The theme of this year's Chicago Humanities Festival is "America," and the content is appropriately expansive. Some off-the-beaten-path highlights follow, but they barely scratch the surface. A full schedule, as well as the complex details of ticketing policies, are at chicagohumanities.org. The prices given here are for general admission.
In their conversation titled The Power of Words, journalist Adam Hochschild and editor Tom Englehardt ask, Whither writing and editing in an age when both have been devalued (Thu 11/1, 6 PM, Francis W. Parker School, 2233 N. Clark, $10)? University of Michigan anthropologist Andrew Shryock studies Arab-Americans in Detroit. He holds forth on Arab Detroit, Before and After 9/11 (Sat 11/3, 2:30 PM, UIC Forum, 725 W. Roosevelt, $5). Another anthropologist, Karen Ho, researches the kill-or-be-killed ethos of Wall Street investment bankers and its influence on corporate America at large. She reveals her findings in Gentlemen Prefer Bonds (Sun 11/4, 2:30 PM, Newberry Library, 60 W. Walton, $5, sold out).
Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman's 1990 musical Assassins gets into the minds of the men and women who've either killed an American president or made the attempt. This staging, created specially for the CHF, isn't to be confused with the version running through 11/10 at Viaduct Theater (Mon 11/5, 7:30 PM, Francis W. Parker School, $20).
With the election over, stats wizard Nate Silver explains why you feel so awful—and, oh yeah, talks about his true love, baseball, too. The event is called Nate Silver on Baseball and Politics: The Numbers Don't Lie (Fri 11/9, 8 PM, Francis W. Parker School, $10). In Icons of the Americas: Josephine Baker and Santa Evita, Brown University's Matthew Guterl fills in the dots connecting two 20th-century goddesses (Sat 11/10, 3 PM, Art Institute of Chicago, Fullerton Hall, 111 S. Michigan, $5). And Walden, a Video Game is exactly what the incongruous name suggests: an interactive digital program based on Henry David Thoreau's ode to simplicity. It's the work of Tracy Fullerton, director of the University of Southern California's Electronic Arts Game Innovation Lab (Sun 11/11, 2 PM, Northwestern University School of Law, Thorne Auditorium, 375 E. Chicago, $5).