Imagining Glaciers in Chicago: a Walking Seminar | Newberry

Imagining Glaciers in Chicago: a Walking Seminar

Led by Rozalinda Borcila
Saturday, July 23, 2022
Two sessions. Saturdays, July 23-July 30.


In person

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To register multiple people for this class, please go through the course calendar in Learning Stream, our registration platform. When you select the course and register, you’ll be prompted to add another registrant.

Seminar Description

Conventional histories of Chicago often begin with the last Ice Age, followed by the arrival of French colonists Marquette and Joliet. Historical accounts, educational displays, tourist brochures, media articles, city park signage and monument plaques invite us to imagine retreating glaciers and advancing settlement. More and more accounts also ask us to imagine how glaciers are currently vanishing due to global warming.

When and how did glacial science appear as an origin narrative in Chicago? Wrapped up in imperial myths of conquest, progress and civilization, glacial histories are not neutral science. Rather, by investigating how knowledge about glaciers was produced, circulated, taught and mobilized, we will trace the political history of glaciers as a distinctly colonial imagining. How does this shape our understanding of our past, present and possible futures?

This seminar will take us from the Newberry map collection to a field trip in a nearby public park. We will introduce participatory methods for reading the landscape in the archive, and reading the landscape as archive.

Rozalinda Borcila is a Romanian an independent artist, writer and activist, and former Associate Professor of Art at the University of South Florida. She received the Arthur and Lila Weinberg Fellowship from the Newberry Library in Spring 2021. She teaches in libraries, art museums and activist spaces.

Materials List


  • Instructor-Distributed Materials

First Reading:

  • There is no first reading assignment

Cost and Registration Information 

Two sessions. Registration: $120 ($108 for Newberry members, seniors, and students)

Please note: You’ll register for this class on a platform called Learning Stream. Questions? Contact us at

Register for this class now.