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Chicago Humanities Festival Blog

Archiving our Lives: CHF’s Rich Collection of Life-Stories
I loved reading novels as a child – the books of Jane Austen and the Brontë sisters were my mainstay. I picked up more 19th century British drawing room etiquette than probably was useful for an American child of the nineties. But now in my young adulthood, I gravitate more towards the genres that promise “truth” in story-telling: documentaries, popular sciences, biographies, autobiographies. I turn to these in my ongoing search for wisdom, for guidance (somehow the older I get, the more I seem... Continue Reading >>
From the Arc of Justice to the Other 1960s
The Chicago Humanities Festival is a classic non-profit. We do what we do, because we passionately believe in the power of intellectual exchange and its ability to transform society for the better. And we can do it because a wonderful group of patrons support our efforts year after year. Julie and Roger Baskes  Roger and Julie Baskes, two of Chicago’s great philanthropists, are members of this group. For the past decade, they have underwritten the annual Baskes... Continue Reading >>
A History of the World in 100 Objects - American Edition
Olmec Stone MaskHow do you write a history of humankind? That’s hardly an obvious question. After all, no individual text can possibly encompass the entirety of the human experience – it can’t even come close. Sure, there were any number of 19th-century scholars who were undeterred by such verities, leading to some massive multi-volume tomes. James Frazer’s The Golden Bough, for example, clocked in at an impressive (or daunting) twelve volumes. But that hardly made it comprehensive, no matter... Continue Reading >>
Liza Lou: Beading America
 Liza Lou I still remember my first encounter with the art of Liza Lou as if it was yesterday. It was at a show at the Krannert Museum of Art on the campus of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in the winter of 2005. I was taking in one of the more intriguing art offerings I had seen in a while, a show called Over + Over: Passion for Process. It brought together about a dozen artists whose practice is grounded in painfully slow modes of assemblage. The curators linked the... Continue Reading >>
A Sneak Peek of Gay History
As a University of Chicago graduate student in the 1990s, I was fortunate to have a number of extraordinary mentors. First and foremost was my beloved dissertation advisor, George Stocking, the great historian of anthropology who was the reason I chose to come to Chicago for my PhD. George Stocking I was completely taken with Victorian Anthropology, his definitive account of the history of British anthropology. And in my initial hubris, I imagined that my dissertation would... Continue Reading >>

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