7 Chicago Humanities Festival Events You Can’t Miss This Fall

The Chicago Humanities Festival brings together celebrities, professors, authors and leaders with the local community to discuss issues facing our country and world. After the festival’s 2015 lineup announcement on Aug. 18, here are just a few of the speakers we can’t wait to hear from.

Tickets go on sale to Chicago Humanities Festival Members on Sept. 8 at 10 a.m. and to the public on Sept. 14 at 10 a.m.

Oct. 27: Raj Chetty and Laura Eason

Our country prides itself on providing equality for all, but does equality actually exist? MacArthur Fellow and Harvard professor of economics Raj Chetty will discuss his research on this topic and show how vulnerable citizens can have a better chance at success. Afterward, Evanston native Laura Eason, writer for “House of Cards” and former artistic director of Lookingglass Theatre, will speak about writing both for off-Broadway and online. Northwestern University School of Law, Thorne Auditorium, 375 E. Chicago Ave., Chicago

Oct. 28: An Evening with Sarah Vowell

A regular on the much-missed “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart,” Sarah Vowell will talk about her latest book, “Lafayette in the Somewhat United States,” a look at Revolutionary War hero Marquis de Lafayette. Former “Daily Show” contributor Aasif Mandvi will also bring his humor to the festival on Oct. 30. Art Institute of Chicago, Rubloff Auditorium, 230 S. Columbus Drive, Chicago

Oct. 31: The Myth of Seneca Falls

Historian Lisa Tetrault’s closer look at the 1848 Seneca Falls meeting, considered by many to be the birthplace of American feminism, will lead a discussion on the myths and realities of the current women’s movement. The Newberry Library, Ruggles Hall, 60 W. Walton St., Chicago

Oct. 31: So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed

Jon Ronson, author, journalist and humorist, will look at both the shamed and shamers, and why public shaming is back and more intense than ever. Northwestern University School of Law, Thorne Auditorium

Nov. 1: A Presidency in Pictures

The Obama administration has frequently given citizens an intimate look into the White House using Flickr and social media, but capturing images of presidencies isn’t new, as the University of Illinois’ Cara Finnegan will show during her discussion of photography and its role in politics. Art Institute of Chicago, Rubloff Auditorium

Nov. 5: Year in Review: 1990

With the launch of Operation Desert Storm, the reuniting of East and West Germany, the writing of the first web page, and countless entertainment events, 1990 was an influential year. WBEZ personalities will team up with storytellers and poets to walk through the year month-by-month. Park West, 322 W. Armitage Ave., Chicago

Nov. 6: Roxane Gay

The “Bad Feminist” author will join Lindsay Hunter, author of “Don’t Kiss Me,” for a discussion on culture and political life. Francis W. Parker School, Diane and David B Heller Auditorium, 2233 N. Clark St., Chicago


The complete Chicago Humanities Festival schedule (for more details about each speaker as well as locations and times, visit the festival’s website):

Sept. 15

  • Walter Isaacson

Oct. 24

  • Fifth Annual Morris and Dolores Kohl Kaplan Northwestern Day

Oct. 25

  • Ninth Annual Hyde Park Day

Oct. 27

  • Spokaoke
  • Sanford Biggers

Oct. 28

  • David Hartt and Sam Prekop: Artists and Cities

Oct. 29

  • Enchanted Americans
  • Chronicling Conservatism
  • Citizenship and Politics in Greece—Ancient and Modern

Oct. 30

  • “Wozzeck,” A Conversation with Sir David McVicar

Oct. 31

  • Revisiting the Underground Railroad
  • Why You Can’t Teach United States History without American Indians
  • Citizens Under Surveillance
  • Rae Armantrout
  • Geoffrey Stone: Sexing the Constitution
  • School Choice?
  • Enacting Justice: Legal Performance in the Civil Rights Era
  • Claudia Rankine: An American Lyric
  • About Face
  • Citizen University: Eric Liu
  • The Day After D-Day
  • Marlon James: A Brief History of Seven Killings
  • Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark: Audrey Niffenegger
  • Maria Hinojosa
  • Claudia Rankine’s “Citizen”: Poetry in Performance

Nov. 1

  • Capturing the Hive
  • Politics in American Art
  • Madison’s Music: What Does the First Amendment Mean?
  • Big Data and the Algorithmic Citizen
  • Jacqueline Woodson: Brown Girl Dreaming
  • City of Design
  • The Civics Empowerment Gap
  • Democratic Practice, Opting in or Out?
  • Wendell Pierce’s New Orleans
  • Jeff Chang on Hip-Hop, Culture, and Social Change
  • Democratic Cities
  • Maximum City

Nov. 2

  • Four Women: Josephine, Eartha, Nina, and Tina

Nov. 3

  • Politics and the Business of Craft Beer with Tony Magee
  • Elvis Costello

Nov. 4

  • Evan Wolfson on Freedom to Marry
  • Citizen Folklorist: Alan Lomax’s Musical Journeys

Nov. 6

  • Little Girl on the Prairie
  • Manual Cinema: “My Soul’s Shadow”
  • “Escuela”

Nov. 7

  • Citizen Artist: Salman Rushdie
  • Selfish, Shallow, and Self-Absorbed: Meghan Daum
  • The Legacy of Jane Addams and Hull-House
  • Chang-rae Lee
  • Jane Addams Hull-House Museum Tour
  • Who Owns Antiquity?
  • Citizens, United?
  • Danielle Allen
  • Artists as Activists
  • Building Art: Paul Goldberger on Frank Gehry
  • Living Deliberately in the 21st Century
  • Timothy Snyder: The Holocaust as History and Warning
  • Office Space
  • Bodies at the Center
  • Bob Mankoff: A Life in Cartoons
  • Patton Oswalt

Nov. 8

  • Chicago Community Trust Day—Pilsen


Get a taste of the Chicago Humanities Festival with this video from previous speaker Nick Offerman

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