Past Festivals

2016 Chicago Humanities Festival Speed theme graphic

2016 Morris and Dolores Kohl Kaplan Northwestern Day
Saturday, October 29, 2016

We kicked off the Chicago Humanities Festival FallFest/16: Speed with a full day of programming on Northwestern's Evanston campus!

Our society seems to have one setting: faster. Start-ups rise and fall, information is retrieved instantaneously, and replying to texts can’t happen fast enough. We witness social movements that erupt seemingly overnight, and we prepare for the fallout caused by the rapid acceleration of climate change, all the while keeping our eye on what’s “trending.” Join the Chicago Humanities Festival to explore the issues and ideas that are rapidly shaping our lives today. Take a pause (if you can)—and welcome to FallFest/16: Speed.

(Click links for more information)

Maureen DowdMaureen Dowd: The Year of Voting Dangerously
Cahn Auditorium
10:30am

Cosmic Speed image for Chicago Humanities Festival talkCosmic Speed and the Time of Science (Walter Massey & Nergis Mavalvala)
Cahn Auditorium
12:30pm

Yaa GyasiHomegoing: Across Centuries in Africa and America (Yaa Gyasi)
Mary B. Galvin Recital Hall
12:30pm

Gary Saul MorsonSlow Reading and the Russian Novel (Gary Saul Morson)
Harris Hall - Room 107
12:30pm

Kwame AlexanderYA Lit in Kicks, Hoops, and Verse (Kwame Alexander)
Josephine Louis Theater
12:30pm

How to Make a Spaceship image for Chicago Humanities Festival talkHow to Make a Spaceship (Julian Guthrie & Anousheh Ansari)
Josephine Louis Theater
2:30pm

Hasan ElahiArt from Surveillance (Hasan Elahi)
Pick-Laudati Auditorium
2:30pm

Akhil Reed AmarThe Constitution Under Pressure (Akhil Reed Amar)
Harris Hall - Room 107
2:30pm

Tim WuThe Epic Scramble to Get Inside Our Heads (Tim Wu)
Mary B. Galvin Recital Hall
2:30pm

Jonathan LethemJonathan Lethem
Cahn Auditorium
2:30pm

Nancy Jo SalesThe Secret Lives of Teenagers (Nancy Jo Sales)
Cahn Auditorium
4:30pm

James GleickJames Gleick: Time Travel Beyond Physics and Fiction
Mary B. Galvin Recital Hall
4:30pm

Environmental Catastrophe image for Chicago Humanities Festival talkEnvironmental Catastrophe and Global Consciouness (Lydia Barnett)
Harris Hall - Room 107
4:30pm

Slow, Artistic, Indie TV - talk with AJ ChristianSlow, Artistic, Indie TV (Aymar Jean “AJ” Christian)
Pick-Laudati Auditorium
4:30pm

Barbara BoxerSenator Barbara Boxer
Cahn Auditorium
7:00pm

 


Citizens theme artwork

2015 Morris and Dolores Kohl Kaplan Northwestern Day
Saturday, October 24, 2015

Every fall, The Chicago Humanities Festival and the Kaplan Institute host the Morris and Dolores Kohl Kaplan Evanston Day at Northwestern.

The 2015 Chicago Humanities Festival explores the multitude of ways we experience our lives today as Citizens; how we belong to our communities and cities, to our nations and to the world; and how environmental, technological and historical pressures shape our understanding of citizenship.

There are many urgent political questions tied up with this theme. Citizens will look at the full range of meanings harbored in a single word, both the blessing of a realm of rights and the history of struggle for those rights.

But Citizens is also about experiences that transcend law and politics—life together in a city or on the internet, as creatures open to beauty and driven to share it with others, as members of our species on the planet.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Azar NafisiAzar Nafisi: Republic of Imagination
Cahn Auditorium
11:00 AM

Richard Sennett Citizen Sociologist: Richard Sennett, with Geof Oppenheimer
Lynn Hauser and Neil Ross Program
Mary B. Galvin Recital Hall
12:00 PM

Chris Abani

Chris Abani: Global Igbo
Harris Hall - Room 107
12:30 PM

John Merrow

Transforming Our Schools: John Merrow
McCormick Auditorium
12:30 PM

Lawrence Lessig

Fixing the Republic: Lawrence Lessig
Cahn Auditorium
1:00 PM

Rocket Girls

Rocket Girls: Nathalia Holt
Mary B. Galvin Recital Hall
2:00 PM

Sylvester Johnson

Of Machines and Men: Sylvester Johnson
Harris Hall - Room 107
2:30 PM

Peter Singer

Peter Singer: The Most Good You Can Do
The Chicago Community Trust Centennial Program
McCormick Auditorium

2:30 PM

Ta-Nehisi Coates

Between the World and Me: Ta-Nehisi Coates
Cahn Auditorium
3:00 PM

Nick Davis and Miriam Petty

Slavery on Screen: Nick Davis and Miriam Petty
Harris Hall - Room 107
4:30 PM

Masha Gessen

Citizen Journalist: From Pussy Riot to the Boston Marathon: Masha Gessen
McCormick Auditorium
4:30 PM

Ottolenghi and Scully

Citizen Chef, Global Foodie: Yotam Ottolenghi, with Ramael Scully
Cahn Auditorium
5:00 PM

Champian Fulton

Champian-ing the American Songbook: Champian Fulton
The Helen B. and Ira E. Graham Family Concert
Mary B. Galvin Recital Hall
6:30 PM


Journeys theme artwork

2014 Morris and Dolores Kohl Kaplan Northwestern Day
Saturday, October 25, 2014

Jamaica Kincaid | Lynn Hauser and Neil Ross Program
Saturday, October 25, 2014 | 11 a.m.–12 p.m. | Cahn Auditorium
Born in Antigua, Jamaica Kincaid arrived in the United States as a seventeen-year-old au pair. Working her way through college, she eventually became a staff writer at the New Yorker and one of our most renowned novelists. Her Caribbean birthplace continues to inspire her fiction, from Annie John and Lucy to Mr. Potter andSee Now Then. Join her for a wide-ranging conversation with CHF Emeritus Artistic Director Lawrence WeschlerThis program is generously underwritten by Lynn Hauser and Neil Ross.

A Real-Life Mr. Ripley
Saturday, October 25, 2014 | 12:30–1:30 p.m. | Harris Hall, Room 107
A stunning true story from the author of Up in the Air. For 15 years, acclaimed journalist and novelist Walter Kirn fell for the pedigreed charms of one Clark Rockefeller. Then in July 2008, authorities pursued “Rockefeller” for kidnapping his own daughter, and an elaborate lie very publicly unraveled. Clark’s real identity was revealed to be Christian Gerhartsreiter, a German imposter with a murderous past. What started as a story about American nobility became Blood Will Out, a deeply personal account of Kirn’s relationship with a psychopath masquerading as a gentleman.

Liminal Camera | Richard Gray Visual Arts Series
Saturday, October 25—Sunday, Nov. 9 2014 | 12:30–1:30 p.m.
Mary & Leigh Block Museum of Art, Pick-Laudati Auditorium
A mobile camera made out of a shipping container, the Liminal Camera is one of the most ambitious art projects underway today. Traversing the country by land and by water—from the back of a flatbed truck and via barge—it has explored vast regions of the American West and the Hudson and Erie canals. On the occasion of the Festival, the Liminal Camera journeys to Chicago to probe the state of the American dream. The result, monumentally scaled black-and-white prints, will go on view at the DePaul Art Museum in May 2015. Climb inside the Liminal Camera! From October 25 to November 2, the device will be deployed around the city and at Festival venues.

Join artists Lauren BonRichard Nielsen, and Tristan Duke—the team behind Liminal Camera—and CHF Emeritus Artistic Director Lawrence Weschler for a discussion of their practice. The annual Richard Gray Visual Art Series recognizes a significant gift from founding CHF board member and distinguished art dealer Richard Gray. This program is also presented in partnership with DePaul Art Museum.

Bruce D. Perry: The First Three Years
Saturday, October 25, 2014 | 12:30–1:30 p.m. | Owen L. Coon Forum, Donald P. Jacobs Center
Each of us takes the same journey from birth to consciousness—but none of us recalls it. This early stage of life is crucial; Sigmund Freud famously obsessed over it, as do millions of parents every day. What goes on cognitively during that time, and what can parents—and other adults—do to further promote infant well-being? Join renowned psychiatrist Bruce D. Perry, recipient of the 2014 Dolores Kohl Education Prize, for this discussion of early-childhood brain development and its long-term importance. This program is presented in partnership with the Dolores Kohl Education Foundation.

Black Theater Is Black Life
Saturday, October 25, 2014 | 1–2 p.m. | Cahn Auditorium
In his latest book, Northwestern University theater professorHarvey Young illuminates 40 years of African American culture in Chicago. His powerful collection of oral histories includes interviews with prominent producers, directors, choreographers, designers, dancers, and actors who changed Chicago’s theatrical landscape from 1970 to 2010. In this exclusive CHF program, Young is joined by one of Chicago’s favorite sons, actor Harry Lennix (The BlacklistMan of Steel) to provide context and commentary for these singularly engrossing stories. This program is presented in partnership with the School of Communication at Northwestern University.

Egyptian Utopias
Saturday, October 25, 2014 | 2:30–3:30 p.m. | Harris Hall, Room 107
The 2011 images from Tahrir Square are indelible: hundreds of thousands of people ushering in a new political era in the Middle East. Or so it seemed. Today, true democracy in Egypt is a distant dream. Over the last decade, anthropologist Jessica Winegar has witnessed the transformations up close. One of our foremost experts on Egypt, the Northwestern University professor shares her analysis of the Arab Spring and its surprisingly personal aftermath.

The Bride of Christ Goes to Hell
Saturday, October 25, 2014 | 2:30–3:30 p.m. | Mary & Leigh Block Museum of Art, Pick-Laudati Auditorium
History is full of unintended effects—especially when it comes to women. Medieval Christendom was a particularly striking instance, ushering in the downfall of pious women, from “Christ’s brides” to the “Devil’s concubines.” Northwestern University professor Dyan Elliott discusses this dire movement in the history of religion.

Eula Biss: Where We Are From
Saturday, October 25, 2014 | 2:30–3:30 p.m. | Owen L. Coon Forum, Donald P. Jacobs Center
Eula Biss
 may well be the Joan Didion of her generation. In her award-winning book Notes from No Man’s Land, the brilliant essayist took us on a journey across America’s endlessly complicated racial landscapes. Her new book is similarly pressing and no less generous. On Immunity focuses on vaccinations, interweaving the history of medicine with her personal reflections as a new mother. Biss will be joined in conversation by Katie Watson, professor of medical humanities and bioethics at Northwestern University. A student matinee featuring Eula Biss is generously underwritten by Baxter International, the Illinois Arts Council Agency, and Lorraine and Jay Jaffe.

Roger Ebert: Life Itself
Saturday, October 25, 2014 | 3–4 p.m. | Cahn Auditorium
Kartemquin Films’s Life Itself, based on Roger Ebert’s celebrated memoir of the same title, recounts the surprising, entertaining, and moving life of the world-renowned film critic and social commentator. Roger’s widow, Chaz Ebert, and filmmaker Steve James (Hoop DreamsThe Interrupters) share stories, clips, and outtakes from the summer’s most-talked-about film. Alison Cuddy, CHF’s program director and former WBEZ 91.5 host, will guide the conversation. This program is generously underwritten by Carol Rosofsky and Robert B. Lifton.

Radical Grace
Saturday, October 25, 2014 | 4:30–5:30 p.m. | Harris Hall, Room 107
There is a long tradition of American Catholic nuns challenging their church to live its teachings. As women in a patriarchal system, they do not follow an easy path. Radical Grace is a feature-length documentary that follows three nuns willing to risk their place in the church they love in order to remain true to their faith. What does it mean for these women to be both devoted to and in conflict with a powerful religious institution? Why stay? Sister Chris Schenk and filmmaker Rebecca Parrish discuss these questions of faith.

Riva Lehrer: A Self-Portrait in Formaldehyde
Saturday, October 25, 2014 | 4:30–5:30p.m. | Mary & Leigh Block Museum of Art, Pick-Laudati Auditorium
For her entire life, Chicago artist Riva Lehrer has been confronted with descriptions of her body as stunted, twisted, or deformed. These encounters have pushed her to question how to depict the human form, both as a portraitist and as a lecturer in anatomy at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. With a combination of brutal honesty, whimsy, and acceptance of the unknown, Lehrer explores the variant body, the divide between inner and outer life, and the mystery of survival.

Wallace Shawn | Elaine and Roger Haydock Humor Series
Saturday, October 25, 2014 | 5–6 p.m. | Cahn Auditorium
Provocative and intellectually demanding, the plays of Wallace Shawn are as multifaceted and enigmatic as the man himself, known to many from his roles as an actor (My Dinner with Andre,ManhattanThe Princess Bride). Join the writer whom critics have placed in the first rank of contemporary dramatists for an unforgettable conversation on his unique theatrical vision.

This program is generously underwritten by Elaine and Roger Haydock and presented in partnership with Northwestern University School of Communication’s MFA in Writing for Screen+Stage.

Still Failing: Gary Shteyngart Returns | The Renée and Lester Crown Speaker Series
Saturday, October 25, 2014 | 7:30–8:30 p.m. | Cahn Auditorium
CHF favorite Gary Shteyngart is back for a much anticipated encore. Having traveled the world to promote his best-selling memoir Little Failure, he brings his inimitable blend of Russian-Jewish ennui, self-deprecating comedy, and literary erudition to Evanston. Pre-order your copy of Little Failure for $14 to pick up at the program. This program is generously underwritten by the Crown Family Center for Jewish and Israel Studies at Northwestern University.