Programs and Events | Newberry

Programs and Events

The Newberry offers programming in the humanities for scholars, teachers, and the general public. Unless otherwise noted, events are free, and no reservations are required. Many of our programs are recorded, and you can listen to them on our website.

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E.g., 06/26/2019
E.g., 06/26/2019
Tuesday, June 11, 2019
Led by Riad Ismat. Five sessions. 2 - 4 pm
In this seminar we will learn about the world of Arabic drama, both on stage and on television. TV is an incredibly popular medium right now in the vast region that extends from the Arabian Gulf countries in the Middle East to North America and encompasses up to 400 million viewers
Tuesday, June 11, 2019
Led by Diane Dillon. Ten sessions, 6 - 8 pm
Through a series of walking tours, this seminar will explore the riches of public art in Chicago, including murals, commemorative statues, architectural sculptures, commercial decorations, and park designs. Throughout the course, we will consider a number of questions about the role of the city’s public art in shaping identity…
Tuesday, June 11, 2019
Led by Sarah Kernan. Three sessions. 2 - 4 pm
The ubiquity of coffee, tea, and chocolate obscures their past histories as exotic and luxurious beverages that were often the focus of political turmoil, geographical exploration, religious debate, and medical observation. Focusing on primary sources, many drawn from the Newberry’s collection, we will discuss topics as diverse as the purported medicinal properties of chocolate..
Tuesday, June 11, 2019
Led by Laurel Harig. Ten sessions. 5:45 - 7:45 pm
This course will introduce students to the rich world of the Arabic language. At the end of the course, each student will be able to read and write short paragraphs (5-6 sentences) in grammatically correct Modern Standard Arabic…
Tuesday, June 11, 2019
Led by Mary Wisniewski. Seven sessions. 6 - 7:30 pm
A personal journal can be many things, from a confessional and a historic record to an experimental space for testing out new ideas and new ways of writing. 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…
Tuesday, June 11, 2019
Led by Frank Biletz. Seven sessions, 1 - 3 pm (Section A) or 5:45 - 7:45 pm (Section B)
Italian fascism provided the prototype for populist nationalist movements in Europe during the 1920s and 1930s. This course will cover the conditions in Italy that led to the emergence of fascist ideology; the growth of class tensions and fears of socialism; governmental weakness and instability; the Black Shirt March; Mussolini’s consolidation of power…
Wednesday, June 12, 2019
Led by Esther Hershenhorn. Four sessions. 5:45 - 7:45 pm
Eager to revise your current picture book manuscript to ready it for submission? This instructor-led mini-workshopping seminar will let writers share their manuscripts with each other, enabling participants to hone their craft and finalize their work with the help of fellow writers…
Wednesday, June 12, 2019
Led by Linda Downing Miller. Six sessions. 6 - 7:30 pm
As a form of creative nonfiction, the personal essay is versatile, varied, and significantly different from the five-paragraph essay many people practiced in school. The word “essay” is derived from the French word “essayer”—“to try”—and it’s the spirit of exploration and experimentation that makes the personal essay so rewarding to write and read…
Wednesday, June 12, 2019
Led by Todd Bauer. Eight sessions. 6 - 7:30 pm
This seminar is full. Call (312) 255-3700 to be on the waitlist.
In this discussion-based seminar, we will examine what makes Chicago a leader in American theater by speaking directly with some of the major players in the Chicago theatre scene. Each week there will be a different in-class visitor…
Wednesday, June 12, 2019
Led by John Gibbons. Six sessions. 2 - 4 pm
Bard. Solitary wanderer. Nationalist hero. Mad genius. Prometheus. Faust. The Romantic era was awash in idealizations of the artist. Using the lives of composers Frederic Chopin and Robert Schumann as the basis for an examination of the Romantic period, this course will seek to bring a most fascinating and unruly epoch into focus…
Thursday, June 13, 2019
Led by Laurel Harig. Ten sessions. 5:45 - 7:45 pm
This course is designed to deepen and advance students’ comprehension and composition abilities in Modern Standard Arabic (MSA). By the end of the course, each student will be able to read and write full pages in grammatically correct MSA describing themselves, their hobbies, work, and studies…
Thursday, June 13, 2019
Led by Natania Rosenfeld. Eight sessions. 2 - 4 pm
This seminar is full. Call (312) 255-3700 to be on the waitlist.
While his writing may sometimes have seemed decorously old-fashioned, E.M. Forster (1901-1970) led readers to consider fraught, modern questions as well—about gender, women’s rights, and sexuality in particular. This course will explore his two strongest novels, Howards End and A Passage to India…
Thursday, June 13, 2019
Led by Julia Bachrach. Six sessions. 5:45 - 7:45 pm
First established in the early 19th century as a cemetery, Lincoln Park evolved into one of Chicago’s largest, loveliest, and most active public parks. This seminar will explore the fascinating history of Lincoln Park through three in-class presentations and three walking tours.
Thursday, June 13, 2019
Led by Tom Irvine. Six sessions. 6 - 7:30 pm
When we think of mysteries, we tend to think of whodunnits set in the English countryside, thrillers unfolding in the bleak winter of Scandinavia, or detective stories involving hard-nosed New York City cops. This course will adopt a different approach, concentrating on crime novels set in Eastern Europe…
Thursday, June 13, 2019
Led by Margaret Farr. Six sessions. 2 - 4 pm
This seminar is full. Call (312) 255-3700 to be on the waitlist.
The artists known as the Post-Impressionists—Georges Seurat, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Paul Cézanne, Vincent van Gogh, Paul Gauguin, Odilon Redon, and Edvard Munch—each rejected the tenets of Impressionist painting and created artworks in distinctly different styles…
Thursday, June 13, 2019
Led by Katrina A. Kemble. Six sessions. 2 - 4 pm
This seminar is full. Call (312) 255-3700 to be on the waitlist.
Many believe that the best writing of the 20th century came out of the American South. This course will take a close look at five prominent writers from the region: Zora Neale Hurston, Richard Wright, Alice Walker, Dorothy Allison, and Tennessee Williams…
Thursday, June 13, 2019
Led by Harrison Sherrod and Emma Furman. Four sessions. 6 - 7:30 pm
One of the seven deadly sins, sloth, is usually understood as a vice akin to laziness, apathy, or indecision. The object of this team-taught seminar will be to recuperate sloth as a virtue…
Thursday, June 13, 2019
Led by Susan O'Brien Lyons. Five sessions. 2 - 3:30 pm
This seminar will explore intersectionality, a feminist concept now ubiquitous and essential for anyone interested in women’s studies to consider. Through foundational texts, historical excerpts, recent sociological studies, and lyric poetry, we will focus on key arguments advanced by black feminists and…
Saturday, June 15, 2019
Led by Julia Kriventsova Denne. Four sessions. 10 am - noon
This seminar is full. Call (312) 255-3700 to be on the waitlist.
A natural comic who looked at the world from an odd angle, Gogol incited a veritable revolution in Russian drama, liberating dramatic comedy from didacticism and sentimentality. In this course, we will undertake a close analysis of his three completed comedies…
Saturday, June 15, 2019
Led by Susanne Dumbleton. One session. 9 am - noon
This seminar is full. Call (312) 255-3700 to be on the waitlist.
The beautifully designed, meticulously crafted artifact known as the Bayeux Tapestry is as personally touching as it is historically valuable. In this one-day course, we will delve into the tapestry’s historical moment, consider the underlying ideas it conveys, and appreciate the artistry of its designer and the seamstresses who created it…
Saturday, June 15, 2019
Led by Dr. Kevin Kaufmann. Three sessions. 1 - 3 pm
The city of Chicago has been at the forefront of alcohol policy struggles throughout its history, once home to temperance organizations, then a capital of organized crime during Prohibition, and more recently a center for new treatments for alcoholism. In this course, we will study figures like Frances Willard, Billy Sunday, and Al Capone…
Saturday, June 15, 2019
Led by Frank Biletz. Six sessions. 10 am - noon
This seminar is full. Call (312) 255-3700 to be on the waitlist.
Closely related by family ties, George V of Britain, Nicolas II of Russia, and Wilhelm II of Germany were nonetheless unable to prevent their countries from going to war in 1914. This course will treat the interlinked dynasties, the escalation of diplomatic conflicts….
Saturday, June 15, 2019
Led by Debra Mancoff. One session. 1 - 4 pm
Online registration is closed. Call (312) 255-3700 to register.
Costumes for Pre-Raphaelite paintings were designed and crafted by models who also wore them outside the studio. This one-day seminar traces the relationship between Pre-Raphaelite (1848-1914) art and fashion in paintings, photographs, surviving garments, and popular media.
Saturday, June 15, 2019
Led by Dr. Caroline Malloy. Five sessions. 10 am - noon
As our 21st-century societies grapple with the legacies of 20th-century colonialism, museums must tackle the daunting task of identifying stolen objects while also devising solutions for their continued display. This seminar will examine a few of the most legendary museum controversies…
Tuesday, June 18, 2019
Led by Rachel Boyle, PhD. Five sessions. 2 - 4 pm
The Midwest is a place of movement and encounter; sometimes peaceful, often contested, and frequently violent. Using a number of surprising materials from the Newberry’s collections, this seminar will tell the stories of people who moved within and through the Midwest…
Saturday, June 22, 2019
Led by Jeff Nigro. Four sessions. 1 - 3 pm
Online registration is closed. Call (312) 255-3700 to register.
A literary tour de force as well as a compelling exploration of social ideals, Castiglione’s Book of the Courtier has exerted a huge influence since it was first published in 1528. Through a series of witty conversations, the book examines the qualities of the ideal courtier in appearance, abilities, and character. This seminar will explore Castiglione’s masterpiece…
Tuesday, June 25, 2019
Led by Robert Sprott. Eight sessions. 5:45 - 7:45 pm
This seminar is full. Call (312) 255-3700 to be on the waitlist.
In his last book, Ecce Homo, Nietzsche wrote, “I am no man, I am dynamite.” What he intended as an ironic exaggeration has turned out to be an understatement: Nietzsche’s “philosophy of the future”…
Wednesday, June 26, 2019
Led by Nina Wieda. Seven sessions. 2 - 4 pm
This seminar is full. Call (312) 255-3700 to be on the waitlist.
Although the Cold War-era Iron Curtain has been lifted, our understanding of contemporary Russia remains limited due to strict censorship, challenging language barriers, and differences in culture and history. This seminar seeks to help bridge the gap between our culture and Russia’s…
Wednesday, June 26, 2019
Led by Bill Savage. Six sessions. 6 - 7:30 pm
Online registration is closed. Call (312) 255-3700 to register.
In the century since Charles Comiskey’s White Sox threw the 1919 World Series to the Cincinnati Reds, the story of the Black Sox has developed into an American myth of greed, criminality, sin, and redemption. In this seminar, we will examine the growth of the Black Sox myth…
Wednesday, June 26, 2019
Led by Daniele Macuglia. Five sessions. 2 - 4 pm
This seminar is full. Call (312) 255-3700 to be on the waitlist.
This course will provide an intensive five-week introduction to the Italian Renaissance. Through a combination of readings and class discussion, we will develop a taste for the flowering of arts, science, and letters…
Tuesday, July 2, 2019
Led by Daniele Macuglia. Five sessions. 6 - 7:30 pm
This seminar is full. Call (312) 255-3700 to be on the waitlist.
In this course we will survey the major scientific and cultural developments that took place during the Enlightenment in Europe. Our focus will be on the “exact sciences,” as well as natural history, physiology, and moral philosophy…
Saturday, July 6, 2019
Led by Melinda Rooney. Eight sessions. 1 - 3 pm
Caroline Alexander’s translation of the Iliad is the first and only translation by a woman of what is sometimes referred to as “the war book.” This seminar will explore the epic’s status as one of the founding stories of the Western literary tradition, focusing in particular on its depictions of women, from slave girls to queens to goddesses…
Saturday, July 6, 2019
Led by Edward E. Gordon, Ph.D.. Four sessions. 1 - 3 pm
Commemorating the 75th anniversary of D-Day, this seminar will focus on the impact of leadership struggles within the Anglo-American “Grand” alliance upon the course and length of the Normandy campaign, Operation Overlord….
Tuesday, July 9, 2019
Led by Christopher Hagenah, PhD. Five sessions. 2 - 3:30 pm
The stories told by slaves comprise some of the most compelling work in American literature. In this course, we will read Frederick Douglass’s genre-defining work Narrative of the Life (1845) and then explore the ways that the slave narrative has continued to influence literary works…
Wednesday, July 10, 2019
Led by Joseph S. Harrington. Four sessions. 5:45 - 7:45 pm
The U.S. Constitution is recognized by Americans for its protection of individual liberty, but most of us overlook the way another document—the Declaration of Independence—expresses a counterbalancing commitment to another value, that of equality…
Thursday, July 11, 2019
Led by Douglas Post. Six sessions. 5:45 - 7:45 pm
When asked what his plays were about, Harold Pinter famously replied, “The weasel under the cocktail cabinet.” Though he later came to regret this comment, there’s a certain truth to it: his work, filled with the comedy of menace, often combines two stories—one that is spoken and one that is not. This seminar will center on eight plays…
Saturday, July 13, 2019
Led by Alexis Culotta, PhD. One session. 9 am - noon
This seminar is full. Call (312) 255-3700 to be on the waitlist.
With the National Gallery in London pledging to double its holdings of work by women artists by the time its landmark Artemisia Gentileschi exhibition opens in April 2020, we are reminded that our understanding of the history of women in art is still evolving in light of newly available collections displaying the brilliance and novelty of their work…
Saturday, July 13, 2019
Led by Caron Primas Brennan, Ginger Frere, and Marsha Peterson-Maass. Saturdays, 9 am – noon and 1 – 4 pm
Click to see which sessions still have space.
Take this whole four-part series on the building blocks of genealogy or just the individual sessions that appeal to you.
Wednesday, July 17, 2019
Led by John Nygro. Five sessions. 2 - 4 pm
This course will focus on Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra, using the play’s treatment of the Antony and Cleopatra myth as a springboard for discussions about the strength and weakness of character, the expansion of gender roles, and the conflict created when one’s integrity and one’s duty to country are in contradiction…
Thursday, July 18, 2019
Led by Chad Beharriell. Three sessions. 5:45 - 7:45 pm
This seminar will explore the historical Jesse James as well as the development of the myths surrounding his life and the ways they intersect with the traditions of social banditry. Drawing upon Newberry sources as well as modern media treatments….
Saturday, July 20, 2019
Led by Dr. Brian Alberts and Liz Garibay. One session. 9 am - noon
Lager-drinking German immigrants to Chicago and the Midwest brought with them a lot more than just a love of the beverage. They also redefined the way Americans thought about, produced, and consumed beer. In “From Bier to Beer,” we will embark on a complex journey through immigrant ethnicity, politics, and…
Tuesday, July 23, 2019
Led by Dr. Margaret Denny, Ph.D. Three sessions. 2 - 4 pm
Focusing on women in photography between the 1850s and 1930s, this course will explore how the experiences of women photographers were shaped by many factors, including personal circumstance, technological change, and shifts in societal norms…
Saturday, July 27, 2019
Led by David Pituch. Four sessions. 1 - 3 pm
Many of the standard conventions of opera as we know them today—use of a libretto, an aria/recitative structure, and the presence of a full orchestra, costumed actors, and elaborate staging—were fully established by the time this new musical genre first appeared in the early 1600s. Yet while operatic conventions have remained the same in certain ways…
Thursday, August 1, 2019
Led by John Nygro. Three sessions. 1 - 4 pm
This seminar is full. Call (312) 255-3700 to be on the waitlist.
George Gershwin’s music reflects the many influences that surrounded him, including European classical music, American jazz, Yiddish theater music, the songs of New York’s Tin Pan Alley, and early 20th-century experimental music. In this course, we will seek to identify how Gershwin’s music channeled these traditions by examining a range of compositions…
Saturday, August 3, 2019
Led by Judy Pomeranz. One session. 9 am - noon
This seminar is full. Call (312) 255-3700 to be on the waitlist.
This seminar will examine the art of Constable and Turner, renowned 19th-century British painters who showed the western world just how lyrical, dramatic, and romantic landscape painting could be…
Saturday, August 3, 2019
Led by Alix Anne Shaw. Four sessions. 1 - 3 pm
Quirky, incisive, and iconoclastic, Marianne Moore’s poetry has been recognized as an important contribution to 20th century American literature. This course will illuminate Moore’s poetic innovations by placing them within their broader cultural context. Discussions will focus on a number of related questions…
Saturday, August 3, 2019
 Alexis Culotta, PhD and Jeff Nigro. One session. 9 am - noon
Online registration is closed. Call (312) 255-3700 to register.
In this team-taught, single-session seminar, we will explore the aesthetic, political, social, and cultural implications of the “eternal return” of certain elements of ancient Greek and Roman dress in Western fashion between the late-18th and early-20th centuries….
Saturday, August 3, 2019
The Skidi band of the Pawnee Indians, a tribe whose traditional homeland was on the Great Plains, is distinctive among indigenous North American people for its complex traditions involving the sun, moon, and especially the stars. This seminar will explore the band’s diverse beliefs about the cosmos and their expression in Skidi culture…
Thursday, August 8, 2019
Led by Elzbieta Foeller-Pituch. Two sessions. 6 - 7:30 pm
Raymond Chandler is recognized as a master of the genre of hard-boiled detective fiction, having distinguished himself on the basis of a seminal collection of short stories, novels, and film scripts. In this two-session course, we will discuss a selection of Chandler’s pulp magazine short stories, as well as his first novel, The Big Sleep
Saturday, August 10, 2019
Led by Laurel Harig. One session. 9 am - 4 pm (with an hour-long lunch break)
Online registration is closed. Call (312) 255-3700 to register.
Sunni. Shi’ite. Sufi. Isma’ili. Alawite. What do these terms mean? This course will introduce students to the diverse historical and modern worlds of Islam. Since its beginning in 7th-century Arabia, the religion of Islam has never ceased to shape and be shaped by the complex historical events occurring around it…