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Chicago Humanities Festival Blog

Great Talks
If you missed it last week because it was sold out, I urge you to block an hour on your busy schedule and immerse yourself in Harvard Law Professor turned Consumer Advocate Elizabeth Warren’s view of the world. Without doubt, this is a great talk. Click above to watch Warren's talk. Great talks. Whether it’s Sherwin Nuland on medical ethics, Sam Shepard reading from his work, or Raynard Kington on race and healthcare, we all know them when we see... Continue Reading >>
Viking Myths, Then and Now
For a small, remote island uncomfortably close to the Arctic Circle, Iceland has a remarkable place on the map of global culture. This is due to its fascinating tradition of literature and folklore, a body of texts – the Eddas and Sagas – that serves as a veritable repository of Scandinavia’s rich mythological and historical corpus. Having been settled by Norse seafarers in the 9th century, Iceland’s location aided in the preservation and eventual collection of these stories... Continue Reading >>
Climate Change and the Humanities: A New Frontier
There are some folks who believe that humanists deal exclusively in arcana, obscure texts and artifacts that are of interest to few and relevance to none. But nothing could be further from the truth. As those attending the CHF with any regularity know, humanists are front and center when it comes to addressing the pressing issues of the day, from the philosophical underpinnings of geopolitics to the conceptual ramifications of our era’s technological revolutions. Few issues are more urgent... Continue Reading >>
CFE Grant Opportunity!
CHF Education is always happy to share news and opportunities from our partner organizations. This just in from The Chicago Foundation for Education: Have you successfully implemented a Teaching Method in your classroom that you would like to share with others? Have you and a colleague introduced an effective strategy with your student population that other CPS educators might be interested in learning? If so, then you (or you & a teacher friend!) should apply. The Chicago Foundation... Continue Reading >>
CHF Celebrates Black History
In his recent, widely acclaimed book Disintegration: The Splintering of Black America, Pulitzer-prize winning journalist Eugene Robinson makes a compelling argument about the ever-increasing diversification of the African-American experience. Speaking in the broad terms of sociology he identifies four large groups: a small elite, a large mainstream middle class, a new group of recent immigrants of African and Caribbean background, and a small, increasingly disenfranchised inner-city minority.... Continue Reading >>
Man vs. Machine
This week may mark the most important match yet in the battle of man vs. machine.  This past Monday was the first of three episodes of Jeopardy! to pit two all-time Jeopardy! champs against IBM's powerful question-answering computer, "Watson."  Watson may not exactly be Artificial Intelligence, but he represents the first breakthrough in overcoming a big human/machine communication barrier: so called "natural language," the way people really speak, rather than information tailored for input into... Continue Reading >>
Springing Forth with Stages, Sights & Sounds 2011
The melting snow has me thinking about spring. Freshness, green, innocence, nurturing our young; it’s an actual and metaphoric time of rebirth. It’s a good time for stories: creation stories; stories that explain and reveal the radical changes occurring in the natural world all around us. It’s also the perfect time for Stages, Sights & Sounds, CHF’s international performance festival. Stages is geared toward children and families but is ripe with wondrous imagery and storytelling that... Continue Reading >>
The Man Who Planted Trees: A Call to Action
A little over three weeks ago, Jewish people all over the world celebrated the New Year of the Trees, or in Hebrew, Tu B’Shevat.  Tu B’Shevat occurs on the 15th of the Hebrew month of Shevat, marking the renewal of a tree’s life as we approach the early spring months.  This holiday promotes an appreciation for trees and our environment, and encourages people to care about the natural resources around them. I remember going to my synagogue with my family as a young child on Tu B’Shevat.  Families... Continue Reading >>
Taking on Technology
Human experience is inextricably linked to technology. At its root is the impulse to craft a better, easier, more informed life. From the creation of the first stone tools to the development of the printing press, from the blast furnace  to the assembly line to the microprocessor, technology is the expression of human ingenuity and the catalyst for the next big idea. Today tech permeates everything: our professional lives, our personal relationships, our... Continue Reading >>
Food News and Views
Last week the New York Times and other news outlets reported on a new voluntary food labeling system developed and soon-to-be implemented by many of the largest US food manufacturers.   While I’m sure this was news to many readers, for those of us who attended CHF’s “Reformulating Food” program last fall, it was not. On that November day, Danielle Greenberg, Director of Nutrition and Scientific Affairs at PepsiCo, shared details of this new initiative and audio from the... Continue Reading >>

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