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Chicago Humanities Festival Blog

The Perfect Meal: A Journey with Chicago Tastemakers
by Bonnie This post originally appeared on Bonnie and Joan. Republished with permission. The Body: Chicago Humanities Festival 2010 this past week included The Perfect Meal: A Journey with Chicago Tastemakers, bringing together pastry chef Mindy Segal, chef Paul Kahan and sommelier Alpana Singh for a lighthearted discussion—and I was so excited to be there! Moderator Gwen Macsai kept the discussion moving around the... Continue Reading >>
Laying “The” Body to Rest
I’ve been through “Peace & War,” seen “The Climate of Concern,” heard a lot about “Thinking Big,” and got some good guffaws in with “Laughter.” But this year, I was infatuated with “The Body.” As a staff member, you see the Festival grow from a small wisp of an idea into an arts and culture extravaganza.   We consume the Festival like many of you. We look at our calendars, map out the venues, and maybe get a few books from the library by upcoming presenters. This... Continue Reading >>
CHF Education in the news!
Medill News highlights teacher and enthusiastic CHF fan Peggy Hall-Heineman's inclusion of the Festival in her Von Steuben curriculum.'s students were wild about Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's program. Which events have you and your students loved? Continue Reading >>
Rembrandt via Ren
This Sunday, November 14, the final day of the Chicago Humanities Festival (this year pitched around the theme of The Body), Lawrence Weschler will deliver his final lecture in his role as the Festival’s Artistic Director, a position from which he is now retiring after five years. His theme will be Rembrandt’s Anatomy Lesson, and he will argue, in part, that the true subject of the painting isn’t so much death or the cadaver but rather life and the living. The professor is specifically showing... Continue Reading >>
Bodies in Motion and at Rest
Guest blogger John Barr is President of the Poetry Foundation. He will interview Thomas Lynch on Sunday, November 14th. Fittingly, the Festival closes its programs on “The Body” with a reading by one of America’s preeminent writers on the subject of Death.  In his half dozen books Thomas Lynch has explored the last experience every living body will surely have.  “Preeminent” in part because he knows whereof he speaks.  If most of us know death from the news or from the infrequent... Continue Reading >>
The Political Classroom
In the spirit of elections, what better time than now would it be to explore political matters in the classroom? We have dozens of study guides and lesson plans in our education library archives available for your use! Nothing is more topical, it seems, then one of our most recent lesson plans: “The Promise: US Presidents in Times of Crisis,” featuring Newsweek columnist Jonathan Alter. Not only does the plan... Continue Reading >>
Teacher tickets
Here are a few that the CHF Education Team thinks are a perfect fit for your classroom (and for which you can still nab tickets!) Basketball legend Kareem Abdul Jabbar (,  writer Jennifer Finney Boylan's personal story on being transgendered (, Raynard Kington on the state of health disparities in America... Continue Reading >>
Top 10 of 2010 Teacher Programs: Where will you be?
There’s an unmistakable energy in the air. CHF’s The Body Festival is here! Starting with October’s Hyde Park Day we began hearing which programs you couldn’t wait to see. Now that the November Festival is upon us, we wanted to share the Top 10 programs that will have the most educators and students in their audiences. From the perennially popular Ourselves as Others See Us panel of international journalists to Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Sam Shepard, there’s plenty to spark your classroom... Continue Reading >>
Festival starts with a grand jeté!
What an amazing evening and program presentation by Edward Villella! I mean, I got to learn about dance, military, the body and movement, arts entrepreneurship and even how to deal with difficult (but loving) parents all in one lecture! I must admit, it was a fantastic way to gain education and enjoyment at the same time. As a trained dancer in various styles and disciplines (including ballet), I completely connected with him on diverse levels, specifically as a performing artist, choreographer... Continue Reading >>
The Hook
Debra Hawhee is a professor of English at Penn State University. She is author of Bodily Arts: Rhetoric and Athletics in Ancient Greece. Prior to her graduate training, Hawhee was a member of two NCAA championship basketball teams at the University of Tennessee. She will be appearing in two festival events for The Body. From the time I first took up basketball after an astonishing tween growth spurt during the summer between my seventh and eighth grade years, my father... Continue Reading >>

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