The Newberry’s program in Chicago Studies illuminates Chicago’s dynamic history, literature, culture, and politics through an array of scholarly and public programs inspired by the library’s unique archival collection. Chicago Studies encompasses multi-year research projects, summer institutes and seminars, public programming, training for graduate students, youth outreach programs, and collaborations with other cultural institutions in Chicago. The program draws upon the expertise of Newberry staff and the library’s deep and rich primary source material related to Chicago’s past.
Chicago Studies is directed by Dr. Liesl Olson, a literary historian and the author of two books, Modernism and the Ordinary (Oxford, 2009) and Chicago Renaissance: Literature and Art in the Midwest Metropolis (Yale, 2017). She received her doctorate in English and Comparative Literature from Columbia University in New York City and taught for four years at the University of Chicago as a Harper-Schmidt Fellow. She has received fellowships from the National Endowment of the Humanities, the American Council of Learned Societies, and the Newberry Library.
Current and Upcoming Programs
Making Modernism: Literature and Culture in Twentieth-Century Chicago, 1893-1955, an NEH Summer Institute for College and University Teachers, July 8- August 3, 2019 funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.
The Archive: Form, Theory, Practice: a seminar for graduate students on archival practices and theory, funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Fall 2018, Fall 2019, and Fall 2020. Deadline for applications for Fall 2019 cohort, May 20.
Chicago Reflects on the 1919 Race Riots: a NEH community conversations grant, developed in partnership with 10 other Chicago area cultural organizations and designed to commemorate the 100th anniversary of a week-long period of racial violence in the city, the grant will support a broad range of city-wide programs—from film premieres and youth poetry slams to public conversations and bike tours—and engage audiences in an ongoing dialogue about the riots’ impact on Chicago’s past and present.
Recent Projects and Grants
Art and Public Culture in Chicago, an NEH Summer Institute for College and University Teachers, June 11 - 29, 2018, funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Chicago: City of Commerce and Design, 1890–1990, monthly scholarly seminars Fall 2017 through Fall 2018, funded by the Terra Foundation of American Art.
Chicago Studies and the Archive, a three-session seminar for graduate students on archival methods, April 2017.