Programs and Events | Newberry

Programs and Events

The Newberry offers programming in the humanities for lifelong learners, students, teachers, scholars, and genealogy researchers. Please visit the individual program pages below for information about how to register in advance.

Watch or listen to past programs on the Newberry’s YouTube channel.

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E.g., 01/24/2022
E.g., 01/24/2022
Tuesday, February 22, 2022
Led by Bill Savage
Virtual (Full - Register for Waitlist on Learning Stream)
After the World War II, Chicago changed. The economic, political, and cultural processes that would lead to suburbanization, White Flight, and the “Rust Belt” were beginning to transform the patchwork of ethnic urban villages that surround the Loop and sprawled out to the suburbs.
Wednesday, February 23, 2022
Led by Susan Bazargan
Virtual (Full - Register for Waitlist on Learning Stream)
In this course, we will continue our celebration of the centennial of the publication of Ulysses by focusing on the last eight chapters of the book. Once more, we will focus on the reasons why the novel is an enduring landmark in the history of modernism and modern literature.
Saturday, February 26, 2022
Led by Julia Kriventsova Denne
Virtual
Is Dostoevsky’s The Devils a grotesque caricature of the Russian nihilist movement in the 1860s? How does J. M. Coetzee’s The Master of Petersburg broaden and deepen our understanding of The Devils? In this seminar, we will focus on narrative sophistication, psychological insight, and philosophical complexity in these novels.
Saturday, February 26, 2022
Led by Jeff Nigro
Virtual
Explore the dynamic art and compelling life of the Italian Baroque painter Caravaggio through a discussion of images and selected readings. Caravaggio’s vivid and radical style, often controversial in his lifetime, inspired followers in Italy and throughout Europe, and it still speaks powerfully to viewers today.
Saturday, February 26, 2022
Led by Frank A. Biletz
Virtual (Full - Register for Waitlist on Learning Stream)
This course will consider the rise of London during the 16th and 17th centuries and its transformation into the greatest economic and cultural center in Europe.
Tuesday, March 1, 2022
Led by Steven J. Venturino
Virtual
This seminar offers a lively overview of cinema styles from the 1890s to 1931. By exploring examples of comedy, drama, suspense, and Expressionism, and through discussion of early film criticism, we will develop new ways of seeing the moving image and understanding narrative art.
Wednesday, March 2, 2022
Led by Linda Downing Miller
Virtual
Find out what thoughtful readers see in your stories. Improve your own writing skills by providing helpful feedback to other writers. This five-week workshop is for writers who have moved past the “thinking about writing fiction” stage. Each workshop participant will contribute two story drafts for discussion.
Wednesday, March 2, 2022
Led by Natania Rosenfeld
Virtual
The German-born, English immigrant author W.G. Sebald (1944-2001) can be considered one of the most remarkable writers of the latter half of the twentieth century. In this course, through readings and discussion of his three magisterial novels The Emigrants, Austerlitz, and Rings of Saturn, we will examine how the “Sebaldian” works as a literary-moral mode for understanding ourselves.
Wednesday, March 2, 2022
Led by Chad Beharriell
Virtual
This seminar explores how contemporary Westerns portray the modern-day West. While the Western genre is typically linked with the Old West era (1865-1914), contemporary Westerns can relay present-day issues, such as Indigenous rights, and care of the environment in a way that allows audiences unfamiliar with the current North American West to find new connections to its history
Thursday, March 3, 2022
Led by Mary Wisniewski
Virtual
A personal journal can be many things, from a confessional and a historic record to an experimental space for testing out new ideas. Perhaps most importantly, a journal can provide a place for privacy and reflection in an increasingly chaotic world. This seminar will provide exercises and inspiration for those interested in developing and maintaining a creative journaling habit
Saturday, March 5, 2022
Led by Esther Hershenhorn
Virtual
Still wanting to realize your dream to write a children’s book? Anxious to learn what to do once you write it? This workshop introduces newcomers to today’s Children’s Book World and offers Rules of the Road and proven Short Cuts to make navigating doable and easier. Participants can share a work-in-progress in order to see its possibilities in today’s publishing world
Saturday, March 5, 2022
Led by Brian Oberlander, PhD
Virtual
Gain fresh insights into Beethoven’s monumental Third Symphony by exploring its biographical, historical, and aesthetic context. From the deeply personal Heiligenstadt Testament to the symphony’s original dedication to Napoleon Bonaparte—bitterly withdrawn before its public premiere—the Eroica reveals Beethoven at a personal and musical crossroads
Tuesday, March 8, 2022
Led by Joseph Heininger
Virtual
Irish writer Colm Tóibin has published many novels that portray plot and character in depth and engaging detail. We will first read his novel Brooklyn, in which he depicts the education in life and love of a young Irish emigrant to 1950s Brooklyn, Eilis Lacy.
Tuesday, March 8, 2022
Led by Andrew Schultze
Virtual
This seminar is devoted to the English Baroque Composer, Henry Purcell. We will discuss his legacy and his special place in musical history. We will listen to his music, including excerpts from his opera Dido and Aeneas, his Courtly Odes, Church and Theater music, and use contemporary documents and historical accounts to bring the Age of Purcell alive
Wednesday, March 9, 2022
Led by Rachel Boyle, PhD
Virtual
Explore Chicago history through one of its most iconic residents: Lucy Parsons. This seminar will chart the evolution of radical labor activism in the city, centering the words of Lucy Parsons, virtually visiting the spaces she frequented, and contextualizing her activism within the broader historical forces transforming the city and nation
Thursday, March 10, 2022
Led by Margaret Farr
Virtual (Full - Register for Waitlist on Learning Stream)
Early 20th-century Expressionism is notable for its emphasis on subjectivity and inner truth. This seminar focuses on Expressionism in Germany from 1905 to the 1920s, including an examination of the social and political milieus as well as the work of artists as stylistically diverse as Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Vasily Kandinsky, and Max Beckmann.
Saturday, March 12, 2022
Led by Marsha Peterson-Maass
Virtual
The Newberry has one of the nation’s strongest genealogy collections. This one-session course will show you accredited research methods for tracing your family’s history in America. You will also learn about genealogical relationships, traditional family trees and charts, and see a step-by-step example of finding genealogical information at home and in public sources
Saturday, March 12, 2022
Led by Tom Irvine
Virtual
This one-day seminar will cover the topic of how people get off track when following crowds. We will discuss the nature of crowd behavior and how people when grouped can believe and attach themselves to fallacies that they never would have alone.
Thursday, March 17, 2022
Led by Steven J. Venturino
Virtual
Our Mutual Friend is Charles Dickens’s last completed novel, filled with humor, dark satire, multiple plot lines, and remarkable prose. This seminar considers the book in serial weekly installments (no spoilers) for an engaging in-depth look at Dickens’s literary craft, social criticism, and psychological insight
Saturday, March 19, 2022
Led by Diane Dillon
In person
This seminar will explore the origins and development of several of Chicago’s parks on the north side. We will study their evolving landscape designs, goals, and patterns of use, along with their architecture and sculpture.
Saturday, March 19, 2022
Led by Emilie M. Brinkman
Virtual
Rituals of mourning have been deeply ingrained within Western society and culture since antiquity, especially mourning dress which has remained one of the most powerful sartorial symbols well into the modern era. This multi-session seminar examines the complex customs, guidelines, and trends associated with mourning attire in early modern and modern Europe
Tuesday, March 22, 2022
Led by Stephen Kleinman
In person
This class will explore the musical lives of one of the most revealing brother and sister relationships of the 19th century: Felix and Fanny Mendelssohn.
Tuesday, March 22, 2022
Led by Linda Levine
In person
An enthralling and shocking work of historical fiction based on a true story, Beloved portrays a woman’s escape with her children from slavery – and the aftermath. We will read and discuss the complex novel, understanding the historical, social, and cultural climate of the times.
Wednesday, March 23, 2022
Led by Jill Howe
Virtual
Beginning to advanced students are welcome in this intimate workshop examining vulnerability, personal storytelling, performance, and craft.
Thursday, March 24, 2022
Led by Lin Batsheva Kahn
Virtual
Students will take a historical trip through time to learn about the important contributions of choreographers and dance companies in our cultural city. We’ll study, understand, and appreciate the work of Ruth Page, Nana Shineflug, Joel Hall, Homer Bryant, as well as Lou Conte and his internationally known Hubbard Street Dance Chicago
Tuesday, March 29, 2022
Led by Frank Biletz
In person (Full - Register for Waitlist on Learning Stream)
During the German occupation between 1940 and 1944, the French people on a daily basis faced decisions that could result, potentially, in life or death. The dynamic interplay between collaboration with the German authorities, passive accommodation, and active resistance will be a central focus of the seminar.
Wednesday, March 30, 2022
Led by Jacqueline K Schattner
Virtual
Overseas documents are becoming easier to find, but what if you don’t speak the language? This presentation will give you many tips and tricks on deciphering documents in most European languages and includes ideas that help in reading old German script. There will also be tips on transcribing and translating your documents with helpful websites and resources
Tuesday, April 5, 2022
Led by Laurel Harig-Khan
Virtual
This course will examine stories from the Bible and the Qur’an regarding the two holy figures of Jesus (The Prophet Issa) and the Virgin Mary (Our Lady Maryam). We will aim to find out how they have been portrayed similarly or differently throughout the histories of these two religions.
Thursday, April 14, 2022
Led by Toby Altman .
Virtual
This workshop is designed to get you thinking about new ways to write poetry. Over the course of the class, we’ll encounter a range of methods for writing poems—some experimental, some traditional. And we’ll practice these processes ourselves: identifying what makes poems do what they do, while acquiring tools for crafting our own imaginative works.
Thursday, April 14, 2022
Led by Tricia Scanlan
Virtual
This seminar explores the expansive visual culture of the American Civil War–ranging from oil paintings and sculpture to more popular forms of expression such as photographs, illustrations, and sheet music–to better understand how visual media in both the North and the South expressed divergent views of the war and shaped collective memory long after the battles had ended
Thursday, April 14, 2022
Led by Harrison Sherrod & Emma Furman
Virtual
Love is traditionally conceptualized as eternal and inextinguishable, but in reality it’s frequently volatile and fleeting. This interdisciplinary course will examine the paradoxical vicissitudes of eros, shattering cliché notions of romance as transcendental and everlasting by underscoring the often capricious and fickle nature of love/desire
Thursday, April 21, 2022
Led by James R Akerman
In person
This four-week course, led by the curator of the exhibition, examines the history of cartography underlying the concept of the exhibition. Over a four weeks of reading and mutual discovery we will examine in turn, the maps and guidebooks made by and for explorers, migrants, tourists, and other travelers.
Saturday, April 23, 2022
Led by Gabrielle Guillerm
In-person
This discussion-based seminar is related to the exhibition Crossings: Mapping American Journeys on display at the Newberry February-June 2022. Focusing on selected exhibit items, we will examine the experiences of various people who voluntarily or unvoluntarily traveled on North American waters, trains, and highways in the 19th and 20th centuries.
Saturday, April 23, 2022
Led by June Sawyers
In person
This short course will discuss the history of the Moulin Rouge, its various cultural manifestations and antecedents. It will locate the cabaret in a particular place–the bohemian Montmartre neighborhood of Paris and the many artists associated with it, from the Impressionists to Toulouse-Lautrec