Chicago Humanities Festival Blog

Jennifer Finney Boylan
I remember the day well. My partner Billy and I were in Savannah, Georgia to visit his mother Sarah. It was the middle of summer, the heat and humidity making a bad Chicago day seem like a walk in the park. What to do when your only thought is how to get from one air conditioned place to the next? This is when a large chain bookstore starts to look particularly attractive. So there we were enjoying the incomparable coolness of the local Barnes & Noble, when, quite randomly, I happened... Continue Reading >>
Our Bodies, Ourselves
Here is an event that combines tremendous historical resonance and real contemporary relevance. Thanks to the generous grant of the Conant Family Foundation, this year’s Doris Conant Lecture on Women and Culture features Judy Norsigian. A real mover and shaker, Judy may not be familiar to a wider public. But the organization she runs is – in fact, it has changed and continues to change the lives of millions of people. Our Bodies, Ourselves I am speaking of Our Bodies,... Continue Reading >>
Ania Loomba: Shakespeare and the Black Body
No humanities festival would be complete without an event on Shakespeare. I mean this. Like no other author, the Bard has been holding us in his thrall, as readers and theater goers, generation after generation. William Shakespeare I encountered Shakespeare as a teen – but it wasn’t the Shakespeare most Americans encounter. My Shakespeare didn’t speak in Elizabethan English. Instead, he sounded more like Goethe. No surprise there – after all, I was reading him in the famed... Continue Reading >>
Hypochondria: What's going on in there?
Writing about anatomy last week got me thinking about the difference between actually looking inside the body and doing so imaginatively, which most folks are probably more comfortable doing than heading over to their nearest cadaver lab. And so I re-read Catherine Belling’s essay “Graphic Brain-Imagining” in Atrium, the quarterly journal of the Northwestern University Medical Humanities and Bioethics Program. The first time I read it was during my “body” research last winter. Katie Watson, a... Continue Reading >>

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