of tolerance and the home to many ethnic minorities, the country has recently experienced years of brutal fighting. The intention of this course is to shed light on some overlooked aspects of Syrian society, politics, history, archaeology, and culture…
Wednesday, February 13, 2019
Led by Laurel Harig. Ten sessions, 5:45 – 7:45 pm
This course will introduce students to the rich world of the Arabic language. At the end of the course, each student will be able to read and write short paragraphs (5-6 sentences long) in grammatically correct Modern Standard Arabic, describing themselves, their family, the weather, food, places, and simple actions in the past, present, and future…
Wednesday, February 13, 2019
Led by John Nygro. Five sessions, 2 – 4 pm
Shakespeare’s late romance examines the universal themes of redemption and forgiveness, family reunions, destruction of trust through suspicion, the unintended consequences of self-involvement, the magic of the theater, and the renewal of life through an awakening to love…
Wednesday, February 13, 2019
Led by Elzbieta Foeller-Pituch. Four sessions, 6 – 7:30 pm
This course will examine American fiction of the 1970s, specifically the ways writers used a variety of traditional myths to explore the multiple cultural heritages of the United States and create innovative narratives of maturation…
Wednesday, February 13, 2019
Led by John Gibbons. Six sessions, 2 - 4 pm
Music, whether original or borrowed, has often determined the character and emotional gravity of the greatest films. Some movies, such as Taxi Driver, Vertigo, and 2001: A Space Odyssey, are almost unimaginable without their scores…
Wednesday, February 13, 2019
Led by Todd Bauer. Eight sessions, 6 - 7:30 pm
The plays of Miller, Albee, Mamet, and Hansberry aimed to define what it meant to be an American during a period of great social flux. In this lecture- and discussion-based seminar, we will explore the racial, cultural, and political changes taking place in this country at mid-twentieth century by focusing on the motif of the family…
Wednesday, February 13, 2019
Led by Christopher Reed. Six sessions, 5:45 - 7 45 pm
The famed Columbian-era pamphlet Why the Colored American Is Not in The World’s Columbian Exposition established a perception of African American exclusion from the 1893 World’s Fair…
Wednesday, February 13, 2019
Led by Susan Bazargan. Six sessions, 6 – 7:30 pm
In this seminar, we will examine how works of fiction can also be read as the writers’ critical pronouncements, which, in turn, can enhance our understanding of their artistry. We will begin with short stories by Henry James, then turn to Oscar Wilde, and finally discuss two of James Joyce’s short stories in light of our readings of James and Wilde…
Thursday, February 14, 2019
Led by Will Hansen. Nine sessions, 5:45 – 7:45 pm
From the most famous first sentence in American literature to its climactic chase scene, Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick is a great challenge—and memorable experience—in the life of any reader. This seminar will help participants chart an exciting course through the novel…
Thursday, February 14, 2019
Led by Donald Evans. Five sessions, 5:45 – 7:45 pm
A varied and complicated city, Chicago has been used by many writers as something akin to a main character. In this course, we will develop our own Chicago stories with an eye toward making the urban setting meaningful and memorable…
Thursday, February 14, 2019
Led by Daniele Macuglia. Five sessions, 2 – 4 pm
Galileo wasn’t just the paradigm-shattering scientist we all recognize for his major contributions to the Copernican Revolution and for having combined experiments and mathematical methods in a ground-breaking way. He was also an excellent artist, a lutenist, a passionate reader of Dante and Ariosto, and a man of letters himself…
Thursday, February 14, 2019
Led by Laura MacKay Hansen. Six sessions, 6 – 7:30 pm
In this course, we will read and discuss three beautifully written and complex novels of the late twentieth century: Age of Iron, by South African writer J.M. Coetzee; The God of Small Things, by Indian writer Arundhati Roy; and Reading in the Dark, by Irish writer Seamus Deane…
Tuesday, February 19, 2019
Led by Debra Mancoff. Six sessions, 5:45 – 7:45 pm
What does it feel like to own a renowned work of art? Can it embody your legacy, even your own self worth? The answers lie partly in the history of art, but the emotional experience is more richly explored in fictional writings about the relationship of art and ownership…
Wednesday, February 20, 2019
Led by Ronald Corthell. Six sessions, 2 – 4 pm
While based on the biblical accounts of the creation and fall, Milton’s masterpiece is boldly designed to engage its narrator, characters, and readers in debates about the beginning of the story of the human race…
Wednesday, February 20, 2019
Led by Lesa Dowd. Five sessions, 5:45 – 7:45 pm
Plain and decorative papers have been incorporated into book coverings for centuries. From simple blue wrappers to embellished paste, printed, and marbled designs, paper has been both an economical and a beautiful covering material for the protection of the printed book…
Thursday, February 21, 2019
Led by Tom Irvine. Seven sessions, 5:45 – 7:45 pm
Harry Truman founded the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) after World War II to gather information that he couldn’t get from newspapers. Though the U.S. was late to the intelligence business, the CIA has grown dramatically since its inception and now gathers, processes, and analyzes national security information from around the world…
Thursday, February 21, 2019
Led by Sheryl E. Reiss. Six sessions, 2 – 4 pm
This course examines women, gender, sexuality, and visual culture in the Renaissance period in Europe, ca. 1400-1600. Topics considered will include visual constructions of male and female identity and understandings of homoeroticism; the functions of works of art and objects of material culture in the lives of Renaissance women and men…
Saturday, February 23, 2019
Led by Minnerly. One session, 10 am – 3 pm (with an hour-long lunch break)
This follow-up to a 2016 seminar will first introduce the iconic UNESCO World Heritage Site, covering its present form and stages of construction, age, history of investigation, and early interpretations. The rest of the seminar will present the dramatic results of the Stonehenge Riverside and Hidden Landscape Projects, as well as…
Saturday, February 23, 2019
Led by Harrison Sherrod. One session, 10 am – 2 pm (lunch break from 12 to 12:30 pm)
Last year, a rediscovered oil painting by Leonardo da Vinci was auctioned for $450.3 million, making it the most expensive artwork ever sold. Art is clearly one of the most valuable commodities of our time, but what’s not clear is what makes it so valuable…
Saturday, February 23, 2019
Led by Frank Biletz. Ten sessions, 10 am - noon
Winston Churchill’s extraordinary leadership of Britain during its “darkest hour” and through the ultimately victorious campaigns of the Second World War will be the subject of this seminar. Topics will include Churchill’s opposition to appeasement at the Munich Conference; the fall of France…
Saturday, February 23, 2019
Led by Laurel Harig. Ten sessions, 1 – 3 pm
This course is designed to deepen and advance students’ comprehension and composition abilities in Modern Standard Arabic (MSA). By the end of the course, each student will be able to read and write full pages in grammatically correct MSA, describing themselves and their hobbies, work, and studies…
Saturday, February 23, 2019
Led by Katrina Kemble. Six sessions, 1 – 2:30 pm
In this course, we will read Oscar Wilde’s only novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray; his most famous play, The Importance of Being Earnest; and a novella that greatly influenced him, R.L. Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
Saturday, February 23, 2019
Led by Alexis Culotta and Jeff Nigro. Six sessions, 1 – 3 pm
This seminar will assess the role of the portrait in the ancient Roman world. We will trace the origins of the portrait tradition, examine the central themes of both male and female portraiture and the messages these genres broadcast…
Saturday, February 23, 2019
Led by Sarah Peters Kernan. Four sessions, 10 am – noon
French medieval and Renaissance noble courts embraced the art of dining, producing celebrity chefs and cookbooks, exquisite entremets, and, eventually, national dishes and customs. The feast was the vehicle for dramatic developments in these areas…
Saturday, February 23, 2019
Led by Margaret Farr. One session, 9 am - noon
Take an in-depth look at Edvard Munch’s 1893 painting The Scream in this half-day seminar. We will explore the work’s place in Western art history, Norwegian culture, trends in late 19th-century art, and Munch’s artistic production…
Saturday, March 2, 2019
Led by Laurel Harig. One session, 10 am – 4 pm (with an hour-long lunch break)
This seminar will introduce students to the rich world of poetry in Arabic. Beginning with pre-Islamic women poets who lamented the loss of their relatives in battle and spurred their warriors on to victory with fierce odes, we will proceed through the classical period to the beginning of the modern era…
Saturday, March 2, 2019
Led by Esther Hershenhorn. One session, 9 am – 4 pm (with an hour-long lunch break)
Hoping to realize your dream of writing a children’s book? Anxious to learn what to do once you write it? This workshop introduces newcomers to the world of children’s books and offers rules of the road and proven short cuts to make navigating easier…
Wednesday, March 6, 2019
Led by Steven Venturino. Seven sessions, 2 – 4 pm
To celebrate the bicentennial of George Eliot’s birth, this seminar will present the author’s first full-length novel in manageable weekly installments for serial reading and discussion—with no spoilers!
Saturday, March 9, 2019
Led by Debra Mancoff. One session, 1 – 4 pm
Costumes for Pre-Raphaelite paintings were designed and crafted by models who also wore them outside the studio. This one-day seminar traces the relationship between Pre-Raphaelite (1848-1914) art and fashion in paintings, photographs, surviving garments, and popular media…
Saturday, March 9, 2019
Led by Julia Denne. Five sessions, 10 am - noon
f the great 19th-century Russian writers, Nikolai Gogol was among the most enigmatic and original. In this seminar, we will perform a close analysis of his novel Dead Souls, a brilliantly imaginative and bitingly written satire of Russian society featuring a con man who buys the identities of dead serfs…
Saturday, March 9, 2019
Led by Jeff Nigro and John Nygro. Three sessions, 9 am – noon
The Medici of Florence were the first ruling family to realize that their path to immortality lay through the arts. This seminar will focus on the most significant Medici patrons during the family’s Renaissance heyday…
Wednesday, March 13, 2019
Led by June Sawyers. Five sessions, 5:45 – 7:45 pm
She was born a queen and died a queen, but Mary Stuart’s life was tumultuous, filled with controversy, intrigue, and betrayal. This course will examine Mary’s life by exploring her various roles…