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Chicago Humanities Festival


The final weekend of the 11th annual festival offers lectures, readings, and discussions by scientists, writers, historians, and others organized around the theme of "Now!," as well as movies and musical and theatrical performances (see listings in this section and in Section Three). Events take place at: Alliance Francaise, 54 W. Chicago; Art Institute of Chicago, Michigan and Adams (use east entrance); Chicago Historical Society, Clark at North; Field Museum, 1400 S. Lake Shore Drive (use west entrance); Harold Washington Library Center, 400 S. State; National-Louis University, downtown campus, 122 S. Michigan; Northwestern University Law School, 375 E. Chicago; Chicago Academy of Sciences Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, 2430 N. Cannon Drive; Roosevelt University, 430 S. Michigan; and Symphony Center, 220 S. Michigan. All programs are $6; tickets can be purchased at the site the day of the event. For more information call the festival hot line at 312-661-1028, ext. 32, or see the festival's Web site (


Songwriters Now

Songwriters Craig Carnelia, David Friedman, Babbie Green, Steven Lutvak, and Stephen Schwartz discuss and perform their work. Cabaret artist Karen Mason hosts. 7:30 to 9 PM: Northwestern University Law School, Thorne Auditorium.


The Arts and Culture of the Iranian Diaspora

Discussion of "how the diaspora functions as muse" with New York Times journalist Tara Bahrampour, Iranian and Iranian Times publisher Jahansha Javid, San Jose State University English professor Persis Karim, art gallery director Maryam Ovissi, architect Rudabeh Pakravan, and filmmaker Ramin Serry. 10:30 AM to noon: Harold Washington Library Center, auditorium.

Collecting Now

Art collectors Jay Dandy, Brad Smith, Melissa Weber, and others discuss their hobby. Richard Gray Gallery director Paul Gray moderates. 11 AM to 12:30 PM: National-Louis University.

Great Books Discussion: "Burnt Norton" From T.S. Eliot's Four Quartets

Small groups discuss the poem; participants should have read the poem before the program and bring a copy. 11 AM to noon: National-Louis University.

International Justice

DePaul University International Human Rights Law Institute's Stephan Landsman talks about the need for an international court of justice and the responsibilities of being part of an international community. 11 AM to noon: Chicago Historical Society.

The Internet: Transforming Business and Society

IBM vice president for technology Irving Wladawsky-Berger talks about wide-ranging changes caused by the Internet. 11 AM to noon: Symphony Center, Buntrock Hall.

La Milpa: A Mayan City in the Belize Jungle

Archaeologist Norman Hammond describes excavations of the ancient city. 11 AM to noon: Alliance Francaise.

Learning to Love Globalization

Economist and historian Deirdre McCloskey says it's not a bad thing. 11 AM to noon: Roosevelt University, Ganz Hall.

Peace and Reconciliation: The Old Bridge

Architect Amir Pasic talks about his work restoring the historic Stari Most bridge in Mostar, Bosnia. 11 AM to noon: Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum.

Contemporary Iranian Art

Talk by art gallery director Maryam Ovissi. 12:30 to 1:30 PM: Harold Washington Library Center, auditorium.

Privacy & the Internet

Intellectual property lawyer Priscilla Walter leads a panel discussion with representatives from the government, consumer groups, and businesses. 12:30 to 2 PM: Roosevelt University, Ganz Hall.

Statesmanship Now

British journalist Anthony Sampson, author of a biography of Nelson Mandela, discusses his lifelong friendship with the former president of South Africa. 12:30 to 1:30 PM: Chicago Historical Society.

Architecture Now

Architect Jon Jerde talks about his work and projects in Las Vegas. 1 to 2 PM: Alliance Francaise.

The Birth of the New Russia Out of the Spirit of Music

University of California at Berkeley music historian Richard Taruskin looks at developments in post-Soviet music and examines the connections between aesthetic values and politics. 1 to 2 PM: Symphony Center, Buntrock Hall.

The Death of the New

Financial Times writer Richard Tomkins argues that, contrary to all appearances, the era of progress is over. 1 to 2 PM: Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum.

Farrar, Straus and Giroux Poetry Reading

Readings from the venerable publishing house's stable of poets, including Frank Bidart, Carl Phillips, and Brenda Shaughnessy. 1 to 2:30 PM: National-Louis University.

Jelly Roll Blues

Jazz critic Howard Reich and reporter William Gaines talk about their Chicago Tribune series on Jelly Roll Morton. 1 to 2 PM: Field Museum, Simpson Theatre.

Ourselves as Others See Us

Washington, D.C., bureau chiefs from papers around the world discuss America's image in their countries and their own impressions. Panelists include Ennio Caretto of Corriere Della Sera, Joseph Carroll of the Irish Times, Andrew Cohen of the Toronto Globe and Mail, Yasemin Congar of the Istanbul Milliyet, Patrice de Beer of Le Monde, Mary Dejevsky of London's Independent, and Xavier Mas de Xaxas of Barcelona's La Vanguardia. Chicago Tribune writer R.C. Longworth moderates. 1 to 2:30 PM: Northwestern University Law School, Thorne Auditorium.

J.M. Coetzee: A Reading

The Booker Prize-winning novelist reads from his work. 2 to 3 PM: Chicago Historical Society.

A Conversation With Glenda Jackson

The actress turned member of British parliament talks about her political work. 2 to 3 PM: Symphony Center, Armour Stage.

Iran Today

Northeastern Illinois University professor Hamid Akbari, journalist Tara Bahrampour, University of Illinois at Chicago history professor Guity Nashat, and University of Chicago business school professor Marvin Zonis talk about changes across the country. 2:30 to 4 PM: Harold Washington Library Center, auditorium.

Uncovering the Oldest Civilization: Tell Hamoukar

Archaeologist McGuire Gibson lectures on his discovery of an ancient city in Syria. 2:30 to 3:30 PM: Alliance Francaise.

A Conversation With John Edgar Wideman

The writer reads from a work in progress about basketball and time. 3 to 4 PM: Roosevelt University, Ganz Hall.

The Internet: Who Owns It? Who Runs It?

Patent lawyer David Maher discusses attempts to shape a legal framework for the Internet. 3 to 4 PM: Symphony Center, Buntrock Hall.

Las Vegas: The Now City

A panel of professional gamblers, journalists, and writers discuss why Las Vegas is one of the fastest-growing cities in the country. Novelist James McManus moderates. 3 to 4:30 PM: Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum.

The Internet Revolution

Cultural critic Camille Paglia discusses the Internet's impact and challenges. 3:30 to 4:30 PM: Northwestern University Law School, Thorne Auditorium.

Re-Media: An Overview of Web-Based Art

Artist and School of the Art Institute professor Eduardo Kac and media curators Benjamin Weil of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Steve Dietz of Minnesota's Walker Art Center, Christiane Paul of the Whitney Museum, and Perttu Rastas of Finland's Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art examine issues relating to on-line art. 3:30 to 5 PM: National-Louis University.

Hala Sarhan

The "Arab Oprah" talks about her shows, syndicated throughout the Arab world. 3:30 to 4:30 PM: Chicago Historical Society.

The Apartheid Museum

Architect Jo Noero discusses his design for the South African museum and why architecture has a responsibility to make a difference. 4 to 5 PM: Alliance Francaise.

The U.S. and the UN: Prospects for the 21st Century

Edward Mortimer, Kofi Annan's chief speechwriter, considers future challenges. 5:30 to 6:30 PM: Northwestern University Law School, Thorne Auditorium.


Fashion Now

Costume historian Elizabeth Jachimowicz, fashion designer Joshua Patner of Tuleh, and others present a slide lecture on trends and fashion as art. 11:30 AM to 1 PM: Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum.

The Internet as a Virtual Frontier

University of Illinois at Chicago anthropologist Lawrence Keeley explains how the Internet is like a contemporary Wild West. 11:30 AM to 12:30 PM: Alliance Francaise.

E-Business Panel

Attorney Priscilla Walter, Cyber Strategies journal editor Craig Watson, and others discuss the problems and boons of on-line commerce. Noon to 1:30 PM: Chicago Historical Society.

A Long View of U.S. Foreign Policy

Chicago Tribune Rome correspondent Tom Hundley and deputy managing editor James O'Shea talk about global affairs in the wake of the U.S. presidential election. Noon to 1 PM: Symphony Center, Buntrock Hall.

Rainer Maria Rilke: In Two Different American Voices

Poet Galway Kinnell and translator Edward Snow read from their translations of the poet's work and examine his popularity today. Noon to 1 PM: National-Louis University.

Joan of Arc

University of Chicago comparative literature department chair Francoise Meltzer talks about the historical figure as a contemporary icon "who reveals our postmodern nostalgia." 1 to 2 PM: Alliance Francaise.

The Nicholas Brothers

Fayard Nicholas, one half of the tap-dancing duo, talks about his career as a jazz dancer. 1 to 2 PM: Field Museum, Simpson Theatre.

One Europe: The Responsibilities of America and the West

Former Hungarian president Arpad Goncz discusses the impact of the European Union on the West. Adam Makkai translates. With a "musical introduction" by Hungarian mezzo-soprano Laura Farago. 1 to 2 PM: Harold Washington Library Center, auditorium.

Humanizing Technology

IIT Institute of Design head Patrick Whitney talks about using design to make technology more user-friendly. 1:30 to 2:30 PM: Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum.

Frank Bidart on Robert Lowell

Poet Bidart discusses his forthcoming collection of Lowell's poetry and the way poets' reputations can change with time. 2 to 3 PM: Roosevelt University, Ganz Hall.

God and the Death Penalty: Different Religious Perspectives

Panel discussion with Rabbi Asher Lopatin, Loyola University theology professor and Islamist Marcia Hermansen, and University of North Carolina at Wilmington theologian James Megivern. Chicago-Kent College of Law professor Sheldon Nahmod moderates. 2 to 3:30 PM: National-Louis University, atrium.

Great Books Discussion: Rainer Maria Rilke

Small groups talk about Rilke's poems, including the first elegy of the Duino Elegies, "The Panther," and "Lament." 2 to 3 PM: National-Louis University.

The Hidden History of Now

Writer James Fallows talks about what future generations will see in our present that we missed. 2 to 3 PM: Chicago Historical Society.

European Union Writers' Roundtable

Writers participating in the upcoming European Union Literary Festival discuss their work. Speakers include Marlene Steeruwitz of Austria, Ib Michael of Denmark, Martin Winckler of France, Alissa Walser of Germany, and Philibert Schogt of the Netherlands. 2:30 to 4 PM: Alliance Francaise.

History of the Present: Europe Between Unification and Ethnic Cleansing

Writer Timothy Garton Ash talks about his new book, History of the Present, a look at European politics in the 1990s. 3 to 4 PM: Harold Washington Library Center, auditorium.

Jelly Roll's Manuscripts

Musicologist Alfred Lemmon explains their significance. 3 to 4 PM: Field Museum, Simpson Theatre.

The Internet: Past, Present, and Future

Entrepreneur Charles Ferguson talks about what it takes to survive as a high-tech start-up. 3:30 to 4:30 PM: Chicago Historical Society.

The Letters of Oscar Wilde

Wilde's grandson Merlin Holland reads from and talks about the writer's missives, including some recently discovered ones. 3:30 to 4:30 PM: Roosevelt University, Ganz Hall.

Al Jazeera Network: Uncensored Hard-hitting Journalism in the Arab World

Maher Abdullah, producer at Qatar's Al Jazeera network, discusses the channel's groundbreaking efforts. 4 to 5 PM: Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum.

Toward a Creole-American Literature

Novelist Russell Banks explains his idea of a national literature that reflects the history of race in this country and the "creolization" of its people. 4 to 5 PM: National-Louis University.

Jelly Roll Morton: The 1920s

The Chicago Tribune's Howard Reich and William Gaines consider Morton's work during the decade, followed by a performance by the Chicago Jazz Ensemble. 5 to 6:30 PM: Field Museum, Simpson Theatre.

Jelly Roll Morton: The 1930s

Reich and Gaines take on the composer's work in the 30s, followed by a performance by the Chicago Jazz Ensemble. 8 to 9:30 PM: Field Museum, Simpson Theatre.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photos/Luca Babini/Jennifer Arra/Chris Davies.

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