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., 12/02/2020
E.g., 12/02/2020
Tuesday, September 22, 2020
Led by Frank Biletz. Eight sessions. 2 - 4 pm.
Full. Email seminars@newberry.org to be added to the wait list.
While Germany suffered psychological trauma, social division, political polarization, and economic dislocation in the aftermath of the First World War, it also experienced a cultural renaissance, which lasted until the Nazi regime came to power in 1933. This seminar will explore...
Tuesday, September 22, 2020
Led by Mary Wisniewski. Six sessions. 6 - 7:30 pm.
Full. Email seminars@newberry.org to be added to the wait list.
A personal journal can be a secret record, for the author’s eyes only. But it can also be a “test kitchen” for trying out new ideas and ways of writing. This seminar will provide exercises and inspiration for those interested in developing and maintaining a creative journaling habit.
Wednesday, September 23, 2020
Led by Richard Reeder. Three sessions. 5:45 - 7:45 pm
In 1921, Ben Hecht began writing a daily column for the Chicago Daily News. Entitled “A Thousand and One Afternoons in Chicago,” the column provided fictive sketches of the bustling urban landscape in Chicago at the time.
Wednesday, September 23, 2020
Led by John Gibbons. Six sessions. 2 - 4 pm.
Essentially defining the musical culture of the nineteenth century, the operas of the Italian Giuseppe Verdi and the German Richard Wagner continue to form the most stable theatrical repertory of the present day. Through their work, Wagner and Verdi both offered...
Thursday, September 24, 2020
Led by Margaret Farr. Six sessions. 2 - 4 pm.
Full. Email seminars@newberry.org to be added to the wait list.
This seminar surveys the achievements of women in the visual arts from the Middle Ages to the present. Besides exploring the artistic development of individual artists in Western culture, we will examine the conditions and contexts in which these artists worked, and their relationships to society and to each other.
Thursday, September 24, 2020
Led by Bill Savage. Seven sessions. 6 - 7:30 pm
At its industrial height, the social and physical landscape of Chicago was thought to be beyond (or beneath) poetry. Carl Sandburg and Gwendolyn Brooks demonstrated otherwise. . .
Saturday, September 26, 2020
Led by Julie Benesh. One session. 1 - 4 pm.
Full. Email seminars@newberry.org to be added to the wait list.
“Flash” literature is in, and so is memoir. Put them together, and you have micro–memoir! In this seminar, we will use the appreciative reading of published micro–memoirs as a jumping off point for you to write your own micro–memoirs.
Saturday, September 26, 2020
Led by Frank Biletz. Eight sessions. 10 am - 12 pm.
Full. Email seminars@newberry.org to be added to the wait list.
Over 3,500 people died during the political and sectarian conflict that ravaged Northern Ireland from 1968 to 1998. Although the Good Friday Agreement has largely ended the violence and established power-sharing institutions, the peace remains fragile and tensions persist.
Tuesday, September 29, 2020
Led by Steve Venturino. Eight sessions. 2 - 4 pm.
Full. Email seminars@newberry.org to be added to the wait list.
This seminar presents Charles Dickens’s masterpiece Bleak House in manageable weekly serial installments--with no spoilers. Our discussions of each week’s installment will explore Dickens’s humor, social commentary, psychological depth, and dazzling assortment of narrative styles.
Tuesday, September 29, 2020
Led by Rachel Boyle. Five sessions. 6 - 7:30 pm.
Women were active in Chicago politics well before the passage of the 19th Amendment. This seminar will focus on women who participated in and challenged ward politics in early twentieth-century Chicago, examining everything from early reform efforts to women’s aldermanic campaigns...
Wednesday, September 30, 2020
Led by Esther Hershenhorn. Seven sessions. 5:45 - 7:45 pm.
Full. Email seminars@newberry.org to be added to the wait list.
This workshop focuses on how to create and write a successful children’s picture book that will connect with today’s young readers and our ever-changing marketplace. Participants’ manuscripts will be shared and discussed to highlight the variety of picture books and structures...
Thursday, October 1, 2020
Led by Laurel Harig. Five sessions. 6 - 7:30 pm.
Explore the fascinating geometric forms of Arabic--both typeset and handwritten--in a seminar exploringwill explore the rich history of Islamic calligraphy (khatt) in Arabic. From building inscriptions in the 7th century, richly ornamented Qur’an manuscripts, and textile designs and legal documents...
Thursday, October 1, 2020
Led by Lawrence Axelrod. Four sessions. 2 - 4 pm.
Even those passionate about attending “classical” music concerts sometimes hit a stumbling block when it comes to music using a vocabulary beyond that of the late nineteenth century. Through comparative listening, basic score study, and history, this seminar will demystify four of the main paths of classical music...
Saturday, October 3, 2020
Led by Jeff Nigro. Four sessions. 1 - 3 pm.
Full. Email seminars@newberry.org to be added to the wait list.
Virgil’s great epic poem the Aeneid recounts the adventures of the Trojan prince Aeneas and his followers, as well as the legendary foundation story of ancient Rome. . .
Saturday, October 3, 2020
Led by Brian Alberts. One session. 2 - 5 pm.
In 1855, Chicago’s city government clashed with immigrant neighborhoods over the right to drink beer. While this event had roots in Europe, the Lager Beer Riot gave Chicago its first experience with civil unrest, expanded the city’s police force, and reshaped local politics for decades.
Saturday, October 3, 2020
Led by Julia Denne. Seven sessions. 10 am - 12 pm.
Full. Email seminars@newberry.org to be added to the wait list.
This interdisciplinary seminar will provide an introduction to the riches of the Russian realist and symbolist traditions, focusing on the dialogue between the Russian painters--especially the Wanderers, Ilya Repin, and the symbolist Mikhail Vrubel--and the literary works of Leo Tolstoy, Fyodor Dostoevsky, and Anton Chekhov.
Tuesday, October 6, 2020
Led by Justin Amolsch and Paul Durica. Four sessions. 6 - 7:30 pm.
Whether promising “Happy Days” or inspiring “High Hopes,” songs have been setting the mood and tempo of presidential campaigns since the earliest days of the Republic. Campaign songs offer a sample of the prevailing tastes and styles of a given moment in the history of American music.
Tuesday, October 6, 2020
Led by Suzanne Karr Schmidt, Lia Markey, Jonathan Tavares, Pedro Raposo, and Jen Farrell. Four sessions. 2 - 3 pm.
Full. Email seminars@newberry.org to be added to the wait list.
Complementing the Newberry’s exhibition, Renaissance Invention: Stradanus’s Nova Reperta, this seminar comprises four one-hour virtual sessions with staff from the Newberry, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Adler Planetarium, and Starshaped Press.
Thursday, October 8, 2020
Led by Judy Pomeranz. One session. 2 - 3:30 pm.
Full. Email seminars@newberry.org to be added to the wait list.
The world created and inhabited by the Abstract Expressionists in mid-twentieth-century New York was a wild, crazy, bold, fascinating, and frenetically creative one, out of which emerged the first fully American style of painting.
Saturday, October 10, 2020
Led by Rosie May. Three sessions. 1 - 3 pm.
In fifteenth-century Florence, a competitive spirit permeated society, creating rivalries between political parties, guilds, families, and artists. Yet competition was a catalyzing force for the arts.
Tuesday, October 13, 2020
Led by Jen Farrell. One session. 4 - 5 pm.
Full. Email seminars@newberry.org to be added to the wait list.
Starshaped Press is a letterpress and design studio in Chicago’s Ravenswood neighborhood. While focused on creating modern-day print work for clients, libraries, and collectors, the studio uses materials that are decidedly mid-twentieth century, as well as techniques that have remained relatively unchanged over the last 400 years.
Wednesday, October 14, 2020
Led by Tom Irvine. Seven sessions. 5:45 - 7:45 pm.
Full. Email seminars@newberry.org to be added to the wait list.
East Asia is home to some of the finest murder mysteries ever written. In this seven session seminar, we will travel to Japan, China, and Korea to examine how mystery writers in these countries have woven culture, politics, and place together with good old-fashioned murder plots to create unique works of distinctive power.
Wednesday, October 14, 2020
Led by Paul Durica. Three sessions. 6 - 7:30 pm.
Full. Email seminars@newberry.org to be added to the wait list.
Ever want to step back in time to a specific moment in Chicago’s past? In this seminar, you’ll do just that through a deep exploration of a single year: 1920.
Saturday, October 17, 2020
Led by Angela Davis Fegan. One session. 12:00 - 1:30 pm.
This seminar has been cancelled.
Protest art is a powerful tool for expressing political dissent, empowering marginalized communities, and demanding social change. Whether drawn by hand on a piece of cardboard or designed, printed, and disseminated, protest posters have become an important piece of activism’s visual iconography.
Saturday, October 17, 2020
Led by Marsha Peterson-Maass. One session. 9 am - 12 pm
Full. Email seminars @newberry.org to be added to the wait list.
The Newberry has one of the nation’s strongest genealogy collections. This one-session seminar will introduce you to accredited methods for tracing your family’s history in America.
Wednesday, October 21, 2020
Led by Emily Nydam and Paul Durica. One session. 3 - 4:30 pm.
In this virtual workshop, you’ll learn how to make three popular cocktails--the Manhattan, Old Fashioned, and Sazerac--that emerged during the period of national prohibition (1920-1933) under the guidance of Emily Nydam, the skilled mixologist at Maria’s Packaged Goods and Community Bar.
Wednesday, October 28, 2020
Led by Nina Wieda. Six sessions. 2 - 4 pm.
Full. Email seminars@newberry.org to be added to the wait list.
Many people describe themselves as “Caucasian” but don’t know why. This seminar introduces participants to the Caucasus: the mountainous area between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea, the home to the earliest uncontested traces of human civilization outside of Africa.
Saturday, October 31, 2020
Led by Sarah Wilson. One session. 1 - 2:30pm.
Full. Email seminars@newberry.org to be added to the wait list.
As a precaution to help reduce the spread of COVID-19, the Adult Education Seminars Program’s Fall 2020 term will continue to be held virtually. Virtual seminars meet via Zoom video conference and use email and Google Drive folders to share resources and communicate with instructors and participants.
Wednesday, November 4, 2020
Led by Mark Larson. Five sessions. 2 - 4 pm.
This seminar has been cancelled.
Learn about the practice of oral history by capturing forever a story you think is important for future generations to hear in the words and voices of those who lived it. By the third session, participants in this workshop will be on their way toward creating their own oral history.
Thursday, November 5, 2020
Led by Sarah Kernan. Three sessions. 6 - 7:30 pm.
Food was an important feature of everyday life in the Middle Ages and appeared regularly in late medieval English literature. Writers used cultural conventions surrounding food and dining to illuminate ideas about power, class, gender, spirituality, and much more. . .
Saturday, November 7, 2020
Led by Matthew Nickerson. Four sessions. 1 - 3 pm.
Full. Email seminars@newberry.org to be added to the wait list.
Family stories are the building blocks of history—so let’s start building! Participants in this seminar will learn to use interviews, archives, newspapers, history books, and images to discover their ancestors’ secrets.
Tuesday, November 10, 2020
Led by Kathleen Skolnik. Five sessions. 6 - 7:30 pm.
Full. Email seminars@newberry.org to be added to the wait list.
Art Deco captured the attention of the world in the 1920s and ‘30s. A movement that defies definition, its manifestations range from soaring setback skyscrapers to simple streamlined factories, from modern interpretations of classic French cabinets to skyscraper-inspired bookcases, and from jewel-encrusted brooches to simple Bakelite bracelets.
Thursday, November 12, 2020
Led by June Sawyers. Four sessions. 5:45 - 7:45 pm
Full. Email seminars@newberry.org to be added to the wait list.
It’s something we take for granted: the simple act of walking. But walking has a rich social and cultural history. This course will examine the history of walking from several angles . . .
Saturday, November 14, 2020
Led by Brian Oberlander. Two sessions. 2 - 4 pm.
Sneak behind the scenes of Giacomo Puccini’s Tosca (1900). From Puccini's inspiration in actress Sarah Bernhardt, who played Tosca in an earlier French drama while on tour in Italy, to the violent social unrest that delayed the opera’s premiere, we will uncover the artistic and social forces that shaped this harrowing composition.
Tuesday, November 17, 2020
Led by Harrison Sherrod. One session. 6 - 7:30 pm.
Full. Email seminars@newberry.org to be added to the wait list.
Scholars and basketball enthusiasts alike might be surprised to learn that there is a wealth of captivating writing and research connecting basketball and philosophical concepts like metaphysics, game theory, Zen Buddhism, ontology, and Marxism.
Saturday, November 21, 2020
Led by Anca Szilágyi. One session. 9 am - 12 pm
Food wields tremendous power, in life and in fiction. In this one-day workshop, we’ll explore ways to use food to create mood, advance plot, develop characters, and enrich stories.
Saturday, November 21, 2020
Led by Caron Primas Brennan.
Take this whole three-part series and build your genealogy research toolbox.
Tuesday, November 24, 2020
Led by Margaret Denny. Three sessions. 2 - 4 pm.
From stereographic views and slide presentations to picture postcards or casual Kodak snapshots, tourism and photography are inextricably linked. Photographs capture would-be-traveler's imagination and provide indelible memories of places visited.
Wednesday, December 2, 2020
Led by Elzbieta Foeller-Pituch. Two sessions. 5:45 - 7:45 pm.
Full. Email seminars@newberry.org to be added to the wait list.
This seminar will examine Agatha Christie’s pivotal role in the British Golden Age of detective fiction (the 1920 and 30s) by tracing the development of mystery literature and discussing the rise of her iconic detectives, Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot.
Tuesday, December 8, 2020
Led by Harrison Sherrod. One session. 6 - 7:30 pm.
From Ellsworth Kelly casting dice to determine the colors of his paintings to John Cage using the I Ching to compose his music, chance has often been a catalyst for creative activity. In this seminar, we discuss “aleatoric” art, or art created with some element of chance or randomness.