Programs for Undergraduates

Research seminars bring students to the Newberry to work closely with library staff and collections.

A student leans in to examine a medieval manuscript with a chain attached to its binding.

The Newberry Library Undergraduate Seminar

For 25 years, the Newberry Library Undergraduate Seminar (NLUS) has offered select students from DePaul University, Loyola University Chicago, Roosevelt University, and the University of Illinois at Chicago the chance to participate in an intensive research seminar inspired by the Newberry’s collection.

Over the course of their semester at the library, students attend seminar meetings and learn how to conduct research using the Newberry collection. Students work closely with Newberry staff to form research questions before venturing into the archives on their own. The seminar culminates in a major research paper and presentation.

Being on-site at the Newberry allows students to learn about different careers in the humanities. Many NLUS alumni go on to pursue work in libraries, museums, academia, and other research-intensive fields.

Medicines, Poisons, and Landscapes of Care in the Early Americas

Instructors: Kat Lecky, Loyola University Chicago and Josefrayn Sanchez Perry, Loyola University of Chicago

This course compares Indigenous Mexico and the English colonies to place into conversation the ways they collected and curated natural life. As these societies organized plants and people into coherent ecosystems, they also reterritorialized these organisms into maps of power justifying the extraction of resources and the oppressions of cultures. We will consider a series of archival case studies that show the mechanisms by which these societies in the Americas generated knowledge about themselves and others. The goal of the course is to explore the ethics of collections that enmeshed humans and nonhumans alike into systems of marginalization and exclusion still shaping the spatial politics of coloniality.

This course will meet Tuesday/Thursday 2-5pm from January 16 to May 2.

Please reach out to the faculty advisors listed below to apply for the course.

Interested in taking an NLUS course?

If you’re a student at one of the participating institutions and would like to apply for the upcoming NLUS course, contact the advisor at your home campus.

  • DePaul University
    Valentina Tikoff, Department of History
  • Loyola University Chicago
    D. Bradford Hunt, Department of History
  • Roosevelt University
    Priscilla Archibald, Department of Literature and Languages
  • University of Illinois at Chicago
    Ellen McClure, School of Literatures, Cultural Studies and Linguistics

“Taking a course where I was actually taught step by step how to take on a large-scale research project made me more confident to pursue other research opportunities in the future. I’d never had a class that was so supportive and collaborative!”
- Annie Lemieux, '21 NLUS

“This course offers a chance to step outside of the comfort of your home university and enter into a world of scholars you’ve never met. It’s such a unique chance to make friends who are also interested in intensive archival work and love, just as much as you, how your own unique questions take you through an archive.” - Rose Gallo, '21 NLUS

NLUS courses from the recent past include: 

  • 2023: “Inventing Mexico: Maps, Manuscripts, and Materiality, 1521-1921,” Delia Cosentino (DePaul) and Emmanuel Ortega (UIC).
    • 2022: “Writing Migration: Chicago, Haymarket to 1968,” Elliott Gorn (Loyola) and Mary Hale (Newberry Library)

    • 2021: “Chicago: City of Industry, Art, and Labor,” Elizabeth Tandy Shermer and Melissa Bradshaw (Loyola)

    • 2020: “Shakespeare’s Afterlives: Literature, Philosophy, Politics, and the Visual Arts, 1623-2020,” Meghan Heffernan (DePaul University) and James Knapp (Loyola University)

    • 2019: “Modern Literature and Art in Chicago, 1900-1960,” Melissa Bradshaw (Loyola), Mark Pohlad (DePaul)

    • 2018: “Censorship and Freedom of Expression in an Era of Religious Change: Western Europe, 1450-1789,” Valentina Tikoff ( Depaul) and Glen Carman (DePaul)

    Interested in teaching an NLUS course?

    We welcome proposals for future NLUS courses. Seminars run from January - May at the Newberry Library. Seminars are team-taught by faculty from participating universities. Faculty receive Newberry short-term fellowship awards to prepare their syllabi. 

    For more information, please email us.

    Associated Colleges of the Midwest

    For nearly 60 years, the Newberry Library and the Associated Colleges of the Midwest (ACM) offered a semester-long fall research seminar to select undergraduates. In 2022, the ACM announced that it would discontinue the Newberry-ACM Seminar as of Fall 2023.

    For more information about the history of the program, please visit the ACM website.

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    Group and Class Visits

    Book a time for your group or class to visit the Newberry for an interactive learning experience with our collection and staff.

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    Newberry fellowships give researchers time, space, and community to pursue innovative and ground-breaking projects.

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