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Changing the Rules of the Economic Game
"If the American dream is that your children will do better than you . . . we have dimmed the lights on that dream for this generation." These alarming words came from Heather McGhee, vice president of public policy center Demos, which works on reducing political and economic inequalities in America. At the 2012 Chicago Humanities Festival, McGhee revealed why—for the first time in American history—people of her generation are economically worse off than their parents.  (Image... Continue Reading >>
The Age of Living Alone?
An extraordinary social change is taking place. In 1950, only 22% of American adults were single, and only 9% lived alone; in 2012, nearly half were single and 27% lived alone. Speaking at the 2012 Chicago Humanities Festival, sociology professor Eric Klinenberg called this “the biggest modern social change that we've yet to name or identify.” “If you look at the record of how we have lived as a species… until the 1950s, you literally cannot find a single society in... Continue Reading >>
Using Trees to Clean Up Pollution: M. Cristina Negri
Can plants clean up nuclear waste, solve the energy crisis, remediate contaminated land and water, and curb critically high levels of greenhouse gas emissions? Agronomist, soil scientist, and self-described “doctor of the earth,” M. Cristina Negri presented her innovative research on using plants to counteract environmental pollution at the 2011 Chicago Humanities Festival. Ground contamination is difficult to deal with because pollutants disperse finely into soil, seeping into... Continue Reading >>
Susan Crawford: The Future of Information
We use it for paying bills, shopping, taking classes, applying for jobs, dating, and keeping in touch with friends. The Internet is a medium of communication that has become a world parallel to our physical one. It has sunk its webby fingers into every aspect of our lives. Yet one fourth of Americans don't have internet access and one third say it’s too costly to afford. Internet is a commodity in the United States—both limited and expensive—and, as a result, we're at risk... Continue Reading >>
The Anti-Indiana Jones
Tara McGovern served as the Chicago Humanities Festival’s web content intern during the summer of 2012. She learned about Lisa Lucero’s research as a high school student and decided to attend the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to study with her. Following her research trip to the Maya site of Yalbac, Belize in 2012, Tara did ethnographic research in Central America. She will graduate from Illinois with an honor’s degree in anthropology in the spring of 2013.   ... Continue Reading >>
O Superman, O Superwoman
With trance-inducing “ah-ah-ahs” and cushy layers of synth, Laurie Anderson’s “O Superman” aurally transports its listener to a dreamy-digital state that might feel something like sleeping in a robotic womb. Turns out - this is a rather pleasant place to be. Upon its release in 1981, Laurie Anderson’s techno-filial anthem hit number two on British pop charts. Laurie Anderson was rocketed to international fame, where she has stayed ever since, constantly experimenting with our... Continue Reading >>
Outstanding Performance from A-Z
It’s the equivalent of spinning a globe, and with a blindfold on, letting your pointer finger glide along the globe until it can spin no further, then removing the blindfold, and booking a vacation to wherever your finger has just landed- completely surprising, definitely wild, and infinitely entertaining. I was exposed to The Encyclopedia Show by a friend; because, well, that’s what friends do, they bring you to incredible shows that change your perspective on performance art, from... Continue Reading >>
@Chi_Humanities for the Millennial Generation
Honestly, what are you doing right now? Really? You have a Facebook, Gmail, and Twitter tab open in Google Chrome on your MacBook, and you’ve stumbled upon this blog through a series of links—which links they were, you can only remember vaguely—but, that’s not important. Either way, what is important is that, as college students, we recognize that technology plays a massive role in our lives. I mean, c’mon, when was the last time you cranked out a handwritten letter and sent it via... Continue Reading >>
Egypt’s Technological Revolution
Coincidentally, as we announced “Technology” as CHF’s 2011 theme for our fall festival, news of a revolution caused by technology exploded as tensions in Egypt rose concerning its now former president, Hosni Mubarak.  Over the past couple of years, the buzz about social media and its ability to revolutionize a society has gained much attention and has fostered debate.  There is no doubt that social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook promote the idea of mass and immediate... Continue Reading >>