Faculty

ECHO Game Brings Students Together--and Keeps Them Safe

Culminating in an Oct. 30 livestream, ECHO brought together students and other members of the UChicago community through weeks of collaborative play. Photo courtesy of the Fourcast Lab

A portal in the Regenstein Library. A rabbit hole to a mysterious alternate universe. Messages from the beyond—and the 1980s. This might seem like an alternate plot of Back to the Future, but you won’t find Marty McFly combing the library stacks. All of these elements were part of ECHO, the newest game launched by the University of Chicago’s Fourcast Lab.

“Purely educational games tend not to work well,” said Fourcast Lab member Patrick Jagoda, a professor of English Language and Literature and Cinema & Media Studies and director of the Weston Game Lab. “Instead, we wanted to embed safe and healthy behaviors within more engaging or creative quests.”

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.”

Court Theatre Reimagines the Stage Through Online Programs During Pandemic

Sarah Nooter

For Court Theatre executive director Angel Ysaguirre, the magic of the stage exists in the actors’ ability to connect with the audience—to see their smiles and their tears, and to hear their laughter, gasps and applause.

But the coronavirus pandemic has forced all large gathering spaces to close, putting “the electricity of theater,” as Ysaguirre puts it, on hold for the indefinite future. Instead of shutting its doors completely for the upcoming academic year, Court will transition to an all-digital platform, allowing audiences to reinterpret productions from their own computers.

In October, for example, Prof. Sarah Nooter will use Euripedes’ The Bacchae—based on the Greek myth of King Pentheus and his punishment by the god Dionysus—as a way to explore the contemporary manifestations of intertwining the personal and political, and the importance of listening to the will of the people. 

Living Through Turbulent Times with Jane Austen

Rachel Cohen

This excerpt published in The New Yorker is drawn from "Austen Years" by Rachel Cohen, which is available for purchase as of July 21 from Farrar, Straus & Giroux. The author discusses how six unexpectedly far-ranging novels carried her through eight years, two births, one death, and a changing world. Cohen is Professor of Practice in the Arts in the Program of Creative Writing in the Department of English Language and Literature at the University of Chicago.

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