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Chicago Humanities Festival Blog

Art Galleries
I love art. It’s one of my biggest passions. Whenever I travel for lectures or conferences, I always make sure I have time to visit the local museums. Most of all, though, I love the art scene in Chicago. We are lucky to have some of the greatest museums in the world in town, not just the Art Institute (whose Modern Wing still awes me every time I’m there) but also the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Renaissance Society, the Smart Museum, and the Museum of Contemporary Photography. We also have... Continue Reading >>
The Virtual Body: Second Life
Here is another event I’m really excited about. We invited my fellow anthropologist Tom Boellstorff to speak at the CHF about “The Virtual Body.” This sounds pretty cool as it is – but what is really amazing is that the event will take us into an alternative world: Second Life. Tom Boellstorff As those of you reading this blog probably know, Second Life is a virtual world that allows users, called Residents, to interact with one another through avatars. Folks... Continue Reading >>
Ars Antigua
One event I am really excited about involves Ars Antigua – in part because it was one of the first events I worked on when I joined the CHF team. Ars Antigua is a local ensemble, specializing in the music of the Renaissance, Baroque, and Classical eras (you can learn more about them on their website: They are a terrific group and have participated in the CHF in the past – always to great acclaim. Ars Antigua When we started our conversation, an... Continue Reading >>
My involvement with CHF is an absolute highlight of my career. For many years now, the public humanities have been a crucial part of my work. This was especially the case during my tenure as Director of the Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities (IPRH), the interdisciplinary humanities institute at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. I directed the IPRH from 2003 to 2007, and during that time I came to see the CHF for what it is: the most exciting humanities venture in the... Continue Reading >>
Step By Step
A few days ago I spent the morning discussing the work of Bill Hayes with colleagues. (That’s writer Bill Hayes, not the actor from “Days of Our Lives,” though it was fun to poke around his website, too.) Writer Hayes’s recent books are Five Quarts: A Personal and natural History of Blood, and The Anatomist, an eminently readable history of the anatomists who wrote and drew the original Gray’s Anatomy (not Grey’s Anatomy. Oy, TV is everywhere.) Then I went searching for George Romero (aka Mr.... Continue Reading >>

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