Building Ideas: Students Help Reimagine Core Texts in Renowned Alum Jenny Holzer's Innovative Artwork

Photo by Christopher Dilts. YOU BE MY ALLY, 2020, Augmented reality app. Texts © 1998 by Anne Carson, © 1952 by Éditions du Seuil, © 2008 by Richard Philcox, © 1998 by Antjie Krog. Reprinted by permissions of the authors, Aragi Inc., Grove/Atlantic, Inc. and Penguin Random House South Africa. © 2020 Jenny Holzer, member Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY

For University of Chicago student Zahra Nasser, this October marks the culmination of months of hard work—and the chance to see it shared not only on campus, but around the world.

A fourth-year College undergraduate studying art history and philosophy, Nasser is one of 10 current and former students involved in YOU BE MY ALLY, a groundbreaking public art commission from acclaimed artist and alum Jenny Holzer, EX’74.

Prof. Martha Nussbaum to Address Animal Rights in Humanities Day Keynote

Martha C. Nussbaum presents the keynote address at Humanities Day, Oct. 17

Prof. Martha C. Nussbaum has built her storied career on championing underdogs. Now, the influential philosopher and humanist is turning her attention toward the entire animal kingdom.

The University of Chicago scholar argues for both an ethical revolution and new legislation to protect animals against mistreatment, including the poaching of elephants and rhinos and the devastation of natural habitat through climate change and human greed. But how do we create a wholly new approach to protect diverse animals?

Nussbaum will further that conversation during her keynote address on Humanities Day, hosted Oct. 17 by UChicago’s Division of the Humanities.

Her address, titled “Animals: Expanding the Humanities,” will be held at 11 a.m. CDT during the first fully virtual celebration of Humanities Day. Now marking its 40th anniversary, Humanities Day highlights the power of art, literature, philosophy, music, linguistics and language—presenting the public with a snapshot of leading humanities research at the University of Chicago.

True or False? What a UChicago Linguist Will Look for During the Presidential Debates

Chris Kennedy

On Sept. 29 in Cleveland, President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden will face each other on stage for the first time. 

The candidates could face more scrutiny than they have elsewhere on the campaign trail, as moderators, pundits and their opponent may fact-check them in real time. But will fact-checking make a difference in the way audiences receive the candidate’s messages?

That’s a question which University of Chicago linguist Chris Kennedy has thought about for years. The William H. Colvin Professor of Linguistics teaches a course on truth, examining the concept’s relevance in an age of “alternative facts” and “fake news.” In 2018, he also focused on the nature of truth in a keynote speech for Humanities Day, an annual UChicago tradition that began in 1980.

Robert Bird, prolific scholar of Russian literature and film, 1969–2020

Robert Bird

Prof. Robert James Douglas Bird—an expert on Russian literature, film and modernism—died Sept. 7 in Chicago after a nine-month battle with colon cancer. He was 50.

“Robert’s outstanding biographical and critical work made a lasting impression on the fields of Russian literature, cinema and intellectual history,” said Anne Walters Robertson, dean of the Division of the Humanities and the Claire Dux Swift Distinguished Service Professor of Music. “As a legendary teacher and mentor, he also will be sorely missed.”

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