Upcoming History, Genealogy, and Social Science Seminars

This list is of upcoming seminars only. Since most seminars meet more than once in a term, if a class has already met at least once, it will no longer show up on this list. To find a seminar that has already started or has finished, visit Programs and Events and set the date range to include the seminar’s starting date.

Starting September 12, 2015
Saturdays, September 12 – November 14
This seminar is full. Call (312) 255-3700 for waitlist.
Led by Frank Biletz
Seminar Description Inexorable territorial expansion and recurrent social conflicts characterized the Roman Republic during its rise to dominance in Italy and beyond. By surveying the history of ancient Rome from 509 to 27 BCE, this seminar will...
Starting September 19, 2015
Saturdays, September 19 - October 31
Led by Lee Minnerly
Seminar Description Since the fifth century BCE, philosophers, theologians, scientists, and literary figures have contributed to what historians call the extraterrestrial life debate. We will examine the rich written legacy in which philosophy,...
Starting September 19, 2015
Saturdays, September 19 - October 10
Led by Karen Stanbary
Seminar Description All genealogists know the frustration of being stymied when a paper trail ends or there is not enough evidence to prove a relationship. DNA analysis, combined with traditional documentary research methods, can extend the...
Starting September 19, 2015
Saturdays, September 19 - October 3
Led by William Cellini, Jr
Seminar Description Millions of Americans claim Italian ancestry despite being generations removed from their immigrant ancestors, making it difficult to find family records. Through a hands-on approach, participants will learn how to access and...
Starting September 29, 2015
Tuesdays, September 29 - November 24 (class will not meet on November 3)
Led by Jim Hecimovich
Seminar Description Is historical fiction really just history by another name? How does one define the relationship between the two? What are the similarities and differences between the ways in which historical figures are portrayed in imagined...
Starting September 29, 2015
Tuesdays, September 29 - December 1
Section A is full and online registration is closed. Call (312) 255-3700 to be put on a waiting list. Online registration for Section B is closed, to register call (312)-255-3700.
Led by Frank Biletz
Seminar Description Founded in the aftermath of imperial Germany’s defeat in the Great War and ending with the Nazi seizure of power, the Weimar Republic was marked by economic, political, and social turbulence, as well as cultural ferment and...
Starting September 30, 2015
Wednesdays, September 30 - December 9 (class will not meet November 25)
Led by Matthew Bird
Seminar Description Explore the highlights of the Crusades from the eleventh through the fourteenth centuries—including their origins, causes, and outcomes—through historical fiction. Novels by Nora Lofts, Cecelia Holland, and others will introduce...
Starting October 1, 2015
Thursdays, October 1 - November 19
Led by Eugene Newman
Seminar Description The Holocaust, referred to by theologian Emil Fackenheim as an “epoch-making event,” was the culmination of the centuries-long history of antisemitism that lies near the heart of Western civilization. This seminar will draw upon...
Starting October 6, 2015
Tuesdays, October 6 - November 24
Led by Patricia Scanlan
Seminar Description World War I ushered in profound changes in American society and culture. Studying diverse materials ranging from recruitment posters and propaganda films to paintings, novels, periodicals, and sheet music, we will analyze how the...
Starting October 7, 2015
Wednesdays, October 7 - December 2 (class will not meet November 25)
Led by Jeanine Teodorescu
Seminar Description This course will offer an intimate look at Louis XIV during a crucible of scandal and intrigue: the Fronde (rebellions of the aristocrats against a strong monarchy), the four wars led by the king, and two events which became the...
Starting October 7, 2015
Wednesdays, October 7 - 21
Led by Jack Shreve
Seminar Description What mysteries of the past can be unlocked by your family’s last names? This seminar provides an introduction to the surnames of Western Europe, which derive from family lineage, occupations, nicknames, and placenames. In...
Starting October 8, 2015
Thursdays, October 8 - November 12
This class is full. Call (312) 255-3700 to be placed on the waiting list.
Led by Tim Lacy
Seminar Description Even in the so-called Information Age, anti-intellectualism, pseudo-intellectualism, and ignorance permeate American life. When the health of a society’s civic life and politics require rational debate, these issues are not...
Starting October 8, 2015
Thursdays, October 8 – 29
Led by Ginger Frere and Matt Rutherford
Seminar Description Think the Great Chicago Fire burned everything you might use to discover what the city was like in its early days? Think again! Join us as we explore a gold mine of pre-Fire treasures−many drawn from the Newberry’s collections−...
Starting October 8, 2015
Thursdays, October 8 - November 5
Led by Joseph Harrington
Seminar Description Historians have wrestled with the question of who bears the guilt for starting World War I. This seminar invites participants instead to consider who was to blame for failing to end the conflict once it was underway. Discussion...
Starting October 17, 2015
Led by Marsha Peterson-Maass
Seminar Description The Newberry holds one of the strongest genealogy research collections in the nation. This one-session course will show you where to begin tracing your family’s history in America. Learn about genealogical relationships,...
Starting October 17, 2015
Led by Marsha Peterson-Maass
Seminar Description Did you get your start in genealogy with Ancestry.com? Not really sure what to do now that you’ve exhausted their resources? This one-session seminar will help you take your genealogical project to the next level with accredited...
Starting October 20, 2015
Tuesdays, October 20 - December 1
Led by Brooke Heagerty
Seminar Description What is history and why is it so disputed? This course will pull back the curtain on the historian’s craft and explain how avid readers of history, genealogists, and family historians can grapple with questions of how the...
Starting October 24, 2015
Led by Marsha Peterson-Maass
Seminar Description How much of your ancestor’s biography reflects his or her work life? This one-session seminar will show you how to build a business biography, find genealogical employee and business records for everyone from factory workers to...
Starting October 24, 2015
Led by Marsha Peterson-Maass
Seminar Description Whether you have taken any DNA tests or not, this seminar will help you understand atDNA, Y-DNA, and mtDNA test results, including haplogroups, ethnicity, and cousin matches. We’ll also discuss options for kinship results, DNA...
Starting October 31, 2015
Saturdays, October 31 - November 21
Led by Karen Stanbary
Seminar Description This seminar is the second in a sequence with Genetic Genealogy (see above). We will expand on concepts covered in the first seminar with the use of real-time demonstration and a hands-on practical skills laboratory. This course...