News

Humanities Day Keynote to Examine How Home Movies Represent Cultural History

Jacqueline Stewart photo by Joe Mazza / brave lux

For more than a decade, Prof. Jacqueline Najuma Stewart has worked to preserve, digitize and exhibit an understudied cultural resource: home movies from the Chicago neighborhoods in which she was born and raised. In addition to founding the South Side Home Movie Project in 2005, the renowned University of Chicago scholar has earned national acclaim for her research on silent films—and was recently selected as Turner Classic Movies’ first scholar and African American host. On Oct. 19, Stewart will discuss what home movie archives can teach us during her keynote address at Humanities Day, a daylong series of 40 on-campus events celebrating the research of the UChicago intellectual community. Her talk, which begins at 11 a.m. in Mandel Hall at the University of Chicago, coincides with Home Movie Day, an international effort to preserve amateur films.

Mixing Beatboxing with Opera, Acclaimed Composer Redefines Genre

left to right: Augusta Read Thomas and Nicole Paris

With an abundant imagination for sound and music, Prof. Augusta Read Thomas unfolds fresh sonic perspectives and a personal artistic voice in soaring pieces played around the world—all while shaping the field of classical composition at the University of Chicago. Now, the Grammy-winning composer renowned for her masterful use of instrumental color has created a new opera that features acclaimed beatboxer Nicole Paris, accompanied by a youth choir and chamber ensemble. The original work Sweet Potato Kicks the Sun will debut Oct. 26 in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and is the second opera Thomas has composed in close collaboration with librettist Leslie Dunton-Downer.

To Understand Today's Global Data Economy, Look to the Middle Ages

Benjamin Saltzman

News of privacy breaches and secret surveillance is a regular feature of the digital age. With Facebook’s announcement Friday that it has suspended more developer apps for misusing users’ data than previously identified, the company revealed how little we know about the life of our data, even when we already know it’s been breached.

2019 Humanities Day Keynote Presenter To Become Turner Classic Movies' First Black Host

Jacqueline Stewart by Joe Mazza

UChicago Humanities professor Jacqueline Stewart has been named the first black host for Turner Classic Movies. She will introduce the long-running weekly programming series Silent Sunday Nights. The film historian and preservationist also headlines this year's Humanities Day on October 19. 

UChicago Library Becomes Home to 2,700 Vintage Photographs by Vivian Maier

Unpublished work © 2017 The Estate of Vivian Maier. All rights reserved.

The University of Chicago Library has received more than 2,700 vintage prints by celebrated photographer Vivian Maier, few of which have ever been published or displayed. Collector John Maloof made the donation to the UChicago Library, where they will be preserved and made accessible to researchers in the Special Collections Research Center. The gift includes more than 1,200 black-and-white and 1,400 color prints that Maier made, ranging from her travels around the world to her street photography in Chicago that has received widespread critical acclaim. Because Maier chose to make the prints herself, the collection provides a rare glimpse into her creative process and the photos to which she was drawn.

New Book Explores 'Concept of the Ordinary'—100 Words at a Time

Lauren Berlant photographed by Whitten Sabbatini for The New Yorker

Prof. Lauren Berlant is a renowned thinker, one who has earned acclaim not only as a leading voice in the study of gender and sexuality, but as an incisive cultural critic. Still, the University of Chicago scholar considers herself first and foremost a teacher—a collaborative spirit whose classroom is driven by the interactions between diverse ideas. That same curiosity is what undergirds her new book The Hundreds, a collection of experimental poems written with longtime collaborator Kathleen Stewart, a professor of anthropology at the University of Texas.

Humanities Scholar Receives the 2019 Tagore Memorial Prize

Dipesh Chakrabarty

Rabindranath Tagore has greatly influenced Dipesh Chakrabarty’s scholarship, especially Tagore’s 1941 essay “The Crisis of Civilisation.” When the UChicago professor received the 2019 Tagore Memorial Prize from the Government of West Bengal for his collection of essays, The Crises of Civilization: Exploring Global and Planetary Histories (Oxford University Press, 2018), Chakrabarty recognized the honor and the irony of getting a prize named after one of his intellectual muses and the first non-European to win the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1913.

Division of the Humanities' Department of Art History Announces $1 Million Endowment for Art Conservation Courses

Caroline Longo, students in Suzanne Deal Booth Seminar "The Material Science of Art," prepares to use x-radiography to examine The Penitent St. Jerome at the Smart Museum of Art.

The University of Chicago’s Department of Art History has received a $1 million gift from activist for cultural heritage protection, philanthropist, and Napa Valley vintner Suzanne Deal Booth for the funding of art conservation courses and internships. The endowment builds upon the efforts of a five-year conservation teaching collaboration implemented by the Department in the spring of 2018. The generous donation from Deal Booth assures the perpetuity of the piloted initiative’s courses and opportunities for students, funding art conservation and conservation science course offerings on campus as well as an annual undergraduate internship in the field. The endowment marks UChicago as one of the few national institutions to offer regular art conservation and conservation science courses at the college level within a liberal arts institution.

David Bevington, Preeminent Shakespeare Scholar, 1931-2019

David Bevington

Prof. Emeritus David Bevington, the extraordinarily prolific editor of Shakespeare’s full canon and author of seminal books about English Renaissance playwrights, died peacefully at home in Chicago on Aug. 2. He was 88 years old. Remembered by friends and family as a vibrant, generous and intellectually inquisitive man, the longtime University of Chicago professor possessed an infectious enthusiasm for the works he taught. He lived life with boundless energy—teaching, writing, hosting social events and playing chamber music with friends until just before he died.