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Chicago Humanities Festival Blog

I am not by any means an avid gamer, but I do have vivid memories of a brief but beloved stint with a game called King’s Quest in the late nineties, when I was but a wee middle-schooler with a fascination for mystery, adventure, and fantasy. You had the option to play it in “first-person mode” which made the experience scary beyond belief.  King’s Quest   Desolate townscapes of Level 1 toggled between two kinds of scenes: those of barrenness in which you could fully explore... Continue Reading >>
The Highest Ranking Woman in Baseball
As the baseball playoffs heat up, here at the Festival we are looking forward to a post-season visit with Kim Ng, Major League Baseball’s senior vice president for baseball operations. Ng will be in conversation with Melissa Isaacson on Sunday, November 11. The program team knew early on that a Festival themed “America” had to feature baseball.  Of all the professional sports, baseball is second closest to my heart, after hockey (that is a story for another blog). At five,... Continue Reading >>
A Quick and Dirty Feminist History
“Frailty, thy name is woman!” So the Prince of Denmark chastises his mother in Shakespeare’s early 17th-century play. She remarried too quickly and too rashly – to a man who quite possibly murdered her first husband and usurped his crown. Hamlet was perhaps justifiably enraged, but he abstracts his anger against woman, at large. Nothing screams misogyny louder than a fear of women, at large.  Kenneth Branagh as Hamlet; Julie Christie as Gertrude  “Frailty, thy name is... Continue Reading >>
A Snapshot of Now
  I am sitting reading at Myopic Books in that great back room of hardwood floors, of chairs nestled in the crocked, outstretched arms of bookshelves, of muddled windows that temporarily frame fleeting Blue-Line trains. A guy is rummaging through the “Fem Lit” section and I don’t wonder why he’s reading Irigaray or even think it’s refreshing to see a guy interested in Irigaray. His pants are tight, my size I think, and they’re paired with a blue flannel shirt that would... 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 >>
"Sing Me the Universal"
I started pushing hard to get Fred Hersch and his amazing jazz oratorio Leaves of Grass to the Festival from the instant I heard it. “It's EXTRAORDINARY music and feels so aligned with what we are doing,” I gushed in an email to my colleagues as soon as I finished listening. That was back in March. And all thanks to my friend Adam, who knew we were in the early stages of planning our America Festival; he' d handed me the CD and said, simply, “You need to hear this.” Soaring.... Continue Reading >>
From Iraq to Afghanistan – Rajiv Chandrasekaran
I’m quite the political junkie and spend far too much time watching cable news. I know it’s a waste of time for the most part – after all, how much benefit can there be in getting the scandalous comment of the day dissected hour after hour by a set of rotating hosts? I guess it’s one of my guilty pleasures… Sometimes, though, cable news can be extraordinarily edifying. I remember one such moment. It was in the fall of 2006, and I was watching this show or another, when a guest was... Continue Reading >>
The Iconic City - A Visual Blog
This year’s CHF features two events conceived in conjunction with the Art Institute of Chicago exhibit “Film and Photo in New York”, an extraordinary survey of work from the mid-20th century by Morris Engel, Louis Faurer, Robert Frank, Helen Levitt, Paul Strand, and Weegee. One of the events is a lecture by University of Chicago linguist and anthropologist Michael Silverstein who will explore American dialects with a special focus on New York City. The other – the topic of this, our... Continue Reading >>

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